Workout Wear

By STEPHEN REGENOLD

Preparing for outdoor adventure — be it backpacking, biking or mountain climbing — can require ample time training indoors and outside, running, riding, lifting weights, or sitting down for a session of yoga. This winter my wife and I tested workout apparel from multiple companies, sweating and straining in shirts, shorts and tops to ready ourselves for a few key adventures this spring.

To start, I tested two pieces from Lululemon Athletica, a Vancouver company that began as a surf brand and is now known for yogawear. The company (www.lululemon.com) has a nice aesthetic and unique touches in its line, including svelte pockets for keys and iPods, metal grommets to route headphone wires, and stretchy, breathable fabrics.

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However, the two products I tried each had a fatal flaw. Item No. 1, the Endeavour Pants, $89, look like semiformal dress khakis. But these trousers were made to be an alternative during workouts to sweatpants. They are comfy and stretch adequately for all kinds of exertion. The flaw is minor, though annoying: The pants’ main snap popped open on occasion while I was doing chin-ups or abdominal exercises. A button would make all the difference.

Lululemon’s On the Move Jacket, $99, was similarly a nice product with one major issue. The stretchy workout jacket — which has touches like hidden pockets for your keys and underarm vents — employs a fabric unfriendly to the male face. Specifically, the collar can snag whiskers. My beard stuck like Velcro whenever I turned to look left or right. Ouch.

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My wife, Tara, had better luck. She tested a sports bra and workout underwear, respectively from Gracie’s Gear and Smarty Pants, two small companies with original concepts.

A pouch on the front of the bra is Gracie’s Gear Inc.‘s (www.graciesgearandtraining.com) claim to fame. This three-compartment pocket was made to carry your iPod, cell phone, energy gels and car keys.

Gracie's Gear - solving the problem of having a cell phone pocket in your workout wear

It is stitched on the outside of the bra fabric to keep objects from chafing the skin. There’s a small zipper and a hole to feed an MP3 player cord.

My wife tried the Long Tank, a $32 model made of polyester and Spandex. She said it was supportive and comfortable. Small items in the pouch pocket went unnoticed while running, yet were always accessible.

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