Gear Reviews: Women's Guide Shorts
KM Collins of Guerrilla Media Bend gives us her thoughts on a few shorts options for guiding and being on the river.
Of course, there are many companies producing women's guide shorts these days. In this article I review how women’s guide shorts from top brands like NRS and Immersion Research stand up to the extra-duty exertion involved in running whitewater.
NRS Women's Guide Shorts
One top pick is the Women’s Guide Short by NRS. These shorts are durable and stretchy. They are super comfortable and after a full season of wear and tear they pretty much look brand new.
A couple things that set these women’s guide shorts apart are the soft and conforming waistline, a convenient zippy pocket within the hand pockets (and one on the leg) and a sleek look which allows for wear on and off the river.
Immersion Research Women's Guide Shorts
The Women's Guide Shorts by IR are a top contender among my favorite shorts for boating. The water resistant nylon fabric is not only rough and tumble durable - it is comfortable and doesn't absorb an ounce of water at-all. This can mean somewhat of a stiff fit. Remember, stiffer fabric means you’re less likely to slide out of that guide seat.
For a stiff fabric like nylon, the women’s guide shorts fit surprisingly well. They conform at the waist, hips and thighs without constriction or squeezing. They maintain a great fit and feel whether gearing up next to your kayak, sitting in the cockpit or stopping in for a grocery run after your paddle.
Immersion Research Women's Penstock Short
The women’s Penstock shorts get an honorable mention here. Although not specifically a guide short - they can do the job. They are the longest legged of the three shorts mentioned in this article and the lightest fabric. You may want to wear them slightly before rowing in them.
Both the Penstock and the Women’s Guide Short by IR have a half zip and lace up mechanism which ensures a range of fit and guarantees as the shorts get wet and heavy, you’ll have the option of re-tightening the lace so the shorts won’t ride down plumber style.
Bonus points: The IR shorts come in a reusable lunch bag made from scrap production material. Awesome!
You may think shorts are the last thing a boater should be worried about. Any old board shorts will do - right? That’s what I thought until my instructor at guide school told me the story about how he swam on the Upper Klamath River. He slid right out of his rodeo-frame low back padded seat because his shiny new board shorts were so thin and slippery.
I don’t boat the Upper Klamath that often - but when I do, I don’t want to be swimming it.