We went on an overnighter to Seattle last month. Sarah did all the planning and booked a nice hotel in Pioneer Square. On our first walkabout we noticed the Utilikilt store. Utikilts have been around for a while. I’ve been interested in getting one since I first saw them online. With a little prodding from Sarah, we, along with our two somewhat-embarrassed teenage sons, walked into the (thankfully) empty Utilikilt store.
Measurements were taken. I was shown to the dressing room (a forlorn corner of a counter in the middle of the room) and dropped trou. A kilt was briskly wrapped around my mid section and pulled down to rest upon my hips. I was directed to a fan on the floor and witnessed for myself the ventilation miracle that is Utilikilt.
I settled upon the Workman’s Utilikilt. It has cool things like a hammer loop, tape measure loop and big pockets. It’s made of duck material that’s thicker than a pair of Carhartt pants. I admit I also chose this model because I thought it would make me a little less susceptible to ridicule. I mean, “This is a WORKMAN’S Utilikilt. It’s tough, just like me. Please don’t laugh.” I was asked if I wanted to wear it out of the store. I declined.
I have worn this thing a lot in the past month - all over Spokane - in all kinds of places. I haven’t been laughed at (at least not to my face). About the only comments I have received were “Nice Utilikilt!” Most of the time, no one seems to notice. Which, in a way, was kind of a letdown. Sarah and I have received better service in some places - I think people wanted to check the Utilikilt out.
So, what do I think of the functionality? Number one - it feels great. Let’s see how do I say this without being too graphic? How about - There is no “scrunch” factor.
I was surprised by the temperature difference between it and a regular pair of shorts. Even though the material is thick, the air circulation really is incredible. I would estimate that on a 90-degree day, it is about 10 degrees cooler than a pair of shorts. These temperatures are Fahrenheit and not Celsius with windchill factored in ( I am not a broadcast meteorologist).
I expected more of a Brave Heart vibe while wearing my Utilikilt, but I wasn’t unhappy with the more enlightened Marvin-the-Martian energy that seemed to trump the channeling of the noble Scottish warrior.
As a toolbelt, all the stuff works fine. However, like other toolbelts I have worn, I never can maintain the discipline of putting the hammer in the hammer loop or the tape measure in its proper place. Instead I tend to put everything into my pockets. Pockets on the Workman’s Utilikilt were built with my A.D.D. construction techniques in mind. Screwdrivers, measuring tape, a pencil, a hammer, twist connectors, pliers, a wire stripper, screws and a knife all intermingled in these gigantic pockets, and didn’t fight me when I had to fish them out. Best of all. I always knew where they were!
I haven’t worn it while riding a bicycle yet. I don’t think that would be very functional and I could wind up with a very pleated ass by the end of the day. I think one would be great to take with me on the Xtracycle to put on over the bicycle shorts after I reached a camping spot or some other destination. You could then remove the shorts and be living the dream. Sounds like too much planning though.
The price of any Utilikilt is pretty steep. To be fair, they are made in the USA (Seattle even). There’s a lot of good workmanship involved too. They are worth the money, at least to me.
I wear the Utilikilt 3 or 4 times a week. Eventually, I am going to mix it up by getting another one or two. I think the Utilikilt Survivor might be next. Will I be wearing one after the snow flies? Maybe. I don’t want to think about that yet.