April 9, 2013 — I wear bamboo and like it. I’m not talking about grass skirts or woven-bark loin cloths. My bamboo comes from tasc Performance.
I started the Pacific Crest Trail in 2012 with two pair of Ibex merino wool underwear. By Agua Dulce around trail mile 450, one pair had too many holes in the crotch to continue wearing and they went in the rubbish bin. By Reds Meadow and Mammoth Lakes around mile 900, the other pair followed suit. Yes, I wore one pair of drawers for 450 miles. And, yes, I washed them as needed.
In Mammoth Lakes I went underwear shopping. I found a number of stores offering various brands of merino wool underwear but just couldn’t convince myself to shell out $40 or more per pair. I was on a limited budget. In fact, my worn out drawers were purchased at close out, discount prices online.
I eventually found myself in Kittredge Sports. They aren’t too far from the post office where we had picked up our bounce box and some care packages. The clerk directed me to some bamboo base layers. “That’s different … bamboo,” I thought, “I’ve never heard of clothes made from bamboo.”
They had boxer briefs. Excellent. I find that the longer length and snugness on the leg of boxer briefs helps control chaffing. They were about half the price of the merino wool underwear in the other stores. And, Kittredge Sports offered PCT hikers a discount. I bought two pair.
My bamboo boxer briefs were soft against the skin and breathable. Comfortable underwear – a trail luxury. They held up well for the rest of my time on the PCT – over 800 more miles and I continued to use them while traveling in Southeast Asia. They maintained their snugness reasonably well (instead of stretching out and sagging like many boxer briefs do). They worked well as swim trunks. And, they were easy to wash and dried overnight on the line.
By the way, you can get bamboo boxer briefs in gray as shown in the picture, as well as black, white, and lime green (tasc calls it kryptonite).
Tasc Performance apparel is made from proprietary bamboo performance technology fabric, derived from all-natural bamboo fibers that keeps you cool, dry, and comfortable. Tasc Performance uses Bamboo Performance Technology added with other natural fibers to fight odor, wick moisture, dry fast, allow for unparalleled comfort, and block the sun’s rays. Their baselayers and outerwear are a great alternative to stinky, sticky, scratchy polyester.
The tasc boxer briefs I wore were made with 55% organic cotton, 40% viscose from bamboo, and 5% elastane. Reading through their product descriptions, most of tasc’s apparel are made with 55% organic cotton. This means they are great for summer, dry sections of a long trail, and other outdoor activities and conditions that cotton can be useful like hot days on a river, jungle trekking, sometimes in the desert, at home training, and such. Tasc offers a merino-bamboo line of base layers for more adverse conditions and cold weather seasons as well (60% viscose from bamboo, 30% merino wool, and 5% elastane). Tasc says, “By combining the natural performance characteristics of Merino Wool with our Bamboo Performance Technology we acheive a sum greater than its parts: A fabric that feels exceptional next-to-skin and out performs both 100% wool and synthetic base layers. Our fabric provides moisture-wicking, anti-odor, temperature regulation, and extreme comfort, all without chemicals.”