March 12, 2012
I have tried every form of knee protection there is and never got comfortable with any of them.
Molded strap-on pads that go over your pants always bind, and they scoop up dirt and funnel it down inside the pad when you kneel in the soil. Strap-on pads inside the pants are too bulky. Those foam garden kneelers that you pick up and move each time -- forget that.
I tried special utility pants with padded inserts but never liked the fit or the heavy canvas fabric.
I garden in my comfy jeans and that's that. So my jeans have soiled, worn patches, my knees get wet and cold, and gardening causes a world of hurt. I suffer.
And then, a solution.
Garden Chaps. I kid you not.
They are made by Muscle and Arm Farm, which markets them as Greenjeans. They are not cheap. I got the ML size in green.
The chaps are lightweight, made of sturdy backpack nylon. They strap on around the waist, hang loosely down the leg, and have a couple straps that go around the legs just so they don't flap about.
They tug a little at the waist, and need an occasional hitching up, like the move a cowgirl makes just getting off her horse. I kind of like the effect and do it well.
But it's the comfort and ease that have sold me.
My knees stay dry, the padding is more than adequate. I simply unclasp the hooks to slip them off, and go in for lunch in a pair of clean, dry jeans.
They can be washed, but hosing them off after a day in the garden is enough.
I have long had a fascination with the West, and I own a real pair of pointy toe cowboy boots. And a Stetson hat and a broomstick skirt with a silver belt.
But I never thought I would own a real pair of chaps.
(I bought these on my own. They were not a free giveaway for trial, and Muscle & Arm has not asked me to review them)