March 12, 2012

Chaps

My knee is a device for locating rocks.

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.

The key is to fasten them around the leg loosely so they have enough give.  I can kneel, scrabble about in the soil, stretch and generally do what I need to.

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)

34 comments:

  1. Thank you for reviewing these. What a great idea! I agree that moving the kneeling pad is not for me. I have lots of experience with the wet and muddy knees on my jeans. This sounds like just the thing.

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    1. Cristy, I've been using them for several days now, with the warm temps out there. They are getting really comfortable, and I don't need to hitch them up so much now, I've kind of figured out how they move.

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  2. Yahooo. Instead of a rope and saddle you have a trowel and wheelbarrow. They look useful and comfortable.

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    1. Lisa, Ok, everyone is going to make fun of my Western wear, but really, it's the only style that has ever suited me, despite being a New England Yankee and a woman of a certain age. I like the image of herding cattle with my trowel and wheelbarrow!!

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  3. Howdy, Cowgirl. You make them chaps look good. Weed on.

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    1. Lee, Git my lasso, I'm missin' some seedlings.

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  4. Although we don't have a lot of rocks here I definitely get my fair share of dirty and wet knees. I use one of the garden bench/kneelers which I do like but often it gets left behind as I clamber across the garden on hands and knees. In fact, I just realized these would be great for picking apples up off the ground. What a great idea.

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    1. Marguerite, you hit on a good use for these chaps --- salvaging apples off the ground. I have seen a picture of how the ground in your orchard is literally carpeted below the trees. I can't imagine kneeling there!

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  5. Garden chaps! What an idea. I'm always on my knees too and only use the little cushion pad if I know I'm going to be in one area for a while. These look like they work well.

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    1. Gardener on Sherlock, I am never in one area, so the stationary cushion pads don't work for me. These chaps really do!

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    1. Donna, Yep, these do the job I'm pleased to say.

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  7. Oh, how I could have used those today! With the recent rain the ground was soaked and so were my knees! What an idea...so glad you shared with us!

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    1. Cat, It's actually the protection from wet more than the padding that makes these work for me. So glad you are getting rain.

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  8. We use chaps when cutting with chainsaws. I never would have thought of this application but it makes perfect sense. I have always hated the way knee pads never seem to stay where you want them to.

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    1. Forest Keeper, These chaps are sold mainly to professional farm workers, according to the owner. So I feel like I stepped up a level as a gardener! Yesterday I wrestled four large shrubs out of the ground and moved them to another location, a job that a cushion mat or those uncomfortable kneepads would have been useless for. The chaps were great.

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  9. Thanks for the demo in pictures. Looks like those are doing their job of protecting your knees.

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    1. Patio Cover, they work great!

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  10. I have that same issue. Bruised and calloused knees. What a good idea. They should give you a free pair now!

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    1. Layanee, You garden in the same stony New England soil I do, so I know your knee has found plenty of rocks!

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  11. Hi Laurrie, I am no fashionista, but those greenjeans look pretty cool. I like that they protect your knees and keep your pant legs dry too. I wonder if they are available here in Canada?

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    1. Jennifer, Muscle & Arm Farm doesn't say anything on their site about shipping to Canada, but you can ask them!

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  12. I'm glad you found a solution to gardening among rocks, as needless to say that sounds very painful!

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  13. Laurrie, I would give anything to see you make the "cowgirl" move! It seems like the bloggers on the East coast deal with rocks a lot. You have found a wonderful solution. I have to tell you, I was glad to read your disclaimer at the end. So many of the bloggers I used to read have sold out for free stuff and you just don't know what is true, anymore, with them.
    I love reading reliable gardeners' opinions on things they've found useful and I think the chaps would work for wet knees, too??!

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    1. Sissy, New Englanders do grow rocks --- stone walls snake through every town and landscape, remnants of settler's farms from hundreds of years ago. Each rock placed in the miles and miles of walls was dug up by hand just so the ground could be tilled. Can you imagine!

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  14. These look awesome!! Now I just need the Old Spice guy to show up wearing these - and only these - to weed my garden. ;o)

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  15. Those are tres chic Laurrie! Sadly, my dirt has no rocks at all here in NC - you have to buy rocks, if you can believe it :)

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    1. No rocks? I can't even imagine a world like that. What do you throw at the deer?

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  16. My husband has been after me for years to use knee protection and I have resisted due to the constrictive effect. Based on your recommendation I may try these though I may need a lesson on the cowgirl tug. Do you give tutorials?

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    1. Joene, ha! Just tug and hitch, pardner.

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  17. I love these! My knees are always getting wet. Wonder what they will look like with shorts?

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    1. Sharon, There is a picture on the Muscle & Arm web site that shows a woman wearing these chaps with shorts. Not so stylish, but they work!

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