I have said previously that I am a huge Immersion Research fan and own a great deal of IR kit. Around 15 years ago my favourite paddling shorts were my Playboater Neoprene shorts. Absolutely bombproof, curved to fit you well when sat down etc. Unfortunately too many pies forced the sale of the those shorts and I have been on the hunt for a long term replacement for years. I have owned kayak specific and non kayak specific shorts (mainly board shorts) and although all have done a great job I have always moved on to try something else.
My criteria for short choice is pretty simple –
A good fit (both standing and whilst sat in a kayak)
Bomber construction and materials
Value for money
I have therefore settled on the IR Guide Shorts.
Our classic board short built for paddlers. This is the original IR product- the one that we started with 14 years ago. Lace-up waist with just a small circle of velcro on the fly, deep gusset crotch for a siting position, made with quick-drying rip-stop polyester microfiber, and the signature ‘biner-sized brass grommet on the back leg- perfect for clipping the short to the rest of your gear, or for hang-drying. Our guide shorts are also liner-less- any river guide can tell you how itchy mesh liners can get after a week of use.
Sizing: We make our guide shorts a bit big- to get an accurate idea of the exact size, take your favorite pair of shorts or pants, lay the waistband out flat and level, them measure them as shown in the picture in the gallery to the right.
The material used on the shorts feels substantial and from the couple of pairs that I won I can vouch that the construction is superb. They feel as if they could easily see me well into the next decade without missing a beat.
Unlike the many board shorts I have tried and as IR state the shorts are made big. So check out the sizing carefully.
The shorts for are a great length, not too short and not too long and just sit on the knee. The waist is fastened with a lace up system and small tab of velcro in what would be the fly area. A good size pocket can also be found on the leg along with a large brass grommet. I tend to use this for hanging the shorts up to dry.
To summarise the shorts are well designed, well constructed and very good value for money.
In the UK the prices from the IR.EU site are as follows (June 2012):
Guide Shorts – £20
Fleece Line Guide Shorts – £30
Neoprene Lined Guide Shorts – £60
I would highly recommend all of the Guide short range (I have one of each!). More on the fleece and neoprene lined shorts will follow shortly.