OK, normally you probably wouldn't even think of packing a pair of tights for a national park trip. In fact, I've never seen such an item on any gear list out there.
But think about it. Don't you sometimes like to go for an early morning, or late-afternoon, jog or cross-country ski while you're in a park? A nice easy run along the boardwalks that wrap the Upper Geyser Basin in Yellowstone before breakfast can be gorgeous. You're not likely to encounter hordes of tourists, the air is calm, the day is beginning to brighten, and the solitude offers a great opportunity to reflect while you get in a light workout to burn off some of the calories you packed on at dinner the night before.
I recently was introduced to tights produced by Wacoal Sport Science, a Japanese company that labels its tights and tops under the CW-X brand. And I was immediately intrigued.
I have several other brands of tights that I wear for cycling, running and cross-country skiing, but none offers the muscle-support like the CW-X Pro Tights I sampled. The company calls its support system a "Tuned Conditioning Web." And that's a pretty good description, for Lycra bands that wrap your legs act -- and I hate to use more of the company's wording, but it's apt -- like an exoskeleton.
So what good is that? Lots of good, that's what. I found that the bands supported my muscles and so helped me stay fresher longer. They stretched when they needed to and, through the tight fit they provide, supposedly increased blood flow to my leg muscles. But since I have no way to measure that, I'll just take their word for it.
The human engineers who designed these tights took into account the hamstrings, quads and glutes. The result was that I could work out harder for a longer period of time. Too, the way the bands wrap your legs provides added support for your knees and lower back. Again, that's a good thing, particularly if you're worried about patella tendinitis.
Along with Lycra, the tights are built with breathable Coolmax panels, which help you stay dry while working on. Also integrated is a reflective material so you'll be visible in low-light conditions.
Women will be happy to learn that the tights are not unisex. Rather, the company makes sure its women's tights are anatomically engineered for a woman's body.
CW-X also makes a line of sports bras and tops, cycling tops, shorts and knickers, and new this fall is a line of insulated tights, zip-tops and sports bras. This line sounds perfect for cross-country skiing or snowshoeing, two activities that are perfect for the parks.
The tights retail for $95. While you might catch your breath at that sum, have you checked the pricing on other tights or sports specific underwear lately? And if the CW-X products help you get more out of your workout, that's a small price to pay for something that will be in your wardrobe for a long time.