Thursday, September 5, 2013

Review: Mudlarks - All-In-One

I took the family up to the snow recently (yes, there is snow in Australia, not very much, and not very long, but it we do get it) at Mount Baw Baw, and in my planning to do so, I wanted to ensure they would be adequately protected from the environment. I posted about what I wore, here)

Triceratops Girl (in pink) has previously been a model for the Muddlarks "Bib'n'Braces"  so I was prepared to make an investment in a set of their all-in-one coveralls for her and Tactical baby. Cold, wet and miserable children are NEVER a good thing, especially in hazardous and adverse conditions.

The whole Muddlarks range is constructed from waterproofed  breathable polyurethane coated, 150gsm nylon rated to 6000mm+. (See this guide to understand what this rating means)  . The fabric has also been Teflon® proofed on the outer facing of the material which helps resist staining and acts as a Durable Water Repellent (DWR). Water, snow and slush just beads and rolls off.

One of the important aspects of staying warm and dry in the snow is not to become wet in the first place, so this is a great material, especially as it retains its breathability. This ensures that the wearer doesn't steam too much on the -inside- which could lead to dampness and chilling.  The all-in-one Muddlarks provide a single piece coverall that ensures no "puddles and snow down the back" moments, with its ankles to crown coverage.
 Moving from outside to in , just unzipping improved their comfort considerably, especially with the polar-fleece lined larger version. This was child-sized hardshell wear at its best, i think.

The attached hood has an elasticised bill, to keep it snugly fitted in high winds, with a press-stud closure at the neck to keep the wide plastic zipper from sliding open. In the "Size 2" option, there are some press-studs at the nape of the neck to adjust the fit for smaller heads.

The hood, and shoulder/back have reflective piping, to assist in locating and safety in low-light situations. 

The back of the suits also feature elastic gathers, to ensure a better fit, with all the seams being taped for additional waterproofing. This was so effective that when Triceratops Girl fell backwards into a calf deep puddle (for her) that she was still bone dry inside even after sitting in it till i could haul her out.

With elasticised ankle and wrist cuffs, the biggest concern I had was that the girls would get snow and slush into their gumboots, but the Muddlarks design had catered for that as well. The fleece lining in the larger size ensured a warm Triceratops Girl, whilst we bundled Tactical Baby with a insulating mid-layer, and she fared just as well.

 Tapered and fitted cuffs, along with the elastic produced a snug fit, without constricting. but it is the button-closed adjustable elastic loop that really makes these a winner. Able to stretch around the ankle of a gumboot then affix, gater-style under them. This combination really ensures a good seal against incidental soaking, especially for little people. Again, cold, wet, miserable little people are not just a burden in an outdoors adventure,but in a survival situation, it becomes an even more serious risk.

I was really pleased with how these performed in the snow, but I've also seen how well the other items in the range (the bib'n'braces, specifically) perform in the mud, sand and forest floor. I really liked these for my kids.

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