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Requisite Synthetic Full Chaps

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Equestrian Accessories

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      11.12.2011 15:12
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      A good everyday work/casual riding chap, but be prepared to be exceedingly careful with the zip...

      Having unfortunately not been riding on a regular basis for some time, I somehow never got around to reviewing these chaps which I had submitted as a product proposal ages ago. Although I'm still not in the saddle as much as I'd like, I have had a chance to get loads of wear out of these on various holidays and working breaks, and I'd say they're pretty hit or miss if I'm honest.

      I originally wanted a pair of full chaps because I do ride western quite a lot, but I have also worked around horses a lot in settings where I am living at work and it's so much easier if I don't have to get changed tons of times if I want to go for a quick ride, but rather pop some chaps over what I'm already wearing. I will admit that I am even sometimes lazy and do this in the summer over shorts if I really can't be bothered to get changed.

      Although most of my boots are black I ended up with brown because they were the only ones in my size that I liked/could afford, although the dark brown doesn't really look that bad with black boots. Obviously full chaps of this nature are never going to be show attire in the first place!

      I am quite short and about a size 12-14, and often find that things that fit the rest of my legs end up trailing on the floor, but somehow I got away with a size medium and they weren't overly long. The zip finishes a little higher than the bottom though so they could be trimmed if they were a little long. I did find that they would fit over any trousers I wanted them to, and were admittedly a little loose on the thigh, but it's much better than riding in something too restrictive. They definitely weren't too baggy or annoying where it matters in the lower leg. At present the Robinson's website (these being their own brand) doesn't have anything larger than an adult's large, and I think tall or big men would struggle to find a good fit.

      The material is quite thin faux suede. Although it's thin and you can tell it's not the most expensive, I don't think they would rip or tear in normal wear and I have definitely worn them in a variety of situations without them looking remotely worn. For me a huge plus is that they are fully machine washable, which I have done and they end up as good as new.

      My main issue with these is the fastenings. There are buckles at the front and back which can cinch these in to a variety of sizes, and you could always put in extra holes. The straps are a little thin, especially the one at the front, although that does mean it's comfortable to ride in. The zips, however, are quite poor quality and have caused me a few problems. I have worn these a lot of times on all-day rides where we stop for a picnic lunch, during which I like to take off my chaps and use them to sit on. On several occasions the zip has failed to correctly zip up afterwards, causing me to hold everyone up and often taking several people to fix it again. This has also happened a few times before rides, and I have had to give up on wearing them at all on some occasions. The only way to fix the zip when this happens, I have found, is to painstakingly push every tooth of the zip comb into place with some force, which is really quite annoying and takes a while! Although these are a good price for full chaps, I don't think that using a better quality metal zip would have been such a problem.

      Overall I do like wearing these, they are very comfortable and a good price. They are also reasonably waterproof. I didn't expect them to be amazing quality, as they cost only £33.28 at Robinson's in store or online, but I am really disappointed with the zip. Considering the small range of full chaps that are usually available, I would probably still buy them for an everyday work chap that can be thrown in the washing machine, but if I was going to do significantly more riding again and had the money I would opt for something of a little better quality.

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