By Zach d’Arbeloff
It should go without saying that, as a RailRider employee, I own and wear a lot of RailRiders product. While it is my job to put on a public face and spread the praise of RailRiders, it is not a requirement that I wear it all the time or even enjoy wearing it at all. Outdoor clothing isn’t for everyone. Personally, though, I wouldn’t be able to do my job if I didn’t believe in it, and I can say with certainty and experience that RailRiders more than lives up to their claims.
Long before I worked here, I was wearing RailRiders, dating back to the old days when I rocked the Roust-Abouts as a five-year-old. So, regardless of my employer, I always have and always will wear RailRiders.
The reason for the devotion is quite simple, really: until someone creates a better product, I don’t see why I’d switch. I have worn products from pretty much every other outdoor clothing company: Patagonia, Mountain Hardwear, prAna, Marmot, Columbia, North Face, etc. There is some great quality out there, but nothing even remotely as high as RailRiders. Among RR’s legendary collection of rugged outdoor fashion, one item stands above the rest: the Jammin’ Shorts.
I got my first pair of Jammin’ shorts when I was twelve, and took them on my first trip alone away from home: a one month trek through the Sierra Nevadas with a company called Overland. They quickly proved to be my favorite item: indestructible, quick-drying, and most importantly, comfortable with movement (even when commando). It was the only pair of shorts I brought, and they made it through the adventure looking the same as they did at the beginning.
Seven years later, I took the same pair of shorts (and another pair I had gained by then) on my 3-month long NOLS semester in New Zealand: a month of backpacking, a month of kayaking, and a few weeks of sailing. These, again, were the only shorts I brought, serving as my primary hiking gear, my swimsuit, my boat shorts, and my pajamas.
My shorts have also traveled with me to India, the Caribbean, and all over the U.S. If it’s summer, they are the first item I pack for any adventure, and the first thing I look to put on in the morning. The elastic has stretched out and fits me just like the day I got them… even as I have gone up a waste size.
Both original pairs of Jammin’ shorts still exist and are worn regularly. They have gotten grayer, and are marked by a myriad of mysterious stains. There is a tiny hole in one thanks to an aggressive stray ember. Other than that, they are in fine working condition, which exactly where a pair of shorts should always be. If I was asked to recommend any particular piece of RailRiders clothing, it would be these shorts. There is simply nothing better.
If I figure out how they can be destroyed I’ll let you know… For now, I just wish I had an excuse to buy some new colors.