When down skirts started showing up at the outdoor trade shows a couple of years ago, I was so excited. Wrapped in the least amount of layers, my lower body is prone to getting cold during winter activities. Simple, lightweight, and easy to throw on over another layer, the Gnar Down Skirt from Sierra Designs is a great solution for adding warmth to the normally neglected areas of the lower body.
Made from 650 fill down, the Gnar Down Skirt basically extends the length of your down jacket, providing extra warmth around your hips and upper legs. Snaps down the front of the skirt make it super easy to get on and off. A stash pocket and small zippered pocket on the inside of the down skirt, are convenient for storing small items.
I bought one of the Gnar Down Skirts as soon as they came out earlier this year. Since then, I have worn it for everything from throwing on over my cycling shorts after a long ride, to wearing it as an extra layer when standing around outside on cold winter days and nights. I have been pleasantly surprised at how much keeping the top of my legs and hips warm makes a difference to my overall warmth.
My favorite use so far for the Gnar Down Skirt has been for ice climbing. Those alpine starts are usually really cold, so I throw on the skirt over my climbing pants while gearing up or until I warm up on the hike in to the climb. The skirt does not fit so easily over a harness, but I found that if you use just the top snap, you can keep your hips and backside warm while having full access to the belay loop.
I have had so many women come up to me asking about the down skirt and commenting on the brilliance of the idea as your hips, backside, and thighs are almost always cold when outside during winter. Some women said they would love to use the down skirt for skiing, as your backside gets cold when you are sitting on the chairlift and your thighs get cold as you speed down the slopes.
I would recommend ordering a size larger than your normal pants size, as you are most likely to be wearing the down skirt over another substantial layer. Some women wear the skirt with leggings and boots as an outfit for winter, but I personally use it as a warm outerwear layer.
Bottom Line: Every women should own a Gnar Down Skirt for that versatile extra layer of warmth and style, useful for a variety of cold weather outdoor activities.
The Sierra Designs Gnar Down Skirt comes in a variety of colors and retails for $99 (currently on sale at Backcountry for $70).