Not long after we received our first pre-production samples Victoria went into Stage 3 lockdown for COVID-19. What to do when you're trying to make damn good merino t-shirts and can't go hiking in the hills?
We received our first pre-production samples a couple of weeks before ‘lockdown’ here in Victoria. We managed a trip up to Brisbane Ranges, and another up to the Dandenongs before we had to bunker down and put the regular hiking and test schedule on ice for a bit.
Also, a big part of the ‘testing regime’ before lockdown was my commute to my day job. This involved an 8-10km walk to and from work with a daypack containing work clothes, laptop, lunch, and other bits and pieces.
So, what were we to do with the world turned upside down to put our sample Ottie t-shirts through their paces to get them ready for production?
Here’s what we’ve been up to.
Fortunately, unlike other parts of the world, here in Australia it’s acceptable to still go outside for some state-approved (hehe) exercise. For me, that means walking. Or, as I prefer to call it: urban hiking.
I’m fortunate enough to live close to Melbourne city and the Yarra River, as well as Albert Park Lake, the Botanic Gardens, and the beach. There’s a range of settings nearby to walk which means there is a constant change of scenery.
Also, being Melbourne the weather changes four times a day. So, one minute I’m out with my Ottie Merino short sleeve men’s tee with my Icebreaker running shorts, and the next on goes a fleece, or down jacket, or rain coat. The four seasons of Melbourne provide great testing conditions.
Working From Home
I’ve been living in our 145gsm sample. In the morning I get up, go for a 2-3km walk to wake up, park myself at the dining table and laptop, and I feel comfortable and fresh all day long. Usually at the end of the day I’ll pop out for another 7-8km and catch up on podcasts, wearing the same outfit I popped on in the morning without an ounce of discomfort or pong.
To say I pop on a fresh tee the following day would be a lie. Usually I will go 2-3 days before swapping it out. I have been alternating between the 145gsm and the 160gsm and they’re both proving to be comfy AF with the 145gsm a little cooler than it’s heavier bro. I think both have their place so we’re likely to produce two versions from the get go. The 160gsm is probably a better option for hiking in cooler climates and looks a bit more fashionable so would go great with jeans on the weekend.
So, that’s our super high-tech testing regime. It’s my view that the best way to test clothing is to wear it and wear it as you would if you were wearing it for real. And, in this COVID-19 world going for a state-approved walk and working from home is about as real as it gets for many of us.