I don’t really wear jeans. I used to, sure, but in the last few years I’ve found them a bit incompatible with the lifestyle I lead. Much of my time is spent writing about the outdoors, selling outdoor gear or, you know, actually doing fun stuff outdoors myself. Outdoor clothing has to be light, water resistant and make movement easier. Function comes first, style second.
Enter Dish & Duer. Based in Gastown in Vancouver, they appear to be shaking up everything I thought I knew about outdoor clothing. Their performance denim offers function and style presented in a very familiar way. Dish is the women’s side of the brand (Duer being the men’s) and I was recently able to test out a pair of the L2X Performance Stretch (Straight and Narrow) in Classic Indigo to see what I thought.
Dish’s L2X material is a blend of cotton denim, polyester and spandex. This combination offers 360 degrees of stretch intended for outdoor activities such as climbing, hiking and cycling. I have primarily used them for hiking so far, taking them on my 100 mile South Downs Way walk in the UK. They were very easy to move in, not weighing me down or restricting flexibility like regular jeans would. While I appreciate stretchy denim may be a revelation to men*, the 5x stretch (compared to traditional denim) offered by Dish is nothing too revolutionary in the women’s market. What is different however are the other built-in features.
*JR has two pairs now, his first ever ‘stretchy’ trousers/pants
Integrated Coolmax fibres act as a temperature regulator, by wicking sweat away from the body in hot conditions and then providing insulation in colder conditions. The surprisingly warm autumn British weather on my trip provided a good opportunity to test out these properties and I can confirm I was never too hot nor too cold while wearing them.
Thanks to added silver ions, the denim is also antibacterial which means less required washing. True to Dish’s word, I have only cleaned my pair a couple of times in the last 5/6 weeks and they still look and smell great. I’ll note here that they thankfully did not lose their shape after washing, something I have experienced with stretch denim before.
The polyester part of the blend helps to keep the denim lightweight but durable, both essential attributes for outdoor activity. This denim may not be water resistant (all the better for breathability really) but the polyester helps it dry much quicker than a traditional pair of jeans, noticed after washing. With the unseasonably dry (!) UK weather, I didn’t have a chance to test them in the rain like I would have hoped.
Style and fit
Not too dark and not too light, these jeans have a classic and appealing look. The style can be dressed up or down, which makes them a great pant for regular day to evening use. I definitely didn’t feel out of place when walking into a town after a long day’s hike. There is reinforced stitching on common stress points in the denim to ensure durability while moving, but it’s not obvious from simply looking at them.
They are made with a higher rise in the back, ideal for cycling and general bending/sitting. This rise additionally provides good coverage while wearing a large backpack harness, something I didn’t initially think about. The stretch offers a comfortable fit, even if you’re not on the skinny side or have larger thighs/calves (I’m definitely thankful for this).
Having not worn anything resembling jeans regularly for quite a long time, it is great to be back wearing something so easy to wear but not so typically outdoorsy in style. Comfortable and with the outdoor function I need, I really like my pair of Dish performance denim for general everyday use outside, day hiking and multi-day trips in temperate/low elevation environments. My Dish trousers were perfect for my UK hike on the South Downs; they performed well up and down the many, many hills of the route as well as in the mix of warm/cool temperatures. Bonus, they looked good even when I arrived at the pub in the evening!
You can get your own pair of Dish Performance Denim online or in person at the Dish & Duer flagship store in Gastown. The retail value of my pair was $119 – I was offered a pair to test in exchange for a review but my thoughts and opinions remain my own as always.