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Those who know me know that I am a big fan of skirts, and I’ve been thinking for a while now how I could conciliate  this essential  fashion garment (no less!) with my current lifestyle made of crazy hiking trips and unorganized round-the-world travels. It’s true that, prima facie, the skirt doesn’t seem to be the most practical choice when it comes to travel, and modern adventuress will inevitably prefer to put on its famous rivals : the boring  trousers! But sometimes it happens that some women are a bit nostalgic of the charm of the explorers of old, like Alexandra David-Neel, May French Sheldon  or Harriet Chalmers Adams who traveled the roughest part of the unknown world in their petticoats and lace parasols…

Harriet Chalmers AdamsAnd, as a traveler, you also sometimes want to fit more in the local cultures that you’ve got the occasion to come across. You would like to avoid this uncomfortable feeling you get when strolling around in  your tighty-thight hiking shorts or pants when all the other women around are wearing colorful dresses and skirts. Or you might just want to go past the humiliation to be wrapped like a Japanese maki in an old shabby curtain at the entrance of temples (like this time when we were travelling in Bali) or mosques (like this group of funny Japanese girls we saw wearing quite unfitting outfits during our trip to Istanbul) or churches.

For all this reasons, I was quite determined to find a travel skirt for my next adventures. Oui, mais voilà! It was an impossible challenge! It simply doesn’t exist… If outdoor shops are overfull of all kind of declination of hiking pants, they are on the other hand pretty deserted by skirts! So unfair. The rare shops which are actually selling skirts propose only two or three different models which, even if they are really pretty, are way too short to wear in the streets of rural India or Pakistan, for example. Sometimes they also sell a few cotton dresses, but then they are quite limited technically. Not really optimized for hiking, if you know what I mean… The material is  fairly heavy, not quite breathable, took ages to dry and after a few weeks of intense use, it invariably becomes rather ragged and somewhat smelly… Sexy!

Travel skirt by Macabi

So it’s on this sad conclusion that I somewhat abandoned the utopian idea of finding THE skirt and tried to be content with my badly cut hiking pants and my happy seventy-years-old-German-tourist look. Until I found this website: www.macabiskirt.com. Miracle! It sells only one kind of items: travel skirt!

Carol, la créatrice de la robe, en pleine session de pêche !The story of this brand started with american Carol Louder, who loved fishing in Yucatan. She was dreaming of a skirt which would be « ideal for the climate, and more respectful of the local culture. But it would have to handle the heat and the sun. It couldn’t get tangled in her line. It would have to dry quickly after wading. After all that, it would have to stand up to cocktails and dinners. »
Like me, she didn’t find anywhere what she was looking for. So she made one! And started to market it. Very excited by this discovery, I wrote an e-mail to Macabi to see if they could send me a skirt all the way from USA to New Zealand, where I am currently travelling.

A week later, I received a beautiful red and white parcel from the American post. Yeepee! Inside, I found my lovely new long length charcoal Macabi skirt. Awesome! The material is very light and soft, and the quality of the stitching is very good. Thus far, I was very satisfied. Next step : testing the skirt « into the wild »!

The hiking skirt, perfect accessory for traveling girls

The next day, I jump in my travel skirt and in a pair of leggings, and then in the car to drive up the mountains. I forgot to tell you but we are in the middle of winter here in New Zealand and just came across a huge snow storm. Let’s see how the skirt reacts when hiking in the snow!

Premier essai de la jupe Macabi dans la neige néozélandaiseWell, let me tell you : this hike was a success! The skirt is really large and comfortable, and doesn’t obstruct my movements in any way, even when walking up a steep slope covered with more than 10 cm of snow. A further advantage is its versatility. Let me explain : say that you intent to climb a ladder, but you don’t want everyone to have a panoramic view on your alluring underwear, or, as in the present case, say that you want to climb up those icy rocks over there. Well, you just have to use a simple clip system to change your skirt into trousers and in only a few seconds time here you are, ready to go!! Clever, isn’t it?

Lorsque le terrain est accidenté ou que le vent souffle la jupe Macabi se transforme en pantalon grâce à un ingénieux système de clipsSince I have this skirt, I wear it any time I go in the wild. It’s been lashed by nasty thorny plants, sprawled in the mud when I wanted to take a picture at ground level, soaked by heavy winter rains… Well after all that, it doesn’t have even one scratch, nor a wrinkle. It’s apparently never dirty, surprisingly warm and it dry really really fast! The only negative word I could say is by stormy days. When the wind is very strong, the skirt flies around like a crazy flag and reveals your legs to the world up to the knees (Ouh la la..!).

Thanks again to the ingenious clip system, you can also transform the Macabi skirt into a short in a matter of seconds! As you can see on the picture, it can be very useful when strolling along a beach, or when you are a keen fisherwoman in Yucatan for example. It’s especially invaluable (and a lot more convenient than pants) when your walking path takes you through a river!!

Et lorsqu'il faut tremper ses gambettes ou que l'on veut profiter du soleil, on peu en faire un short !Last but not least : the pockets! Two extra large Mary Poppins like pockets are sewed on the sides of this awesome travel skirt. And secret smaller pockets are hiding in the bigger pockets, including a zipped security one to carry your valuables around without fear of pickpockets! With all that, you’ve got enough room to carry a beautiful mess with no need for an easily forgotten/lost/stolen handbag.
Final trick, the whole skirt can be packed up in it own security pocket, so it takes a minimum space in your backpack.

In conclusion I am really looking forward to wear it during our next travel project along the Mekong River wich starts in a few days now !

Below, a selection of pictures of the travel skirt and its silly owner wandering through New Zealand!


Find the skirt online with all the different models (even some for men) and colors on www.macabiskirt.com


 

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