Professional Builder went caving with some Blåkläder workwear to test how ‘extreme’ it really is.
We at Professional Builder decided it wouldn’t be fair to test Blåkläder workwear on a typical building site, seeing how the company promotes the range as being able to ‘go to the extreme’.
We felt the only way to really put it through its paces was to do some extreme sports. That’s why we went to Hemel Hempstead’s XC centre to get quite literally stuck into some indoor caving.
Designed to replicate the unpredictable and unhospitable nature of real caves, the 160 metres of tight, winding tunnels necessitates clothes that can handle a range of functions.
You need quite tough clothes when caving, as you have to drag your body weight over the rough surface of the fibreglass, which is obviously something that is worse the larger you are.
Luckily, the X1900 trousers were made out of Cordura Denim. This is much tougher than regular denim which has a habit of snagging on sharp corners and ripping.
The knees and other pressure points were reinforced with Cordura 1000d fabric, which is handy because in the caves just as on the work site, you find yourself on your knees a lot of the time.
Another bugbear of workwear is that the stitching doesn’t last. Up against concrete and the general graft typical of the building site, you can’t blame regular stitching for giving way.
But clothes designed for the building site ought to stand up to the environmental pressures on-site, and that is why Blåkläder’s stitching comes with a lifetime seam guarantee.
Considering their trousers are triple stitched, this probably won’t be an offer many take the company up on.
The tunnels were full of tight angles and ‘rock’ formations jutting out, meaning you had to contort your body into a number of awkward angles.
This is something made possible by the stretch properties in the Blåkläder range. The polo shirts are 60 per cent cotton and 40 per cent polyester, meaning they are flexible as well as breathable.
The trousers are lined with exterior pockets, meaning their movement is never restricted by pockets filled with nails and pencils.
The material used features a stretch function, and it’s true that as we bent and twisted our bodies to fit through seemingly impossible gaps, we were never hindered by our clothes – which is unusual, as you typically think of workwear as being cumbersome and heavy.
We were wearing trainer-style safety shoes which are ideal for any kind of extreme activity, as they provide all the protection and robustness with the comfort and flexibility of athletic trainers.
Whilst safety shoes may not be common on muddy building sites, they are increasingly becoming the footwear style of choice on cleaner sites.
Comfort and flexibility shouldn’t be a luxury, it should be seen as a necessity to remaining healthy and safe.
For more information on Blaklader click here.
Caving at the XC
Hemel Hempstead may not be where you’d expect to find an intricate system of caves open to explore, but at 160 metres long, the XC Centre’s indoor caving network is one of the largest in the world.
Caving has been a popular sport for over a hundred years, having been pioneered by Frenchman Edouard-Alfred Martel. Also available at the XC is a skateboarding park, high ropes, climbing walls and bouldering.
For more information on the XC and for bookings visit www.thexc.co.uk