Women who love spending time outdoors are increasingly interested in sporty fashion options beyond convertible hiking pants and shorts. More and more women are hiking in skirts and are discovering the freedom from baggy pants, form-fitting leggings and constricting shorts. Skirts offer unrestrictive movement and freedom from balky zippers, especially when nature calls in the woods. Are skirts practical in the winter, though? Big Agnes thinks so. The Big Agnes Zirkle Circle skirt is an insulated length of down that wraps around the waist with maximum adjustability.
The wrap skirt is is made with 700 fill DownTek, held in place with diagonal baffles. Lightweight ripstop nylon comprising the outer shell is wind and water resistant. A series of seven snaps along the waistband allows the A-line skirt to conform to a variety of body shapes but also maximizes the wearer’s ability to add or subtract layers depending on the weather. In very cold temperatures thick leggings can be paired with the skirt and multiple layers on top can be fitted either under or over the waistband. The generous down baffles provide a surprising amount of warmth. When snapped in place, the wrap-around skirt actually provides two layers of down over the front of the body and one on the rear. An angled zipper pocket on the front holds a phone or other small objects.
The Zirkle skirt in Estate Blue/Blue Topaz (dark blue outer with light blue inner lining) was tested during a cold snap at Lake Tahoe when daytime temperatures hovered in the teens and ski areas ran their snowmaking equipment around the clock. The skirt was paired with full-length, leggings, thick wool socks, winter hiking boots, a fleece base layer, down jacket and wool hat. With the torso and upper legs encased in down the author felt quite warm on a winter walk through snow-covered paths when the temperature was 15 degrees. Compared to wearing ski pants or jeans the skirt was freeing, allowing unrestricted movement, yet the down was warm and toasty. The nature of the down baffles means that the skirt holds a static shape and doesn’t drape so finding a balance between fit and flattering shape takes some experimentation with snaps and accessories if the wearer has some curves. This reviewer found that the inner layer in the front consistently drooped lower than the front on one size rather than maintaining a clean horizontal line. The author usually wears a medium in everything and the medium Zirkle skirt was the correct size. According to the company website the medium should fit a 29-36 inch waist.
Ideal uses in spring or autumn would be camping or backpacking in the Sierra, when evening temperatures can be chilly. In winter, walking, snowshoeing or cross-country skiing in snow country could be done with a Zirkle Circle skirt.
Because of the shape of the skirt, it could have several uses beyond wearing it as a wrap skirt. It’s not an exact rectangle as it curves slightly due to the elastic gathered waistband in the back, but it’s close. Folded into thirds it would be an effective insulated sit-pad for lunch on a snowbank or cold slab of granite. In its full-length form it could be added to the inside of a sleeping bag to provide an extra insulating layer, either on the bottom if the R-value of a pad isn’t adequate, or draped between the body and top layer of the bag. Infants or small children could be wrapped in the skirt as an extra layer on their early backpacking trips.
Big Agnes, located in Utah, always honors a local landmark with the names of its products. The Zirkle Circle is a hike in the Mt. Zirkle Wilderness that offers views of Big Agnes, Little Agnes, Mt. Zirkle and Flattop Mountain, in addition to Gold Creek and Gilpin Lakes.
The Big Agnes Zirkle skirt is a good choice for women looking for a warm winter skirt that allows the same freedom of movement during winter recreational activities that they’ve come to love in summer.
Big Agnes Zirkle Circle down skirt
Available in two colors: Estate Blue/Blue Topaz and Black/Wisteria
Weight: 9 oz
The skirt is available at Big Agnes for $139.95
Disclaimer: Disclosure of material connection: A sample was received for testing purposes, but the opinions expressed are solely those of the author.