Camet Wahine Shorts for Her

Search for padded womens shorts turns up quality gear.

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After a frustrating and fruitless day of shopping locally for gear appropriate for a 30-something woman to wear on the race course, Practical Sailor editors set out on a mission to find a pair of padded sailing shorts that: fit properly (unlike most

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womens board shorts, which seem styled for a 13-year-old); did not look like theyd been borrowed from a mans locker; and were fast-drying, comfortable, and functional (even when hopping around a racer-cruiser or hiking on a dinghy). We found few options, and most of those were made by Camet International, a California-based sailing apparel manufacturer.

As with most sailing apparel, the majority of padded shorts marketed to women sailors are simply a mens design in a smaller size. But Camets womens sailing shorts are tailored to womens bodies and come in several styles, so any size or age woman will find one that suits her tastes and shape.

Practical Sailor tested the Camet Wahine shorts. These lightweight, nylon shorts have a low-rise, flat front, and a Velcro-adjustable waist. Testers found them to fit true to size, but when wet, they tended to stretch a wee bit; we suggest wearing them belted.

Testers were impressed with the quick-dry nylon fabric: It is UV-resistant (SPF 40) and is actually water-repellent, shaking off seaspray like a duck. In tests, the shorts went from soaking wet to bone dry in less than 30 minutes, without sun or wind to speed the drying process.

Another feature testers liked was the shorts reinforced seat/pad pockets. The Cordura reinforcement is highly abrasion resistant, and the optional quarter-inch foam pads do the trick

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for those stints on the rail without being too bulky. (Word to the wise: Keep the pad pockets closed at all times; should you go overboard, they do fill with water and the drain holes take a bit to completely empty.)

Testers would prefer a cargo pocket in addition to the Wahines two front pockets. Camets Martinique shorts come with one (as well as a longer inseam, 8.5 inches vs. the Wahines 8). And for those who prefer a higher rise, the Antigua shorts have flat front and cargo pockets.

Bottom line: Mission accomplished. The Wahines $75 price tag (plus $12 for the pads) mean we won't be buying one in each color; however, their quality construction ensures that well be wearing them for many seasons and their flattering fit means well look like women doing it.

Also with this article...
Darrell Nicholson, editor of Practical Sailor, grew up boating on Miami’s Biscayne Bay on everything from prams to Morgan ketches. Two years out of Emory University, after a brief stint as a sportswriter, he set out from Miami aboard a 60-year-old wooden William Atkin ketch named Tosca. For 10 years, he and writer-photographer Theresa Gibbons explored the Caribbean, crossed the Pacific, and cruised Southeast Asia aboard Tosca, working along the way as journalists and documenting their adventures for various travel and sailing publications, including Cruising World, Sail, Sailing, Cruising Helmsman, and Sailing World. Upon his return to land life, Darrell became the associate editor, then senior editor at Cruising World magazine, where he worked for five years. Before taking on the editor’s position at Practical Sailor, Darrell was the editor of Offshore magazine, a boating-lifestyle magazine serving the New England area. Darrell has won multiple awards from Boating Writer’s International, including the Monk Farnham award for editorial excellence. He holds a U.S. Coast Guard 100-ton Master license and has worked as a harbor pilot and skippered a variety of commercial charter boats.

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