From Gerald Massey:
LD Comfort – a performance base layer designed for riders, by a fellow rider
Mario Winkelman likes to ride his motorcycle. I’m not talking about bar-hopping or making a few runs to Starbucks, but rather Iron Butt-class runs spanning thousands of miles over a few days. Like many of us Mario found that at times he was suffering from a pain in the ass… so to speak. So Mario hooked up with a friend in the garment business and focused on inventing the perfect base layer for people that ride motorcycles. And thus, in 1999, LD Comfort was born.
The riding shorts were quickly adopted by the Long Distance riding community and became the gold standard for base layer among this group. My personal experience with LD Comfort started with my introduction to the riding shorts about 10 years ago. I was already wearing Nike DriFit clothing as a base layer for both snowmobiling and motorcycle riding, so garments designed for this purpose were interesting to me. I loved the shorts and expanded my collection to include most, if not all, of the items in the LD Comfort line
When I ride I wear the LD Comfort shorts, but also the shirt, skull cap and socks. Most of the year if on the road for a few days or even riding for most of a single day this is all I wear underneath KLIM Badlands pants and one of several riding jackets. In winter I wear Warm ‘n Safe heated pant, sock and jacket liners between the LDComfort and my riding gear.
The Original – Riding Shorts The “Roo-Fly” design While the riding shorts are pretty standard items, there are a couple of varieties of shirt. I have both the standard mock neck as well as the new zippered mock neck. The zippered neck is nice in the summer to quickly release any build-up of heat when stopped, hiking, etc. Both shirts are long-sleeve as this is a critical part of the functionality of the gear. I won’t try to exhaust the topic here as it is all covered on the company’s website, but the long-sleeve mock neck serves as a great insulator/liner within either heated items or simply underneath riding gear.
But the real magic comes in the cooling capability of the shirt. The procedure is that in high temps, 90 degrees plus, you close up the venting on your jacket, leaving only a partial exhaust open in the rear. You wet the LDC shirt sleeves, usually from the elbow down, don and zip up your jacket, the open the end of the jacket sleeves to expose the end of the shirt sleeves. Once moving this creates your own personal swamp cooler and I have routinely developed brief chills or goose bumps on 100 degree + days upon initial highway speeds in this gear. Most people seem to report that the effect is good for a couple of hours at a time. You can extend the effective time by wetting more of the shirt, or even dunking the shirt and putting it back on if you have access to water to do so. Personally, I use a bathroom sink or hose and soak the sleeves initially. Then an hour and a half or two hours later I just hold my hand up and pour about half of a small water bottle down one sleeve from the open cuff, and the other half down the other side. That “recharge” is usually good for another couple of hours and doesn’t require getting off the bike
As I noted above I also wear the skull cap and socks pretty much year-round. The skull cap is great atwicking moisture and keeps me from experiencing sweaty helmet liner when it’s hot. The socks, which are the one item not actually made my LDC but sold by them, are thickly reinforced in the toe and footbed. I have found them to be extremely durable. Though I have several of each item for convenience, all of these items are easily cleaned in a hotel room sink with an individual packet of a mild soap. As they dry very quickly there is no issue doing so even in an overnight quick-turn while rallying or traveling. I have traveled for more than a week with two sets of each item – one in use and one clean.
For those in the Pacific Northwest another great thing about Mario and LD Comfort is that they are right here in our neighborhood. The company is located in Hoquiam, Washington, a coastal town located on Gray’s Harbor, along Highway 101 about 50 miles west of I-5 at Olympia. Though I have only been outside the building I understand that in addition to their website there is a small showroom and retail space within their facility. Though probably obvious from this review, I am clearly a devoted fan of LD Comfort and like so many others have tens of thousands of miles experience riding in them.