Sunday, January 1, 2012

Kilt Collection: AmeriKilt's AK Classic Kilt in Olive


This kilt from AmeriKilt is the second kilt I purchased from the company and I will review the other kilt later, however I will have to mention it here occasionally as I compare the two kilts since, in my opinion, they are quite different.

First of all, let's look at the description of the kilt on the AmeriKilt website:



AK Classic - Olive
An Olive AmeriKilt is handsome and comfortable – and most versatile. It's perfect attire for a hike on the trail or on casual Fridays.

  • 100% pre-shrunk cotton, 8.5oz Chino Twill
  • Detachable sporran of the same fabric is included
  • Wide, tapered upper and lower aprons
  • Secures with six durable snaps
  • Extra wide belt loops for our 2in AK Belt
  • Back wallet pocket secures with a flap

Matching Detachable Sporran

We originated the concept. It’s 6in x 9in and of the same fabric as your AmeriKilt. Large enough for the usual gear... wallet, keys, phone, etc., our sporran has two snaps on the flap to help keep your stuff secure.

Back Pocket

We've included a generous back pocket with a flap that secures with a 1in square Velcro® closure.

Pleats
The pleats are sewn-in and sharp. The bottom edge is neatly serged with a lock-stitch to avoid frays and pull-aways. Our belt loops are sturdy and wide, made to accommodate our custom 2inch AKBelts.



I purchased this kilt from AmeriKilt because I really liked the first one I purchased from them, a khaki AK Classic. Unfortunately, I can't say vary many positive things about the olive AK Classic. When the kilt arrived I immediately noticed a difference in the kilt material. The khaki kilt I purchased was a heavy material, yet still soft enough for comfort. The olive kilt is a much heavier material. It has the feel of a heavy canvas backpack or a tent even. The material is so heavy that the pleats had gotten extremely misshapen in shipping and it was impossible to get them ironed out correctly. I decided to take the kilt to the cleaners to have it professionally pressed before I wore if for the first time. That did a decent job at getting the original pleat creases back, but it still wasn't perfect. In fact, the kilt seemed to not even be sewn correctly. When I tried it on, the kilt was very uncomfortable and the heavy canvas-type fabric was stiff and had no "flow" when I moved around. I felt as if I was wearing some sort of plastic kilt. I sent an email to AmeriKilt describing my problems with the kilt and received the following answer:

A number of our customers have indicated they wanted a heavier weight fabric - the original AK was thought of as too "lightweight". As a result, over the past year we transitioned our fabric from an 8.5 oz Twill to a 10oz Duck. The new fabric is the same as is used to make the popular "Carhartt" work trousers. It's very durable and - after washing and break in - becomes quite soft and comfortable.
My advice for your new AmeriKilt is to wash it in COLD water with some fabric softener. This will reduce the stiffness. When the wash cycle is done remove the kilt while it's damp and hang it on the line - hold each pleat at the bottom and "pinch" the pleat from bottom to top. This will keep the pleat while it air dries.


Seemed like a lot of trouble to go through before my first wearing but I gave it a shot. I washed the kilt in cold with fabric softener. After the kilt dried I ironed each pleat until they were as sharp as possible. The kilt still seemed out of shape but I hung it up until I could wear it for the first time. That first time tuned out to be today, New Year's Day 2012.

I must say the washing and fabric softener did nothing to help this kilt. When I first put it on, it had a nice look to it but it was still stiff and very uncomfortable. I needed to go out and pick up a few things so it was a good time to put the kilt through the driving test. I drove down the street to the drug store and when I got out of the car the kilt was frozen in a shape not unlike a ballerina tutu. I had to try to refold each pleat back into shape before I went into the store and I think I did an okay job with that but the kilt still didn't feel right. When I returned home, again the pleats had "exploded" outward. The material is so stiff that it freezes into whatever shape it was previously. After getting out of the car, you're still going to be wearing a sitting down kilt. It's totally uncomfortable, hard to manage and not useful.

If you intend on sitting while wearing this kilt be prepared for something like this. Or worse.

I don't think I will go back out in public with this kilt. I thought I could at least use it for a work kilt but that seems impossible at this point. If I could get a refund for this kilt I would do so immediately, however, I doubt that's possible after washing it and wearing it all day. I find it odd that even after getting the email that AmeriKilt switched to a 10oz Duck material, as of today the website describes the kilt as being made of a 8.5 Twill. So even though the company is advertising a 8.5 kilt they are sending customers the 10oz. At this point I plan on running it through the washing machine several more times with fabric softener just to see if I can get the material to relax enough to be wearable. After paying almost $100 for this kilt I hate to just toss it away. Maybe in the end I will end up with a wearable, useful work kilt.

If AmeriKilt continues to manufacture their kilts this way there is no way I can recommend this kilt. This is a shame because I really liked the lighter version. My request to AmeriKilt is that they return to the lighter fabric, or at least give people a choice as to which version they would like. If that is the case I would say stay away from the 10oz Duck AK Classic AmeriKilt. If that is not the case, I would just say stay away from AmeriKilt kilts.


Rating (out of 5): 

3 comments:

  1. Good to know. Too bad as the 8.5 twill is good for summer wear. I have one from a few years back in Tiger Strip which is quite sharp looking.

    You might want to invest in a hand steamer. Readily available at stores that sell appliances. Usually less than $25. I prefer this to ironing which could spell disaster on a wool kilt if your ironed it improperly. Steaming is never a problem. Steaming is a fast way in getting the pleats looking sharp!

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  2. The 8.5 Twill version is actually a nice kilt and I review that kilt in another post. I wish this one was that weight as well but the "10oz Duck" is just too unruly and impractical. I do have a pretty good steamer and this kilt steamed back into shape fairly easily. I'm going to try washing it over and over until it relaxes a lot. I need a good work kilt that I can get dirty and paint in. This one may be the one if I can eventually tame it.

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  3. My friends & I are glad we read your review. Most of my friends have Utilikilts. I was looking for something that costs less for more casual and work wear. I ended up buying from Kilt Mart. Now most of my friends who were wearing $200+ Utilikilts have switched to the $70 Kilt Mart cargo kilt. Time will tell how it holds up.
    Here's a link to that line on their site. http://kiltmart.com/index.php?option=com_virtuemart&Itemid=210&vmcchk=1&Itemid=210

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