Dovetail Workwear: Gave It the Treatment, Got the Performance

The author field tests Dovetail’s Britt Utility pants. TCIA staff photos.

I finally got to open the box! Dovetail Workwear makes workwear specifically for women, and they sent me a collection of apparel to try in the field while performing tree care. The box contained a couple of different pairs of pants and a hoodie sweatshirt – all of which I was very excited about!

The Performance Work Hoodie was the first thing I pulled out. I was glad to see it was exactly the same shade of gray as on the website. It is an extremely soft cotton/poly blend, both inside and out. The hood on the sweatshirt is pretty nice, the Vislon zipper seems durable and the cuffs are snug as well, which is perfect for keeping out dirt and sawdust.

The next items I pulled out of the box were two styles of the Britt Utility pants. The first pant was made of Dovetail’s Cordura denim, which upon first inspection is stretchy. The No Fade black is supposed to stay black, which is great for a field like arboriculture in which clothes need to hold up to repeated washing.

The author scoping out the tree for the field test.

The second pair of Britt Utility pants were made of a thicker, canvas-feeling fabric, yet still retained some stretch. These pants were listed as gray on the website, but I found them to appear to have a slight hint of purple. Unexpected, but I love this color!

Both styles of the Britt Utility pants are reinforced on the front of the leg with a double panel and seams for the knees, which gave me hope for the durability of the pants. The pants have a tool loop on one side and a bunch of pockets – the tag says 11 functional pockets. Pretty exciting! I talk a bit more about the features of the pants in the field review.

As the last, but certainly not least, item in the box, Dovetail sent its Day Construct pants. I didn’t find these pants to feel as soft to the touch compared to the Britt Utility, but I think that difference may be in the amount of stretch in each style. The Day Construct has a reinforced knee in contrast to the entire front panel of the Britt pants.

The Day Construct has quite a few pockets. Unique to this style, there is a zippered side pocket and a tiny pocket in the front! Although at first I wasn’t sure what I could use the front pocket for, I found it was surprisingly deep. I bet it would be useful for keeping small items handy, separate from the other, bigger pockets.

I was excited to take these out in the field to see how they performed.

The field test

My first impression was that the Britt Utility pants would be comfortable – and I was right. I love these! The stretch really did stretch when reaching out to limbs while climbing. They’re really great for movements like that. Full disclosure – it was pretty cold here in New Hampshire during testing, and I had a pair of long johns, thermal underwear, on under the Britts. I didn’t find that to be a hindrance at all. The pants still stretched like I needed them to and allowed full range of movement in the canopy. I think I would love these even more if the temperature was above 40 degrees or in summertime, when long johns aren’t necessary.

The Cordura pants feel more rugged than the cut-resistant pants I normally wear. The external material feels more abrasion resistant than the thin outer layer of my cut-resistant pants. I find the outer layer of the lighter-weight double panel of the Cordura feels like it will hold up nicely over time. No handsaw nicks and cuts here.

I think with more wear I can find a good use for the tool loop, but as it stands, I’m not sure what the immediate need would be for it in tree work. I might clip an extra carabiner or two there or even find a way to secure hand pruners to it. Time will tell.

Bonus points for the hidden message written on the fly.

My first impression during the unboxing and trying-on process was that the Britt Utility pants, and more specifically the Cordura material, were going to be the best fit for my needs personally. At 5-foot 2, I have a very short inseam, and the length on these pants was perfect. I didn’t find that they dragged in the mud or got in the way, with one very specific exception being the need to tuck them into my foot ascender. Such a small, climbing-specific exception I can easily overlook. So far, I have washed these pants three or four times, and I haven’t noticed any noteworthy shrinking, even in high heat.

I can imagine the Britt Utility pants being really dependable across the board. In addition to tree work, I work with horses, as do most of my friends. The stretch – a huge bonus in my world – in the Dovetail pants would be awesome when seamlessly switching from barn chores to riding.

I honestly can’t see a place for improvement on the Performance Work Hoodie or any of the pants. I love the hoodie so much that I almost don’t want to get it dirty. The Britt Utility pants are the perfect work pant – stretchy but sturdy. These pants have so much character. The tag comes with a Dovetail sticker – perfect for water bottles, every woman’s best friend. They even have a sassy little reminder to “get dirty” on the fly of each pair.

Alliyie Shults is a climber with the Meredith, New Hampshire, office of Chippers Inc., a Davey Tree company.

TCI Magazine product reviews reflect the opinions of the reviewer and not the position of the magazine or the staff of TCIA.

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