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Chaps or chaparajos are manufactured leather and are worn to cover your pants. They have no material at the pelvis and hips.
Chaparajos function to add protection mainly to the legs, by encasing them in leather while anchored with a leather belt at the waist.
They were first used by cowboys and rodeo participants, but now are a favorite with motorcyclists. Cowboys started wearing chaps to protect their legs and clothing from scratches from thorns, while herding. Nowadays, chaps are highly recommended for any rider looking for extra leg protection.
As parents or guardians, it is always a good idea to encourage children to become involved in wholesome fun. If your little boy or girl is interested in cowboys, or riding horses, think about buying them a pair of leather chaps.
Chaps are nice when a parent and child wear matching pairs, because chaps for children and teenagers are only smaller versions of regular adult chaps.
Expect to pay $50 to $70 for these leather chaps.
For equestrians, half chaps are preferred over full chaps. The difference between full and half chaps is that half chaps will only cover and protect the leg from the knee to the ankle, with a thick piece of elastic to wrap around the soles of the feet. This is in contrast to the full chaps worn by cowboys. Half chaps are available in standard sizes of small, medium, large, etc. Leather half chaps are available in mainly standard colors of black and brown, and the most durable ones are made of cowhide leather. Half chaps can be purchased at an equestrian or specialty leather store for $70 - $100.
Even though leather chaps are worn over other clothing, they should still be cared for to preserve the appearance of the leather.
If chaps are dusty, depending on the material, a soft cloth can be used to remove any dust. However, when chaps become really dirty, they should be cleaned according to the manufacturer's recommendations. This could mean a simple washing at home, or having them professionally cleaned. When not in use, leather chaps should be stored away from direct heat or sunlight. It is best to pin them on a hanger, and let them hang as straight as possible. The chaps should also be stored in an area where the air is allowed to circulate.
Safety is always the first concern and this is true for motorcycle riders. Proper operation and maintenance of the motorcycle is important, but so is their physical safety while riding. Leather chaps are recommended for motorcyclists because they increase the rider's leg safety level.
The main function of leather chaps has always been to provide protection to the legs, which is something all riders need. Chaps can help offer protection from flying debris while riding, but also from the cold feel of the wind.
When putting on chaps for the first time, you might be confused about how to wear them. They are not worn alone, but over other clothing such as pants or jeans.
There are two holes in the front and back, with a belt to buckle them in the front. There is also a strip of leather in the back, which can sometimes be either laced or buckled to tighten the chaps.
Start by ensuring the main side zippers on the legs are zipped open, with the waist unbuckled.
Step into the chaps making sure to rearrange them comfortably around you.
Buckle the waist, and close the side leg zippers, while arranging your jeans or pants underneath.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|