Jacamo cargo shorts for Dad: review for getting out and about with baby in comfort and style

Summer time!

Hurray, it’s officially summer time – that means Jon’s leggies start to appear in daylight after a long winter covered in trousers! (They’re not even that pastey, thanks to that bit of Spanish blood he has…) Today’s post is exciting for me as it’s my first containing ‘sponsored’ content: today I’m reviewing three pairs of men’s Jacamo cargo shorts for Dad which were gifted provided that I publish this review. I wanted to do this as I think it’s important that Dads also build their confidence getting out and about in nature with baby, and clothing is an important part of that (and having to focus on my husband’s mountain-biker legs and bum wasn’t exactly a hardship!). As a new mum, I went from enjoying choosing pretty/funky outfits to pulling out the most sensible/practical get-up for what I wanted to achieve with Archie that day. In the early days, having any vague clue what you’ll need can be tough! (See this post for a description of good kit for getting out for walks with baby.) So, an outdoor parent needs practical clothing that is preferably stylish too so you don’t completely lose your sense of identity.

The three of us enjoying lunch outside in beautiful natural surroundings. Jon is wearing the smart Williams & Brown Linen cargo short (and Archie is being just scrumptious!).
The three of us enjoying lunch outside in beautiful natural surroundings. Jon is wearing the smart Williams & Brown Linen cargo short (and Archie is being just scrumptious!). FYI, my blue hair has now gone.

The engineer will out

Jon is an engineer. He is the consummate practical man, but he does like the finer things in life (ahem, obviously). Jon knows the style of clothing he likes to wear and tends to stick to it (think poster boy for Fat Face!). The couple of indy-boy tees I may have encouraged him to buy over the years have barely seen the light of day: he is a more smart polo shirt kind of guy, with jeans or cargo trousers, and it suits him. As woman, mother, and primary care-giver I had to learn early on which tops/dresses/jumpers I could wear for feeding baby when out and about, and which trousers are best for cramming all sorts into pockets and comfy enough for getting down on hands and knees for impromptu nappy changes wherever the need arose. Jon hasn’t really had to do that as much. So when this opportunity arose, I seized it to encourage him to think more carefully about how his wardrobe fitted with his new needs as a father, particularly when outdoors.

Three pairs of cargo shorts

To compare a range of shorts for different activities and looks, we selected three different brands and style of cargo shorts from Jacamo:

  1. Craghoppers Kiwi Pro Long short in dark khaki
  2. Jacamo Bexar cargo short in wine
  3. Williams and Brown Linen cargo short in navy (these don’t appear to be available, so here is a link to the trouser version)

This selection proved to be an absolute winner as Jon had something good to say about each one – they each performed very well for different purposes.

Overall winner for regular cool comfort and a smart look

His overall favourite was the Williams & Brown Linen cargo short as these were light, cool, comfy, and looked good, so he chose these for day trips with friends/lunch out, that sort of thing. Jon is not a man who enjoys hot sticky weather in the slightest so the cool linen kept him happy when carrying Archie around in the sling on hot days (Archie is no mere bagatelle….at 9 months he’s a whopping 24lbs!). It has a couple of good sized buttoned pockets to accommodate a medium sized wallet, smart phone, and keys. The only downside with these though was the belt – he said is was less than useless sadly. The buckle pin would slip through the buckle meaning it just wouldn’t stay done up, plus the fake leather details were a bit dubious… However, his usual belt fitted instead so order was restored!

Jon wearing the Williams & Brown Linen cargo short - Daddy time off action shot!
Jon wearing the Williams & Brown Linen cargo short – Daddy time off action shot!

Best Outdoor Dad’s choice

For more active pursuits like hiking, the Craghoppers Kiwi Pro Long short were by far the best. Good quality active wear material kept him cool as he exerted himself. The good stretch in the material gave excellent flexibility and manoeuvrability. These shorts were the only ones to have a zipped pocket which he really liked: great for keeping keys and other valuables safe when you’re being active. His only complaint was that compared to the others their fit was a little more snug. Watching him exert himself marching about, I, however, did not complain about this.

Jon wears the Craghopper Kiwi Pro Long cargo short on a walk around Glendurgan Gardens in Cornwall. THe weather started off nice enough but soon it was raining cats and dogs. I was feeling a bit peaky so Jon had to push the buggy and carry the camera bag. The shorts didn't get waterlogged and dried quickly when the rain stopped.
Jon wears the Craghopper Kiwi Pro Long cargo short on a walk around Glendurgan Gardens in Cornwall. The weather started off nice enough but soon it was raining cats and dogs. I was feeling a bit peaky so Jon had to push the buggy and carry the camera bag. The shorts didn’t get waterlogged and dried quickly when the rain stopped.

Casual day-to-day shorts

The Jacamo Bexar cargo shorts were still rated highly: he considered these to be more of a casual day-to-day option. With thicker material than the linen, they were more hard-wearing so we figured they’d look good for longer with frequent use and greater daily wear and tear. These also had more of those sought-after big manly pockets so apparently good for keeping a tape measure and multi-tool handy (snigger snigger). They were a good comfy fit and the wine option was a really nice colour (more daring than Jon tends to plump for so good for pushing those personal style boundaries!).

This is Archie's very first experience of the beach and the sea! It wasn't the best weather by any means but a few spots of rain didn't spoil his fun! Jon wore the Jacamo Bexar cargo shorts, and we all got a bit wet!
This is Archie’s very first experience of the beach and the sea! It wasn’t the best weather by any means but a few spots of rain didn’t spoil his fun! Jon wore the Jacamo Bexar cargo shorts, and we all got a bit wet!

Jacamo website and delivery service

A separate aspect of these clothes is how you order and obtain them. While I didn’t need to order them from the website (submitted preferred choices through the agent), we both navigated it a few times to look through the options. It’s quite a data-intensive website that tends to take a while to load but I think this is due to the many images which are actually pretty helpful (the colour representations are accurate). The searching options are extensive so it’s easy to find exactly what you’re looking for. Once ordered, I received an email telling me my parcel was on its way, providing tracking information. It arrived promptly and was securely delivered to a neighbour as I wasn’t at home to receive it. From our experience (neither of us have ordered many clothes online before), we would be happy to order from them again. Jon was really happy with all three pairs of shorts and he will consider Jacamo in future when he needs new clothes, not something he’d ever have done before.

I hope you’ve found this useful. It was a fun exercise for us, and got Jon thinking about how he equips himself when taking Archie out and about, particularly when getting active in nature.

What outdoor wardrobe hacks do you use? What clothing options help you and your family get outside easily?

30 Days Wild: Days 21 to 30 – baby in hospital

Absence

It has been along time since I last posted, I have missed writing. However, as you’ll see below, we have had a bit of a tough time and frankly, I have prioritised spending time with our little boy Archie. Sometimes, time and love are the only things you can focus on.

In hospital

It’s summer time and warm so you don’t expect to catch colds, let alone end up with baby in hospital with a cold for the third time in three months. Archie got bronchiolitis for the third time from a common cold and needed hospitalization for the third time. Anyone who has been in hospital even once with baby will know how harrowing it can be and this being the third time Jon and I felt ourselves being stretched thin emotionally. However, having been there before we were more prepared: we knew when to go, what to pack, and to an extent, what we should expect. Most importantly, we now knew how we had to care for ourselves during the experience so we could be our best for poor little Archie.

Archie in hospital
Archie in Bristol Children’s Hospital

Sharing the load

Last time we were in hospital for five nights. I stayed with Archie for the first four nights but I was so obliterated by lack of sleep and stress that when we knew we’d be in a fifth, Jon stayed with him and I went home to get some reasonable rest. This time we agreed we’d alternate staying in with him so we both could remain as strong as possible. This worked really well and I think helped show Archie that both his parents are there for him always, and reinforced that Daddy can provide snuggly comfort similar to Mummy, which is never a bad thing.

Cowboy Archie in hospital
He wears it well…

My mum came up to stay with us from Cornwall as soon as she knew Archie was ill which really helped me stay strong and provided some much needed practical assistance with things like meals. Being in hospital can prove to be extremely expensive when you’re only able to buy yourself ready meals. Her being with us also gave me more of a reason to get out and get fresh air. This, I have discovered, is SO INCREDIBLY important for my mental wellbeing when in hospital. Being part of 30 Days Wild, I did my best to seek out any form of nature that I could focus on and connect with, however seemingly insignificant, as I knew that it WOULD help me stay strong for my baby boy. This was my ultimate goal.

St. James Park is a small urban park in the center of the city. I'd walked past it many times yet I don't recall ever having visited. It gave us some much-needed green respite from the endless grey and clamour of hospital and city.
St. James Park is a small urban park in the center of the city. I’d walked past it many times yet I don’t recall ever having visited. It gave us some much-needed green respite from the endless grey and clamour of hospital and city.
A beautiful patch of midsummer colour outside St. James' Priory refreshes the eye of the passerby, if they should look up.
A beautiful patch of midsummer colour outside St. James’ Priory refreshes the eye of the passerby, if they should look up.

The 30 Days Wild Community

The day we were in A&E when we first arrived at the hospital with Archie, I went out to get a breath and phone my mum. In the midst of the concrete cloisters of the hospital ambulance bays I found a couple of thin trees and some bamboo so I attached myself to them, trying to block out the sense of grey and crisis around me. I took a picture and added it to the 30 Days Wild Facebook group that I’d joined, writing a little about what was going on. Over the course of the next few days, we were utterly overwhelmed by the support, and kindness expressed by so many members of that group. So many similar stories of babies ill with this same condition, parents offering strength and understanding; so many well wishes for a speedy recovery. Quite simply so much LOVE. I’m so glad I joined that group as it gave me such a sense of solidarity and support during that awful time. If 30 Days Wild attracts a kind and caring character of person, they seem to be concentrated within that group.

My post to the 30 Days Wild FaceBook page, with the amazing response from that community.
My post to the 30 Days Wild FaceBook page, with the amazing response from that community.

30 Days Wild: looking back

Throughout the month of June, I consciously endevoured to get a daily fix of nature: I enjoyed my Random Acts of Wildness, I’m certain they benefitted me physically (lots of walking!).  See my other accounts here, here, and here. I’m also certain they benefitted me mentally at least in the short term: some days you don’t feel like doing anything, whether that’s because of sleep deprivation, a low mood, or just sheer laziness! But whenever I had to MAKE myself do something, i.e. I was not in my (I was going to say usual but more honestly I’m going to say) preferred light mood, I felt refreshed, happier and more energised afterwards. During the two dark stints we were with baby in hospital in June, I particularly noticed how connecting to nature helped me be more rational and balanced amid the torturous emotional heights of those times. Thanks to 30 Days Wild, I know that (1) regular, even if not always daily, nature fixes make me feel better and keep me fitter, (2) even a few short minutes engaging with nature will make a noticeable positive impact on my wellbeing.

365 Days Wild

So, I WILL be continuing with the conscious nature connection ethos that 30 Days Wild has instilled in me – 365 Days Wild! For instance, as I write this, it is 6.52am and I am sitting in my parents’ lounge looking out the patio windows over their beautiful garden. There are so many birds flitting hither and thither within the trees and to the bird feeders; I am consciously looking at the birds, noticing their species (if I know it), their behaviour (are they feeding, washing, preening), and the patterns of their movements. Before 30 Days Wild, I may have similarly enjoyed the scene but I would not have necessarily paid such close attention to the finer details. This way, the habits I cultivated during 30 Days Wild are now helping me to stay connected to nature, stay wild and bring nature that bit further in my daily life.

How did you find 30 Days Wild? Have you noticed an impact on your physical and mental health? What did you enjoy the most? Stay wild, people!