I hate yoga. There, I said it.
What I don’t hate is yoga pants. They’re breathable, they offer a full range of motion, they wick sweat, they’re comfortable and well-suited for a variety of outdoor activities. But if you carry concealed (CCW) the main problem with yoga pants is that—by definition—they lack the rigidity to support a traditional gun-belt-and-holster rig. For those of us who exercise alone, yoga pants that solve that problem are a huge blessing ... and a company called Venor has created a yoga-pant solution that works for everyone (even if you hate yoga).
Unboxing the Venor yoga pant I received for review revealed a fabric with a silky, light hand that belies its remarkable four-way stretch and moderate compression. Trying them on was a pleasure; for starters, I did not have to do the Yoga Pant Dance to get them on (you know what I’m talking about—the old yank n’ stomp). These are marketed as a mid-rise, and on me the waistband hits at just below the belly button.
About that waistband: At the small of the back, there’s a discreet, reinforced opening in the fabric that creates a long pocket about 4” deep that extends from hip to hip in the rear. That reinforcement does give the Venor legging enough strength to secure something small and relatively light—such as a holstered micropistol. Yes, you’ll need to select a suitable holster, since the pants don’t have one built in. I tried mine out using a Sticky Holster, which secured my firearm admirably in the small-of-the-back position.
As anyone who’s carried SOB can tell you, the draw takes some getting used to. I cleared my firearm, checked it again, then removed all ammunition from the room before I started practicing—trigger discipline is paramount here, too. As a matter of personal preference, I generally reserve SOB carry for times when it’s either carry that way or not at all. If you’re facing down an angry mama bear that you weren’t expecting to see on the trail, it’s better to have a firearm that takes an extra second to draw than to have none at all.
Once the pants are on, they really do sort of melt into your body map; it feels like wearing nothing at all. My graphite-grey leggings sport an antler design that flows from hamstring to ankle; I wasn’t too sure about it until I put them on and saw that it’s actually rather flattering. I looked over my shoulder in the mirror, noted that the loose-fitting Venor muscle tee covered my rig admirably, and wondered where on Earth I was going to wear these. Then the phone rang.
“I do have space for an adult beginner horseback riding lesson,” said the stable owner. “We’ll supply the helmet and tack, but you should dress appropriately. Wear shoes with heels and stretchy pants. No jeans.”
Horseback riding without blue jeans struck me as being somewhat akin to eating chicken wings with a fork and knife, but it quickly made sense when I learned that I would be mounting the horse without a stepstool assist. The last time I attempted that feat was 38 years and a lot of hard mileage ago. In order to do it, one must bounce hard on one foot with the other in the stirrup, then come up, swing the leg over, and come down as gently as possible so the horse will not hate you. The dismount is even more athletic; one must go briefly horizontal and then stick a two-footed landing. That’s a lot of jouncing.
It's important to note here that I chose not to carry a firearm during the lesson for a number of reasons. Chief among them was that I simply didn’t want to introduce an extra factor while executing an activity that was both new to me and that comes with an inherent risk of falling. Instead, I put my keys and phone in my Sticky Holster and wore my Venor pants for my first horseback ride in four decades. That cargo stayed quiet, hidden and secure throughout an hour-long lesson … and I got a ton of compliments on the antler design.
I may hate yoga, but I love these Venor yoga pants!