Ariat Monaco vs. Ariat Close Contact Half Chaps - Which is better?
I'm looking into buying a new pair of half chaps since my Dy'Ons seriously crapped the bed. I will NOT be spending the $350+ on another pair to replace them, so I figured it's back to the old standby, Ariat.
I like the look of the close contacts and the Monacos, and am trying to narrow it down. They will be used for every day riding, and I also ride in Blundstones as the Ariat paddock boots hurt my feet so they need to fit over the width of the Blunnies. Unfortunately Ariat is the only half chap that is tall enough without going full custom.
Looking for the good, bad and ugly on both! Thanks
I'm on my third pair of the close contacts and I love them but they don't hold up as long as I'd like. Granted, I beat the snot out of them riding 4-12 horses a day but they always wear out in the same place, the stretch leather panel by the zipper and the seams that connect that panel to the rest of the chaps. I wear holes all the way through the stretch panel and also get tears in the wrinkles there similar to the wear everyone gets on Monaco boots. I also have problems with the elastic strap at the top stretching out and then not holding the zipper closed at the top--imo it would be a better design if that strap was leather and didn't stretch. I had one pair where after a few months both zippers broke, but I think that was more the result of the tabs stretching out at the top than just failure of the zippers. Even given the wear problems, I love them. They fit like a glove, they're grippy on the saddle and they're the only off the rack chaps I've found that are tall enough and slim enough for my leg.
My daughter and I both have had several pairs of the Ariat Close Contacts. I love the look and feel of them, but the durability is very poor. We both ride about 2-3 times a week and they just don't hold up. They have ripped/separated on the calf at point of contact with the horse(for both of us), zippers don't stay up well, and the brass buttons have popped off. I keep buying them because they look so nice, but have yet to have a pair reach the one year mark without something breaking.
I have both and I think that both are a good option, but what are you looking for in a half chap?
The Monacos are hands down the prettiest half chaps I've ever owned. They've also held up incredibly well over the last 2 or 3 years. I abuse them pretty heavily and they still polish up like new when I want to ride in a clinic or show using them rather than my tall boots. So my vote pretty strongly goes to the Monacos. They also have a nice spanish cut top if you like that (I do). Here are mine in use, and I think it's tough to tell the difference between my Monaco half chaps and tall boots. One point that may be a positive or negative depending on your preferences is that they break in much more like a tall boot than a half chap. I bought mine ridiculously tight and then did the "bathtub method" (actually the water trough/hose method in the barn) to get them to stretch just right, and now they fit like a glove.
With that being said, the Monacos are expensive and the close contacts are less so. I don't think the close contacts are nearly as nice looking, and I don't think they last as long, but that's what I'd expect at the lower price point. I went through 2 pairs of the close contacts before buying the Monacos and as long as Ariat keeps making the Monacos as nicely as they do now (as opposed to ruining them like they do with every model eventually) I'm not sure I'll ever buy another type of half chap.
Thanks for posting the pics PNWjumper - Big help to see them ON a person and in the saddle
I had originally bought the Dy'On's as I was told they were almost unkillable, and mine didn't last as long as I would have hoped. They began to stretch after about 3 months of use, and continued to stretch until they were sliding down my legs while riding. Eventually the zippers popped on both, the closure domes broke, and they just became too much of a pain to ride in. BTW, I ride 1 horse, 3-5 days a week, and clean and care for my chaps meticulously.
I would like something that looks good, and is fairly durable - unfortunately Ariat seems to be one of the only manufacturers that makes a half chap taller than 19" (which is still a hair too short). I can get either chap on sale for 30% off, so it will be one of the two, depending on which has the best reviews.
I have seen the reviews for the close contact chaps are pretty consistent with poor durability and zipper issues, but am wondering if Ariat may have stepped up the quality on them??
If you are looking for chaps that are tall enough (without going custom), look at the Tredstep Deluxe; they come in calf and height combinations that are pretty close to a custom fit. Most of the sizes come up to 18-19" in height. $149. Love mine.
...unfortunately Ariat seems to be one of the only manufacturers that makes a half chap taller than 19" (which is still a hair too short).
I missed the part where you said you needed tall. I would definitely go with the Monacos because the taller Spanish cuff means that even if they're a hair shorter than you'd like they won't look short. My Close Contacts started off a little too tall and ended up dropping to the point that they looked too short within about a year. My Monacos didn't drop much (at all?) and even several years in look as tall as they did on day one.
__________________________________ Forever exiled in the NW.
I have the close contact and have worn them for a couple of years with no issues. The zippers do slide down a bit if I do not make sure they are zipped all the way to the top. I ride 1 horse 4 days a week and they have held up well - going on year 3 now!
My vote goes actually to the Ariat Covington, which is almost identical to the close contact in material and fit, but has a great zipper keeper at the top that prevents the zipper from falling down and scratching your saddle! I had two pairs of close contacts and loved them, but inevitably the zipper would start to slide down. The Covingtons look just as good, but the zipper doesn't fall down. You might check them out - they have a really nice Spanish topline as well, maybe a little more than the close contacts. I keep them with me at shows in case I have problems with my boots, I think I could get away with showing in the jumpers in them with no problem.
I think the last time I got them, I found them at vrtack.com for $40 less than most tack stores. I don't know why they aren't more popular - to me, they took everything that was slightly wrong with the close contact, and fixed it in the Covington. I was actually contemplating getting a pair in brown with brown paddock boots to mix up the look!!
ETA: And where are you finding them for 30% off??? Inquiring minds want to know!!!!