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Stylish hiking gear - does it exist? - Page 4

post #46 of 52
Hiking is my main hobby so thank you to all of you for an interesting gear discussion. As you are doing a series of day walks I think you can avoid most of the modern synthetic fibre 'technical' gear. While most of my walking has been in Australia's mild climate I have done some in the Himalaya, North Africa etc. I much prefer spending the day in cotton and wool depending on temperature, the synthetic fibre gear leaves me sweating far more than I like. Remember that wool will keep you warm even when damp, it does take longer to dry out though. I mainly wear old work clothes, a cotton shirt, cotton or wool trousers, old woolen jumper, doesn't matter if they get wrecked. Goretex jacket is the only modern thing I use.

I agree with Geezer on packs and boots though. The boots will need to be broken in.

James Timothy has given some really good ideas there on natural fibre options. New Zealand companies like Icebreaker, Swanndri etc are popular in Aust but I am sure you have got it all in the northern hemisphere.

We are heading into autumn here so it's back on the trail for me too soon!
post #47 of 52
Thread Starter 

Thanks again for your thoughts and suggestions.


Originally Posted by ejzojeden View Post
zamberlan Tofane NW GT RR or Meindl perfekt boots

I actually tried the the Meindl Perfekt boots when looking for a pair of vintage styled hiking boots, before deciding on the Paraboot Avoriaz (which are great but I don't think I'll bring them along for this). The Meindl boots are insane. They're like having your feet in a hard cast.


Originally Posted by Geezer View Post
For me, the issue is less stylish woods/hiking clothes, but finding things that are not actively unstylish.



Originally Posted by unjung View Post
I seriously question how extreme the activities you guys are participating are, if you're thinking you can get away with looking exceptionally (as in, SW&D) sleek and stylish and at the same time be prepared for the elements and for significant physical exertion. Certainly they're not mutually exclusive, but the overlap on the hypothetical Venn diagram is pretty small.

That's what I thought going in. After some research I still do.


Originally Posted by Rayson View Post
This is probably the best compromise for modern hiking:

As backpacks go, that one looks pretty good. Too large for me, though.


Originally Posted by Rayson View Post
This leaves me wondering about the best compromise between style and practicality for a main hiking jacket as well as for light, waterproof and breathable jacket and trousers.

While there are some nice looking pieces for light hiking, like the Barbour coats, I don't think there's a way around a layered solution if you want to be prepared for various conditions. You may be able to find a nice looking jacket in some waterproof material like Gore-Tex PacLite, but breatheability will be impaired. I think I'll just use the softshell I already have and maybe get a new light and waterproof jacket as backup.


Originally Posted by Threadbearer View Post
I'm curious, K -- when you have dinner and bed down each evening will you be almost exclusively in the company of fellow hikers, or will your group be dispersing among the locals? If it's the latter, perhaps you could pack nice evening wear on the shuttle van, and then stick with "ugly," no-nonsense hiking gear for the walks.

I'm not really sure how it'll work, but as I understand it the accommodations are ranging from hostels over bed and breakfasts to regular hotels, depending on the price paid. As the stops are in small towns along the route I expect some mingling with the locals.


Edited by Kaplan - 7/14/11 at 4:17pm
post #48 of 52
Originally Posted by Kaplan View Post
here's a pic from the top of Mount Ruapehu, the largest active volcano in New Zealand
It's good to see volcanoes staying active these days. Many have a tendency to just let themselves go.
post #49 of 52
Thread Starter 
post #50 of 52
post #51 of 52
I agree with the posters advocating function over form, as it were. My favorite jacket is a Cabourn Tenzing tweed, but I would never wear it on a serious hiking trip despite its worthy heritage.

I've owned my go-to hiking outerwear for around 15 years and it still works - a North Face Climb Light shell and an older Patagonia windproof fleece (the heaviest gauge).

I also have an 8-9 year old Arcteryx wool windstopper jacket that's been great, especially if you can only have one jacket and are visiting cities (and want a nicer look than synthetic fleece).

One thing that annoys me is that pretty much every piece of outerwear you'll buy is made in China, whether it's an 80 dollar REI piece or a 500 euro Haglöfs - I refuse to ever pay even remotely near to 500 euros for a jacket made in China.
post #52 of 52
Originally Posted by Kaplan View Post

Warning: Not really a MC or SW&D subject, but posting to see if any of you good people have any insights on this.

Does functional, yet stylish hiking gear exist?

I'm planning to do the West Highland Way trek in Scotland this spring. It's a 100 mile hike with a planned climb of Ben Nevis at the end. About 20 miles daily, only carrying what's needed on that particular day, with a hot meal, a cold scotch and a warm bed waiting at the end each night.

I have looked at some of Nigel Cabourn's stuff (some of which is inspired by Mallory and the boys in the pic above), but I suspect it's more for casual pursuits than true hiking (even though I don't doubt it's well made).

On a similar note, my own experience with Barbour's waxed coats are that they don't breathe that well and at the same time aren't truely watertight.

Obviously, on activities like these functionality is key but pretty much all the functional hiking gear I know of is rather unattractive. Does anybody make functional gear that doesn't end up with you either being dressed in all black or in bright primal colours plastered in logos?

This photo reminds me of brunello cucinelli for some reason...
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