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Stylish hiking gear - does it exist?

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
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?
post #2 of 26
If you're concerned about it, why not just wear what those guys are wearing? They seem fine, not too dead of frostbite, and you're not ascending Everest or anything. You might get ribbed by your friends, but whatever.

Du on the right just stepped out of a Sartorialist photo into this one.
post #3 of 26
i dont think anything they are wearing is truly waterproof, breathable, or warm either...
post #4 of 26
...yet they did just fine. Don't get me wrong, I like my technical gear. If it's not going to be too wet or cold, go for tweeds. But, I have a feeling that Scotland in spring will be plenty wet. Go for some of the Gore Tex Nanamica or White Mountaineering stuff.
post #5 of 26
wool is the original hiking material. warm, hardy and good in the elements. I have a button up pendleton with a slim fit in a nice plaid i wear hiking that is functional and stylish. That with a form fitting poly/wool/whatever underlayer is probably all you will need hiking unless its below 45/50. throw on a vest wool hat and light gloves if its colder. bring a hardy sweater and decent looking rain coat for when its colder/wet and your good for anything other than winter.
post #6 of 26
Two words: Military surplus. It's affordable, well-made, often broken in, which is very nice for hiking/hunting gear, and as long as you avoid the camo, you'll look much like the guys in the OP.
post #7 of 26
I did trail work in the rain for a summer

Wore mostly pendleton board shirts and if it rained harder put on a Labonville wool zip mackinaw.

I had some "waterproof" tech materials, but working in the rain for 10 hours means you will get wet, so I gave up and just tried to stay warm. Wool is the way to go
post #8 of 26
There's nothing sartorial about hiking gear, but it can be stylish in places like Vermont. NorthFace had its thing a few years ago. I'd say Patagonia is more in fashion now. Orange is in.
post #9 of 26
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the replies. What I'm looking for doesn't have to be vintage looking like the stuff in the OP pic. The idea is to find something functional, without having the full-on overly logo'ed polyester look.

I've looked into Arcteryx, and while their quality and functionality is highly regarded, most of their stuff have the problems mentioned above.

Fjällräven have som subdued pieces that are appropriate for hiking, like their Greenland jacket:



And the Cabourn Mandalay coat looks like it might be a nice outer shell in a 3-layer get up:


If anyone knows of a place selling this, please let me know.

Other ideas?

***

I'm also looking for a light backpack, something under 20 liters. These seem nice, but are both too large:





Does anyone know of similarly styled, smaller packs?
post #10 of 26
Kelty has a line of vintage packs (like Jansport's) and some are smaller than 20L. Irecently picked up the larger mockingbird model but it's too early to really judge how well it'll hold up. LOOKS nice.

Recommend looking through superfuture's Clothing for the Great Outdoors thread, which has a a decent amount of info on vintage as well as modern stuff in this vein, some genuinely technical some just styled that way.
post #11 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lucky Strike View Post
Two words: Military surplus.


It's affordable, well-made, often broken in, which is very nice for hiking/hunting gear, and as long as you avoid the camo, you'll look much like the guys in the OP.

x2. www.sportsmansguide.com has a great selection of non-logo gear, some of it is actually quite good, but be careful because there is often a lot of garbage mixed in there too.
post #12 of 26
Definitely plus one on the wool. Old wool dress pants are great. ( And surprisingly durable.) Something worth noting, depending on what you're purchasing for. The bright colours are there for safety reasons as much as anything as the greens and browns do a real disservice for search and rescue. You likely already know this, just thought i'd throw out there in case..
post #13 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lucky Strike View Post
Two words: Military surplus.


It's affordable, well-made, often broken in, which is very nice for hiking/hunting gear, and as long as you avoid the camo, you'll look much like the guys in the OP.



+1 for military surplus
post #14 of 26
I'm not as much of a walker as I was but here's my two pence worth.

Technical fabrics like Goretex and eVent are highly waterproof, but both will build up condensation inside if you exert yourself.

Cotton ventile is very showerproof, but not completely waterproof.

I've not work Nigel Cabourn's stuff for serious walking, but I'd avoid the Cameraman - probably fine in really cold conditions but whilst the macintosh fabric is highly water resistant it isn't at all breathable - condensation is a problem with mild weather.

I've worn Harris Tweed jackets in moderate rain and they're pretty water resistant, but in heavy rain they will get wet through and be heavy (although still relatively warm).

Barbours are fine for relaxed strolls, but aren't perfectly breathable and aren't perfectly waterproof (pretty near it when freshly waxed).

Military surplus is very hit and miss - it's often not the best or most technically advanced (it's ordered to an accountants budget, with comfort not at the top of the list).

The best I've found is Paramo but it is very warm and IMO only really suited for coolish weather:
http://www.paramo.co.uk/en-gb/garments/search/index.php
I'm not sure whether it's stylish enough though!
post #15 of 26
Stone Island
White Mountaineering
The North Face
Patagonia

to name a few...
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