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Stylish hiking gear - does it exist?

Discussion in 'Streetwear and Denim' started by Kaplan, Mar 1, 2011.

  1. Kaplan

    Kaplan Senior member

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

    [​IMG]

    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?
     
  2. Makeshift_Robot

    Makeshift_Robot Senior member

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    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.
     
  3. phoenixrecon

    phoenixrecon Senior member

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    i dont think anything they are wearing is truly waterproof, breathable, or warm either...
     
  4. zissou

    zissou Senior member

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    ...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. [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  5. scourage

    scourage Senior member

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    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.
     
  6. Lucky Strike

    Lucky Strike Senior member

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    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.
     
  7. Chrispy

    Chrispy Senior member

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    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
     
  8. SirGrotius

    SirGrotius Senior member

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    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.
     
  9. Kaplan

    Kaplan Senior member

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    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:

    [​IMG]

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

    [​IMG]
    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:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Does anyone know of similarly styled, smaller packs?
     
  10. shoreman1782

    shoreman1782 Senior member

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    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.
     
  11. Harold falcon

    Harold falcon Senior member

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    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.
     
  12. hrb

    hrb Senior member

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    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..
     
  13. reactmma

    reactmma Well-Known Member

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    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 [​IMG]
     
  14. ManofKent

    ManofKent Senior member

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    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!
     
  15. xchen

    xchen Senior member

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    Stone Island
    White Mountaineering
    The North Face
    Patagonia

    to name a few...
     
  16. Kaplan

    Kaplan Senior member

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    Thanks for replies and suggestions.

    MoK, your experience with Barbour's waxed coats echo mine and your comments on the Cameraman jacket are just what I expected. I didn't know about cotton ventile but will keep an eye out for it.

    I'll check out Páramo.

    I like the looks of the Cabourn Mandaly coat, but I can't really tell if it's supposed to be waterproof (it's cotton/silk).

    At the moment I'm considering this one as the waterproof layer, as I can't seem to avoid the logo'ed stuff:

    [​IMG]
     
  17. wetnose

    wetnose Senior member

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    Look at nau.com.
     
  18. brimley

    brimley Senior member

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    20 miles/day is a fair amount, but anything will work. It will be wet but above freezing and you will keep warm at that pace. Get a merino wool or synthetic baselayer (long johns too), rinse wool/wash synthetic at night. Get two pair sock liner and wool hiking socks. Bring something to cover your head, hands, and neck (wool). Wear anything you want over it.

    Me, I'd pick up a midweight wool sweater over there as a memento/midlayer. I would strongly suggest ugly trail shoes, but if you need good looking footwear look at Danner, Diemme, and the like. Jacketwise, what you really want is a softshell or fleece, you will get way more wet trying to keep rain out with a sweaty shell or lined jacket. Marmot, ArcTeryx, Nau, even REI brand--technical gear looks a lot better than it used to.

    If you absolutely can't do a softshell, the Nanamica and White Mountaineering stuff is gorgeous but expensive. Get wool. Put a super packable shell/poncho in your bag if you're concerned about heavy rain. Breathable shells are *expensive* and generally the most geeky looking gear--just get something simple, you will hardly ever take it out of your bag.
     
  19. Kaplan

    Kaplan Senior member

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    Nau looks like something to check out on my next visit to the US.

    brimley, good post. At the moment I'm planning to get the Rampart pants and the Caliber fleece cardigan, both from Arc'teryx. Obviously neither are particularly stylish, but that seems unavoidable at this level of functionality.

    I agree on getting 'ugly trail shoes'. While I recently got the Paraboot Avoriaz vintage styled hiking boots, I won't bring them along for this.

    When tramping in New Zealand I found that trail runners are great when you're only carrying a light load. The Salomons I wear in the pic below saw me through 200 miles of trekking as well as to the top of a couple of volcanoes:

    [​IMG]
    Summit of Mount Ruapehu, the largest active volcano in New Zealand (9,177 ft)

    The only time in NZ I wore a light pair of Goretex boots was on the Keppler track.

    For this trip I'll either get another pair of Salomons or the Zen from Scarpa:

    [​IMG]

    I'm also looking into replacing my synthetic base layers with wool. Does anyone know of merino wool t-shirts in a basic, plain design? (No logos and no obvious technical stitching. Brand recommendations are fine, on-line EU sources even more fine [​IMG] )
     
  20. rdev

    rdev Well-Known Member

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    I'm also looking into replacing my synthetic base layers with wool. Does anyone know of merino wool t-shirts in a basic, plain design? (No logos and no obvious technical stitching. Brand recommendations are fine, on-line EU sources even more fine [​IMG] )

    Icebreaker has some good stuff, they should be available in the EU.
    Nau and Outlier.cc have good stuff that you can get in the US.
     

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