If you’re like me, you probably spend a significantly larger amount of time researching your next piece of outdoor clothing than you do your next pair of jeans or whatever you end up wearing to the office. Maybe you just start wearing your outdoor clothes to work anyway … which is how you end up like me with a closet full of nearly identical-looking fleece vests, plaid shirts, and monochrome baselayers and not much else.
Over the past few years, though, outdoor clothing designers have really stepped up their aesthetic game. Outdoorsy outer layers no longer look like they have to double as neon emergency beacons – and now you can find yourself wearing a solid piece of technical gear in the city and occasionally receive a – gasp – favorable comment about your fashion!
Here are three great outdoorsy pieces that will do great wardrobe double-duty for you, too:
Avalanche Trekker Insulated Jacket
When I first came across Avalanche, something about the company’s style really called to me. I grew up in New England and their jackets and vests just somehow felt like home. Turns out my New Englander-radar is still functioning properly, because Avalanche is a family owned and operated company based in Boston. Their garments accurately capture the unpretentious yet confident stylings of a region that can sometimes expect to spend 9 months out of the year in winter, and the maroon-and-tan of the Trekker Insulated Jacket I received is a distinctive and appealing color palette.
I took this jacket with me on a few trips to New England this year and it kept me nice and warm on winter days. Even in the mountains here in Southern California, wearing this just feels right.
The jacket itself features a roomy, traditional fit, a removable hood, and a toasty-yet-collapsable quilted body and a nice DWR finish.
The Trekker Insulated Jacket retails for $124.95.
Sierra Designs Outside-In Hoody
Sometimes you want a light jacket to start you hike while you warm up. Sometimes you want a fleece in case conditions get a little chillier. And sometimes you want a bit of protection from the rain. With the new Outside-In Hoody from Sierra Designs you can get all of that in one garment that also has a solid, stylish look no matter which way you’re wearing it.
The Outside-In Hoody is a reversible outer layer with two sides: a nylon side with a DWR treatment and a synthetic fleece side. If you wear the nylon side close to your skin, you’ll keep cooler on the move and allow for greater evaporation from your body. Reverse the jacket and you’ll get greater warmth, better wind protection, and a bit of defense from light precipitation, too.
The Outside-In Hoody Retails for $179.95 in both men’s and women’s models.
Kora Azog Hooded Jacket
We first met the team from wool clothiers Kora at the Winter Outdoor Retailer in 2016 and we were impressed enough to name them the Biggest Surprise of the Convention. Instead of the merino wool most of us are used to, Kora ethically source their wool from Himalayan yaks. Weight for weight, their wool has all the same great properties as merino sheep wool, but the yak wool is 40% warmer, 66% more breathable, and 17% better at wicking.
The Azog Hooded Jacket is a surprisingly lightweight and tough mid-layer that does a fine job as an outer layer in dry weather, too. I found it to be comfortable on some blustery early-morning trail runs in Griffith Park and as a comfortable outer or mid layer in colder climates this winter, including one especially frigid weekend in Connecticut when the wind chill brought the temperature well below zero. The jacket’s functional features like thumb-loops and stowaway pockets are great whether you’re hiking, running, or just walking the streets looking for a bite to eat. And I’ll just note that the visual design of the jacket was stylish enough to get compliments on a recent trip to Paris (!), so you may want to consider that, too.