You may know the Pacific Northwestern outfitters for their neo-rustic camping gear, but now they’re turning out handsome American-made waxed jackets and Horween-leather hiking boots—and they’ve got a vintage stock of gems like a Japanese army raincoat and a pair of French hunting trousers from the 1930s.
Winter might not be officially over just yet—nine more days, folks—but you’ve probably already begun feeling the early effects of spring fever.
You can just see it all now: walks in the park, sundeck brunches, pickup softball games... and at some point, you might even toy with the notion of going that extra mile (or hundred) to set up camp and commune just a little bit extra with nature. For when that day comes, we’ve rounded up a few of the best ways to do it in style.
Your time to commune with nature is dwindling. (You’ve got about a month, tops, before it’s strictly log cabin weather.) Luckily, the leather experts at Makr—who’ve gone from making the blogger-bait of slim wallets to building a small empire of neo-rustic home goods—just teamed up with the outdoorsmen of Seattle’s Scout for a capsule collection of handsome camping gear. There’s a hickory- and brass-pole tent, an insulated field bed wrapped in selvage denim, bone-handle pocketknives and some rugged hiking boots from Oak Street Bootmakers. It’s more of the handsome, unfussy, low-over-high-tech stuff we prefer—that’ll come in handy should you be planning any last-minute autumnal getaways.
And if you’re worried about staying warm, the tent happens to have just enough room for two.
We’re of the mind that if you’re going camping, you’ve committed to roughing it—you’re leaving the creature comforts of the indoors for a reason. But here’s one shortcut we’ll endorse: the BioLite.
Esquire tipped us off to the packable stove burner that runs on just about anything you can scrounge up from the woods (sticks, pinecones, etc.), and we’re mostly impressed by its ability to charge your USB device on the go. That means you’ve got extended range on your GPS or smartphone, should you feel like spending more time in the wild than one charge can handle.
As long as you’re using the phone only for emergencies and/or finding the nearest water source—not retweeting @Justin_Buber.
The duffel bag is pretty firmly entrenched as the “large and not too pretty” bag in most guy’s luggage pile, but we’d like to make a case for the camper’s backpack.
Like the military duffel, it’s strictly utilitarian—but it does a better job at it, since you’d almost always rather be carrying that weight on your shoulders. There’s also an encouraging crop of stripped-down packs arriving on the market, like this one from Herschel Supply, doing a rough approximation of what Jack Spade did for duffels.
And if, once spring rolls around, you decide to haul a two-person lunch and a bottle of red wine to your nearest scenic mountaintop, you’ll be well-prepared.
Given all the outdoor gear we’ve recommended in recent months, we thought you might need something to amuse yourself once you’re out in the woods. For starters, you might want a common language.
SF’s Unionmade just got a shipment of wooden bird calls, handmade in France, which will give you a full six calls to try out the next time you find yourself in the wilderness, desiring a little avian call-and-response. (Most importantly, the calls are for North American birds, unlike a few others for sale.) And naturally, if you know any outdoorspeople desperately in need of a gift, it might come in handy.
New York’s Fjallraven shop just completed a transformation into a full-on camping store, and amid the sardine tins, scout harmonicas and reindeer pelts, we stumbled onto a surprising slice of Americana. Ladies and Gentlemen, feast your eyes on the wonder that is Specklewear.
It’s been a U.S. camping staple since the 1880s—the kind of thing you find in your grandfather’s attic—but finding it in a Swedish outerwear shop in Soho is a sign of the times if we ever heard one. Score one more for Americana.
With vacation season in full swing, a week of off-roading looks pretty good. But now that your Hummer’s out of style, you may want to think smaller. Much, much smaller.
BMW’s new R1200 GS (MRSP $16,750) doesn’t have the bulk of the usual off-road vehicles, but a couple saddlebag-style storage units and an adjustable suspension mean it can take you and your gear just about anywhere with a trail, whether it’s the Grand Canyon or the Yukon. (If it’s the latter, the heated handlebars might come in handy.) Best of all, it got its first road tests courtesy of a pair of dashing Scottish actors on a two-month road tour of some of the spottiest pavement in the world.
Eric B. For President: The impromptu open call for Obama’s inaugural getup yields some interesting results. Despite the FDR comparisons, no one tries the obvious wheelchair-and-blanket look. [FashionIndie]
In Praise of Egg Nog: Click this link if you want to see four eggs painted to look like the members of KISS. [BoingBoing]