Outdoor Research Blackridge Hoody
The surprise hit of the season for us was this incredibly comfortable hoody. The Blackridge is a simple, classic pullover made of a Drirelease polyester, merino wool blend to give it a nice soft hand with some moisture management chops for mountain activities. Wear it to the gym, the pub, lazy weekends or sweaty hikes—it’s the casual layer you’ll reach for just about every day. I’m seriously obsessed.
outdoorresearch.com | Blackridge Hoody $99
Patagonia Reversible Bivy Down Vest
Patagonia is the king of the retro down vest, but there’s more to the new line than just classic looks. This year, the company launched a new recycled down program, rescuing perfectly usable down clusters from old, insulated products heading toward the dump. The fill is cleaned and mixed with new down, for an overall 600-fill rating. The men’s Reversible Bivy Down Vest is stuffed to the seams with the stuff, and flips inside out to mix up the look.
patagonia.com | Bivy Down Vest $189
Eddie Bauer Eddie’s Favorite Flannel Classic Fit
The vest is paired here with an Eddie Bauer flannel called Eddie’s Favorite Flannel Classic Fit Shirt—which is soft, warm, and just lumberjack enough without overdoing it.
eddiebauer.com | Eddie’s Favorite Flannel $60
Toad & Co. Mojac Overshirt
The plaid shacket—or jac-shirt, or shirt-jac—is the new go-to for campfire evenings, shoulder season evenings, and layering on crisp mid-winter days. The buttery liner in the Mojac adds cold weather muscle to the soft, organic cotton flannel shirt. It’s a fantastically comfortable everyday piece that thankfully won’t have to hide under a midlayer all winter.
toadandco.com | Mojac Overshirt $110
Wolverine Original 1000 Mile Rough Out Leather Boot
This was hands-down the coolest boot we saw the season. The leather is flipped so the rough side is on the outside, for a naturally worn, suede look that earns more character the more you wear it. The waxed leather laces and Vibram heeled, welt-constructed outsole (with high contrast stitching) rounds out a look that could have walked right out of the 1920s but feels very 2017. No doubt, it’s an investment, but it’s going to anchor a much cooler you.
wolverine.com |1000 Mile Boot $360
Craghoppers Hamilton Jacket
With its felted wool-blend face fabric, outsized buttons and colorful interior liner, the Hamilton blends classic style with nice modern touches. It’s naturally water resistant (thanks to the lanoline in the wool) with quilted synthetic insulation inside. The full-length zipper means you don’t want to fuss with those buttons all the time, and the hand-warming pouches hidden behind those big button-down front pockets are a smart feature for cold evenings.
craghoppers.com | Hamilton Jacket $180
Dale of Norway Viking Basic Sweater
If a full fledged Nordic sweater is beyond your range, why not hedge with Dale of Nordway’s Viking Basic? The Viking pattern of two runic symbols on the arms is a nice touch that livens up this exceptionally soft, second skin merino wool layer—which can be worn as a baselayer, next to your skin, a sweater, or a midlayer. I love the look, even though it probably works better for guys with, you know, biceps.
daleofnorway.com | Viking Sweater $239
Cotopaxi Kpong 15L Satchel
I like the Cotopaxi Kpong satchel as a simple, budget-friendly commuter bag with a cool, throwback look. The tough nylon/cotton canvas fabric is classed up with suede leather details. There are plenty of pockets and dividers inside for keeping laptop extras and cargo sorted, and a special sleeve for a water bottle. It would be hard to find a cooler man tote at this price.
cotopaxi.com | Kpong Satchel $90
Cotopaxi Kusa Shirt
The surprise find of the season was Cotopaxi’s Kusa Shirt, a really cool lightweight nylon shirt-jacket with snap buttons and insulated with a blend of llama fleece and polyester fill. The sheen to the fabric gives the Kusa a slicker look than most nylon, giving it a bit more chops for urban nights out. Think of it as the black leather jacket for the guy who’d never get caught dead in a black leather jacket.
cotopaxi.com | Kusa Shirt $160
UCO Hundred Headlamp
Headlamps are not known for their looks, but UCO is trying to change that a bit. The wood inlay on UCO’s Hundred headlamp is a nice detail, and the strap sports a cool bandana pattern. Beyond those novel touches, this is a simple and straightforward camp light, with a lens that hinges away from the battery compartment for a more comfortable fit, and three light settings that build up to a 100-lumen spot on high. Stocking stuffer!
ucogear.com | Hundred Headlamp $30
Eddie Bauer 1936 Skyliner Model Down Jacket
Gear geeks will love that the 1936 Skyliner Model Down Jacket is a remake of the first patented down jacket, which Eddie Bauer invented after nearly freezing to death on a winter hike in Washington. Today, its diamond quilted baffles are stuffed with 650-fill, and this retro bomber is rounded out with rib-knit collar and cuts and an unmistakable aura of beat-era cool.
eddiebauer.com | 1936 Skyliner Down Jacket $199
Outdoor Research Gastown Shirt
Workshop sessions, day hikes, brewery hopping—you name it and the Gastown is game. The blend of cotton and polyester combines good sweat wicking with a soft, durable feel, and I appreciated details like the subtle elbow patches and subdued logo hits. Be careful, though. This is the kind of a shirt that could quickly become fused with your public image because you’ll never stop wearing it.
outdoorresearch.com | Gastown Shirt $80
Vasque Sundowner GTX Boots
The Vasque Sundowner is probably the most classic of classic boots—an iconic full-leather backpacking boot that first hit the trail in 1984, built a cult following, and still holds its own today. This update keeps the meaty outsole and throwback red laces (with an extra pair of black ones to swap in to tone things down a bit), but the full leather upper gives these a stylish, nostalgic look that works in the front country, too.
vasque.com | Sundowner GTX Boots $220
Kaenon Clarke Sunglasses
It’s hard to miss with Kaenon sunglasses. The styles have one foot in sport, one foot in streetwise fashion, and the polarized SR91 lenses are dependably shatterproof, scratch resistant and amazingly crisp. Kaenon’s claim that the material has the clarity of glass but resilience of polycarbonate is right on. The Clarke’s are a large frame alternative to the overdone Ray-Ban look, and the Cola coloring is hand-painted in Italy, so no two pairs are exactly alike.
kaenon.com | Clarke Sunglasses $209
The North Face Far Northern Waterproof Parka
Every guy needs a black weatherproof jacket. One respectably technical jacket you can grab for a casual midwinter night out in the city that doesn’t scream “I’m a sporty mountain guy!” The North Face Far Northern Waterproof Parka fits that utilitarian niche nicely. It’s definitely more on the performance side of the style spectrum—a fully waterproof, seam sealed, down jacket that would work equally well for snowshoeing or daily life in the mountains—but with some nice non-technical urban touches, like shaped cuffs, a clean interior without lots of pockets, a small cozy hood and an understated logo.
thenorthface.com | Far Northern Parka $420
Royal Robbins Peak Performance Plaid Shirt
Boxy cuts are rampant in the outdoor industry, which is why we loved the slim fit and tailored look of Royal Robbins’ Peak Performance Plaid Shirt. The slightly stretchy, polyester fabric gives it some quick drying properties for sweaty activities and travel.
royalrobbins.com | Peak Performance Plaid Shirt $80
Swrve Cordura Slim Jeans
The best part about the Swrve Cordura Slim Jeans is that no one who sees you on the street will know that they’re built with a gusseted crotch for more comfortable time in the bike saddle and reflective strips that shine forth when you roll up the cuffs. Plus, since the pants are built with stretchy Cordura denim, they’ll last about 10 times longer than your average denim, based on Cordura’s own in-house abrasion testing.
swrve.us | Cordura Slim Jeans $100
Helly Hansen Norse Parka
Born for nights out in ski towns or city days when its snowing sideways, the Norse has a cool, canvas work jacket meets Arctic parka vibe—with a tough face fabric, water-repellant seam tape in key spots, and big cargo pockets for stuff like fat winter gloves. Not up for rocking the fur-lined hood arctic explorer all the time? Fear not. The faux fur liner is removable, although we think you should just own it.
hellyhansen.com | Norse Parka $400
Fjallraven Ovik Folk Knit Sweater
Some guys can rock a Nordic sweater anywhere it’s cold. Others, like me, can only pull it off in a dimly lit cabin, plied with aquavit, and not without a sense of humor. Whichever camp you’re in, check out Fjallraven’s wool Ovik Folk Knit Sweater—a classic Scandinavian pattern “inspired by Nordic folklore.” For a more monochrome version, check out the dark grey colorway. And get ready to own après.
fjallraven.us | Ovik Folk Knit Seater $200
Columbia Davenport PDX Waterproof Boot
The Davenport is a cool combo of textured, waxed canvas and leather, with a waterproof liner that lets it roll straight through Portland winters. With the sticky, subdued lugs on the outsole, these are a great foul weather city boot for dressing things up a bit.
columbia.com | Davenport PDX Boot $130
High Sierra Olmstead Elmwood Rucksack
For budget friendly pack option, I liked the Olmstead Elmwood Rucksack from High Sierra. It’s a retro-flavored top-loading bag with a padded laptop sleeve (up to 15-inches), a removable sternum strap, metal clasps and leather highlights. Easy. Cool. Light on your Visa.
highsierra.com | Olmstead Elmwood Rucksack $90
Columbia Ridgestone Vest
Columbia’s casual line has some real hits this year, one of which was the Ridgestone Vest. It has a cool western dual tone face with plaid highlight in the collar, snap-button and zipper close, and leather logo detailing. The fit is on the relaxed side, just in case your guy’s got some trunk. Bonus: No one will be able to tell its budget friendly.
columbia.com | Ridgestone Vest $100
Toad & Co. Ballard Fleece Jacket
Toad & Co has a lot of great stuff this season, but what caught our eye was the retro classic Telluride Heritage Collection, a nod to the company’s salad days in the Colorado ski town in the early 90s. The Ballard Fleece Jacket, shown here, is backed with a thick, knit liner that makes it a lot cozier than your average fleece, and boasts cool shoulder panels harkening back to the days of grunge.
toadandco.com | Ballard Fleece Jacket $120
Our Favorite Footwear
(1) Everyone in snow shoveling country needs a slip on boot like this one sitting by the door. Muck Boots Arctic Excursion Mid have a felt liner for winter comfort and a lace cinch to keep snow and rain from sneaking in. (muckbootcompany.com | $150) (2) Wolverine Original 1000 Mile Rough Out Leather Boot (see above). (wolverine.com | $360) (3) Columbia Davenport PDX Waterproof Boot (see above). (columbia.com | $130) (4) One of our favorite styles of the season, the quarter-cut waterproof Lowa Seattle QC GTX falls between hightop sneaker and hiking boot, with a waxed cotton canvas and full-grain leather upper. Just so cool. (lowaboots.com | $210) (5) Vasque Sundowner (see above) (vasque.com | $220) (6) The North Face Back to Berkeley Boots combines retro boot styling with street shoe comfort—and in the black colorway they’ll pair with anything you’re wearing out for a casual winter night in the city. (thenorthface.com | $130) (7) Xtratuf’s non-slip Finatic II Deck Shoe has a nice, relaxed look on or off the boat—at a very fair price. (xtratufboots.com | $85).