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Our affairs are in order and ExpeditionApparel is back open for business!
As you can see, more then a few things have changed on the ExpeditionApparel site. We’ve totally revamped the front page and the store! Not only is it a big cosmetic improvement, it’s also much more functional then the old design.
Here are a couple of the major improvements:
There are loads of less visible changes. Mobile viewing has been improved and we’ve revamped how content is displayed on the front page. This has been in the works for a long time and we couldn’t be happier with how it turned out.
We hope that all of you are as fond of the new look as we are!
Most of the synthetic tops available today fit into one of two categories: plain or plaid. In the past, synthetic “style” has been limited to baggy shirts that are sold in a variety of colors ranging from neutral to garish. In the last few years, things have changed. Outdoor companies are offering products with slimmer cuts and patterns. These patterns are (for the most part) plaid.
This opens up a nice range of new possibilities when it comes to packing. These new shirts allow you to enjoy the benefits of a synthetic shirt without looking like you just stepped off the river or trail. The same shirt can be worn on a hike while also looking nice enough to be worn out to dinner. It’s impossible to pack less while receiving more benefits.
Of course, this is all a matter of personal preference. Pack whatever you feel comfortable in. Maybe I’m a bit vain and overly concerned with personal appearance. To me, packing is an art and anything that lets you get a little bit more and pack less is something to be embraced. Which do you prefer?
There are two main types of fabrics in the world: synthetic and natural. Natural fabrics have been around for thousands of years – these are typically harvested from plants or animals (such as cotton and wool). Synthetic fabrics are a 20th century invention (rayon was invented in 1924 and nylon in 1938). These fabrics are spun from synthetic fibers.
Each of these fabrics has positives and negatives – especially for travelers. It doesn’t matter how you’re traveling – space is always an issue. Selecting the right fabric for the right trip can be the difference between a good and great experience.
Let’s start with natural fabrics. Cotton is the heavy-hitter here (I’m not going to focus much on wool in this post – wool is fascinating and will be the focus of a subsequent post) and has two major advantages over synthetic fabric: comfort and looks. There’s nothing better then throwing on a pair of jeans and your favorite t-shirt. Going out to dinner? Throw on a nice button-down shirt and you are good to go.
Cotton has one huge weakness: water. When wet, it loses all insulating properties and actually leeches heat from your body. It takes forever to dry. It stains easily. Wearing a cotton shirt on rainy day is a miserable experience.
Synthetics have no issues with water. They dry quickly and can keep you warm even when wet. Cutting edge fabric treatments allow water to bead right off. They are stain-resistant (some are even stain-proof!) and can be made resistant to UV rays and insects.
Unfortunately, synthetic materials still have a couple of disadvantages. Feel is the biggest one. Things have improved but synthetic fabrics still aren’t as comfortable as cotton. Personally, I don’t notice this much but for others it may be a deal breaker. Synthetic fabric also lacks the variety of styles and designs that are available in natural fabric. Clothing made from synthetic fabric is mostly the domain of out door companies (who do not typically have a high demand for style) so this may change one day as the market grows. There are several companies that have introduced checked and striped patterns, making these shirts more viable as daily wear.
An understanding of the differences between synthetic and natural fabrics can really help you select gear for a trip. I tend to pack mostly synthetics, which I primarily wear during the day (when I’m most active). A pair of jeans and a cotton button-down or two also end up in my bag for use at night. Of course, each trip is different. Hanging in the city? You can probably get away with packing natural stuff. Travelling around the world with just a backpack? I would recommend mostly synthetics.
One of the many products in the Expedition Apparel store is the Mountain Khakis Stagecoach Jacket. Mountain Khakis was founded in 2003 as a mountain-inspired lifestyle brand but don’t let the name fool you – everything they make functions as good as it looks.
Mountain Khakis is primarily known as a pant company but they now produce a variety of shirts and jackets (the Spring/Summer 2012 line is shaping up to be amazing). The Stagecoach Jacket
is a canvas cotton jacket – it’s rugged enough for an overland expedition while still retaining a healthy amount of style. It’s perfect for cold mornings and chilly evenings. It may not be something you wear on a winter expedition to the Arctic, but it’s a fantastic three-season jacket.
The Stagecoach Jacket may not have the history of something like ExOfficio’s AirStrip shirt but it’s a fantastic jacket which has been a hit at the ExpeditionApparel office.
Here are the specs:
Every order above $50.00 receives a complimentary ExpeditionApparel-branded FieldNotes notebook! We just got these last week and they look great. FieldNotes are a super useful product – I take one everywhere. They really shine when travelling – mine saw extensive use on the Mongol Rally. I’ve got pages of addresses, directions, crudely drawn maps, and abandoned itineraries in my old books.
Check out a couple photos (and shop here):
One of the many products in the Expedition Apparel store is the Air Strip Lite Long-Sleeve Shirt. ExOfficio was founded in 1987 to develop technical fly-fishing apparel. Over the years they have developed a number of products that are a great fit for the overland traveller.
The Airstrip Lite is one of these products (and one of ExOfficio’s flagship pieces). It’s a very versatile piece which is at home in just about any climate or setting. It offers a good weight, comfortable feel and large, easily accessible pockets. It’s made from synthetic fabrics (nylon and polyester) which means it keeps you cool in the heat, continues to insulate when wet , and dries quickly.
The Air Strip Lite is also offered in a plaid pattern, which is perfect when one needs to head from the trail to the airport.
The ExpeditionApparel staff has extensive experience with this shirt and it lives up to the hype. Check out the specs on this garment:
A classic ExOfficio shirt, the Air Strip is the ultimate in technical apparel. Ask anybody that owns one – thanks to all the functional details and performance fabric this specialized shirt will quickly become the only one you reach for, whether at home or on the go.