Sorry, has anyone heard from Peter Storm? It’s been a while and I’m worried he’s been stranded up a tor. And what about Regatta? Trespass? Karrimor? Has anyone seen them since that D-of-E potholing trip to Swildon’s Hole?
I jest, of course. Mr Storm is alive and well, and the rest of those guys must be doing a roaring trade now that we’re all obsessed with the great outdoors. But are they cool…?
The boom in “Gorpcore” - technical adventure clothing and accessories; “Gorp” stands for ‘good old raisins and peanuts’, which in turn refers to trail mix, the stuff American people eat on a hike – has seen the likes of Arc’Teryx, Patagonia, North Face and Salomon shoot up the style charts like a YouTuber’s Christmas single. And fair enough, they’re cool as heck; easily-accessible and they all make incredible products, but it seems as though a whole swathe of the gorp market has been a little left behind.
Loewe’s new Eye/Loewe/Nature collection, which dropped this week alongside a campaign starring Josh O’Connor, is replete with boonie hats, ripstop fabrics, camo, cargo shorts, webbing and Gore-Tex. And then of course there was Gucci’s recent collab with North Face, which didn’t break but certainly creased the internet in January. Elsewhere, Nike ACG continues to sell-out as soon as each bundle of it drops, and then of course the Japanese adventurewear brands (And Wander, Snow Peak, Montbell etc.) will never not be adored by hype kids, terrace lads and ultra-athletes alike.
But a whole batch of gorp icons are being cruelly overlooked. I’m talking about ya Craghoppers, ya Berghauses... yeh? These guys have been at the coal face of crunchy, colourful outdoor garb for decades, proudly shodding family camping trips, ill-judged stag dos and solo yurt rentals in the Scottish Highlands (guilty) for DECADES. They were quaffing Bovril at the top of Scaffel Pike before you were in (zip-off) long trousers, pal! And yet, you won’t see a Mountain Warehouse half-zip fleece doing mad numbers on StockX, will you? All fleeces are warm, but only some of them are cool. (Trying to understand why two almost-identical garments can be perceived so differently is diffuse. It’s a scab that fashion journalists tend not to scratch… it would be like the bit at the end of The Truman Show when he sails into the sky.)
Some brands are making a stand. Berghaus has its Dean Street collection, which leans heavily on its archive to offer unisex re-issues from the British brand’s super wavy Eighties designs. Aztec webbing, geometric prints, aggressive pinks; the lot. This 1986 ski smock is currently £84, which is a bargain, if you ask me. (Especially for those that count Eddie the Eagle as a major style icon.)
At Craghoppers, which celebrated its 55th anniversary last year, the vintage-inspired collection is called Montana 83, and takes its cues from the brand’s climbing heritage. However, the focus at Crag (I’m calling it Crag) is trousers. They don’t just do the job, says the website, but they enhance the travelling experience. A pair of the brand’s Kiwi trousers are not only insect-bite-proof, quick-drying and super durable, but they have nine – NINE – pockets and are made using 25 recycled plastic bottles. They would also look very good with a pair of Salomons and an Montbell half-zip. Not bad for £50.
We may well be reaching peak-gorp. Its pool-ball colours and anti-crease finishes have sustained us through a bitter nuclear winter, helping us to believe that we are adventurous, outdoorsy people and if it weren’t for this pesky pandemic, we’d be up that mountain tomorrow. We would, honestly, but… lockdown.
However, now that we’re allowed out, we have to put all the Gore-Tex into practice, and understandably, some gorpers may be reluctant. If you spent £1750 on this coat, you wouldn't want to risk it on an actual hike, would you? Thankfully there are loads of inexpensive alternatives that will do the job just as well. Maybe save the Arc’Teryx for fashion week.
(I love you Arc'Teryx please don't change.)
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