Wednesday, March 18, 2009

An Unexpected Outfitter

My favorite and most technical outdoor clothes come from a shop that doesn't specialize in camping our the backcountry at all - Lululemon Athletica. Lululemon is a clothing shop that predominantly make clothes for yoga but also provides a solid offering for running and dance.

While Lulu targets a crowd within the city limits, they've hit on all the things that (I think) makes for amazing backcountry gear.

  • Fabric Technology. You wont find much plain cotton at Lululemon. Their garments are flat stitched to prevent chafing. They have a wide offering of lightweight and moisture wicking materials. And they have this fabulous fabric that they call Silver Sent Anti-Stink - useful when you bring one shirt on a multi-day backpacking trip.

Sporting my fav Lululemon top. It has Anti-Stink Silver Scent Technology and is light weight and quick drying making it perfect for multi-day backpacking trips. Plus, let's be honest, it's a pretty cute top!

  • Durability. The quality and durability of their products is genuinely impressive. I've been wearing my gear hard for years and have yet to come close to wearing through a garment. Most of my stuff still looks practically new.

  • Simple Construction. The construction of my Lulu gear is simple - buttons, zippers, belts etc are rare. And as well all know, the simpler something is the less likely it is to fail. Have you ever had the buttons pop off of your hiking pants? I have. (Yikes...maybe I should lay off the trail mix?). And I can tell you that I don't care for hiking with my pants falling down.

My quick drying running shorts are perfect for a canoe and hot springs adventure.

  • Stretch. Am I crazy to think that most women prefer stretchy clothes? Why doesn't North Face (etc) know this? I find them infinitely more comfortable, especially for exercise. When I'm climbing a rock face I can tell you that I'm not going to choose a pair of synthetic pants with zero elasticity.

  • Style and Little Extras. Let's face it. Lululemon gear is just more attractive and stylish than most outdoor gear (although don't get me wrong, I dig the REI look too). Plus, they add in fun little extras such as hidden pockets, thumb holes, and even hand covers which are all useful bonuses.

  • Double Duty. I'm not made of money. I already have to buy a lot of gear to get out on the trials, I don't want to have to buy clothes that I don't use for anything but hiking. These pieces are just as at home in your gym or even as casual wear. Much more practical.

How about you? Do you have a favorite outfitter who's gear you use differently than intended?

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