The Outdoors Edit: 7 Stylish & Practical Wardrobe Essentials

At Ape we don’t subscribe to the notion of ‘all the gear, no idea’. We think the right gear is important no matter what you’re doing, be that going to the gym or doing a spot of DIY. Feeling confident in what you’re wearing breeds confidence in what you’re doing, plus wearing the appropriate clothing means you don’t have to experience what comes with wearing inappropriate garments: getting wet, being cold, excessive sweating, etc.

Now that the weather is beginning to turn and lockdown rules threaten to come back into play, don’t let bad weather keep you inside. We’ve put together an edit that should see you through a walk no matter the weather – be it scaling peaks or simply a saunter through the local park. Don’t get caught out as the weather changes, invest in the right gear and look good whatever you’re doing.

The Boots

Maybe it was a fashion revolution coinciding with the controversial ugly sneaker, but over recent years, against the odds, hiking boots managed to infiltrate fashion’s consciousness. Good news for hikers but also good news for anyone looking for a supportive waterproof boot. Everyone from Louis Vuitton to New Balance have got in on the act, but for a contemporary yet durable option we’d recommend something from a specialist like Danner, Fracap or Diemme.

Weatherproof Trousers

We’ll admit it, we’ve been sleeping on the waterproof trousers game. Bad childhood memories and an association with the Aldi mystery aisle has left us underestimating them, but actually, a number of contemporary outdoors crossover brands are producing their own takes and they look fantastic.

RAINS, Fjällräven and Colombia offer excellent options but for value we’d opt for a pair of Patagonia’s Torrentshell Trousers: breathable, sustainable and ethical, not to mention very waterproof.

The Fleece

Save the planet, turn your heating down and wear a fleece. It’s cool to wear a fleece now. Shia LaBeouf wears one all the time. They even wear them at Pitti now. You only need to the look at the brands pumping out fleeces to get an idea of where they currently are on the fashion spectrum. The likes of Alexander McQueen, Universal Works and Y-3 all have options this season.

The more outdoors-minded labels are also revelling in the fleece’s popularity, with big hitters such as Nanamica, Patagonia and The North Face leaders in the field. However, we’d recommend something that sits between the two extremes, such as Albam’s cosy Combat Fleece.

The Jacket

The lightweight, waterproof jacket is having a moment, blending technically-minded materials and construction techniques with bold colourways and patterns to become a streetwear must-own. So now is the ideal time to begin wearing one again.

There are a number of luxury options on offer here, with the likes of Canada Goose, Moncler, Stone Island and CP Company offering the most advanced fabrications with a heavy dose of contemporary flair and designer kudos to boot.

Yet we would always plump for a specialist with a history of producing waterproof outwear that never lets you down. Think the likes of Napapijri, Arc’teryx and Patagonia.

The Beanie

You tell yourself you don’t have the head shape for a beanie, but come the minus temperatures of winter you’ll wish you’d bought one earlier. Don’t go cheap because it just won’t last and if you’re going to walk around with something on your head for an extended period of time, it needs to be crafted from a soft and natural material. You can tell the difference immediately. Look for pure wool, wool-cotton blends and temperature-regulating merino wool for pure comfort.

The Gloves

There’s two routes you can go down here depending on how technical you’d like to get. If you’re just after a warm pair of gloves, follow the beanie hat route and get yourself some in a comfortable natural material. A fine quality pair of cashmere gloves from Johnstons of Elgin won’t set you back much, whilst Hestra offer luxury leather versions with beautifully soft fleece linings.

If you’re after something more substantial for your next hike, Arc’teryx Venta AR Glove boasts unbeatable construction, durability and warmth.

The Bag

Whilst comfort and looks come close joint-second in what we look for in a solid winter outdoors bag, most important for us is waterproofing. Whatever we’re carrying, we don’t want it getting wet. That said, there’s some wonderful crossover bags these days from brands like Osprey, who’re able to balance function with aesthetics.

Their Transporter Panel Loader combines the water resistance you’d expect from a quality hiking bag with the interior organisation and sleek looks of a professional rucksack. Perfect for wet commutes.