Gear Guide #57
By Gareth Roberts - 16 May 15
These are ECE 22.05 certified, meaning they are road legal for all of Europe and the UK. Sir Ernest Shackleton was no such fool. A century ago, before plastic, Gore-Tex, Thinsulate and 12 volt under-crackers had even been invented, Ernest and his hardy crew set off to explore Antartica and have a butchers at the South Pole. If you don't know the story write to your school and make a formal complaint about your incompetent history teacher, then click the link above.
Inspired by this incredible feat, Shackleton Clothing has produced a line of products replicating what Ernest and his gang would have worn. Using photographic archives and scrutinising research, these garments have been made to the same exacting standards. Now, before you go thinking "Oh here we go, another hipster twit utilising sepia-toned adventure to pedal some old toot", stop right there! Company founder Simon Middleton has staked his livelihood on producing proper British-made goods, not something imported with a Union Jack hastily stitched on, and subsequently takes the sourcing of raw materials and labour very seriously. The Explorer Sweater is made from 100% British wool in a mill ooop north where skilled loom operators still exist. It took Simon months of scouring the land to find a company that still used proper machinery and traditional techniques, one of the last in the country. The search was well worth it as the quality is instantly obvious.
I trialled the sweater on a two hour ride to Silverstone, a place known for it's lack of protection from biting crosswinds, wearing only a cotton long sleeve tee underneath; and a leather jacket of course. It was 9 degrees out, not exactly Arctic I know, but for me that's pretty flipping chilly and I arrived perfectly comfortable and enjoyed a day free from chattering teeth. The roll neck is just the right length to negate the need for a scarf and doesn't interfere with one's beard or make you look like a necklaced Kayan lady. The knit is incredibly warm given its lack of bulk, I was expecting a space suit feeling garment but The Explorer isn't super thick and rolls up easily into your bag if required. The other surprise was the softness, I can wear this against bare skin without feeling all itchy and scratchy. here. http://www.rusteprotection.com/
Kurt's have launched a Kickstarter for their latest hemp t-shirt collection. Silkscreen printed and natural indigo dyed in The Netherlands.
They explain: "We took a deep dive into the old techniques, fibers and production processes and found the answer in hemp, natural indigo dying and silkscreen printing. Hemp is a long forgotten and truly sustainable fiber that is comfortable, strong and breathable. In our opinion it is the perfect material to make clothing. In silkscreen printing and natural indigo dying we came upon the workmanship we were looking for."https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/444854869/kurts-amsterdam-t-shirts-made-from-hemp
A few months ago we reviewed Waxed Canvas Fitted Work Pant from Red Cloud Collective, and they've already earned their money giving me a winter and spring showers worth of warm dry riding. They're rugged and waterproof and getting even more handsome with wear.
Now's time to take a look at their waxed canvas vest. It's a classic 5 pocket reversible vest made with the best quality materials. 10.10 oz waxed canvas on one side and 24oz Melton Wool on the other. The wool side has pocket with a snap and the waxed canvas side has pockets that can be entered from the side or above.
It can worn either side out, and can be worn under a jacket or over one, to add that extra layer of warmth and protection against the elements. This works really well in the spring/summer, where it can be stowed in your backpack during the day, and slipped on at night over/under your jacket to deal with the cool night air.
Like everything Red Cloud produce, this limited run vest is constructed to the highest standards by hand in their Portland workshops. It's available in Havana, Olive, Brush Brown and Black, and will just get better with age.
Red Clouds Collective is a group of individuals whose lifestyles and creative energy inspire the products they create."We have been working with a group of friends, artists, and professionals to create a series of products that make sense in their lives." All products are handcrafted in Portland, Oregon USA. "They are the wind beneath our wings. "
Uk lifestyle shots by Ben Curwen.http://redcloudscollective.com