The latest sportswear makes an easy transition for hikers, skiiers, and outdoor enthusiasts to hit the nightclubs, and it's available for all ages.
With airlines adding on checked baggage fees and limiting what to bring on vacation, families are looking for new ways to cut corners and save space while packing. Dual purpose clothing is a great way to do that. There’s no need to change clothes between your day hike up Tuckerman’s Ravine and your evening at the Mt. Washington Hotel because everyone in the family can find a perfectly “convertible” outfit in many of the Winter and Summer collections of performance outerwear. In particular, two sister companies, ExOfficio and Marmot, both owned by K2 and quality leaders in their field, will wow hardcore athletes with their innovative new styles.
Lightweight, Quick-Dry Underwear & Basics
Don’t take off for Costa Rica or Koh Samet without one of ExOfficio’s signature, super-light ventilated shirts (airomesh cape shoulder vents enable your skin to breathe) and Air Strip pants ($75) for every member of the family. This type of UV-resistant, sun-protective clothing is the new must-have for all ages and many styles fit with the new ‘smart casual’ look that resorts and cruise ships advocate. Kids will also appreciate the line’s Zip Hoody ($49) with thumb slots in the sleeves, and Check shirts ($49) that can convert from long to short sleeve with help from Mom and Velcro.
Going overseas, camping, or on an extended vacation means that unmentionables wind up costing precious space in your suitcase. ExOfficio offers a unique solution with their no-frills collection of compact boxers, briefs, and ladies underwear that’s quick drying, odor resistant, lightweight, and breathable. Prices range from $10 on up for ladies underwear, $19.99 on up for camisoles and bras, and $18 for boxers and briefs. Currently, there isn’t a collection of ExOfficio underwear specifically for kids, but a detailed sizing chart online can determine what your teens or older children could wear.
(exofficio.com, from $35, ages 10+)
The collection of clothes made from the company’s Barometric Stretch Fabric looks and feels like the most elegant of microfibers, and is waterproof, breathable and stylish at the same time. The micro polyknit shell in their hip-length Barometric Trench ($130) is especially good-looking, passing for an evening blazer with no problem at all. These lightweight shells are lined with a middle membrane that protects against wind and water, while the innermost fleece adds some warmth. Travelers will find they pack well and add almost nothing to the load, weighing in at only 9 ounces per square yard of fabric!
The fitted women’s trenches ($170) and stretch vests ($85) are just as functional, with earthy browns, golds, a dusty berry, and charcoal hues to delight teens. For more casual wear, the Micro-Bond wool jackets, sweaters and vests – completely synthetic but with a nubby feel and a woolen look — paired with ExOfficio’s Flex Cord corduroys (a cotton/poly blend with Spandex to eliminate wrinkles and add stretch) can’t be beat. Underneath it all goes a knit Jersey Tofutech turtleneck ($55 with or without neck zipper) or crew shirt ($45), whose soy fiber base gives the surprisingly soft fabric miraculous properties. You can go green with a wrinkle resistant, odor and bacteria resistant, quick drying, naturally wicking garment and — get talk points.
While the men’s line is neither boxy enough to be Burton nor slim enough to be Boss, its relaxed feel will appeal to Dads. In contrast, the new women’s line of Irresistible sweaters, scarves, beanies and other knit accessories in ExOfficio’s 100% Nylon Chenille Feather Fleece fabric are cuddly to the touch and flattering to the figure. Daughters will especially like the super comfy mock turtle zip-up Zippy ($65) and the Hoody ($60) in rose, mint and lemon and other muted colors. The company’s Go-To Dri scoop neck underlayer ($35) and sexy Pointelle Hoody ($40) can be worn underneath on the slopes or alone at the dinner table.
Keep an eye out for the newest addition to the ExOfficio family, a line of men and women’s shoes set to hit the market in 2009. Stylish choices and colors are complimented by odor-resistant technology, memory foam, and stabilizing foot support. Suitable for hiking and fishing, their shoes are quick drying and easy to slip on and off and come in a variety of durable fabric and design choices. I especially enjoyed trying on the line of women’s shoes with thoughtful feminine detailing including colorful stitching and stylish foot strap.
Marmot Outerwear & Underwear
(marmot.com, from $160; all ages)
If your family’s off to Courcheval instead of the tropics, visit the nearest performance sportswear outlet to check out the new line at Marmot. The company that has put climbers atop almost every major peak in the world may finally make it into GQ or, more likely, Vibe or MTV. Marmot is turning heads with their men’s Guides Down Sweater ($170), a hoodless, boxy down garment that is lightweight, packed with the warmth of 650+ Fill Goose Down and stitched in flattering horizontal bands.
The Women’s quilted Venus Jacket ($160) is just as sexy, and even warmer with its 800 Fill Goose Down rating. The Boys Yukon and Girls Glacier Jackets ($230), both with removable hoods, have equal warmth and style. Allergy sufferers will be pleased to hear that Marmot meticulously cleans its down to ensure that all dust is removed, and also offers clothing filled with Primaloft and Spirafil, synthetic variations that are almost as soft and compressible.
Each line offers the type of signature detail that makes Marmot wearers Marmot addicts: handwarmer pockets, wind flaps behind the zippers, DriClime collar and chin guard and articulated shoulders for ease of movement. Laminated brims on hoods, snow skirts on hems, and taped seams on the Gore-Tex waterproof shells, windbreakers and soft shells are to be expected. Notes outdoorswoman J. Robertson, “I have purchased some great kids pieces from Marmot for my sons and all are top quality garments that withstand the rigors of the Robertson boys – not easy!”
While most families won’t need the gourmet sleeping bags and tents the company produces, there’s no need to stop at outerwear. From beanies to mittens; layered sports gloves to moisture wicking, anti-odor underwear; Marmot combines experience with technology to produce quality gear. Pricey? Yes. But big splurge today = sound investment tomorrow.
Insect Repelling Gear
Outdoors families, beach lovers and fishermen have discovered the magic of Buzz Off, a patented fabric that repels mosquitoes, ticks, ants, flies, chiggers, and midges (or no-see-ums). When you’re out in the wild, you won’t even know you’re wearing it, because the Buzz off Insect Shield protection is invisible, odorless, colorless and does not change the feel of the garment. The large collection of Buzz Off performance wear for younger children and their grown-ups is by ExOfficio, and made of synthetics treated with Permethrin, an odorless and gentle insect repellant considered safe for all ages, and coated with a UV30+ sunshield for an effective barrier against tropical climates. Buzz Off fabric has been registered by the EPA because the chemical repellent stays in the fabric, even when wet, rather than leeching into the environment.
Wrap ExOfficio’s bandanas around your neck or head, or let Fido try it on for size, for added protection against mosquitoes and pests. Men can try the Insect Shield hats, socks, pants, and Extra Light Vest starting at $24, and women can choose from shirts and convertible slacks that go from shorts to pants at $80. ExOfficio’s special line of Kid’s Buzz Off gear features stylish T-Shirt’s, capris, bandanas, and Wicknit crew shirts from $12 on up.
So whether it’s nightlife or highlife, camping or museums, consider performance outerwear and underwear for your next vacation. A variety of branded apparel and accessories can be purchased from many outdoor lifestyle companies, including clothes and boots from L.L. Bean, Buzz Off Fly Fishing Apparel line from Orvis or fitness wear designed by Ariat.
This story was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question, and stay up to date with current events to ensure a safe and successful trip.