Every adventurer knows that buying outdoor clothing is an investment. You want something that is functional yet fits well and is going to last more than a season or two. That means you’ll have to spend some money to get what you want. However, if you spend more money now on high-quality products, you’ll save money later.
Those pants you bought at a big-box retailer for $20? The chances are high that they will get a hole poked in them on your first hike, or the seam will stretch and tear after a couple of trail runs. If you choose a pair of pants from a company that stands behind its products and offers to repair them for free, you can continue to reuse the same pants for years to come. Think of it as three pairs of pants for the price of one.
A growing number of companies are promoting the concept of creating long-lasting products that allow people to consume less over time and reduce waste. A good example is LIVSN. The company’s mission is to produce versatile, durable clothing for people who value experiences over stuff. By removing clutter from needless purchases, you only own things that actually matter and enrich your life.
But how can you tell when a product is made with long-lasting, high-quality materials? How do you know when the price tag is worth it? Here are a few qualities you should look for in your outdoor clothing before making that investment.
1. Durable, Dynamic, High-Quality Materials
Just like your tent, your sleeping bag, and other gear, your outdoor clothing has to withstand the rigors of outdoor travel and perform well to keep you comfortable and safe. If you head into the backcountry in cheap threads, you’ll probably wind up wet and cold with a ripped shirt or pants.
Look for companies that use high-quality fabrics. Also, look for things that have a blend of materials to make clothes comfortable and functional. For example, a cotton/polyester blend can be soft, super durable, and dry much faster than cotton alone. A shirt with a mix of wool and polyester offers the best of both synthetic and natural fibers. It will wick moisture from your skin to keep you dry and also provide insulation to keep you warm. A bonus of wearing wool is that it’s naturally odor-resistant too!
Some outdoor pieces include stretchy materials such as Spandex to provide a natural fit and flexibility. Whether you’re rock climbing or scrambling on talus en route to the summit, clothing with Spandex, such as LIVSN’s Flex Canvas Pants, won’t restrict your movements.
If you’re like us, you want something that can tackle the trails all day but still look decent when you show up for dinner or drinks with friends. People are no longer content with boxy jackets and clunky pants; they want clothing that fits well and looks attractive. Plus, they want clothes that complement their active lifestyle. It’s much more convenient if you can ride your bike to work and then stay in the same outfit and look presentable all day. It’s possible with modern designs, such as pants that have a bike-friendly roll-up leg closure system.
3. Eco-Friendly and Sustainable
The clothing industry is the world’s second-largest polluter, so if you’re committed to sustainability and making the world a better place, look for a company that shares those values. Buy products from manufacturers that are mindful of every part of the process, from the fibers to production and everything in between.
Companies such as LIVSN use fabrics that are recycled or natural as much as possible. Natural fibers require less water to grow and less processing. Fabrics made from post-consumer plastic bottles reduce waste from landfills.
Sustainability also applies to the people making the products. To reduce costs, some companies that make cheaper clothes don’t pay factory workers fair wages. However, responsible companies that make high-quality clothing try to pay more and support communities where their products are made, even though it drives up costs. When you pay a little more for your clothing, you’re supporting well-intentioned companies and also contributing to the overall well-being of the entire world.
These days, so many products have been labeled “organic” that people are often skeptical of the term. However, with some clothing companies, the “organic” label has real meaning and impact. For example, LIVSN uses 100% organic cotton to make its Organic Mountain Tee. The methods used to grow and harvest the cotton limit damage to the soil, reduce the impact on the air, and use 71% less water and 62% less energy than standard procedures. With organic cotton, farmers introduce fewer chemicals into the soil and surrounding environment, so they’re not contaminating the water source of the community. At the same time, LIVSN isn’t sacrificing quality. Its T-shirt is durable but also soft, and it gets more comfortable with every washing.
Quality doesn’t need to be complicated. Neither does your life. Choosing high-quality outdoor clothing makes your life easier because you don’t have to worry about your clothing falling apart when you need it the most. You don’t have to worry about going through your closet and buying a new pair of pants every season because last year’s pair has holes and worn spots. What you’re wearing should be the least of your concerns when heading out for a weekend in the wilderness.
It takes careful thought and consideration to source and produce clothing that is good for the environment, the people that make it, and the consumer. You often have to pay more for these products, but in the end, it’s worth it. The clothing will last longer, fit better, and save you time and money in the long run.
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Written by Abbie Mood for Matcha in partnership with LIVSN.