TADPraetorianHoodie gunsgear.tumblr.com  OTC Favorite: Triple Aughts Praetorian Hoodie

Triple Aught Design, based in San Francisco, is a favorite of OTC because they make unique and functional gear that works in the real worlda nd with real wardrobes.

A perfect example of this form-follows-function approach to TAD design is the Preatorian Hoodie.  As with most of TAD’s apparel, there is a decidedly tactical and military-inspired look to this layering piece.  That said, what really shines through with this 100% merino wool hoodie is it’s clean and straightforward design, functional details, and solid construction.

TADPraetorianHoodieFancy Asher OTC Favorite: Triple Aughts Praetorian HoodieAs with other TAD products, this one received many unsolicited compliments from guys who typically commented on its style, design, and overall wear-ability.

There is something inherently functional in all of their designs that speaks to a masculine aesthetic built on practicality and use.  These are core elements of East Coast style and the preppy ethos; stuff built for work that has been appropriated for everyday use.

Some of the key elements that we like in the Praetorian Hoodie are the trim but comfortable fit, study and smooth zippers, and solid feel of the merino wool construction.  Warming or cooling as needed, the wool has a natural stretch and softness that makes it a perfect, and dressier, sweatshirt stand-in.

The hoodie’s hood is big and deep, almost a cowl-line; but nonetheless practical.  The two hand warmer pockets are well-sized and have an angled shape that creates a safe spot for keys and your phone.  The zippered chest pocket is a great design element that is unexpected in a zippered sweater.  And, even with a smartphone in there, no sagging or pulling.

As with other active life tops, the Praetorian Hoodie’s sleeves end with discreet thumb holes in the even you want to take out for a cool weather run, layer under a shell, or just keep your wrists warm.

Lastly, one feature that really makes us happy, especially with this winter’s spate of cold, windy weather, is the elongated zipper that runs well up the neck to your chin, closing out the cold and keeping you warm.  This feature also explains the wider than average hood design.

When this hoodie arrived at OTC headquarters, it went right on and has been a daily choice ever since.  Part sweater, part workout gear, part travel buddy.  The Praetorian hoodie is another win from Triple Aught Design.

S14 PraetorianHoodie Slate Iso Image OTC Favorite: Triple Aughts Praetorian Hoodie

S14 PraetorianHoodie Slate Iso Hood Image OTC Favorite: Triple Aughts Praetorian Hoodie

 

 

James Prosek: The Audubon of Fish

Jame Prosek Bonneville Trout James Prosek: The Audubon of Fish

James Prosek first gained notoriety back in 1996, when, as 19 year-old student at Yale University, he published Trout: An Illustrated History. Prosek’s ability to bring vibrancy and life to his watercolors, and his obsession with contextual and anatomical accuracy, won him quick comparisons to famed naturalist John James Audubon.  These accolades were no lighthearted atta-boys; Prosek was rightly identified as a truly gifted artist whose deeply felt connection with nature was both genuine and finely-tuned.

James Prosek in his Studio James Prosek: The Audubon of FishA Connective native, in many ways, he embodies the East Coast Ivy League ethos of intellectual meaningfulness.  James Prosek took a love of fly fishing, art, nature, history, and environmental awareness and created both a career and a movement that has influenced and motivated others.  His art is already included in the permanent collections of several museums.  And Prosek’s work is sought after by many a prep, complete with wall space in a suitable wood paneled, leather sofa-ed study-cum-office.

In the intervening years since his Ivy League days, Prosek has been a busy and prolific young man.

In 2003, he won a Peabody Award for his documentary on 17th-century author and angler Izzal Walton and his seminal book The Complete Angler, well-known to any fan of fishing.  In addition to the publication of several more books,  Prosek remains an accomplished artist, author, and naturalist.  He is a fellow of the Vermont Studio Center, and a visiting artist for the Yale Summer School of Art.  Prosek is also a curatorial affiliate of the Peabody Museum of Natural History at Yale (where I spent many a grade school field trip), and a member of the board of the Yale Institute for Biospheric Studies.

Along with Patagonia co-founder, Yvon Chouinard, he also co-founded World Trout, an initiative that supports individuals and groups who protect native cold water fish and their habitats.  And, at a mere 38 years old, Prosek still has a long way to go.

 

James Prosek Brown Trout James Prosek: The Audubon of Fish

James Prosek Atlantic Salmon James Prosek: The Audubon of Fish

James Prosek Mid current James Prosek: The Audubon of Fish

James Prosek Brown Trout on Line James Prosek: The Audubon of Fish

Elizabethan Club of Yale James Prosek James Prosek: The Audubon of Fish

 

A 5K Day with Some Favorite Workout Brands

DSC 0622 A 5K Day with Some Favorite Workout Brands

Fall means cooler weather and shorter days.  For the runners among us, it also means race season.  Whether the local 5K or New York City Marathon, the fun, excitement, and competition of a well-organized road race is something looked forward to as autumn’s crispness settles in.

OTC’s Chris Hogan hit the pavement the first weekend in November in one of the longest consecutive running 10K/5K races in the state of Maryland, and joining him were a few of our favorite brands.

For the run itself, ECCO provided the BIOM EVO Racer Lite running shoes and Timex’s Ironman Run Trainer GPS (similar) helped monitor time and pace. ECCO running shoes are less well-known than other big brand names, but the company focuses on producing the best footwear possible – a corporate goal right from the start.  With a low heel drop that redirects road impact toward the ball of the foot, a more natural running experience is created.  It took a little while to get used to the ECCO fits; now, it’s the only one we recommend.  And, ECCO’s Better Running Lab, its athletic research unit, uses direct feedback from and to real runners as a tool for refining their shoes.

A nicely curated playlist helped the race fly by thanks to RHA Audio’s  MA600 earbuds – still the tops for everyday running, as far as we are concerned.

Post race – and still early, cloudy, and chilly – a classic zip hoodie from American Giant was just right.  They also sent along a great mid-weight tee to freshen things up afterwards.  You don’t need us to repeat what everyone else has already said: American Giant makes the best hoodies – the best classic sweats, frankly – on the market today.  Think of those old-school staples from the 1950s; the sweatshirts and tees that they used to make “back then.”  That’s what American Giant does better than anyone.

Thanks to all our OTC friends for their thoughtful and always-stylish support – more running to come!

DSC 0625 A 5K Day with Some Favorite Workout Brands

DSC 0629 A 5K Day with Some Favorite Workout Brands

IMG 6748 A 5K Day with Some Favorite Workout Brands

 

Running Lite With ECCO

ECCO Biom EVO Racer Lite Running Lite With ECCO

When asked, many people think of footwear brand ECCO as purveyors of comfortable European-inspired walking shoes.  And while this is very much true, and we love them for it, the company also innovates in several other forward-thinking categories, including athletics.  The Biom EVO Racer Lite running shoe is a great example of ECCO’s dedication to rethinking performance running.

The Biom EVO Lite’s natural anatomical last provides exceptionally flexible comfort and the unique asymmetrical collar and tongue ensures improved ankle position and support for feet.  This running shoe is low cut and designed to combine comfort and natural motion, for an almost free-running feel with comfort and support from toe to heel.  It did take us a little while to get used to the arch positioning and way the offset tongue sat on the foot.  By no means uncomfortable, it is just a different feel and fit unique to ECCO.

So far, we have put about 20 miles of road running on these shoes and really appreciate the light, responsive feel and natural spring.  If you are looking for heavy cushioning and bounce, these may not be a good fit, however, if seeking a more natural feel with a lower stance, give the Biom EVO Racer Lite a try.

ECCO Running Photoshoot 8.2013 1024x768 Running Lite With ECCO

 

Lax Playground’s Convertable Shorts

Lacrosse Playground Convertible Short Detail Red Lax Playgrounds Convertable Shorts

With summer in full swing, you can never have too many shorts.  Lacrosse Playground has come up wish a pretty cool pair of casual, multipurpose shorts that we simply love.

Their Convertible Shorts are classic-fitting and made with a quick-dry polyester microfiber that also has a clever water-activated pattern. Once you get them wet, a pattern appears – like this Irish setter repeat – and you’ve got a whole new, fun look.

LaxPlaygroundShorts 1024x746 Lax Playgrounds Convertable Shorts

The clean design of these shorts means that they can be worn for a variety of occasions and serve multiple purposes – hence the “Convertible Shorts” moniker. Perfect for backyard sports or a trip to the beach, they are classic looking, durable and very lightweight. Our tester for these shorts was no other than OTC photographer, Steve Ritchie. His verdict? We are not getting them back.

What we really like is that a functional and simple design really gets the job done. The front pockets are angled of ease of access and a zippered back pocket with a waterproof “wallet” keeps small items secure.  The quick drying fabric technology transforms your shorts back to their original color in under 20 minutes.

The Convertible Shorts have a seven inch inseam, and please note that they are cut very generously. For a traditional, comfortable fit, we recommend going a size down in most cases.

Lacrosse Playground Convertible Short Red Lax Playgrounds Convertable Shorts

Lacrosse Playground Convertible Short Navy Lax Playgrounds Convertable Shorts

Lacrosse Playground Convertible Short Khaki Lax Playgrounds Convertable Shorts

Lacrosse Playground Convertible Short Grey Detail Lax Playgrounds Convertable Shorts