Father’s Day Find: Equmen Fitwear

equmen Fathers Day Find: Equmen FitwearLooking for something new to add to the undershirt drawer? Sydney, Australia-based Equmen has ventured into the brave new world of men’s compression garments; a.k.a, “shape wear.”

While more familiar at the gym, these products are designed for everyday wear. We like to refer tothis category as “fitwear.”

Their core compression singlet style undershirt which we tested helps support your body, including your back, shoulders, and stomach. It is made from an engineered compression fabric and has an ergonomic design meant to optimize health and well-being, from the boardroom to the running track.

Equmen singlet white Fathers Day Find: Equmen Fitwear

The singlet’s design gently pulls your shoulders back to help provide better postural and reduce back pain. The unique mesh fabric cools your body by wicking away heat and moisture. The fabric also has embedded anti-microbial properties that help you feel fresh throughout the day.

Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, the second-skin fit of the Equmen singlet provides targeted compression and does indeed visibly slim for a more tailored look. “Compression” is a key word here, so be aware that it’s an unusually snug fit if you are not used to this type of garment. However, we found it to be generally comfortable and fine for all-day wear.

Equmen singlet diagram Fathers Day Find: Equmen FitwearThe product’s HELIX-MAPPING™ technology has built-in physiotherapy techniques that are designed to help your body with support and healthful compression.

After testing it out for some time, we have to agree that it does a pretty good job.

So, yes gentleman, if you are looking for men’s shape wear, it does indeed exist. And, Equmen is a great place to start.

 

Go Take A (Day) Hike

DSC 0614 Go Take A (Day) Hike

Now that the endless winter weather that has gripped much of the Northern hemisphere appears finally to be receding, it’s time to head outside for some much needed sunlight and fresh air.  One of the great pleasures of outdoor activities, apart from actually being active, is acquiring new equipment and gear designed for your back-to-nature inspired endeavors.

Purpose-built bags, clothing, and accessories help to orient your thinking and get you in the mood for day hikes, longer runs, or just an urban adventure to the cool section of town.

We have had the pleasure of recently checking out a few pieces from three great performance-driven brands; Granite Gear, Vasque, and Timex.  While they do possess a certain color-coordinated outdoor performance look, it was pure – if inspired – coincidence.  And, although each has great technical eye appeal, what ultimately matters is how the products perform.

DSC 0607 Go Take A (Day) HikeWe have actually been testing out the Timex Expedition Shock Chrono Alarm ($58) for about two months and find it to be a fantastic timepiece for everyday informal and active wear, be it working out, running, hiking, or any other activity where the possibility of deliberate or accidental watch abuse exists.

The moderately-sized watch is very lightweight but also sturdy and extremely comfortable on the wrist.  Its soft rubber strap is flexible, unlike the G-Shock’s, and gently hugs your wrist, keeping the watch in place without bulk.  A pleasingly functional case, clear and easy-to-read negative display, and one-touch Indiglo illumination, all make this a true favorite.

The Granite Gear Athabasca 24 day pack ($129.95) is another item that combines technical capability with functionally cool style.  First and foremost, this company makes gear for use in the actual great outdoors.

Athabasca 24 Go Take A (Day) HikeEvery strap, tab, zipper, pocket, and loop on this bag is there for a reason and built to withstand the abuse of serious backwoods tracking.  At the same time, their days packs are infused with features that work in a more urban, less mountainous environment.

The sturdy hip belt, perfect for supporting a fully loaded back for an afternoon on the trail, is also removable for everyday commuter use.  There is a sleeve designed for a hydration insert that doubles a secure slot for a small laptop, and an easily accessible outer pocket is equipped with key lanyard and assorted pockets.

A good pair of sturdy shoes is vital to a comfortable and safe trek, whether on a trail or down the block.  These Vasque Grand Traverse kicks ($129.95) are a nice hybrid multi-sport shoe designed to handle true back country trails and daily errands with ease.  It’s the performance of a hiking boot wrapped in the comfort of an athletic shoe.

The dual-density EVA footbed and molded EVA midsole provide superior support over rough terrain while the Vibram® Ibex sole gives you stability and grip, even on wet pavement.  It’s even a comfortable choice for going sockless and walking the dog on a warm evening – we’ve tried it.

DSC 0605 Go Take A (Day) Hike

DSC 0611 Go Take A (Day) Hike

Watch pack detail Go Take A (Day) Hike

 

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