Anything Made by “tasc”
“Our men’s collection focuses on the guy who appreciates the classics and needs nonnegotiable comfort and performance ability in every piece of apparel.”
OK, usually web copy like this makes me want to gut-punch the screen on my MacBook, but in the case of tasc, I’m telling you: ignore it, click through, spend money, thank yourself.
I’m the least “casual clothing” guy on the planet. I have Rab stuff to wear in the field and then Rab t-shirts to wear everywhere else. I own maybe five collared shirts and precisely one suit purchased at the last-minute before Mikey Arnold’s wedding. Very little of my apparel falls into “the classics” category.
But I’m telling you, this tasc stuff is no joke. When a young gent from the company offered to send out some gear, I warned him: “I don’t write about casual clothing much.”
When the package arrived, I unwrapped a shirt, some shorts, and a pair of underwear. My findings? Best boxer-briefs I’ve ever worn. Stretchy, comfortably, no-stink collared shirt that’s relaxed but dressy enough to wear with the in-laws. Travels great, minimal wrinkling. I wrecked the shorts guiding in them, but I only want more. (I won’t guide in them again, I promise.)
Organic cotton, viscose (from sustainably farmed bamboo), wind- and solar-energy production. The “polo” shirt they sent me is four-way stretch, light enough I wore it in southern Italy and on 95-degree days in France, and dries overnight in a hotel after sink-washing. My wife says it looks good.
And the boxer-brief, the boxer-brief! Organic cotton blended with bamboo viscose, and five percent Lycra — they gave me one pair and if I had my way, I’d replace every other boxer brief I own. Why? Durable elastic, they breathe super well, comfortable, and proper fit. Most important, they feature a stretchy, ribbed, breathable fabric under your ball bag. On a long travel day, lower-elevation rock guiding, these things are primo. They stretch a bit, and I have a medium (I’m 5’10”, 165lbs, 32” waist). I could probably survive in an S, too. These things rule. No joke. Buy them for anybody in your life. They make a women’s baselayer/undergarment in similar (though not identical) fabric. Your woman will love you. I promise.
Awesome gear, way “outside” my usual range, but I’m gonna beg my buddy at tasc for another shipment. Amazing!
Edelrid “Tech Web” Sewn Slings
Of the many, many fantastic, German-made things Edelrid makes, I’m going to go with their “Tech Web” sewn slings. A polyamide sheath protects a Dyneema core, offering superior performance than a plain nylon or Dyneema sling. Polyamide is slightly more durable and stronger than its cousin, polyester … and we all know about Dyneema’s incredible strength-to-weight ratio, low stretch properties, and light weight.
The Tech Web slings come in 30-, 60-, and 120-cm versions (in the US), and they’re all color-coded for easy ID on your harness. Lighter than a nylon sling, they’re also more versatile, as the Dyneema is protected by durable polyamide — meaning the
slings are less prone to worries about melting/abrasion in rappel applications.
Edelrid leads the industry in producing “bluesign” products, repurposing, recycling, and innovation. They make a ton of great stuff, and these Tech Web slings are some of the best.
I’m gutted to learn that Revellion’s current drop has completely sold out. So, you can’t buy anything from Revellion right now, but I’m including them because they are the finest manufacturer of merino wool performance apparel on the planet — period. Hyperbole? Hardly.
All these other brands hawking “ultra-fine” merino are pretenders compared to Revellion. Now defunct Ibex? Their wool was mostly 17-or-so micron filaments. The thinner the wool, the softer it feels, in large part. SmartWool, Icebreaker, not one of them sells wool as fine as Revellion.
Revellion sources its wool from the same farm in Australia that legendary Italian clothier Zegna does. Their wool is routinely 14.5 microns and once you pull on a Revellion base layer or scarf, you will understand how “fine” wool makes a softer garment.
Keep your eyes peeled for the next drop of Revellion product. They tend to surprise the lucky few of us who get their apparel with new styles, colors, and looks. They’ve done boxer briefs, zip-T tops, hat/scarf combos — you never know they’re producing, but rest assured — it is the finest product you can find. Keep your eyes peeled.
Made from recycled soda bottles, sustainably harvested cork, and algae “foam,” these Saola shoes are awesome. Lightweight, comfortable enough for a day of travel, good looking enough to dress up a ski bum, I’m loving these things. High-top, low-cut, you name it, I’ve got a season in these things and they’re durable, comfy, eco-righteous!
Drop by Saola to check out the women’s styles, too. My wife actually likes my pair and wants some of her own. She’s usually horrified by my sartorial adventures, so this counts for something.
Hoka One One
Yes, they’re spendy and maybe you even think they look goofy, but after four different models in three years — I’m a trail runner again. Shredded cartilage, “fissures” in my menisci, and a youth spent skiing and playing soccer made me first quit the soccer, and then the running. I went almost a decade hiking a bit, but
dreading downhills and certainly not bounding along like a 26-year-old.
Then the local rep, ever stoked and optimistic, urged me “just to try a Hoka.” Well, my friend, I have … and I have again, and again. I’ve worn a Stinson, two models of Speedgoat, and just picked up a Mafate 2 and Toa in France (at full retail–ouch!).
I’ve run up to 20 miles back in Boulder and logged several six-hour hikes here in Chamlandia. Almost no knee drama whatsoever. The Toa, in particular, falls somewhere between a run shoe and lightweight hiking boot, but with epic cushioning. My first thought was to get another pair and resole the front half of the sole with dot rubber. These things are awesome. Go check ‘em out.
Now, I would never suggest you buy shoes sight-unseen or for somebody who’s not there with you, trying them on and getting them fit. So, my suggestion to you is: find a quality outdoor shop that will get you a gift certificate and then help your loved one get into the right Hoka.
Le Bent “Le Send X” Socks
What? OK, hear me out — “sendy” socks seems a little far-fetched, but these might be your loved one’s saving grace if she’s prone to heel slip, blisters, cold feet, and can’t find a performance sock she likes.
Le Bent makes men’s, women’s, kids’ socks; I’m using a feminine pronoun above because I’m stuck in 2009. Progressive enough not to be a sexist pig, but not so modern that I can allow myself to use “they” as a gender-neutral pronoun. Sorry.
Socks! The “Le Send X“! These stretch-merino foot bivies incorporate three small strips of siliconized, grip material on the exterior of the sock, on the heel, to alleviate foot slip in any of your shoes. Developed by Cody Townsend, the mega sender ski boss, they also have a gripper strip along the top of the calf.
I used these in run shoes, climbing boots, and of course ski-touring, too. To try and encourage some heel slip, I intentionally ran a lower-volume footbed in a couple shoes. Generally I don’t get blisters, but despite trying to introduce some slop into my footwear, the Le Sends stayed put in the heel cup and stayed happily up and over my calf during days walking on the glacier, hiking above town, and trail-running on frozen trails.
Loving these things and plan to try some of their other non-Cody socks, too.
Rob Coppolillo is an EO contributing editor and owns Vetta Mountain Guides. He and his family live in Chamonix, France, as of fall 2019.