Recently, I was catching up with an old friend and we were talking about the overlap, in the outdoor gear and clothing category, between technical and tactical – and how the two categories share so many commonalities, including the intended user – that it makes sense that they become more and more woven together.
Anyway, I remembered writing about it a few years back – summing the whole thing up – and I wanted to share my perception:
“It seems that with each changing season, the worlds of outdoor products and tactical gear overlap more and more. Not only has this amalgamation increased the amount of Cordura and earth tones used in common clothing and gear, but it has also introduced a new approach to outdoor activities – one that is more zeroed in on preparedness. It can be argued that this type of clothing and gear, when coupled with a focused approach, has allowed people to go further and further into the outdoors. It can also be argued that this unification was a long time coming, and I for one am all about it. This hybrid approach is interesting because it brings two different schools of thought together, and yet somehow it just works. It’s a little easy and outdoorsy, and a little tactical and militaristic, but it works.”
It was the opening paragraph on a bit I wrote on Prometheus Design Werx for Gear Institute . And I wrote it – the whole article – because I was super-impressed how PDW hit the market right as a consorted focus on preparedness and survivalism had peaked and was started to wane. Time, love, and tenderness all went into the launch and execution of that brand, and their timing was perfect.
Flash forward three years, and though I believe there is some stale air in the outdoor industry, in terms of new and wow things, I believe that, industry-wide, we’re seeing that the melding of technical and tactical – or sport and military – or true grit and outdoorsy – is really a THING. And it might just be the next big thing. In fact, we might be in the middle of the next big thing and just don’t realize it.. Hmm.
Well, either way, I dig the overlap. I think it’s pretty wild to be able mix up the color palette and introduce Earth tones into the mainstream. I think we’re benefiting from the introduction of technology that has been used by the military for years – even if it is something as small and simple as adding a red light option to your headlamp; or in anti-microbial clothing – which has been around the outdoor industry for a while, but stems from the military.
Maybe it’s always been happening, but it’s just more noticeable now? Not sure.
I guess the flip-side to all of this would be to see how much the outdoor gear and clothing world has impacted the tactical and military segments?
Anybody humping packs and ammo out in the desert in Chaco sandals?