Into the Wild

“I’m looking for a cute backpacking jacket,” I recently told a friend. To which she responded, in all seriousness, “Is there such a thing?”

This exchange took place after I’d embarked on the elusive search for some decently cute adventure ware. The fact that my outdoor wardrobe is pitiful has come into sharp focus now that I have a trip to the desert, a multi-day backpacking hike, and a voyage to Southeast Asia all on my horizon. (And my already blossoming wanderlust was further exacerbated when I recently devoured Cheryl Strayed’s Wild, which TPR’s Christa Martin wrote about here.)

While I don’t expect (or think it necessary) to feel fashionable in most of these scenarios, I would like to maintain some semblance of my individual style on the trail or while backpacking through a foreign land.

Most sportswear is pretty standard, and hardly individualistic. A fleece is a fleece, right? But I’ve found a few items, so far, that go against the mold. The first is the above pictured Abby Jacket from prAna, a yoga/travel/hiking clothing company that puts cute, earthy twists on typical travel staples. The light, water-resistant jacket will roll up small for stuffing in my backpacking pack and be handy for exploring rain-prone tropical places. My second score was a crisscross bra top in peacock pattern from Onzie, a company that makes clothes designed by a Bikram yogi specifically for hot yoga (and other sweaty activities, like hiking). It’s practical for hiking and yoga (both of which I will be doing on my journeys) but also fun and funky with its bright, colorful pattern. Plus, it has “Free-Flow Fabric Technology” (whatever that means) that makes it quick drying and healthier for skin.

Next on my list are two items that I think will be easier to find, with greater variety to be had: a comfortable and practical day pack that suits my style and tennis shoes that will be as good for the trail as for sightseeing in new cities. Wish me luck!