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Outdoors

Best Made Co is physically based in the big city of Manhattan—but the five-year-old company’s ethos is keenly focused on wide-open spaces with nary a skyscraper in sight.

Originating with a simple proposition to build a better axe (a lifeline in the wilderness as well as an inspirational symbol for city-dwellers), Best Made quickly expanded its offering to include form-meets-function items from first-aid kits to fireside coffee cups.

They frequently field-test said products in picturesque, enviably uninhabited locales—and collect incredible visual documentation while they’re at it. Keep reading to see excerpts from four of our favorite Best Made photo essays from all corners of the great United States (a perfect way to wrap up our LET’S GO Pop-In Shop, which comes to an end this Sunday).

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We based our latest Pop-In Shop—LET’S GO!—on the idea of an epic road trip through the US of A. But that doesn’t mean the gear housed therein isn’t tough enough to go international. Keep reading for a selection of photos from our Creative Director, Strath Shepard, on a recent road trip across British Columbia to the Canadian Rockies.

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Fresh air. A campfire. Beers cooled in a creek. We can write these things down all day, but it’s impossible to understand the sheer satisfaction that such simple, outdoor pleasures can engender without experiencing them first-hand—and, preferably, with frequency.

Portland brand Poler operates on a simple mission (which desk jockeys like us can appreciate): to get average people outdoors—and out of their everyday routine—more often. They sum it up with a deceptively simple catch phrase/hashtag: #CampVibes, two syllables that manage to instantly evoke dirt underfoot, cedar in your nostrils and a canopy of stars overhead. And they make it effortless, with innovative gear like a sleeping bag you can walk around in, a camera bag that doubles as a cooler, and a Stumptown coffee kit designed for the campsite.

Keep reading for our exclusive Q&A with Poler Co-Founder and Creative Director Benji Wagner, in which he discusses couscous, favorite road trip spots, and thinking like a kid.

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Reflecting on the rough weather thus far in 2014, and our New Year’s resolution to get some fresh air in spite of it, we decided to take a closer look at one of our favorite outdoor brands: The North Face.

You probably know that The North Face protects you from frigid conditions so that you can enjoy all manner of al fresco pursuits—from extreme sports to a corner-store beer run—in comfort and style. You might also guess that the brand has outfitted explorers, researchers, and daredevils on journeys to the furthest (and highest) reaches of the planet, from the Arctic Circle to Mount Everest. But did you know The North Face’s roots reach back to 1960s San Francisco, and that The Grateful Dead helped launch the brand’s first store?

Keep reading to learn more about The North Face’s nearly five-decade history of counterculture, innovation and environmentalism.

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If you find yourself moved by shapely posteriors, platefuls of hummus and selfies of guys (and girls) who could crush a normal human with a flick of their triceps, check out the #fitspo hashtag on Instagram. (That’s short for “fitness inspo,” or inspiration.) If, however, you’d rather be motivated by the more esoteric advantages of exercise—quiet sunrises, crashing surf, picturesque wilderness—look no further than the Insta feeds of some of our favorite Active & Outdoor brands.

Keep reading to fuel your New Year’s resolutions with photos from Nike, The North Face and more. (But first, check out the Nike clip above. Our takeaway: Humans possess an infinite capacity for greatness. But sometimes, you should just get out of LeBron’s way.)

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Excited to hit the slopes this ski and snowboard season? Look no further: From jackets and hats to gloves and boots, our new Snow Shop has everything you need—including mind-blowing winter inspiration via the world’s preeminent outdoor brands. Check out Scot Schmidt—godfather of extreme skiing, and the sport’s first-ever endorsed athlete after The North Face got a hold of him in 1983—in the video above, as well as the vintage ski pics below.


L: Photo by Gary Brettnacher, 1993 | R: Photo by Scott Markewitz, 1990


Photo by Hank de Vre, 1985


Schmidt (L) with fellow freestyle skier Glen Plake (sans-mohawk)
in a still from Greg Stump’s 1988 ski film The Blizzard of AAHHH’s.

 

SHOP: THE NORTH FACE | ALL SNOW SHOP

 

[Video courtesy of The North Face. First three photos courtesy of Powder Magazine; fourth photo via Skinet/Warren Miller Entertainment, courtesy of Greg Stump Productions. Individuals pictured do not endorse Nordstrom.]







Chilling in Iceland. Catching a train in Tokyo. Hanging with camels in sub-zero Mongolia. Wherever your travels take you, you’re going to need a good jacket—and if anyone knows what it takes to enjoy inclement weather, it’s the denizens of drizzly, outdoor-obsessed Portland, Oregon.

Fascinated by the timeless proposition of melding form and function, PDX-based brand Nau is as immersed in aesthetics as they are in utility. Check out some of their obscure, minimalist design inspirations (from a fossilized oil lamp to mid-century furniture) in the video above, then shop some of our favorite Nau jackets, many made with eco-friendly materials, below.


The durable, breathable, water-resistant ‘Wool Patrol’ Hooded Jacket (L)
features recycled lining materials and organic waxed-cotton trim
on the seams and cuffs.


With 800-fill goose down and a 22-denier recycled Japanese polyester,
the Quilted Down Shirt Jacket (R) is a perfect middle ground
between a heavy coat and a flannel shirt.
 

SHOP: NAU OUTERWEAR | ALL COATS & JACKETS

 

[Photos courtesy of Nau's blog and Nau's Flickr Photostream. Video courtesy of Nau.com.]