By: Levi Opsatnic
As the weather in State College, PA continues to be a mishmash of sunny, rainy, and just about everything in between, I’ve noticed that I’ve been implementing a random assortment of gear into my day-to-day. From walking into work during a snowstorm to riding my skateboard on a bright day, it seems that this season has delivered quite the assortment of weather, and for that reason, I’d like to share some pieces of gear that I’ve found to be pretty essential for this season of downright unconventional weather. One final note before we get started, I’ve chosen products that come in both men’s or women’s styles so, fortunately, all of you guys and gals can enjoy the fun!
Well, let’s start things out with one my favorite forms of transportation–a skateboard. Perfect for cruising around on a bright day, a skateboard offers a very “green” method of transportation that is also pretty fun to ride. While I’m a fan of most skateboards and skateboard companies out there and in our shop, I’ve really been a fan of Quasi‘s products lately. Not only do they sponsor State College local, Jake Johnson, but they also produce some very high-quality skateboards with graphics that could hang on your wall as a piece of art just as well as they’ll flip under your feet.
Whether it’s a hot day, cold day, or something in between, chances are that you’re going to get thirsty and need hydrated, and for that, my 40 oz Hydro Flask has gone everywhere that I go. Although it’s simply a water bottle, this bad boy offers an ability to store enough liquid to carry you through the day; but that’s not its only merit, Hydro Flasks keep your liquids cold for a full twenty-four hours and hot for six (though, I’ve found that this particular flask keeps my liquids “warm” for longer than six hours). From a hike in the woods to sitting at my desk, this water bottle is guaranteed to be by my side.
So I totally understand that a rain jacket carrying a $300 price tag can be a bit intimidating at first (or second, or third, or fourth, etc.) glance, but Arc’teryx’s Beta SL Jacket offers every bit of waterproofing that I need. Utilizing a GORE-TEX Paclite construction with PU coated zippers, this jacket ensures that you’re never ever going to get soaked. Another real benefit to this jacket is that its lightweight GORE construction offers great packability as well as breathability, which means that you won’t ever need to worry about pack weight or getting overly-muggy. And although this jacket is nice, light, and perfect for a warm spring day, I’ve used it in the winter as an outer shell, and it’s worked wonderfully. In my opinion, this turns this jacket into a year-round investment that will quickly prove to be worth its weight in gold whenever an unexpected downpour occurs.
I’ll admit it now, I’m a high sock guy. Simply put, I like the comfort of a sock hugging my calf and the additional protection that it provides. With that said, it seems like I’m reaching for Darn Tough’s Light Hiker Crew Socks every time I have a pair clean enough to wear. Made in the USA predominantly out of merino wool, these socks do wonders in moisture management whether I’m skating around town, hiking through Rothrock, or casting a fly along Spring Creek.
To make things nice and simple, Patagonia’s Baggies Shorts are the only shorts that I ever need in the summer. Period. However, to stray away from all things short and brief, I’ll fill you all in on what makes these shorts so amazing. First things first, they come in a variety of inseams, from very short (I go with the five inch inseam, after all, they are “shorts”) to right around knee length. Aside from catering to nearly everyone’s needs, these shorts are also made from a very quick-drying supplex nylon with a strip of mesh in the pockets; this allows you to take a quick swim, or a bike ride that leaves you nothing but sweaty without fear of spending the rest of the day soaked. And for the icing on the cake, these shorts seem to come in a wide-range of patterns and colors that can go with any day and any outfit.
Truly a versatile design (for men and women), Toad & Co’s Mixologist Shirt blends casual looks with a do-everything feel. Pairing organic cotton with a bit of spandex, this shirt offers a breathable and stretchy sense of comfort that can carry you from the trail to the dining table without fail. Not only that, but its clean design and lapel pocket offers all of the convenience and style that you could ask for.