Gorpcore’s combination of accessibility and functionality make the brands that compose the aesthetic largely available to the wider public—generally speaking. Of course, that's not to say that runway brands haven't tapped into gorpcore aesthetics (
Prada's Spring/Summer 2017 serves as an excellent example of that) they're usually doing it thematically or to inform a single collection. Junya Watanabe, Hyke, White Mountaineering and even Ralph Lauren are other good examples of this.
While some brands featured here focus specifically on outdoor gear (and, as such, provide apparel and accessories that optimize those pursuits), several of the brands here can be found at your local mall. Below are just a few of our favorite gorpcore-adjacent labels.
From Snap-Ts to Retro-Xs to five-inch baggies,
Patagonia is, arguably, the foremost purveyor of gorpcore goods—the movement’s foundational brand. Originally founded by Yvon Chouinard as a rock climbing hard goods brand, Patagonia now makes everything from tents to parkas.
Affordable and durable, Patagonia’s clothes have long been popular with outdoor aficionados and really started crossing into the mainstream as part of the normcore trend—albeit in the form of logo T-shirts. The gorpcore movement has seen a wider range of Patagonia goods become fashionable, namely
colorful fleece and shorts. The truest testament to Patagonia’s influence on the aesthetic is the extent to which the brand’s iconic pieces have been referenced by fashion-first brands, from logo rips to pile fleece imitations.
While there are a number of
Arc’teryx pieces that are more in-line with the techwear aesthetic, some of the brand’s lighter pieces—the ones designed for fall, summer and spring hiking—and footwear are more in-line with gorpcore than techwear. And while we tend to think of black, grey and olive green when thinking about the Canadian outerwear brand, there are always a number of colorful options on offer.
So while Arc’teryx may be more tech-savvy than some of the other brands listed, we’d be remiss to not include it (or
its myriad other sublines and offshoot labels)
The North Face
The similarities between
The North Face and Patagonia are well-documented—they both started as hardware brands before moving onto clothing; they’re both headquartered in California; they both have rabid fanbases; and they’ve both been widely co-opted outside of outdoors circles.
While The North Face is best known for its down-filled Nuptse jacket, the brand also has a bevy of other classic pieces, including the Steep Tech line—which was
famously reworked by Supreme. That said, in gorpcore circles, it’s lesser-known but more technologically-advanced categories that are popular—like Thermoball shackets and the Summit Series line. But, the most ubiquitous of all? The brand’s logo.
Remember the bit about socks being an integral piece of gorpcore? Well, socks and sandals go hand in hand—no matter what antiquated style rules tell you. Lightweight, cheap, versatile and available in an array of colors and funky patterns,
Teva is as authentic as they come in the world of sandals.
Snow Peak is, to a certain extent, the Japanese equivalent of Patagonia and The North Face. Founded in 1958, Snow Peak is focused on making high-quality, performance gear for camping and climbing. In 2014, the brand launched Snow Peak apparel, which was popularized by Japanese publications like . The apparel is still rooted in utilitarianism and functionality—like the aforementioned fire-retardant pants, insulated mid-layers or pocketed vests—but the brand has also integrated funny, irreverent graphic T-shirts that reference the outdoor lifestyle that inspires gorpcore. Go Out
Another Japanese brand popularized by the country’s hugely influential magazines,
And Wander was launched by Keita Ikeuchi and Mihoko Mori. The brand’s aesthetic is best described as “mountaineering garments that won’t look out of place in the city,” as Mr Porter put it, and almost all of the hallmarks of gorpcore are present in the pieces.
And Wander’s lightweight outerwear has proven to be particularly popular over the years and the brand’s simple triangular logo—often treated with a reflective finish—has become an increasingly common sight outside of Japan’s trails and campgrounds.
Yet another Japanese brand; the importance and influence of Japanese outdoors brands cannot be overstated,
especially when it comes to outerwear. Founded in the 1970s, Montbell is focused, first and foremost, on producing high-performance climbing and rain gear. Aesthetically similar to Arc’teryx, Montbell is, today, famous for its waterproof shells, down jackets and bags.
Shinya Hasegawa cut his teeth under
Daiki Suzuki at Woolrich Woollen Mills before launching Battenwear in 2011 out of New York City. Battenwear is considerably different than the brands listed above. While the garments may be similar, aesthetically, Battenwear is not in the business of making the most advanced mountaineering gear. Instead, Battenwear is inspired by activewear from the ’60s and ’80s—it’s one of the few gorpcore brands that is inspired by the lifestyle, rather than by performance
We’ve already chronicled how Salomon went from being worn on trails to on runways, but it would be impossible to talk about gorpcore without mentioning the French brand. Salomon makes what are, arguably, the world’s best hiking shoes and boots — designed to withstand the toughest environments.