Thanks to Duluth Trading Company for partnering with me on today’s post, and for making such thoughtfully designed pieces of clothing!
I grew up in southeast Alabama, a place full of heat, humidity, large bugs, and flat, rather uninteresting terrain. It’s proximity to the beach was a plus, but in my day-to-day life as a child, I never saw all that much reason to spend a lot of time outside. All I ever had to show for it was a sweaty face, sunburn and insect bites.
My husband, on the other hand, spent most of his growing up years in the Pacific Northwest, in a lush, green part of the country, and always within striking distance of beautiful hiking trails, snow-capped mountains, and breathtaking views. Getting outside was a joy for him, rather than a chore like it was for me.
We moved to Chattanooga for many reasons shortly after we started our family, and one of those reasons is that my husband longed to be back in a place that offered plenty of outdoor opportunities for his own enjoyment, but also for his children’s. Since being “outdoorsy” is something I had never identified with at all, I didn’t really see why it mattered, but I was up for it. Even I had to acknowledge that the landscape of this area was quite lovely.
We’ve been on countless hikes in the 6 years we have lived here, and while I still haven’t agreed to give overnight camping a try, my attitude about spending time in the great outdoors has come a long way.
And the #1 trick I have learned to help me feel comfortable is to be very intentional about what I’m wearing. I think most people figure out the importance of quality footwear after their first hike with blisters, but the clothing on your body is just as important, yet is often overlooked. But in my experience, getting outfitted in clothing that shines best in an outdoor environment will significantly add to your comfort level and overall happiness on whatever adventure you are taking.
A few weeks ago, for example, my family decided to do a brief hike on Lookout Mountain. We intended to be on the mountain for an hour, but our journey turned into 2 1/2 hours of climbing all over that beautiful terrain, and not once did any one of us feel too tired or uncomfortable to keep going (aside from my youngest needing to use the restroom out in nature, but that’s another story…).
Darah had on her beloved Keen sandals, and she wore her brand new Free Swingin’ Flannel shirt and Firehose overalls from Duluth Trading Company. When she first tried on the overalls, she wasn’t too sure about them, having never before owned a pair. But once she got on that mountain, she felt so comfortable and free that she turned into a little adventurer, and she climbed rocks, and played and just had a great time. I really love that these are built with features that make is super easy to do fun things kids want to do, like climb trees, crouch down to inspect something in the dirt, and to withstand scruffing up in the knees (these have a double layer there so they won’t wear out as fast!). The shirt has been pre-washed to limit shrinkage, and has arm gussets that make it all the more comfortable to reach up high. It’s also super soft! This ensemble has definitely made the cut for our very limited packing list for Switzerland. When we play in those mountain streams and go on beautiful hikes in the Alps, Darah will be dressed in Duluth clothing.
Layah also had on some awesome overalls from Duluth Trading Company. These are the Hickory Stripe Overalls and they have the same great features as Darah’s pair. And isn’t that stripe so cute? Underneath is a Longtail T Shirt bearing the Duluth Trading Company name. It is very soft and yet it also has features designed for durability, like double-stitched seams. This outfit, too, will be spending the summer in Switzerland!
Now let’s take a closer look at me, the member of the family with “outdoor adventure reluctance.” In a scenario where a 1 hour hike becomes 2 1/2 times as long as expected, I’m the person in our crew most likely to start complaining. The same goes for if the degree of difficulty of a hike becomes greater than I anticipated. Both were true on this hike, as we navigated switchbacks and climbed up, up, up when I imagined our hike would be relatively flat (think of going around a mountain rather than going up it…that was my plan).
But I did it, and my clothing was of critical importance. If I had been wearing jeans I would have probably started experiencing that awful chafing. Instead, I was wearing Duluth’s Dry on the Fly Capris and they just might be the best pants I’ve owned in several years. They are certainly the best pants I’ve ever owned for being outdoors. These pants offer UPF 30 protection for your skin, which is of critical importance when you will be outside all day, and the wicking element is fabulous. I put it to the test with all those steep climbs and I felt very, very comfortable the entire time. This company knows how to design with the woman in mind, friends!
The top I’m wearing also gets top honors for being the very best outdoor shirt I’ve ever owned. This is called the Sidewinder shirt and it feels SOOOO comfortable! Every element of this shirt’s construction surprised and delighted me. I was particularly excited to see hidden buttons around the chest area, as button-up shirts rarely will stay buttoned on me and almost always have large gaps (#largechestproblems). This shirt stayed put, yet at the same time had a nice, tailored look and wasn’t too big. The top even has a pocket sewn in to the front and a breathable mesh along the back collar. And it’s got that UPF 30 protection. Underneath the Sidewinder shirt is the No Yank Tank and it lives up to it’s name. I never once had to readjust or tug on my undershirt to behave and stay in place. It was fantastic, as well it should be since the team at Duluth spent a year on this design to perfect it and make it the tank you’ve always dreamed of owning. Best believe all 3 pieces are going to Switzerland! I am most likely going to buy myself a few other pieces from Duluth Trading Company for the trip, in fact.
Tim is the member of our crew who has the most experience owning clothes designed for wear outdoors, so he’s the toughest critic. And he had only great things to say about the 2 pieces he wore on our hike. The pants are the Dry on the Fly Nylon Cargos and just like my pants, they are adept at wicking away moisture and drying quickly once wet. These are going to be absolutely amazing when it’s time to play in the mountain streams. Tim can get right in there with the girls and not worry about being wet for the rest of the day! He commented on how comfortable they were throughout the hike, too. And all those pockets came in handy for holding treasures that the girls collected along the way. Underneath the sweater seen in the photo he’s also wearing a Dry on the Fly Wicking Polo Shirt. Take a second to watch the fun 1 minute video about just how awesome this particular fabric is!
I’m so glad I’ve had the opportunity to interface with Duluth Trading Company and to take a closer look at their very intentional designs. Every element of their clothing line is made with your comfort and enjoyment in mind. These pieces are designed to work for you and with you so that you can spend less time thinking about your clothes and more time enjoying whatever it is you want to be doing, be it a fun DIY project, a hike, or even a little splashing around in a Swiss stream. And if the great outdoors isn’t really your thing, that’s all the more reason to get yourself a few pieces that will help you relax and feel comfortable. I can tell you first-hand that it can make all the difference in the world between having to suffer through a hike and actually getting to enjoy it and reach the summit!