From the Editors of Outdoor Aesthetics
I’ve been watching the talented people from Coldsmoke since Outdoor Aesthetics began. In recent years, the still relatively young Urban Outdoor movement has seen the birth of lots of new brands, but just as many that have been unable to keep up. Only a few have been able to satisfy the increasing demand for clothing that is both functional and fashionable, and to consistently perform at the necessary high level. Coldsmoke continues to be one of these exceptional few that have not only successfully established themselves in the market, but continue to improve.
This young Californian brand has, over the last few years, slowly but steadily advanced their products. Clean, minimalist cuts; classic, timeless design. That’s just the first impression. Upon looking closer, the individual designs will surprise you with their use of advanced materials and Coldsmoke’s passion for detail.
Here I want to introduce you to two of our favourites from the current collection.
THE WOOL KUNNAK SHIRT
It is the perfect top for that in-between time of year when it’s too cold to be warm and not yet cold enough to be cold. The Kunnak is a hybrid between a shirt and a jacket, with the versatility of both. You can wear it open when it’s warmer or zipped and buttoned up tight when it gets cold.
The 2017 version of the Kunnak sees a subtle reworking of the cut and the material while retaining all the positives that made its predecessor such a special item of clothing.
The main material consists of a naturally water-resistant light-weave Italian wool Melton lined with Japanese nylon. The Schoeller waterproof back panel and elbow patches for durability and protection from the elements also work wonderfully together. As with its predecessor, a stretch-rib shawl collar can be flipped up for extra comfort and protection from the elements. Also very useful are the zippered hand-warmer pockets with silicon-dipped zipper-pulls, a side-zip chest pocket and, on the inside, a media pocket.
At first glance, the Kunnak looks like a nice shirt, but then reveals itself to be one of the most versatile items of clothing that I know of, and the original has already earned a permanent hanger in my wardrobe.
All the materials used are of the highest quality and perfectly finished. You can really tell that Coldsmoke are proud to produce such exceptional pieces in California.
THE ALPHA-LITE BOMBER
Reading through the technical properties of the Alpha-Lite Bomber, you’d be forgiven for thinking that you’re holding an item of clothing from NASA that just happens to look like a stylish jacket.
The Alpha-Lite features performance materials including Japanese water-repellent ripstop nylon, Polartec Alpha insulation, and YKK waterproof zippers. Polartec Alpha insulation was created for use in U.S. military Special Forces gear, allowing it to adapt to a wide range of activities and environments without the wearer having to shed or add layers. The insulation is made of low-density fibres that keep moisture vapour moving freely through the fabric, resulting in super-efficient regulation of warmth and transference of moisture.
And the jacket feels amazingly good to wear. You hardly feel it, it is so light and thin, but notice immediately in colder temperatures its excellent insulating properties.
Specifically the combination with the Kunnak Shirt Jacket has proven to be ideal. When these photos were taken, it was just above freezing and even after a long period of rest, the cold had not seeped in. Normally I would have already pulled out my thick down-jacket. Every time, I continue to be fascinated and impressed by materials like Polartec that despite taking up so little space can store so much warmth.
Also nice are the details such as the narrow, rubber zipper-pulls with velcro inside.
And if the weather turns sour, you can combine it with a rain jacket and the Alpha-Lite becomes a warm mid-layer.
It’s difficult to describe Coldsmoke in just a few words. With the Kunnak Shirt jacket and the Alpha-Lite Bomber, Coldsmoke proves again that it is possible to seamlessly combine fashion and functionality. The pieces are timeless enough to not be just a passing fad—so you’ll keep coming back to them over many years—and they’re so well designed as to avoid the cliché of functional outdoor clothing. Whether in sneakers or hiking books, the jackets will complement your look.
Coldsmoke knows how to elegantly bridge the gap for us big city people with a passion for nature; they are urban and outdoor at the same time. Why buy lots of different clothes when one piece can be worn in so many ways?
I’m really happy to see how Coldsmoke has developed, and the recent opening of their flagship store confirms my feeling that the brand is continuing on the right road.