Military outdoor
[The fusion of techwear origins]

Military outdoor
[The fusion of techwear origins]
It is no secret that functional clothing and footwear for outdoor activities are often used by units of the army and law enforcement. And it is not surprising at all. The key qualities of things used in the mountains – weather protection, reliability, lightweight and ergonomics – are relevant not only for travelers and athletes, but also for the military. Despite similar approaches to design, as well as almost identical materials and production technologies, the military and outdoor clothing and equipment markets are quite rigidly divided, representing almost isolated worlds.
This state of affairs in practice suits almost everyone. The military use in their practice the products of brands from active leisure industry and the tourists and mountaineers, on the contrary, often adopting elements of military clothing, footwear and equipment in their sets. However, there was originally a sports outdoor brands still managed to break into the military markets and thoroughly to gain a foothold there. In this article we will talk about them.

Author: Alexander Denisov [TECHUNTER].
Photo: Arc'teryx, Outdoor Research, Norrona, Oakley, Tatonka.
The main character of our selection. Canadians from Arc'teryx managed to achieve the greatest success in the field of conquest of army markets. While still young, but already quite influential company in the world of outdoor activities, in the early 2000s, they took part in the competition for the development of new backpacks for the Marine Corps of the United States. In the process of its implementation, Arc'teryx was surprised to learn that their purely sporting products are in demand among employees of the special forces.
Therefore, for their needs within the company was opened a separate division – LEAF (Law Enforcement & Armed Forces). It also was engaged in processing of all clothes and equipment of a brand taking into account wishes of military. Canadians ' proprietary perfectionism coupled with the desire to use the most advanced materials in the industry have done their job. The young company very quickly pushed the main giants of the market and set new standards of quality.
More about the success of Arc'teryx LEAF we wrote in this article.
Outdoor Research (OR) – far less well-known brand than Arc'teryx, which, however, managed to repeat their success. The company was founded in the early 80s and made a name for itself on the development and production of reliable, functional accessories for outdoor activities in the mountains – gaiters, hats, gloves and mittens. In OR perfectly demonstrated how important these little things in gear, because while the sports industry has reacted to design accessories rather carelessly.
The same attitude was demonstrated by army contractors, because of which OR products were popular among the military. Therefore, at the turn of 1990-2000, the company began to adapt its accessories to their needs. In the case of gaiters all were limited to simple paint the camo, but gloves and mittens have been developed from scratch. Here mark OR repeated the success of Arc'teryx, starting to compete confidently with the previous mastodons of the market.Legendary gloves of tactical gear fans – Outdoor Research Tactical Ironsight.
Legendary gloves of tactical gear fans – Outdoor Research Tactical Ironsight.
This success predetermined the appearance of the OR Tactical company division, which adapts sports and creates new concepts of clothing and accessories for the military and law enforcement agencies. And, if the products of Arc'teryx LEAF belongs to the upper price category, the prices of OR Tactical is much more democratic.
Norrona, a Norwegian brand, is one of the most reputable companies in the global mountain sports clothing market. It is often deservedly named epithet "Scandinavian Arc'teryx". However, this statement is true for the Swedish brand Haglofs in Addition to perfectionism and the use of top-class materials, Norrona with Arc'teryx is related to the demand in the army environment. The first specialized collection of military clothing Norrona Recon was created by the company exactly 20 years ago – in 1998.
During its development, the veterans of the special forces of Norway, Sweden and Denmark took an active part. Since then, the series has been continuously improved and today the third generation of the Recon collection is released. But the content of this line is modest. It is presented only by a storm set from a jacket and trousers with Gore-Tex Pro and pair of capacious backpacks for long raids in the back of the opponent.
Therefore, it is worth noting that the Recon series is organically complemented by specialized Norrona collections for hunters.
Unlike the previous companies in our selection, Oakley came to the military clothing and accessories market from a different angle. The brand has gained worldwide fame thanks to the development and production of breakthrough sports optics – sunglasses and ski masks. It is not surprising that the company began its cooperation with the armed forces with the production of goggles. And even at the dawn of Oakley – in the mid-1980s. In the future, the company provided tactical and ballistic eyewear in a separate series – Standart Issue, which began to accumulate other brand products designed for the military.
Oakley decided to not compete with major manufacturers of clothing and footwear – they just did not have the experience and resources. Therefore, the company has relied on the development of functional accessories that employees of military and law enforcement agencies could use in business trips, training and daily life. The range of the brand was replenished with backpacks and bags in tactical style, hoodies, thermal underwear and jackets of discreet colors.But among this diversity there was a place for utilitarian subjects to use "in the field". Tactical boots and, especially, Oakley shooting gloves won the greatest popularity among them.
Another brand that first earned its name in the production of equipment – backpacks, pouches, bauls, rifle and pistol belts, etc. Where is outdoor you ask? It's simple, Tasmanian Tiger – sub-brand of the German company Tatonka created in 1999, which is known for its backpacks almost every tourist on the planet.
But in addition to equipment, the Germans produce, albeit small, but very interesting collection of clothing, which is quite popular in Europe. Taking it as a basis designers from Tasmanian Tiger have developed their own small series of clothing and accessories focused on the military, police and hunters.
In conclusion, we would like to say that modern tech clothing, especially "techwear" trend is the result of the merger between primary forms and sources of various industries, in which the priority is the functionality of things and adaptation to the needs of users. The main ones are work clothes, military equipment and gear, professional sports equipment, gear for extreme sports, and also outdoor activities, like hunting, fishing, camping, hiking etc.
Our work on interpretation of modern tech clothing took its shape at the dawn of functional equipment and fashion industry confluence. We are aware of the coverage magnitude of this topic and we will continue to understand the origins, trying to structure our sphere. There will be a whole series of articles, reviews and interviews in which we will try to understand and tell you answers on "what, when and why".