24 March 2016

FEATURE: Spring clothing

Its that awkward time of year again...

What is spring exactly? There are cold wet days that freeze your fingers to your smartphone screen, then there balmy, lovely days that make you go “Ah, summer truly is on the way.” Then it pisses it down. And so, to aid you deeply confused yet attractive people, we have gathered together a small collection of clothing and 'stuff' to make this spring time as bearable as possible. And so, from the top down...

Fulton Cyclone Umbrella

We pity the fool who ventures out on a spring day without easy access to a fine umbrella, and we think we've found the hot-damn finest. Fulton's Cyclone range of umbrellas are not only easy on the eye and the arm, but they have been tested in a wind tunnel which blasted them with wind speeds of up to 76mph! Yes, this is an umbrella that you can take out on windy day and not end up looking like a complete buffoon when the bloody thing inverts.

The Cyclone Umbrella features a rubberised grip, a quick-release button, a Velcro tie strap, and also a nifty carry case complete with shoulder strap. Not only will you feel pretty invincible on a rainy day, but when the rain stops and you pop it back in the case, you sort of feel like a soldier carrying your rifle around. Just us? Never mind...


SnugPak SV3 Vest

Is it a gilet or a vest, a body warmer or a armless jacket? Whatever you call 'em, spring is a great time of year to keep one handy. The SV3 Vest from SnugPak is one of those items of clothing that is appropriate pretty much all year round, either as a throw-over to a t-shirt on a surprisingly chilly day, or combined with the thermals to go out snowman building.

The SV3 is lightweight (despite it being a tad longer in the body than other vests we've reviewed in the past) and features a waterproof zip lining to help keep you dry. There are nice and deep concealed pockets on either side, as well as an internal pocket on the left. It is also fully adjustable with toggles on the hem and around the neck. Lovely and snug, we've been wearing ours as an occasional jacket; great for combining with other jumpers and coats, or just on its own if the sun rears it's long-awaited head.


Weird Fish Athena Fleece Lined Macaroni

We effing love Weird Fish clothes, as evidenced here and also a special feature we did on 'em here. So it is with happy hearts and cosy boobs that we got to try out a couple more items from them for the spring. The Athena Fleece Lined Macaroni is similar to the previous Macaronis, the company's signature product, that we've reviewed, but this new version is lined with fleece.

This hoodie (which is listed under the women's section, but to be honest it looks just as great on a dashing chap – real men wear pink) features a full zip fastening, two open pockets on the sides, an adjustable hood (which is also lined with fleece) and contrasting colours which set out mind back to the lazy summer of 1986, weirdly. The generous fitting makes it comfortable and snug, and so definitely one for the chillier of spring days.


Helly Hansen Daybreaker Half zip Fleece

We also effing love Helly Hansen, and as well as gearing up Norwegian sailors for the rigours of the North Sea, they also produce a fine fleece in which to pop to the shops when the weather is unpredictable. The Daybreaker half zip features – yeah, you guessed it – a half zip fastening, as well as flat lock seams and Polartec fleece fabric.

Despite the warmth this top will deliver, it ain't half thin, mum. In fact we've been wearing it while cycling as it's fantastic at keeping out the chill air, while also being flexible and easy to move in. It is also minuscule when rolled up and stowed in your bag, so if you're unsure of how the weather will behave on any particular day this spring, take this along with you.


Visit shop.hellyhansen.com/gb/

Weird Fish Vaileo 1/4 Zip Fleece Lined Macaroni Sweatshirt

Our second helping from Weird Fish, and another from the new range of lined Macaronis. The Vaileo ¼ Zip is lined with the some soft spongy fleece as the Athena, but, being cut for a guy, is a little trimmer around the edges and lacking in hood. There are concealed pockets on the seams of both sides, which are bizarrely uneven – one is slightly higher than the other. At first we thought this might have been a production error on this specific top, but we've seen the same thing in the Weird Fish shop window in our home city of York.

To be honest, you really don't notice the oddness when your hands are plunged into the pockets; you're too busy being happy you wore your Weird Fish Valileo Macaroni on a fresh and chilly spring day. As well as the contrasting colours, we also really like the small details such as the Weird Fish embroidery on the back of the neck, the badge on the left arm, and the awesome little rubber bones zip pulls. We received a large size, but this is obviously cut a little snugger than usual, so bear that in mind when buying.


Carhartt Moodymann MMC Triple-logo T-shirt

Going under the outer layers now, and we were sent an awesome T from Fat Buddha in Glasgow. The Carhartt Moodymann MMC Triple-logo T-shirt is the product of a collaboration between the clothing makers and Moodymann, AKA Kenny Dixon Jnr, one of Detroit's best-known music producers. The finished t-shirt is a lovely 100% cotton top which is easy on and very comfortable to wear. The printed logos on the front are subtle and simple, while everything gets big and boisterous on the back.

For a musical tie-in item of clothing, its actually pretty subdued, and the 'remixed' logos on front and back (nodding to Moodymanns' past labels, Mahogani Music and KDJ Records) are the kind of images and references that only a select few will recognise. It's like that t-shirt you own with the 'Greendale Human Beings' logo on it. Only cooler. Oh, and its available in white as well.


Helly Hansen Enroute Half Zip Lifa Flow

If the sunnier conditions that spring often drags with it, kicking and screaming, has inspired you to improve your fitness, this top from our pals at Helly is not to be sniffed at. Designed to be your go-to running or cycling top, the Enroute Half Zip is a close-fitting bit of kit constructed from Lifa Flow fabric, and featuring quick-drying mesh panels under the arms and on the back.

It looks a lot more complicated than it actually is, and once one it feels very natural and comfortable. The shoulders feature very thin rubber spots which are intended to help keep backpacks and water bladders in place while you're bouncing around (and which feel really weird and a bit kinky when you touch them!). The flat lock seams keep everything smooth and flat, and there are even reflective bits on the front and back. Perfect to kick start your summer workouts, and also if you're considering becoming a super hero and need an outfit.


Interlude: Thirsty?

EcoVessel Boulder Insulated Stainless Steel Water Bottle

No way are we going to allow you to go trudging out in what may or may not end up being a warm day without some water. The Boulder bottle from EcoVessel is by far the best way we've seen of carrying water since clouds were invented, but unlike clouds, the Boulder is made from stainless steel, features a removable fruit, ice, and tea strainer, and can keep liquids cold for up to 36 hours (or hot for up to eight).

Ours has come on quite a few adventures with us already, as it makes the perfect vessel for taking a big glug of the refreshing wet stuff (20 fl. oz./600ml) or for conveying that all-important morning latte. The TriMax triple insulation not only keeps temperatures where they should be, but the double opening seal on top keeps all the liquids where they should be too. It's awesome, bruv.


Helly Hansen Odin Enroute Guide Pant

It would seem that Norwegians, quite like our American cousins, have difficulty with the word 'trousers'. That is why the Odin Enroute Guide “Pant” are so called. Anyway, surely it's 'pants'? Despite our expected British confusion, the Odin Enroute 'trousers' would be an excellent buddy for your new Helly Hansen Enroute Half Zip Lifa Flow that you just bought.

Waterproof, stretchy, yet also comfortable and breathable, we're not sure we've ever before found a more suitable pair of pan... ahem, trousers... to go cycling in. Although much snugger than most work-out clothing we'd normally wear, the Odin Enroute Guide Pant features zip-opening flare-like trouser legs, hand pockets, a thigh pocket, and an adjustable waist. Fastening the zips by the ankles is a bit like having automatic bicycle clips to keep your trousers clear of the gears. Now that's clever thinking.


Visit shop.hellyhansen.com/gb

Teko Hiking Merino Socks

Down to your tootsies now, and these socks from Teko are the bee's... feet. Teko make awesome tough-wearing socks designed for hikers and long-distance walkers, but we've so far tested them only during a long weekend dashing around London. Merino wool is often called a wonder material by clothing makers, but when it comes to socks it really is worth it. The wool pulls moisture away from your body and also helps to keep foot odour at bay as it is naturally anti-microbial.

Comfortable on, even after a full day of pounding the pavement (thanks in no small part to the cushioning they offer your plates of meat), the Teko socks were a very welcome addition to our day bag.


Helly Hansen Ahiga 2 Shoes

Once again the language barrier might have to be carefully traversed when reviewing this fine pair of 'sneakers', but its one we do so happily due to how damn lovely they are. The Ahiga 2 from Helly are a versatile 'every-day' kind of trainer that can either be pulled on to shoot over to the nearest coffee shop, or applied carefully to go out for a quick jog.

The upper section is constructed from a breathable mesh which is quick to dry (be it from sweat or a spilt double shot mocha), while the sole is rubber which gives plenty of grip while retaining a great deal of flexibility. The Ahiga 2 are available in three colour choices; all three of which look as if they could happily fit in at the gym, the local book shop, of your friend's wedding. If you don't like them very much.


Anatom Q1 Braemar Mens Ultralight Walking Shoe

And finally, staying on your feet ,we have one last pair of shoes to keep you safe and dry this spring. The Braemer walking shoes, quite like the more informal effort from Helly Hansen above, are extremely versatile and can be used in a number of sceneries. Sure, if you're planning a hike up the side of grassy hill, these are great; the waterproof leather and tri.ariaTM Membrane System will keep your feet warm and dry all the live-long day.

Meanwhile, either after you've returned from the hike, or indeed if you never bothered in the first place, these are excellent urban exploration shoes. They are as comfortable and as supportive as boots, but with the reduced profile and weight of a pair of shoes. You can wear them just as (relatively) smart shoes, knowing that, unlike with normal, thinner and less well insulated footwear, you're ready for anything.


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