Northwest Coast Clothing

One of the hardest things about trying to enjoy any recreational activity around the Northwest Coast is the inconsistency of weather that we have. While rain is extremely common, so is wind, cold, heat, sun, snow, and fog. Sometimes many of these conditions occur at the same time. It’s not uncommon to be standing in warm sunshine in the middle of a downpour, or hiking in a clear, sunny, but totally freezing January day. Along the Northwest Coast, fog is a common companion throughout the entire year.

Many companies have capitalizes on our need for unique clothing. Columbia Sportwear and REI are some examples of companies that make uniquely Northwest Coast clothing. The prevalence of fanatic fans of these brands is a testament to their quality.

DIY camping gear

This is my typical DIY camping gear and preferred Northwest Coast clothing. Rain, shine, sleet, or snow; I’m ready for anything.

DIY Camping Gear

However, these top-of-line clothing brands carry a high price tag. It is possible though to combine clothing frequently found at second hand camping gear stores to make your own DIY camping gear.

Everyone can agree that it’s good to have good gear. The right camping gear can make the difference between suffering in misery and the joyous exuberance of shouting to mother nature to ‘Bring it on!’

Those with a limited budget, but a keen eye, may notice that expensive northwest coast gear is often a combination of different clothing materials – such as a polar fleece lining in a polyester jacket. These jackets are highly desirable and often prohibitively expensive. However, a polyester jacket and a polar fleece shirt by themselves are common items at stores that sell second hand camping gear and can be combined to achieve the exact same effect.

By combining articles of simple clothing, the effect can often result in better performance than the designer clothing. Not only does this save a lot of money, it is much easier to fix and replace than the more complicated clothing. This can be particularly useful to obtain outdoor clothing for children, as they grow out of the clothes so fast.

Best Hiking Pants

For instance, my preferred DIY camping gear outfit can be seen in the pictures included with this post. I often wear polar fleece pants under a favorite pair of polyester cargo pants. This combination makes the best hiking pants for the northwest coast, in my opinion. These cargo pants have the added feature of zippers on the sleeves to convert them to shorts. Talk about truly northwest clothing. I am prepared for cold, wind, and hot weather with this awesome combo.

Polar fleece is a wonderful material for two reasons. First, it’s extremely warm but breathes easily. This means it’s not uncomfortable to wear in warm weather if you have a nice breeze. The second reason I love polar fleece is that it keeps a body warm even if it’s soaking wet. If you have to sit down on a wet chair or want to take a hike in the rain, this is by far the preferred material.

The Achilles heal of polar fleece is that it provides no resistance to the wind. On a windy day, this material will provide scant protection. In contrast, polyester in an inexpensive clothing material that provides excellent resistance to wind, but is not very warm and does not breath at all. If coated with a repellent, it can provide a decent water barrier. When combined, they create awesome DIY camping gear. A polyester outer layer provides wind protection while a polar fleece under layer provides warmth and breathability: the best hiking pants.

what is polypropylene fabric

Here is my DIY camping gear laid out. The polyfleece and polyester combine to make the best hiking pants. The polypropylene fabric and polar fleece shirts keep me warm in the rain.

What is Polypropylene Fabric?

To get an amazing trifecta of clothing technology, the final ingredient is polypropylene fabric. I first learned about this material when training as a raft guide. It’s molecular structure wicks water away from the body to the surface of the cloth. In this way, it dries extremely quickly and the material provides insulation from the skin against the cooling effect of the water evaporation.

When polypropelene is used as an undergarment under polar fleece, it allows water to be quickly evaporated. The combination of materials ensures that you will stay warm no matter how much rain falls on you. Combines with a polester outer garment, it ensure you will stay warm even in a harsh wind. The perfect DIY Northwest Coast clothing.

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One Response to “Northwest Coast Clothing”
  1. Geof L says:

    You said it! Layers is everything. Although we now live in Florida, we spend most summers in the Pac NW primative camping. One thing you also need to mention is the bulk and weight savings by layering like this along with giving you the option of switching around clothes so you do not look like you only have one shirt for an entire week camp trip! Our favorite is polypropylene shirts. We wear them like undershirts since they wick sweat away so well and can carry a few (luggage concerns for airplane trip)since they are so lightweight. A while back we bought a complete camping gear outfit from a company called and they helped modify thier items to our specific needs for warm FL winters and subalpine WA summers. They were the ones that told us about the diversity you can now find w/ polypropylene and I even wear the material in polo-type shirts almost daily.

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