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Techwear Challenge: Hiking | Part 1


Since a few weeks i am participating in a techwear themed discord group. In this group, we have a non-public conversation about techwear and related stuff. Since there are only people who have  a profound interest in techwear, we have some activities in DIYing and putting together fits, as well as meetups. In this blog post I will talk about my participation in an outfit challenge.  In the next part I will take a look on some other participants’ outfits and give my humble opinion on them.

One of the users, Xeoniq, who is a thoughtful and knowledgeable individual on these channels, gives us challenges from time to time. These will … require us to put together fits in unusual ways, challenging our creativity and creating new, interesting point of views on the techwear fashion style.

Outfit Challenge: Hiking

Last month’s challenge was hiking themed. Techwear is often associated trousers, which is often associated with an urban environment and a clean, minimalistic aesthetic, as well as certain high-fashion brands like acronym. Of course techwear is much more, since everything on a spectrum from cotton cargo pants to  a military-grade shell made from gore-tex pro can be techwear.

In the Hiking challenge, we had to put together outfits based on what we could wear when going out for a hike. Of course not only urban influences, but also inspiration from, let’s say, military or eastern references, were welcome – the whole point of these challenges is to boost our creativity and show the diversity, range of personal styles and interpretations of this fashion style, offering different viewpoints on the subject. FIY: the challenges’ participants are not competing against each other. Instead, each one of us is challenged against (or should i say for ?) himself, challenging the routines and thoughtpatterns of old outfits, creating a new, unique point of view and creating the best versions of ourselves – fashion wise. Of course, we all are in our own thought-bubbles, but seeing different interpretations freshens things up a great deal.

Outfit: sewmuchblack

Shell: I only own one shell that really fits, which is my Icetech Icepeak softshell. This was my outer layer, giving me protection against rain if needed. Have to say, though, i probably should re-apply some DWR coating in the future, since it is not really water-resistant anymore. It is a cheap shell (cost me about 50 €) so I dont expect much from it. Still offers the best protection on a fitting garment that I own.

Midlayer: I wore a longsleeved hoodie i bought from tkmaxx. It has no great moisture wicking properties, but served mainly as a heat-insulating midlayer. Pretty thin, so it fitted the mild autumn environment I faced when hiking in a nearby forest with my girlfriend. I have elongated the sleeves with some elastic tubing, since they were too short from the get go.

Baselayer: I wore a moisture wicking synthetic tshirt, also copped from tkmaxx. On my lower half I wore some synthetic moisture wicking compression underwear from underarmour. Both of these baselayer garments are worn oftentimes when I do sports, so I can say they perform well in active conditions.

Pants: This is my second pair of Cargo pants that I altered (seee my first Cargo shorts blog post for a pre-DIY picture). I will do a blog post about them in one of the next diy oriented blog entries.

Shoes: Here i wear my newest addition to my techwear arsenal: Vibram Five Fingers Trek Ascend Insulated. These are minimalist barefoot shoes, have a 4 mm thin outsole from vibram and are made from a cordura upper and insulated with wool. I have great feet flexibility in them, the outsole gives me excellent grip on the ground, and walking with them on grass or earth is a real joy.

Bag: this is an old military-style messenger bag, made probably from cotton. Not weather-resistant, and also not the best quality. But its the only messenger bag I have at the moment and a backpack would have been overkill for this short trip.

Thoughts about my fit

The cargo trouser’s pants were neccesary in this case, since i carried my Nike Free as backup shoes in addition to a water bottle and some food in my bag. I also carried some additional items like my girlfriend’s phone and keys from time to time, added to some gloves and a scarf just in case. So I had to use my cargo pockets in addition to the bag, which I really like – i see no use in cargo pants alone, i always want to use the pockets as much as possible. Of course this can also be having these pockets as a backup.

I have great mobility in all of these garments, which is my primary goal when moving around – nothing should hinder me from climbing up a tree, for example.

As you can see in this photo, I have a great deal of balance and control over my movements with these shoes, which make them perfect for wandering around in my opinion. They can get dirty, are washable and mildly weather-resistant, while also being relatively fast-drying.

Colour-wise I think more earth- and plant-based tones could have worked better here. Regarding techwear, I only have these garments, and it shows. Adding some military inspirations into a techwear fit which is outdoor oriented would be my choice in the future, and I would try to get a bit more olive and earth-tones into this fit. Maybe even some orange, since it fits to the fall weather and foliage on the ground. But for my first techwear challenge I did well, IMO. Next challenge I will maybe have a greater range of garments to choose from – we will see.