As part of my continuing series on Northeast-based gear companies, I wanted to highlight Wild Things. Based in North Conway, N.H., this small operation has been producing top-of-the-line clothing, packs, and gear for technical mountaineering and cold-weather adventure since 1981. Such luminaries as Arctic explorer Will Steger and legendary alpinist Mark Twight, along with many more serious cold-weather and mountain explorers and guides, use Wild Things equipment on their expeditions.
Wild Things works in cooperation with local guides, international explorers, and the U.S. military (Wild Things makes the parka and trousers for the Army's Extended Cold Weather system) to develop and field test equipment. They also manufacture all of their gear in the United States.
I've highlighted some of the more eye-catching pieces of Wild Things gear below, or at least the products I really wish were in my gear locker! Next time you're headed up to the Whites, check out Wild Things gear first-hand at their headquarters and retail store in downtown North Conway. (Here's a map.) Their equipment isn't cheap, but you can rest assured that it's designed to withstand the most severe conditions and abuse in the world.
Spectra Andinista An ultralight technical mountaineering pack (3 pounds, 9 ounces) built from indestructible Spectra fabric. Very cool though spendy ($650); a nylon version is also available (3 pounds, 15 ounces; $360). The Andinista was one of the first products Wild Things produced and has been around for more than two decades as one of alpine mountaineering's go-to packs.
eVent Hardshell Line For their line of waterproof-breathable shells, Wild Things uses eVent, one of the most breathable waterproof fabrics on the market (check out my June 22 post). I am particularly intrigued by their Superlight Alpinist Jacket (16 ounces; $275) and Pants (13 ounces, $240).
Primaloft Insulation Line For their insulated clothing, Wild Things uses Primaloft, an ultra-light, ultra-warm, and ultra-compressible synthetic insulation that handles moisture extremely well (much better than down on any extended cold-weather adventure). I drool over their Nevado Jacket (1 pound, 8 ounces; $250)
PowerStretch Hoody I swear by PowerStretch, a deliciously warm and snug-fitting baselayer fabric that stretches in four directions to give you a great fit for maximum warmth and mobility. It's my go-to base layer for most adventures (and what I wear around town day-to-day under my pants in winter). But none of my PowerStretch tops have a hood, which would be a fabulous addition (10 ounces; $100).
“Equipped” is an AMC Outdoors blog, written by Matt Heid.