Wild Things of North Conway, New Hampshire

Part 21 in an ongoing series highlighting Northeast-based gear companies. Wild Things makes bomb-proof technical clothing and packs right here in the Northeast, including products worn regularly by mountaineers on the world's most challenging peaks, sled dog racers on the Iditarod Trail, and polar explorers facing some of the most extreme weather imaginable. (Check out the members of their sponsored Ambassador Team to see what I mean.)

After months of waiting, Wild Things recently announced its new product line for fall/winter 2012. The new line includes updates to three of the company's most popular and long-standing products.

The Andinista Pack is perhaps Wild Things' most iconic product. This is not a pack for casual users—it's designed for high-altitude technical ascents. As the product description says, "The combination of lightweight, durable materials and intelligent design has made the Wild Things Andinista climbing pack the premier, most sought-after alpine mountaineering pack in the world." Weighing in at 3 pounds, 8 ounces, the Andinista Pack ($360) expands out to 5,500 cubic inches of maximum capacity for serious load-hauling yet shrinks down to a slim 1,800 cubic inches for summit day. Ski slots, four haul points, two daisy chains, and ice tool attachment points allow you to lash on all the winter gear you need for any adventure. The ultra-durable "composite VX-21 fabric" is rated waterproof to 200 p.s.i.

The Alpinist Jacket (available in men's and women's) has been freshly updated. Lightweight (20 ounces), yet built for serious abuse, it features eVent fabric throughout for maximum breathability (including a lighter, more breathable laminate layer around the high-sweat torso area), extended pit zips (or "rib-zips" as Wild Things calls them) for maximum ventilation and mid-layer access, and a fully adjustable, helmet-compatible hood ($399).
The Wild Things Belay Jacket has been a cold-weather workhorse for years. This oversized, synthetic-fill (Primaloft) jacket is designed to go over top of all your layers during a belay on a winter climb or anytime you stop on a cold-weather excursion. The synthetic fill provides ample warmth even if the jacket becomes wet or damp from conditions or prolonged multi-day winter use (Wild Things is waiting to see whether the recent hype around waterproof down pans out or not). The Belay Jacket is also designed to be easy to use in the cold. Large Velcro tabs on the cuffs are easily adjustable even when wearing bulky gloves or mitts. A single one-hand pull hem drawcord quickly seals the waist. The capacious hood easily slips over a helmet. 2 pounds, 4 ounces; $249.

Wild Things makes other equipment as well, including an entire line of products for the military, known as WT Tactical. Wild Things also recently added a line of casual, rugged outdoor wear—Smith and Wesson Apparel—though this product line is made in China.

Wild Things operates a retail store on Highway 16 in North Conway--their clearance sales are worth watching for!

Support your Northeast gear companies! Here are the 20 I've profiled to date:
“Equipped” is an AMC Outdoors blog, written by Matt Heid.