Let’s face it, Gilt ain’t for everybody, but damn if they didn’t pioneer one cool-ass way to shop. The “members-only” limited time online sales model has given rise to countless imitators, but until recently few have targeted the average joe who enjoys his masculinity but finer things too. Enter Huckberry, Onward Reserve, The Clymb, and The Breakroom.
Huckberry is my handsdown favorite so far. The site is clean, functional, and the product is very tastefully edited, weekly “editions” include apparel, gear and travel stuff for the active guy or gal with a strong emphasis on handmade, crafted objects from mostly American makers. Carrying unique gear like Ka-bar knives, J.L. Lawson hand-forged pieces, and Ball and Buck Dopp Kits, the San Francisco-based Huckberry is killing it. Their blog needs stronger editorial–less “we found it on the interwebs”–but will tighten in time. Next-up for them, their own-brand label kicks-off with the perfect ball-cap.
Atlanta-based Onward Reserve appears to be the next generation of the Five Mile Club and is unabashedly gentile and monied, bringing the prep flavor to your wardrobe. My guess is you’re reading Garden & Gun, you’ll love their Martin Dingman loafers, Southern Proper bowties and Smathers & Branson needlepoint caps and belts. Mainstays, Barbour, Filson and Ray-ban are also found in their online shop but carefully edited to appeal to the southern gentleman. The college-gear is less interesting but appropriate for their target audience. Their blog, The Gazette, has interesting backstories behind the brands.
The Clymb is for the seasoned sportsman and sportswoman who really knows their gear, be it kayaking, climbing or camping. The Portland, Oregon-based company tackles well-known skate brands like Element, but goes deep with paddle gear from Sanborn and knives and assorted tools from SOG, and Tool Logic. You’ll also find Fjallraven, Columbia and Jansport, but the selection doesn’t feel like overstock, seconds or remainders–its quality and curated. Look for their new blog “Adventures” coming soon.
This last one is a real gem. Seems Danner has started their own private sale site as part of their e-commerce strategy called The Breakroom. Just last week they were featuring their infamous Stumptown boots HALF-OFF if you had the right size feet. While highly targeted and singularly focused, it makes sense for this increasingly sartorial brand. I think we’re going to see more brands go this route in the future.
OK, technically I was half-stepping and I was putting off renewing my TU membership for month after month. Finally after a few letters, they threw in the towel and offered me both Season 1 and 2 of TU’s seminal fly fishing and conservation series, On the Rise, if I renewed. Not bad. I recalled that I might have seen an episode or two on the Outdoor Channel late one night, but the show didn’t quite grab me. However, as I sat at home packing for the move to DC, day after day, I finally unwrapped the DVD and glanced at the back…hmmm, that’s a lot of episodes, and that’s a lot of rivers too. I figured, well, I didn’t have to pay close attention, just throw on the DVDs in the background, zone in and out, keep packing.
Whoa was I wrong. I quickly became mesmerized as Frank Smethhurst (the guru from Scott Fly Rods, Boulder Boatworks, Running Down the Man (think Roosterfish + Baja) and the uber-cool DRIFT and EASTERN RISES) crossed state after state to fish storied waters and learn about TU’s efforts to protect them. I couldn’t take my eyes or ears off the fishing, the river, including Frank’s quest for a cutthroat slam, redemption on the Henry’s Fork, and even lesser known rivers like the Holston or Cleveland’s freshwater steelhead. The series was incredible, and now I find out On the Rise is up to its fourth season. Nice! oh wait, its on the Sportsman Channel now…which I don’t get in DC. Crap! That’s TWICE I’ve been foiled..first it was Rinella’s MEAT EATER, now its On the Rise.
I can’t find any high-quality clips featuring Frank from seasons 1 and 2, but here’s a good one with Frank on the Animas River and TU’s Headwaters Project, just ignore the crappy graphics upfront.
Here’s a clip from season 3 with the latest host, Montana outfitter, Jed Fiebelkorn. You can order seasons 1 and 2 from TU and do your soul and nature some good right here.
**UPDATE**I doublechecked and I do indeed have the Sportsman Channel here in DC. Quite psyched.