When I was 11, my family bought a rattletrap cabin and 2.5 areas in the woods of Pennsylvania — at auction, for just $3,300. The price should give you a clue how much work was involved making the place even remotely livable, and most of the pictures we have of that era show my dad leaning on a shovel, wielding a pickaxe, or pushing a wheelbarrow, almost invariably wearing a heavy flannel shirt. I had one, too, and it made me feel all grownup, though at 11 I would have preferred a bit less axe-wielding and a lot more running through the woods.
Of course, back then we just called them shirts, heavy-duty shirts, but today they’re known as shirt jackets and that’s what Edgevale calls theirs, too. The North Coast shirt jacket is the modern embodiment of those flannel, spring-and-fall workshirts, minus the itch of wool against your neck. Edgevale’s interpretation melds softshell, fleece, and wool to create a top that sheds water, insulates against stiff March breezes, and dries quickly if you overwhelm it on a hike.
The structure is fitted and contemporary, but that snug embrace is tempered by four-way stretch that allows the California-made North Coast to move with you, not against you. The fibers, though, aren’t stretchy to Gumbian proportions — there’s enough to allow freedom, but not so much to run amok. In other words, if you’re going to chop wood in it, you might want to size up, but for hiking and more casual activities, true to size is the way to go.
$189 • BUY
Read more from Steve Casimiro at his blog, Adventure Journal.