It’s that time of the year again, Brayden. The leaves will soon crunch, and the outdoorsy kids will attain Level 9 Enlightenment in the crisp fall air. They’ve suckled the teat of the Nalgene all summer, waiting oh-so-patiently for the temps to dip below 60 degrees to slip into that fleece vest like a newborn baby snake.
We have a category for this aesthetic, the marriage of 90s streetwear and campsite utilitarianism: gorpcore.
Gorpcore knows no season, but damn does it thrive in fall—that’s when the aesthetic’s mascot, the North Face jacket/puffer, starts to emerge. The energy is kind of normcore-takes-a-hike, explained The Cut in 2017, when they first coined the term in a nod to the trail mix acronym, “Good Ol’ Raisins and Peanuts.”
So, how do you know if someone’s gorpcore? Well, the aesthetic is built around an outdoorsy, campfire-gathering persona. Just follow the Bob’s Red Mill Oats from the pantry all the way to the shoe rack (Tevas? Salomons? that's gorp) and sniff out the elevated, Everyday Carry outdoor accessories in their backpack from urban lumberjack retailer Huckberry. Gorpcore bros will wear Patagonia to brunch, bring Pendleton to the beach, and peel off layers of Uniqlo Heattech while making out with their Tinder date.
Therein lies Gorpcore’s strength. You can style it to feel functional, streetwear-adjacent (but not at those high streetwear prices), or granola-centric. It can take you from the hike, to the bike, to the professional function and beyond, all while swaddling you away from the elements. But please note: Gorpcore is *not* an extension of Finance Bro Fleece Fall:
Gorpcore gets a little weirder, in the best way. It’s ripe for color-blocking, as evidenced by A$AP Rocky and Frank Ocean’s bold puffers at fashion weeks past. It’s into nature, but not totally unplugged, with hiking boots that are just as at home on city streets and they are in the Subaru. You can bet those gorpcore lads are getting their Bitcoin on (a guy friend once told me “crypto is like astrology for straight dudes,” and it has haunted me ever since). For all of that tie dye and corduroy, gorpcore's essence is self-aware, and certainly no campfire accident.
Given our collective cultural itch to get outdoors during the pandemic, this might just be the aesthetic’s fiercest fall yet. So get the Aeropress pumped, and let’s run through some best practices for building your gorpcore fit, from head to toe...
This is quintessential, man. If there’s one addition you must make to your life to be a gorp lord, it should be in the addition of a choice jacket of sorts. The puffer, especially by classic outdoor brands like The North Face and Columbia, are going to give you solid insulation and pared-down design, and there are also plenty of budget fits out there that fit the bill.
Perhaps it’s not cold enough where you live to invest in a full-on puffer, or maybe just want to go even deeper in the gorpcore layering with a vest. In that case, go for the sleeveless version of that North Face jacket, or dig into some Patagonia fleece and Carhartt workwear goodness.
Out of all the outdoor brands, Arc’teryx has the horniest energy. Can’t explain why. Just submit to it, and cop their cult red anorak—or pick up some other, classic anoraks by brands like The North Face and L.L. Bean. As the saying goes, “You can never have too many anoraks."
You are a layer cake
Moving to the East Coast from somewhere warm? You’re going to need a few new essentials, including some Heattech gear by Uniqlo and some Thermajohns to peel off by the radiator.
Oh, you’ve got gear
Gear on gear on gear, bro. You Nalgene is your new best friend, and your Aeropress is always ready for a last-minute jaunt upstate. Again, peep the Everyday Carry section of Huckberry for ~elevated~ outdoor accessories you will absolutely need, like a cozy beanie and other accoutrements that will bring you to Brawny Man levels of gorp, such as this Hell’s Canyon knife.
There will be Tevas, suede Nikes, and plenty of extra-warm socks in the mudroom—but if they’re reaaaally gorpcore, there will be a pair or four of Salomon sneakers and hiking boots, and Hoka or Timberland thrown in for old school posterity.
Welp, see you on the trail. Or at least in line for a ride on the Bootmobile.
The Rec Room staff independently selected all of the stuff featured in this story.