A few years ago, I profiled Bay Area naturalist/artist/author Obi Kaufmann for our print publication. We went for a hike. I wore a synthetic shirt, synthetic jacket, and synthetic shorts. Kaufmann wore denim pants, leather boots, a wool shirt, and a felt hat. He talked about how he feels like natural fibers are more durable, ultimately more comfortable, and far more sustainable than synthetics. I thought not for me, and I kinda moved on.
In recent years, I've come around to Kaufmann's thinking. With the arrival of two little kids, my backpacking trips have turned into truck camping trips. At first, I packed and wore all the same stuff I did when backpacking: a whole lotta down, nylon, and polyester. Then I realized: Hey, I don't need to worry about weight so much. Why don't I just wear durable denim and wool?
That's what this jacket, the Patagonia Iron Forge Hemp Canvas Jacket, is all about. It's replaced the down jackets I'd typically bring when vehicle camping. It's more durable than a down puffy, very comfortable, quiet, and I don't mind abusing it. Unlike down-filled synthetics, it won't easily rip or burn or abrade to the point of requiring duct tape.
I wear it at home in my unheated garage when doing bike or surfboard repairs, to clean gutters or do yard work, and when camping. And I will use it for all those things 30 years from now.
Get yours right here:
Patagonia also makes a similar, non-hooded jacket called the Iron Forge Hemp Canvas Ranch Jacket.
Words by Justin Housman / Video: Jackson Casimiro