Outdoor Apparel

Technical Outerwear | Yoga | Running | Casual Wear

Our apparel department is stocked with the best brands from around the world. We have technical outerwear, active-wear, and casual clothing for men, women, and children. We can outfit you for just about every adventurous activity that you have planned. We also carry many styles of casual clothing from top brands like Patagonia, Arc'Teryx, and The North Face. Come in today and see what we have to offer.

Layer Up

10/01/2017


Whether you are skiing, mountaineering, or just venturing outside on a winter day, it's important to layer properly and wear the right fabrics to keep you dry and comfortable. You never know when you may need to shed a layer (or add one!), and it's very important to have that option. Furthermore, the fabrics that you choose to wear have a huge impact on your comfort and safety, especially if you will be facing the elements. Read on to learn about some of the products we recommend for staying comfortable throughout all the conditions of the coming season.


Base Layer
While we love a good cotton shirt, it is never a good idea to wear this material when trying to stay warm. Cotton holds moisture to your skin and will end up making you colder. Wool and synthetics make the best base layers. Merino wool is breathable and dry and will hold up to a third its weight in moisture before it even starts to feel wet. Wool is also odor resistant, and unlike the itchy wool of the past, merino wool is soft and comfortable against your skin. Synthetics, such as polypropylene and nylon, are specially designed to be moisture wicking, fast drying, and to retain heat.

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Base Layer: Patagonia Capilene MW Zip Neck
Vest: The North Face Thermoball Vest
Insulated jacket: Salomon Brilliant Jacket


Mid-Layers
Mid-layers are made from a wide variety of different materials. Many fleece pieces are great as mid-layers--check out our favorite fleeces and see which ones we recommend for skiing. Fleece, down or synthetic insulation will trap your body heat from escaping into the cold air around you. Fleece and synthetic insulated jackets have the added benefit of keeping you warm even if they get wet, while down has the advantage of being super packable and light. The best part about mid-layers is how versatile they are, as they can also be used as light outerwear in the fall or on warmer winter days.

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Base Layer: Smartwool NTS Mid 250 Crew LA
Mid-Layer: Patagonia R3 Hoody
Insulated Jacket: Obermeyer Leighton Jacket


Shells
A hard shell will be windproof and waterproof, acting as an important layering piece and allowing you to dress for the temperature underneath and utilize the shell mainly as protection against the weather. Shells are an important layering piece because you can dress for the temperature underneath and then utilize the shell mainly as protection against the weather. Goretex is the top name-brand material used by our brands in waterproofing; it's a durable membrane that can adhere to a fabric to make it wind- and waterproof.

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Base Layer: Icebreaker Oasis LS Crew
Mid-Layer: Patagonia Nano-Air Hoodie
Shell: Arc'teryx Tantalus Jacket



Insulated Jackets
Many ski jackets and general winter coats are insulated, offering a ton of warmth all on their own. They can be worn with just a base layer underneath, or a base and mid-layer for additional warmth and layering options. Lots of insulsted jackets are waterproof. Insulated coats are a combination of a mid-layer and shell together. While they aren't as versatile in temperature ranges as layering with a mid-layer and shell, it is very easy to grab only one coat and stay warm and dry on your winter outing.   

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Base layer: Hot Chilly's MEC Crew Neck
Vest: Ibex Shak Vest
Insulated jacket: Bogner Fire+Ice Lela-D Jacket



Vests
Sometimes a base layer can be enough to wear underneath your insulated jacket, but other times you'll feel that you need a little something extra without adding an entire mid-layer to the mix. This is where vests come in, allowing you to keep your core nice and warm without adding too much extra bulk.

 

 

What Makes Merino Wool Naturally Amazing

11/02/2016

Merino wool is one of our favorite things here at Outdoor Sports Center.  From head to toe it is one of the most effective fabrics for outdoor endeavors year round. It has all the benefits of synthetics with out the downsides.

Synthetics are great; they are easy to take care of, they don't itch, and they perform well. Unfortunately, they don't insulate nearly as well as merino wool, and they don't deal with moisture as well, they are flammable and petroleum-based, and they start to stink quickly.

merino_white

Merino, on the other hand, has all the benefits of traditional wool and the benefits that synthetics have. It's soft and comfy; it does not itch at all unlike the wool we usually think of when people talk about wool, it breathes instead of just wicking like synthetics, and it can go multiple wears without odor. Best of all it keeps you warm in the cold weather and cool in the hot weather; just like nature intended.

merino_shorn

We have merino wool pieces to keep you warm and cozy, or cool and comfortable, from head to toe.  So come in and check out merino wool brands like SmartWool, Icebreaker, FITS Sock, and Patagonia. We'll show you why we believe merino wool is Mother Nature's miracle fiber, and perfect for all your outdoor endeavors.

 merino_flock

 

 

 

Everything You Need to Know About Gore-Tex

11/01/2016

Gore-Tex is one of the most effective waterproof membranes on the market and was actually the first truely waterproof and breathable fabric when the first Gore-Tex jacket came out in 1977. To this day, it is a household name in the outdoor industry and for good reason. Gore-Tex continues to be a leading supplier of innovative, waterproof/breathable membranes that work extremely well. 

 

What is Gore-Tex

Gore-Tex is a fabric made up of multiple layers designed to work together to keep you dry while offering good breathability so you don't overheat. Gore-Tex fabrics are made by laminating a ePTFE (expanded Polytetrafluoroethylene) membrane to a high-performance face fabric. Only the membrane is actually made by W.L. Gore, not the face fabrics. W.L. Gore has very high standards; any textile is subject to an array of tests before they decide if it is good enough. W.L. Gore does all bonding of the membranes and linings to the face fabrics.

Membrane_Comparison

There are three different types of Gore-Tex fabrics: Gore-Tex Pro, Gore-Tex Active, and Gore-Tex. Garments engineered with Gore-Tex Pro fabrics are built for maximized ruggedness and are ideal for extreme and extended use. Garments engineered with Gore-Tex Active fabrics are built for extreme breathability and are ideal for highly aerobic, done-in-a-day activities. Garments engineered with Gore-Tex fabric are durably waterproof and windproof, combined with optimized breathability-enduring products that maximize protection and comfort for the wearer.

Multiple fabrics and construction methods include insulated, non-insulated, 2-Layer, 3-Layer, and Z-Liner. 2-Layer Construction is deal for a wide range of outdoor activities, with this construction a Gore-Tex membrane is bonded to the outer fabric only. This construction can be combined with insulation, keeping the wearer dry and warm. Gore-Tex Pro and Gore-Tex Active use a 3-layer construction, unlike the 2-layer construction, this construction bonds the Gore-Tex membrane to both the outer fabric and the inner lining. The benefit: no movement between the layers, which means less wear and tear, and enhanced durability.

Even if two jackets use the same type of Gore membrane and liner, manufacturers get to choose from different face fabrics. The face fabric, as the outermost layer of a hardshell garment, plays a fundamental role in its overall performance, specifically in its durability, breathability and water shedding. Different deniers, intricate weaves, resilient yarns, and advanced DWR treatments drastically increase the face fabric's price. This is one of many reasons why hardshells from Arc'teryx, like the Alpha SV, are more expensive than hardshells like the L.L. Bean Ascent even though both use the Gore-Tex Pro membrane. 

Membrane_Comparison2

The Membrane

The extremely thin ePTFE membrane is the heart of Gore-Tex fabrics and what makes it durably waterproof, windproof, and breathable. One square inch of the membrane has over 9 billion pores. The amazing part is that these pores are actually 20,000 times smaller than a water droplet, but 700 times larger that a water vapor molecule. That is what makes the Gore-Tex membrane functionally waterproof, while at the same time allowing perspiration to escape from the inside. All Gore-Tex membranes except for Gore-Tex Pro have an oleophobic (oil-hating) later of very thin Polyurethane on the inside to protect the pores from sweat and body oils that can clog them. Unlike all other Gore-Tex membranes, Gore-Tex Pro uses a 100% ePTFE membrane with two thin layers of ePTFE laminate sandwiching a very thin band of ePTFE with a different microstructure instead of the PU layer and offers up to 28% more breathability because of it.

Membrane_Microscope

Seam Sealing

Seams are necessary when building Gore-Tex garments, which is unfortunate because they compromise the waterproofness of the fabric. For a garment to be waterproof it must be entirely sealed. That's why for durable waterproofness Gore-Tex products rely on Gore-Seam tape applied by specially trained manufacturers in certified factories. This is done on W.L. Gore's proprietary seam sealing machinery, and random samples have to be given to W.L. Gore for testing throughout a product's production run. 

Gore-Tex Product Testing

Another thing that differentiates Gore-Tex from its competition is the company's role in the design and construction of every garment that bares its name. Any company that uses Gore-Tex is required to use W.L. Gore-certified factories and machinery. The fabric maker is also closely involved in the design and production processes. Every product must adhere to specific, often controlling, standards set by W.L. Gore. If a company wants to make jacket with Gore-Tex they have to adhere to every step of the process. W.L. Gore first sends the company material samples and the company designs and assembles the jacket. Then W.L. Gore has to approve the jackets style. They analyzes things like zippers, seam tape, hood design, wrist closures, etc. (For example, all Active Shell products must have a trim fit, few pockets or mesh lined pockets, as little seam tape as possible, and must weigh under 14 oz.) After style approval Gore subjects the jacket to rigorous water resistance, wind resistance, and durability testing.

Martindale_Test

Before any new Gore-Tex garment style is put into production it must pass the Gore lab style approval testing. This sophisticated outerwear testing facility is designed to simulate a variety of rain conditions. Using specially engineered rain nozzles strategically positioned in the chamber, we are able to test a garment's waterproof design in conditions that range from light drizzle to wind-driven rain. Then in the Martindale Test, wool or sandpaper is used to rub the fabric over and over again with considerable pressure. Depending on how tough the fabric needs to be, this vigorous rubbing can continue non-stop for hours … or even days. Then in the Cold Flex Test, Gore-Tex fabrics are squashed and stretched repeatedly in extreme temperatures for hours on end. The fabrics must survive this punishing test and emerge still durably waterproof. If at any point the product doesn't hold up to the high Gore-Tex standards, it is sent back to the drawing board. If the jacket meets all qualifications, Gore gives the go-ahead for production.  This incredibly costly and time consuming system has a dramatic end result for the consumer: there are no bad Gore-Tex products.

Rain_Room

Guaranteed to Keep You Dry

On top of all that, all Gore-Tex products come with an unconditional lifetime guarantee. If you are not completely satisfied with the waterproofness, windproofness, or breathability of your Gore-Tex product, then Gore-Tex will repair it, replace it, or refund your purchase price. No matter which manufacturer makes the product, if it has the Gore-Tex label on it, it is certified to be durably waterproof, windproof and breathable for its intended use. No other waterproof breathable manufacturer offers the same warranty.

DWR 

Gear for Dogs

10/11/2016

Our area is filled with great places to enjoy the outdoors with your dog.. We've compiled a list of local parks, trails and beaches that are animal-friendly to go explore! Be prepared and ensure your dogs safety with the best gear from Ruffwear.

 

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Cranbury Park - This park is right around the corner from our store, and offers a series of hiking trails that are great for hiking with the whole family. They aren't too difficult, but the terrain is varied enough to be interesting and fun. Leashes are not required at Cranbury Park, but you must have one on hand just in case. For your pup, the Cloud Chaser coat is the perfect little shirt for staying out in all weather conditions. It's waterproof, windproof, and insulated to maintain core body temperature, with four-way stretch for ease of movement.

 

Running Safety for All

leash

NRVT - The Norwalk River Valley Trail is shrouded in trees, and away from the road. Eventually this trail will stretch all the way from Norwalk to Danbury, but the shorter finished sections are perfect for a nice jog with your pooch. The NRVT is a wide gravel path that is generally flat, and leashed dogs are more than welcome! We recommend using get a Ruffwear Roamer Leash, which sits comfortably around your waist with a stretch webbing to keep your arm safe and prevent your dog from pulling . It is also important to bring water, to keep you both hydrated when running. Carrying a handheld bottle like the Quickdraw Plus by Nathan will hold enough water for you and your dog, and it straps comfortably around your hand for easy sipping. Carry this water bottle in your alternate hand from where your dog is so you can quickly grab the lease in case another dog comes along the trail.

 

Water Dogs

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All Fairfield and Westport beaches are open to dogs starting October 1st till March 31st, and town beach stickers are not required during this time. Your dog will love darting across the sand and splashing in the shallow water! Leashes are required at most beaches, but at Jennings Beach in Fairfield you can let your pup roam free off the leash. Make sure your dog stays hydrated when he's running around, especially at the beach where he will likely lap up some salt water. Bring a collapsible bowl, such as the Ruffwear Bivy Bowl. They fold down flat for easy storage and can be filled up whenever your dog needs a break and a nice cold drink. For you, we recommend always bringing a windbreaker to the beach. It tends to be considerably more windy there than the rest of town, and the Atom LT from Arc'teryx is a great choice to help you stay warm. While most windbreakers are just a shell without much warmth, this jacket is insulated and will be your go-to jacket from early fall into the winter.

 

Carry All the Essentials

backpack
Once your pup is comfortable going on long walks, consider a doggie backpack to carry some of the supplies you both need. The Approach Pack by Ruffwear offers comfortable weight distribution and five points of adjustment for a customizable fit. Of course, it is important to transition your dog into carrying any weight at all. Start by having him wear the pack without anything in it, and go for a hike. If he likes it, start small by putting only little things in it. Pretty soon your pup will be able to carry his own collapsible bowl and first aid kit!! Until then, you can carry your dog's things on your back with you. A great pack for a long day hike is the North Face Angstrom. You can store everything you'll need for the day, from extra water bottles to extra layers, but the pack itself is light, weighing in at just 2 pounds. It includes a hip belt for comfortable carrying, multiple pockets to keep your gear organized, and is compatible with a hydration reservoir.

 

 

Spring Rain Coats

03/18/2016


Rising temperatures mean spending as much time as possible outside, but as always, no spring season is complete without its fair share of rainy days! We aren't going to let a little rain stop us from having fun outside, so having the right raincoat is key. We carry a wide variety of rain jackets, and it can be daunting to decide which one is right for you. With a wide range of prices, technology, and features, we've broken it down by what you'll be doing the most in the rain, and which raincoats will compliment your wet weather activities.

 

Just-In-Case Layer

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A super light jacket that you can carry with you anywhere is key; if the skies stay clear, it's not weighing you down, but it's right there when the rain starts falling. At only 6.6 ounces, the Houdini from Patagonia is coated to be highly water-resistant and folds up into it's own pocket with a gear loop, so you can hang it in an easy-to-reach place.

 

Everyday Protection 

everydayWhen you have to walk the dog in a downpour or run errands on a super wet day, it's important to have a highly waterproof layer that is up for any conditions you might encounter. The Precip from Marmot is an excellent do-all jacket, with a storm flap over the zipper and armpit zips to give you extra ventilation. A lighter, more durable option is the Fuse Form Dot Matrix from the North Face, which uses a new way of fusing different fabrics without seams to make them even more water-tight.

 

Keeping it Classy

dressy Maintaining a professional look with a raincoat on can be tough, so we recommend opting for a jacket that has a longer length, to appear more clean-cut and offer additional protection. The Codetta Coat from Arc'teryx has an above-average center back length of 32 inches and comes in neutral colors.

 

 Venturing Out

venture out When you are heading out on a long-term camping trip or backpacking adventure, you'll need a coat that is not only highly waterproof but offers above-average ease of motion. The Beta LT from Arc'teryx is a Goretex Pro shell so breathable that you don't even need pit zips, and articulated elbows keep the fabric from bunching up.

 

Kids' Raincoats

kids Every kid needs a good, protective rain coat so they can continue enjoying their time outside all throughout the rainy season. The Resolve Reflective from North Face, the Precip from Marmot and the Torrent Shell from Patagonia all come in boys' and girls' colors, with sizes from XS to XL, and include reflective features for added safety.

 

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