Originally I wanted to start my reviews with individual pieces of gear from my quiver. However after seeing some MP chatter today about one of my favorite clothing and pack companies on the rebound, today we look at walking on the wild side.
Wild Things is a company founded on making functional clothing for climbing, nestled in North Conway NH with the infamous Mt Washington for a testing facility. This allowed them to build a reputation for high quality made in the USA products that plain and simply worked. They kept the business model simple with producing very little inventory, which allowed them to modify any product off of customer feedback without much issue. Packs and clothing alike from the early days became the stuff of legends.
Unfortunately for climbers they started a military contract that would eventually take their prime focus off of the climbing world while they focused on the Government. On the up side to this the products they already had for climbers were solid. So solid that one of their original pack designs the Andinista would ride though the rough years largely unchanged and still be a great pack by today’s standards. Sadly over the years the products from the past stopped being offered one by one, including some of my favorites. But, now the company is breathing life again and I must say what I’ve already seen is very exciting!
I first stumbled upon Wild Things in the early 2000’s. I was frustrated with the common climbing world buying into the Gore-Text scene when there were better materials to use over Gore-Text. At the time I was a supporter of Lowe Alpines Triple Point Ceramic and anxiously awaiting eVent to hit the shelves, but that was not to be. Gore-Text bought out Lowe Alpine (at least that’s what I’ve been told) and replaced all their shells with Gore-Text and completely squashed the company’s use of eVent. After searching around for eVent I stumbled upon Wild Things. I knew of Wild Things prior to, but had never paid that much attention to them. Now with eVent being used in their Alpinist Shells they were squarely on my radar. Mind you I was living in Alaska at the time and decided to wait until moving to Massachusetts, where I could head north to climb and visit their North Conway store, before buying.
Every time I visited the store I always left pleased even if I didn’t buy anything, the staff was always friendly and helpful, and they really knew their product. Over the next few years I would come to own many different products from Wild Things.
As for what I already own from WT, I love every single piece. I use their shells for my winter climbing, and my personal favorite the Andinista has been used for all but one of my overnight trips since buying it in 2005! The items are tough, and they work. After years of use everything is still like new, mind you some of it I have tried to kill and it refuses to even show any sign of wear. Sure I spent a good bit of money buying my WT gear but after years of use without having to replace it, how much money did I save down the road…
loaded Andinista 2006 Photo Credit Jen Kulicki
Andinista 2008 Photo Credit Mike Hasse
Andinista 2012 notice how bright it still is! Photo credit Jocob Moon
This brings us to current times. Wild Things is returning to their core values that put them on the pedestal back in the day. They’ve recently launched a new aspect to their gear with allowing a customer to design your own Insulgiht and Wind Pro Hoody. Beyond the color options with the Insulight you can now choose two different amounts of fill, three different types of Primaloft fill including Primaloft One, and three different shell materials! They also released the Heritage Primaloft Sweater at an amazing 84.00 dollars (during the holiday sale) I couldn’t believe it when I saw the post on FB about the limited release of the sweater. Mind you I responded by calling my better half that I knew was looking for a climbing puffy and telling her to get one, at 84 bucks how can you go wrong!
The biggest piece I’m interested in trying out is the Insulight jacket listed above, however there are some simple design changes that I’d like to see. I’ve contacted WT about them and they immediately responded to my inquiry acknowledging the feedback and that it could be an improvement to the current design, thus for now I’m going to hold out and hope they add the features. Now that they are offering two different fill weights I can see myself with two different Insulights in the future one 2oz and one 4oz.
If you’re interested in supporting an American made company on the rebound to being one of the most innovating companies in the climbing market I encourage you to check out Wild Things web site, have fun while you’re there playing with the design your own apps, take a look at what makes eVent better than Gore-Text, but above all else Walk on the Wild Side.
this company review has been compiled on my own accord and any views expressed are solely my own, I have never received any form of free or reduced cost gear from the company listed above.