In 2019 to buy American-made isn’t easy. And it’s often prohibitively expensive. But in terms of reducing the carbon footprint of the product you’re purchasing and supporting domestic manufacturing in general, buying “local” is something many see value in—myself in included—whether it’s food, clothes, equipment, etc. Of course this isn’t news to anyone. But it’s worth mentioning in the context of Polartec’s Military Issue Collection, an American-made, tech-driven layering system now available to the broader public—at an extremely reasonable $69-89 price point.
Since 2007 the modest line of mid and base layers has been produced for military personnel. After years of interest from veterans, activity military, and other such “tactically-inclined” individuals, the Andover, Massachusetts-based Polartec decided to make the line available to all.
Consisting of two top and bottom base layer systems plus a midweight fleece top and lightweight micro fleece beanie, the fleece-driven line is basic in all the best ways. After all, it’s designed to perform in regions of extreme conditions, and to do so without drawing any attention. When used in the context of winter sports, or even layering for chilly winter office commutes, the minimalist aesthetic and no-bullshit performance will be appreciated the same.
Top pick for us is the Level III High Loft Jacket ($89), made of Polartec High Loft with ultra soft and super compressible fleece for a serious warmth to weight ratio. Polartec Power Grid panels help too. Same goes for the Level II Grid Knit Shirt an long john setup ($69 each). All the benefits of the legendary waffle knit Power Grid—breathable, moisture-wicking, quick-drying—without the weight.
Now, some of you may be turned off by the potential MAGA vibes. Others on the all-merino-everything train may feel similarly. And that’s OK. We get it. But it’s damn difficult to turn down approachably priced, function-driven apparel from a trusted manufacturer supporting a dying industry of domestic manufacturing. Either way, find more information about the collection as a whole here.