Military | A Continuous Lean.

On the Hunt for Gurkha Shorts.

Apr 17th, 2014 | Categories: England, History, Jake Gallagher, Menswear, Military | by Jake Gallagher

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With its dual strap waistband, barrel cut legs, high inseam, and row upon row of pleats, the Gurkha short is certainly not for the faint of heart, but we’re sure the original Gurkha wouldn’t have it any other way. This overloaded short can be traced back to the Gurkha, a legendary Nepalese military regiment that consisted of that nation’s most fearless soldiers. The Gurkha were so revered for their bravery that even after suffering a loss to the British during the Anglo–Nepalese War in the early eighteen-hundreds, the kingdom enlisted them to fight for the English Empire.

Their legendary prowess at combat was not the only thing the Gurkha brought along with them when they joined forces with their former adversaries, for they also contributed, well their name. Overtime these shorts, which like almost all colonial garb featured a tan color and loose cut that could easily combat the often oppressive heat, were given the Gurkha name as they were so popular within the region.





The Story of Willis & Geiger.

Mar 18th, 2013 | Categories: History, Military, Outerwear | by Michael Williams

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Papa Hemingway in his safari kit.

What every happened to the iconic American brand Willis & Geiger? Vice Publisher John Martin tracks down the one man who knows the really story and what transpires is a no bullshit interview and thoroughly amazing read.

Burt Avedon (cousin of the famous fashion photographer Richard Avedon) revived the company two years after it went out of business in 1977 and helmed it until it was liquidated in 1999. Now 89 years old, Burt is one of the last remaining people to have hands-on experience with the brand. His bio reads like a Most Interesting Man in the World skit: He was a pilot by age 12, raced cars, played football for UCLA, fought at Iwo Jima, was awarded a Purple Heart in the Navy, went from Harvard Business School into cosmetics and fashion, married an Italian princess, and later led attempts to excavate downed World War II planes from Greenland ice. After a short search, I tracked him down at his home in Verona, Wisconsin, to find out what had happened to what many consider to be the greatest outdoor-clothing brand of all time.

There is a lot of that with the pace of media right now, where people are always looking to see who’s putting out the newest sneakers, but there are a few brands whose authenticity is paramount.

Yeah, but unfortunately good brands of heritage are a reflection of their original management; when they become professionally managed, they lose the spark that brought them to where they are today. I found that to be classic in the industry. Whenever they go into second- and third-generation management, they lose themselves. They no longer have the passion that was originally part of their DNA.





Field Testing the new Goruck Duffel.

Sep 26th, 2012 | Categories: Bags, Made in the USA, Military | by Michael Williams

Way back in 2010 when I wrote about Goruck on this blog for the first time, this is what I had to say: “These Goruck bags are some of the best things I have seen in a long time — I’m expecting big things from the brand.” It really was the truth that I was expecting big things, and it seems very clear now that Goruck was up to the challenge. The tiny bag brand has gone from maker of just a few small packs, with one ACL comment smack-down under its belt, to an esteemed outfitter and widely respected cult-brand. When I spoke to Jason McCarthy for the first time in the fall of 201o, I remember specifically asking when the Goruck duffel bag is coming out. “Be patient,” Jason said.  Well, never would I have guessed that it would have taken the this very deliberate brand two solid years to bring a duffel bag to market. But don’t fret friends, the wait is officially over. Today Goruck officially released its Mil Kit and Civvy duffel bags.

Jason and co-founder Jack Barley happened to remember my long ago interest in the duffel and were kind enough to give me one of the first bags to test out. There was no promise of a quid pro quo, but you would have to be crazy to think I wouldn’t want to get this long-awaited Goruck duffel on ACL.





One Marine’s View.

Jul 4th, 2011 | Categories: Military | by Michael Williams

To be able to see the things a U.S. Marine must see. That is exactly what you get from the incredible photos of “Basetrack” from his deployment late last year to Afghanistan’s Helmand Province with 1st Battalion, 8th Marines. The 528 images — nearly all of which were shot with an iPhone and filtered in Hipstamatic — paint a pretty stark picture of life as a Marine deployed overseas. The scenes look vaguely familiar after last year’s Restrepo, but Basetrack brings more of a raw viewpoint to things through his extensive photostream and his daily use of a camera phone. It really does make you stop and think about your daily life and what life must be like for all of the people fighting and trying to survive in Afghanistan.

Update: “Basetrack is an experimental media project, tracking the deployment of 1/8 – 1st Battalion, Eighth Marines, throughout the duration of their deployment to southern Afghanistan. A small team of mobile media operators is embedded with the battalion, transmitting their reports and reflections from Helmand province as they travel across the battalion’s area of operations.” [Basetrack.org]

[All photos by Basetrack] [Donate to the USO]





How to Use Camouflage

Feb 26th, 2011 | Categories: Military, Video, WWII | by Michael Williams

It is important for the modern man to understand the proper usage of camouflage. And remember, a bivouac area spotted, is a bivouac area lost.





Notebooks from the DoD

Dec 3rd, 2010 | Categories: Military, Notebooks | by Michael Williams

During that whole $109 notebook kerfuffle, a reader sent in a tip about a much more utilitarian and affordable notebook that everyone in my office has grown to love. The bright green government-issue bound-books are used frequently by the DoD and by troops all over the world. Interestingly enough, I actually spotted one in a real world application in the photo (below) of resting soldiers in Afghanistan.





All Black Ballistic Bags from Goruck

Sep 27th, 2010 | Categories: Bags, Made in the USA, Military | by Michael Williams

I’ve been know to own a bag or two. A guy needs to keep his gear properly stowed, especially living in New York City where you constantly need to tote your “tackle” around town. Enter Goruck, the new maker of bad ass black ballistic nylon bags that pack all the toughness (and quality) of mil-spec gear, but designed with civilians in mind. Jack Barley and Jason McCarthy (a fellow Ohioian — hat tip) founded Goruck to improve upon existing military issue packs. McCarthy in particular has first hand experience with such equipment through his service in the special forces.