Patagonia Capilene

I picked this one up today in a local thrift shop.

Hands down, this is the oldest Patagonia Capilene that I have come across in a thrift shop. Old school, Made in the USA, from back when Patagonia really was the king of the outdoors clothing industry.

The Wallace Beery styles from the olden days are still my favored shirt pattern for long underwear tops. I also have an expedition weight one from a few years later. I started getting into this stuff in the mid-1990s, and by then, Patagonia was only making this style in the Expedition Weight (now called Capilene 4).

Style #44251 -Midweight Capilene Wallace Beery -Navy Blue color -Men’s Medium

Catalog photos are from the Spring 1988 catalog

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60/40 Mountain Parka

If there can only be one piece of outdoors clothing that is considered iconic, I would argue that the 60/40 Mountain Parka gets the nod. The enduring image of hiking and backpacking is of a person walking down a trail, wearing leather hiking boots, long pants, and a jacket with a gazillion pockets.

Many companies made these classic garments. I’ve personally owned and/or sold pieces by Sierra Designs, Trailwise, Class-5, Frostline Kits, EMS, REI. My favorite were the his-and-hers Trailwise parkas in the most iconic of colors, burnt orange, which I thrifted some time in late 2013. I came really close to keeping the men’s one, but living in California; I didn’t need another jacket.

Now that I live in Colorado, that might have gone differently.

But I digress… I’m telling the story of a grail find. The company that launched the 60/40 jacket into existence was The North Face. Doug Tompkins, manager of the North Face store in San Francisco, in 1968 was the buyer for a new style of jacket for his store. It soon became ubiquitous on trails, in campgrounds, and even on college campuses.

I came across the example of an early 60/40 from The North Face just last week (December 2016). I would hazard a guess that this is a very early example, possibly even from the first couple of years. My reason for this is that there is no content or care tag, which would have been required by law starting in the early 1970s.

The color is a classic outdoorsy green. The zipper is by Talon. The material is in great condition, with just some light staining.I’m awfully tempted to keep it (why are these things always my size?), though I suspect a motivated buyer might be into it more than I am. And I still have a Frostline one in burnt orange in my size.

Deciphering Patagonia: The Snap-T (Part 2)

This is an update I’ve been hoping to make for quite some time. My goal for the past few months has been to get my hands on an original model Patagonia Snap-T from 1985, and I’m fairly certain that I have now done so. This could easily have been a hand-me-down from someone’s older brother when I was in high school, but comes my way via a friend who found it in a thrift shop. I gladly forked over some money to get my hands on this piece of history…

What leads me to believe that this is an original is that it matches one of the original colors from the 1985 catalog. I don’t have the catalog, but thanks to The Snap-T Story (http://www.patagonia.com/us/snap-t-story), there is a picture of that page from the 1985 Patagonia catalog showing the colors available at the time. The original colors were: Cobalt Blue, Dark Peacock, Purple, Red, and Grey.

The original text from that catalog is quite illuminating as to the story behind the piece as well:

“The four-snap Synchilla Turtle is a clean beast with no bad habits. You can wear it next to your bare skin for animal gratification or layer it over another turtleneck, Patagonia Stretch Capilene underwear, or a light shirt. The snap neck allows easy climatic transitions. Contrasting Lycra tape trims the cuffs and waist to make layering easy. Y-Joint sleeves eliminate ride-up. Because the fabric is Synchilla, the turtleneck won’t pill, wear out or lose its shape. Made in USA.”

So yeah, this thing is pretty cool. I am 100% certain that this is either a 1985 or 1986 model Snap-T, and am still trying to narrow it down. It has the style #25541, which as I discussed in a prior post is the model number for the Snap-T prior to the addition of a chest pocket in 1988. The thing that is missing is the season code. Patagonia started doing this at least in 1988, so this is definitely pre-1988. The reason for thinking this is the original model year is the color. Patagonia doesn’t normally carry colorways over from year to year, so there’s a good chance that this was only made for one year. Gray with a navy blue trim is not a color of Snap-T that I have ever encountered before.

I have a 1986 catalog on the way, so hopefully that will help shed some more light on this subject!

Another note on these 30+ year old Patagonia fleeces… They fit small compared to newer models! This one measures smaller than a modern medium Snap-T!!

Here are the measurements for this size Large model: chest (22 inches across), sleeves (34″), length of back (25.75″). Compare those measurements to a recent (2015 model) lightweight Snap-T (size Medium) I sold on Ebay last week (23″, 35.5″, 28.5″), and you can see that the 1985 model is considerably smaller than its 2015 sibling, and it’s a “larger size”!

Deciphering Patagonia: Regulator Fleeces

This post will be less about how to identify Regulator fleeces, than a bit about why I like them. The jackets has changed routinely in style, cut and colors; making identifying them a bit tougher than the Snap-T. The one consistency has been the “R” logo on the left sleeve. Beyond that, the easiest way to familiarize yourself with the difference is to handle them. a 1999 R2 jacket will be pretty much the same weight as a 2015 version. The R3 jacket though has changed considerably in the past couple of years, moving to a “grid” fabric that I don’t think looks as nice. As always with Patagonia, it’s fairly simple google the style number to find out the style name. As with other jackets, the tag will either be on the inside left side seam; or behind the neck tag.

The Regulator Fleece jackets, introduced in 1999, are perhaps the greatest leap in synthetic fleece fabric. Weight for weight, they will be warmer than Synchilla fleeces, and are generally more durable and abusable. I’ve used mine around the world, and in a variety of conditions, and will say that for active pursuits, these are my goto jackets. I currently have an R2 jacket (purchased in the Fall of 2002 off the clearance rack at REI in Saratoga, CA) that is very worn down, and a relatively new R3 Hi-Loft fleece (purchased in the Fall of 2014 from the Patagonia Outlet in Santa Cruz, CA).

As you will see from the pictures, my old R2 fleece (a Spring 2001 model in Fire/Asphalt (dark red/gray), has been through a lot. It has seen climbing and hiking action from the Sierra Nevada of California to the Himalayas in Nepal. It’s been to more countries and states than a lot of people have. Lately, it has been retired to lounging around the house duty. I just can’t bring myself to get rid of something that has been part of so many experiences. The Buddha eyes were embroidered by a street vendor in Kathmandu while I enjoyed an Americano at the cafe next door!

The R3 jacket (the color is called “Red Delicious (RDS)) is in the early stages of developing character. It has seen action in the ranges of California, and now that I have moved to Colorado, it has seen some use in the Rockies as well. I wore it today, on a brisk day with a high of 23, with only a t-shirt underneath.

Here are the pictures of my R2 jacket. The catalog images are of the Early Spring 2001 catalog.

Here are the pictures of my R3 Hi-Loft jacket.

So yeah, there’s a bit about my “collection” of Regulator fleece jackets… I do wish I still had the R1 pullover and R4 jackets that I had once upon a time. The windproof R4 would be ideal for Colorado winters…

Deciphering Patagonia -The Snap T

I’ve been meaning to start adding some knowledge to the internet on the subject of what is perhaps my favorite brand.

I discovered Patagonia when I was in high school in the early 1990s when some of my friends had their stuff, but I never did, as it was too pricey for my parents.

One of the most enduring styles offered by Patagonia is the Synchilla Snap-T fleece pullover jacket, which has remained unchanged in style since 1989, and has been around since 1985.

Here’s a look at the three of the variations that exist of this iconic piece. The first is a Fall 1988 model in blue, green and pink. This is the older “Synchilla Snap-T Neck” model, which is the precursor to the newer style, the “Synchilla Snap-T”. Note that the difference in style for the years mentioned only exists in the regular model. The lightweight Snap-T model hung onto the old style for many more years (I believe it disappeared somewhere in the mid 2000s). The second one is a Fall 2002 model Snap-T in a brownish color. The last one is a Fall 2014 model Synchilla Snap-T Hoody (which is different, but is the most recent Patagonia fleece that I have at the moment -it’s my personal favorite fleece jacket). Note that the Hoody model also has hand pockets, while the standard Snap-T does not.

Here’s the difference between the neck tags… Again, the 1988 jacket is shown first, followed by the 2002 and 2014 versions. Note that the later version also has a tab for hanging the jacket from a coat hook.

The easiest way to tell the vintage of a Patagonia fleece is by the tag on the inside. These will have the style number, date code, and newer ones (at least since the late 2000s) will also have a color code which can help you determine the actual name of the color of the jacket in question. On older Snap-T’s this tag is on the inside left side seam, while on newer models, it’s underneath the neck tag.

As for deciphering these…

The 1988 tag has the older style number (25521), and a date code of F8. Some 1990s and 2000s model fleeces would have this date code, but coupled with the style number, I know that this is a 1988 model. This style of Snap-T Neck was only made from 1985 through 1988. Thus, this is from the final production run of this style!

The 2002 tag has the new style number (25450 -which is still used to this day), and a date code of FA02 (Fall 2002).

The 2014 tag has the style code 25461 (Patagonia Synchilla Snap-T Hoody), date code of FA14 (Fall 2014) and a color code of CVK (Nickel Gray Heather and Navy (I googled “Patagonia CVK” to find the name of the color -of course, a catalog might show this as well, though this model is shown in the Fall 2014 catalog, this color is only marginally represented.

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As for how to tell the weight of the fleece if you have a jacket with the tags cut out? Here’s a picture showing the thickness of the fleece next to a seamsters’ measuring tape. The fleece should be about 1″ thick if folded into four layers and not compressed. Note that this is the 2014 model. Other vintages of Synchilla fleece may vary slightly.

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For a little look back, here are pictures of Snap-T pages from catalogs of the eras I am mentioning in this post. The catalogs represented are from Spring 1988, Fall 2001, and Fall 2014. The photo of Dean Potter slacklining from the 2001 catalog makes me extra nostalgic…

But anyway… Snap-T’s are awesome. Don’t let anyone convince you that these are only worn by frat boys during their drinking binges. These have been the style worn by outdoorsy types for 30 years now…

Change Of Scene

So, my wife and I migrated from California to Colorado just over a month ago. There were many reasons for the move, but the summary is that we wanted a better life than California can provide.

Now, I can be in the mountains in less than ten minutes on my bike. I can run from home, along the foothills of the Rockies, and only be gone for an hour (I did this yesterday evening).

As for what this means for this blog. I’ve been really, really bad at updating this thing. I hope to get better about actually writing here from time to time. I’ve certainly been out thrifting and have come up with lots of good stuff here. I will say though, that the thrifting is not as good here as it is in the Bay Area. But hey, that is what it is. I’m slowly shifting to more and more consignment sales as my source of income, which means that the thrifting is becoming more of a fun activity for (of course, it has always been fun!) finding some gems.

I’ll just dump some pics here of some of my most recent scores… Holubar 60/40 Down Filled Mountain Parka, Sierra Designs 60/40 Mountain Parka, Vintage 1960s/70s Trailwise external frame backpack, Allen Edmonds Plain Toe blucher oxford dress shoes.

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Updates and Such…

Many of my readers will know that I’ve been selling on Ebay regularly for some time. The exploding business has seriously drawn away from the time I have to spend updating this blog!

Today, I past the 50% mark of the sales numbers I hit in 2014. We’re only 110 days into this year, and I’m on pace to nearly double my sales from last year, and hopefully my income as well!

I was speaking to a Customer Service rep on the phone yesterday, and he commented that my defect rate is unbelievably low given the volume of sales I process (3 defects on 701 transactions since February 1 -which translates to .43%). The key, as I told him, is that I treat people honestly, with respect, and ship their purchases as quick as possible without going overkill. I specifically state in my listings that I ship daily during the week, and will ship the same day if the order is paid before noon. I tend to go to the Post Office in the early afternoon; so this fits my schedule and keeps people happy.

The other keys of course center around the quality of the goods I’m selling. I tend to obsess over the condition of items before I even take them home. I try to only list things that I would wear if they were my size and style (I don’t pass judgement on what other people might wear). Vintage items are graded a little bit more loosely, but current stuff isn’t worth my time if the condition is subpar.