Worn Wear

Worn Wear is a new website dedicated to sharing true stories of people and their Patagonia Gear.

Here is a sneak peek…

The Grandfather
Yvon Chouinard, Ventura, California

Dear Patagonia,

Little did we know this blue prototype fleece developed in ’76, which we referred to as rare Siberian blue poodle fur, would be the grandfather of all fleeces.

I knew that people like myself were seeking the joys of outdoor activities in greater numbers and they needed warmer, lighter, quick-drying clothes that did not bog down with moisture as did the cotton and wool garments then commonly in use. I came to believe that the solution was synthetic layers: a base layer to wick, a fleece layer for warmth and an outside layer for wind and moisture protection. Once we came to that conclusion, Patagonia’s team proved they were up to the task of creatively identifying and developing the necessary fabrics.

As they say, “necessity is the mother of invention,” the “necessity” in this case being the need for a nonabsorbent insulating layer and the “invention” representing the resourcefulness of my wife, Malinda Chouinard, who was willing to try even an ugly fabric intended for toilet seat covers because we suspected it best fit our needs. That’s how synthetic fleece was born. We made the first fleece jackets out of a near-bankrupt company’s left-over inventory of muddy, nondescript tan and bilious blue fleece, but it did indeed work, although it pilled badly, which made it look even worse. It has evolved, through trial and error, from that “base” into today’s fleeces.

This first fleece jacket hangs proudly on the wall at Patagonia headquarters, but I had to take it down and try it on for old time’s sake.

―Yvon

Pocket Pal
Jeff Johnson, Danville, California

Dear Patagonia,

I am a geek when it comes to gear. Over the years I’ve collected a few multifunctional pieces I cannot do without. The Houdini jacket is at the top of the list.

I’ve had this particular one for so long it’s hard to remember when I got it. I’m guessing I bought it around 2002 when it was called The Dragonfly. I took her on my first climb up El Capitan in Yosemite and she joined me on just about every climb after that. But I found her to be useful in other places, not just the mountains but on and around the ocean, too.

In the 11 years of this jacket’s life she has been up El Capitan three times, climbed all over the Sierra’s, Utah, Australia and Chile. She has been on four surf trips to Indonesia, multiple trips to Chile, also Australia, Japan, New Zealand, and Hawaii. She has sailed as far south as Easter Island.

I’ve slept in this jacket at airports, spent long nights on watch aboard boats with her, and she’s kept me warm on long, cold bike rides home from late night parties. There have been a few incidents where she has gone missing for months. Then she mysteriously reappears in my haul bag, allegedly kidnapped by a climbing partner. If she could only talk … Sure, I’ve had to patch her up a few times but she’s still in good shape.

Right now she’s in my van, alert and ready to go somewhere. Wait, she might be in my backpack … Or is it the glove compartment? Actually, she’s probably in my backpack in my van ready to go.

―Jeff

FCD Surfboard
Keith Malloy, Ventura, California

Dear Patagonia,

About eight years ago I ordered this 6’6”, Green, FCD Surfboard. I had no idea that I would eventually get some of the best barrels of my life on this board. Eight years may not seem that old, however, for the life of a surfboard getting ridden in big waves, this is an eternity. This board has been packed and unpacked countless times and has traveled around the globe with me. It has been on two boat trips through Indonesia, Teahupoo Tahiti, Cloudbreak Fiji, The Wedge in Newport Beach, North Shore of Ohau, the Pacific Northwest, Nicaragua, Norway and too many places I can’t even remember. The most incredibly remarkable thing about this board is that it has never even had a ding!

One of my best rides on this board was at the Wedge in Newport Beach, California. I had gone down there to shoot the bodysurfing movie on a huge south swell and brought this board just in case I had time to surf. I got there at sunrise and the waves were massive. All the bodysurfers were waiting for the blackball which starts at 8. So I grabbed my green board and headed out into the empty, semi-surfable Wedge bombs. I got a good set and thought for sure I was going to be pulverized, but my trusty board navigated through! Probably one of the meanest lefts I’ve ever gotten in California.

I got one of the best Indo swells and barrels of my life at the “Hole” on this board. This board also survived a double overhead Tahiti swell as well as a perfect swell at Cloudbreak. I have quite a bond with this board considering it has accompanied me through all these travels, swells and waves. We have been through a lot together. Looking forward to the next eight years.

―Keith

Jungle Capilene®
Doug Bruce, Mouguerre, France

Dear Patagonia,

I have a very unique relationship with my white Patagonia Capilene® top. Whenever I dig it out of the cupboard, still stained with mud that can never be removed, I’m transported back to a surreal land, a place where I’ve probably discovered my life’s work.

I’ve been working on a project, lost in the jungle of Panama, documenting a tribe of indians called the “Kunas,” who are the second smallest people on earth. I have been there six times and counting. It takes three days of traveling to get to the particular village I visit. You must go over the continental divide, through the rainforest, and then kayak for a day and a half down a river of rapids. There are no words that can easily describe what it feels like finally arriving there. The village consists of about forty rudimentary thatched huts perched high on top of a hill overlooking the jungle and river below, and it is all surrounded by mountains that are often shrouded in mist. The villagers themselves display a purity of life I have never before experienced. The background sound is the constant bird-like chatter of laughter, never is a voice raised in anger. Children hang on me everywhere I walk out of friendship and curiosity. Every villager cooperatively works to build or farm, there is no ownership, everything belongs to the community.

In exchange for their kindness, I always bring them Patagonia gear. Capilene is perfectly designed for their conditions: sweltering humidity in the jungle, torrential downpours and the anvil hitting sun. I cannot imagine a place more suitable for Patagonia’s practical clothing.

Whenever the time comes for me to leave, I can’t hold back my tears while saying goodbye. The villagers in turn, simply smile back at me.

Now, whenever I see my folded Capilene shirt in the cupboard, I again can feel the jungle and envision its people.

―Doug

 

Share your story.

Background Photo: by Mike Tittel