Gorpcore Fashion for Men: From Hiking the Forest to the High Street

Be honest with us. Are you a city dweller during the week and a trail-lover on the weekends? Do you pride yourself on your ability to combine function and fashion? Are your go-to accessories a Nalgene bottle and a backpack, whether you’re hitting the trails or the bars? Don’t worry, we’re not calling you out. If you said yes to any of those questions, we’ve got good news. Your style aesthetic is finally here: gorpcore. Whether you’re a well-seasoned outdoorsman or you only recently reconnected with nature, you’ll feel at home in this trail-ready trend. Read on to learn about the men’s gorpcore fashion trend and how to incorporate it into your closet.

Gorpcore’s Meaning, Decoded

Before we start this sartorial adventure, let’s first answer the question: what is gorpcore? Jason Chen of The Cut coined the term in 2017 to describe a wave of urbanites donning camping staples. Men’s gorpcore is a streetwear trend inspired by hiking and other nature-minded activities. It combines performance gear meant for all-terrain adventures with fashion colors, logo-loyalty and stylish silhouettes. Think anoraks in fire red, sunset pink and safety orange paired with forest-friendly khaki, smoke or lake-blue tech pants. Gorpcore fashion looks trail-ready—even if the longest distance you’re walking is to your local farmer’s market. 

Still wondering where “gorp” comes from? It’s actually an acronym for “good ol’ raisins and peanuts,” referring to that go-to hiker snack, trail mix. So grab a handful of GORP and dig into the fundamental pieces to take you from camping to coffee shops. Let’s start at the top.

Gorpcore Fashion for Men: Trail-worthy Tops

It’s no secret that men’s gorpcore fashion and what to wear hiking share a lot of the same terrain. One of the main tenets of hiking is to dress in layers, so do the same here. Start with a base layer, then explore outerwear essentials for peak performance. From sleeve length to fabrication, we’re here to break down your must-have shirts. 

Gorpcore T-Shirts To Stay Fresh

When it comes to gorpcore, you’re not actually climbing mountains, so you don’t have to stick to true-blue performance shirts. You can switch it up with a simple cotton shirt or a graphic tee. In men’s street style, graphic T-shirts are prime real estate to show off your personality. The same goes for gorpcore. Pick out a long-sleeve shirt with a design of your favorite National Park or landmark from your hometown. Show your love of the mountains with Kilimanjaro on your shirt. Looking for something more simplistic to let your other layers stand out? Logos from outdoor and athletic brands are always a win. 

If you want to buff up your gorpcore fashion with a base layer that walks the walk, no worries. Workout T-shirts with moisture-wicking capabilities and flexible synthetic fabrics give you street cred. They also keep you dry on your trek from a back-country bookstore to the co-op. Whichever style of shirt you go for, make sure you find the best-fitting shirt for your build. The right fit here primes you for signature gorpcore outerwear.

Discover Gorpcore Outerwear

Without a doubt, men’s performance outerwear is the peak of gorpcore style. Seek out storm-proof pieces, even if the most rain you encounter is from your front door to your car. Rain-resistant puffer jackets, in particular, are synonymous with this aesthetic. Many of the high-performance gorpcore jackets central to this trend feature down or vegan-friendly down-alternative fillings. Wrap yourself in the quilted texture and you’re ready to roast marshmallows over a campfire.

Another gorpcore outer layer of note is the fleece. Fleece jackets with vintage details, including a chest pocket, boxy fit and snap-away collar, set you apart. Want to take your fleece on more than a stroll down the sidewalk? Search for ones made from climate-smart synthetics such as vegan wool. This wool alternative is lightweight, insulating and stays warm even when wet. Don’t sweat it if these pieces sound a little cozy for your climate. Feel in tune with men’s spring fashion in 2022 with a puffer or fleece vest. Or, add a lightweight, packable anorak to your bag. Are you ready to take the next step in our gorpcore fashion journey? Time to move on to pants.

Gorpcore Fashion for Men: Pants and Shorts

Now that you’ve got your go-to gorpcore layers queued up, it’s time to switch gears to pants and shorts. Style and function come together with rugged, yet comfortable pairs in nature-inspired hues. Get ready to bring the great outdoors to the big city with utilitarian details, stretch fabrications and a dauntless spirit. Intrigued? Here are our top picks for trekker-approved pants and shorts.

Path-Carving Pants

Though the mountaineering vibe of the gorpcore trend may have you itching to reach for rugged jeans, resist. Remember, this aesthetic is all about appearing like you’re about to push your physical limits on a switch-back trail. Denim isn’t going to cut it. Instead, may we introduce you to tech pants and hiking pants? These feature water-repellent, flexible, rip-stop fabrics as opposed to the soft knit found in men’s jogger sets. Gorpcore pants are meant to move with you and protect you from the elements all day long.

To elevate your woodsy attire, opt for tech pants. They tend to have traditional pant ear-markers such as belt loops and zip-flies, but with performance-ready fabric. You could even sneak these pants into a workleisure style outfit during your workweek. To go all-in on men’s gorpcore fashion, choose men’s hiking pants. These pants are wide-legged for mobility and often have cargo pant-style bulky pockets and carabiner-friendly straps. For a gorpcore look that beats the heat, however, we have short suggestions as well.

Shoreline-ready Shorts To Stay On-trend

Who says you can’t wear gorpcore style in the heat? Though the trend is ripe with layers and warming fabric, don’t hesitate to make this a four-season habit. Channel the surf and sun side of gorpcore with a pair of hiker shorts. All of those activewear features, including water-resistance and elastic waistbands, keep you cool and relaxed. Sounds like the perfect piece for lunch in the park or playing hooky at the beach. Personalize your shorts selection with a pair featuring roomy pockets, bungee cords and slide-buckle waists. 

Another way that gorpcore shorts depart from your everyday summer shorts is in length. Enlist men’s shorts that graze the upper thigh or hit at the knee for an oversized fit. If you went bold with colors on your top half, keep your shorts muted. Wear earth tones like sand, sky blue, red clay and ivy. We’ve almost covered the long and short of men’s gorpcore fashion, but there’s one thing left to complete your woodsy aesthetic: shoes.

Gorpcore Fashion for Men: Foraging in Footwear

We couldn’t set you up with a head-to-toe gorpcore outfit without mentioning men’s shoes. Your choice in footwear may only need enough grit to get through your daily grind. Even so, we dare you to raise the ante with gorpcore shoes. These shoes should seem like they’re ready to clock in as many miles per day as possible. Picture a rugged, resilient pair of boots or sneakers that aren’t afraid of a challenge. Got it? First up: hiking boots.

Hiking Boots to Break Style Boredom 

Gorpcore menswear is the opportunity to take inspiration from nature exploration and opt for a hiking boot. To be clear, we’re not talking about a polished, leather lace-up chukka boot. You know, the kind you wear with slim-fit jeans and a flannel? No, we’re talking about hiking boots that could carry you up the highest summit. Or at least look like it. In terms of gorpcore style, keep the functional fashion vibe going with breathable mesh, Gore-Tex uppers and chunky, high-traction soles. 

If you’re wondering how to wear men’s boots comfortably, fit is it. On the pavement or on a mud trail, you want to feel secure in your footing. Make sure you can wiggle your toes, flex your foot and have enough support to walk all day. Err on the side of ease with more cushioning and padding. Beware, if you’re going hardcore gorpcore by wearing authentic hiking boots, break them in beforehand. Double up on socks and wear them at home for increments before taking them on your commute or backpacking trip. For those hunting for something closer to your street-style comfort zone, there’s the gorpcore sneaker.

Gorpcore Sneakers: From Slopes to Sofa

Give your sneaker shelf an explorer’s edge with gorpcore sneakers, aka trail runners. These men’s shoes keep up with long hikes while looking casual and cool for an off-the-clock beer garden visit. Find your right trail-trekking sneakers by selecting a pair with serious treds, high-top style ankles and a chunky sole. There’s nothing delicate or meek about these shoes. But, then again, those words don’t describe gorpcore either. These shoes are for exploration. They’re for making a statement with every step you take. Puddles dotting your path to work? Conquered. Slippery steps to your apartment? Easy. Four-mile out and back day hike? Yes, please.

As you put on the last piece of your gorpcore outfit, check in with your color palette. For the minimalist, go for an all-white or all-black pair. If you want your shoes to tie into the brighter colors in your outfit, snag color-block sneaks. Now, lace up. Adventure awaits.

Gorpcore Brands to Know

You’ve got your men’s gorpcore fashion shopping list and you’re all set to transform for the trails. Now the question is, where to find your new wardrobe? The list of brands and runways embracing gorpcore keep growing, for an endless array to choose from. You could dip your toes in anywhere, but if you need guidance, you’ve come to the right place. There are a few brands that were gorpcore before it was a thing. Our advice? Tap into these classic and current labels for an authentic style you can make your own. Here are four outdoor-enthusiast-approved gorpcore brands to get you started.

The North Face

If men’s gorpcore style had a mascot, we’re pretty sure it would be The North Face label. With the slogan, “Never Stop Exploring,” it’s easy to see why this San Francisco-based brand is the epitome of gorpcore. Founded in 1966 by two hikers, The North Face manufactures and sells just about every type of outdoor gear. From ski pants to running shirts to sandals, if it involves nature, they’ve got it covered. Don’t worry though. You don’t have to ski down a snow peak or run a marathon to wear these pieces. Their clothes are just as wearable in the big city. Why not join a long-sleeve crewneck shirt with a fleece vest or jacket from The North Face? Come on. All the gorpcore kids are doing it.

Columbia Sportswear

Another OG of the men’s gorpcore game is Portland-based company, Columbia Sportswear. For proof of their performance credentials, look no further than their sponsorship of Winter Olympics teams in 2014 and 2018. We’re not saying that their clothes will turn you into a gold medalist, but you’ll feel as cool as one. Columbia Sportswear uses proprietary technology to keep you dry and extra insulated on any trail. Similar to The North Face, they have sportswear for every occasion, but specialize in cold-weather protection. Check them out for a rain-proof jacket or sporty base layers.

Mountain Hardwear

With a name like Mountain Hardwear, are you surprised they made our gorpcore brands list? Mountain Hardwear prides itself on creating all-weather apparel without compromising quality. Considering gorpcore fashion’s emphasis on performance details, it’s worth checking out this brand. Don’t let their sporty appearance intimidate you, though. According to Mountain Hardwear, they believe “everyone who enjoys the outdoors is an outdoor athlete.” If that’s not the gorpcore spirit, what is? Build your closet with their puffer jackets and hiking pants for a backyard barbeque or escape upstate.

Adidas Terrex

It’s tempting to write off Adidas as another big name hopping on the gorpcore bandwagon. After all, their Terrex line entered the men’s fashion scene in 2018. Not the case. Did you know Adidas introduced its first trail-trekking shoe design back in the 70s? They collaborated with Reinhold Messner for a lightweight, protective shoe that took the athlete to the top of Mount Everest. The Terrex line produces everything from padded jackets to insulated bib pants, but the hiking shoes are particularly gorpcore-approved. Blend high-performance and fashion with their Gore-Tex hiking shoes or trail runners in an array of nature-inspired colors. Now that you are set on our top brand picks, grab your hiking gear and get moving.

Ready to add some wilderness to your everyday style? Take your style quiz and ask your style expert for men’s gorpcore staples. You’ll find gorpcore essential pieces and the brands listed above all in one place. Schedule a Fix, and five curated styles will come straight to your door—it’s that easy. Or, head over to Stitch Fix Freestyle™ to instantly buy items suited for your style and size. Either way, shipping, returns and exchanges are always free.

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