Six Outdoors Items Acquired by Hipsters
As hipsters slowly eek their way into mainstream life, it has become increasingly difficult to distinguish between hipster and outdoor culture. Both subcultures pride themselves on their ability to live minimalist lives. While outdoors(wo)mentake to the backcountry, seeking simplicity while toting a three-hundred dollar backpack and an outdoor espresso machine, hipsters infiltrate the home, drinking expensive, fair trade, local, free range coffee while (ironically) writing letters on their manual typewriters. Although many young people walk a fine line between hip and outdoorsy, there are a few key cultural artifacts that, although utilized by the outdoors man, have been adopted by hipsters.
Once used to keep torsos warm, the down vest has now developed into a personal fashion statement. Whether you’re wearing it for insulation as you cross a snow covered glacier, or you line the hood with fur and wear it to a Yeasayer concert, your puffy vest lets people know who you are. One might suggest that Marty McFly was the first hipster to rock a puffy vest. But no matter where it originated we know that there are thousands of down vests keeping hipsters warm on these cold winter nights.
Once upon a time intricate facial hair was reserved for wealthy men from the Victorian era, rough riders, and Tom Selleck. Today, however, facial hair is a free for all. Youthful men, barely able to grow peach fuzz, attempt radical hairstyles in order to exhibit their dedication to counter culture. With holidays like Movember, a holiday in which hipsters try to usurp the previous No Shave November, greasy, creepy mustaches have become an epidemic. On the other end of the spectrum we have the dirty outdoors man beard. This beard, while ungroomed, is equally creepy. The one thing the ol’ prospector’s beard has going for it that the hipsters’ does not, is its naturalness. The outdoor beard comes (theoretically) from spending months alone in the backcountry–think Tom Hanks in Castaway.
My introduction to flannel occurred while reading “The Little House on the Prairie”. Flannel was a hot commodity acquired at the country store along with novelties like calico and licorice. Today, flannel’s practical use has been replaced by gortex, merino wool, and fleece. Once reserved for grunge musicians and people who drove Subarus, flannel has now become an ironic staple in any hipsters’ wardrobe. Pair it with a skull cap and a fixed gear bike and you’re ready for the season!
Bean Boots, the iconic leather and rubber boots created by L.L. Bean were originally intended for east coast fisherman. The rubber soles would grip the deck as hardened lobstermen would haul their catch. But like any slightly antiquated boot, the hipsters flocked like rabid zombies and the Bean Boot is now used to tromp around the puddles of hipster hubs like Portland and Seattle.
While hipsters sit in their coffee houses, sipping chai or rooibos from their mason jars–sustainability oozing from their every orifice, there is little thought as to how the Mason Jar became the Mason Jar. Originally patented in 1858, the Mason Jar was created exclusively for canning. Much like the origins of flannel (see above) canning jars were used on the frontier by rugged men and women (well…women), for hundreds of years before being adopted by coozy-knitting liberal arts students.
Long before hip youngsters were thigh slapping along to the likes of Old Crow Medicine Show and Trampled By Turtles, hill folk, living in glorified mud huts, were creating music with spoons, jugs, and homemade banjos. While we all love to stomp our feet to some twangy tunes, we often forget that bluegrass is not the invention of Minneapolis men in women’s jeans–it stems from a rich immigrant culture nestled in the delightfully hipster free region of Appalachia.