Gorpcore: The camping-chic fashion trend explained

From cottagecore to athleisure, it’s clear that giving up comfort isn’t a prerequisite for embracing the latest fashion trends. And while gorpcore isn’t completely new, its embrace of baggier silhouettes, color and practicality are all components we can always get behind. Plus, a plethora of puffers are reason enough to incorporate some elements of this trend into your wardrobe this winter. Ahead, stylists break down the trend, explain why it’s so popular and pick out some of their favorite pieces.

“Gorpcore is essentially wearing traditionally functional and utilitarian outdoor wear outside of their intended use,” explains stylist and creative director Todd Johnson. Think hiking boots, fleeces and cargo pants — the list goes on. While these pieces are typically built for specific technical purposes, gorpcore is all about wearing them in a stylish, more everyday way. “I feel like gorpcore is the more relaxed, colorful and less severe relative of techwear,” explains Brooklyn-based stylist Megan Wilson, “while also being the more practical and outdoorsy version of normcore.”

As for the aesthetic components of the trend, “color stories tend to be either earthy, nature-inspired and tonal (think chestnut brown, burnt oranges and charcoal grays) or bright, bold and easy to spot,” explains Wilson. “Silhouettes are often a little looser and baggier than techwear so it’s easier to layer pieces,” she adds, “and pants are often wide with many pockets or mindful details, or sometimes slim for the ease of tucking into boots.” Johnson notes that overall, it’s “a very clean, effortless look.”

The “gorp” part of the term gorpcore refers to “good ol’ raisins and peanuts” — an acronym used by hikers and outdoors folks to refer to trail mix. Though, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that energizing snacks aren’t typically a component of this fashion trend. Celebrity stylist Shalev Lavàn describes gorpcore as a “trend for people who are rarely active outdoors, but still wish to wear practical and functional hiking gear,” which are often “mixed-in with more stylish designer items.” And while these functional and utilitarian outdoor-wear brands have been around for decades, the mainstream use of these pieces in streetwear is still a fairly recent phenomenon.

So what about gorpcore is so appealing to so many people? “I think functionality in conjunction with the desire to look cool and effortless is what makes it popular,” explains Johnson. “There’s an air of unattainability that I think draws a lot of the fashion crowd in,” he shares, especially since “a lot of these gorpcore staple pieces can be associated with activities that in society are considered ‘rich people activities’ such as skiing and recreational hiking.”

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On the other hand, the accessibility of this trend is also what Wilson explains makes it appealing to a more mainstream audience. “Pieces can often be found used, at outlets, or can be worn for life as they’re often less overtly trendy,” she shares. “I consider gorpcore a version of investment dressing without a giant down payment like some trends, “ explains Wilson. “Since so many items are relatively timeless and often practical — even if you eventually become less gorpcore focused — you’ll probably always keep a fleece for chilly nights.”

There’s also an element of escapism that appeals to many people, as fashion trends often tend to do. “There’s something inherently comforting about being prepared for the elements even in everyday clothes and fostering a sense of adventure without actually having to go off road,” shares Wilson. “Gorpcore can also give the wearer a feeling of being transported — like you could hike the Catskills in your outfit but for now Prospect Park is fine,” she explains.

Lavàn credits the pandemic as part of the trend’s rise in popularity. “When our social lives were led to be outside more,” he explains, gorpcore fashion “became a practical yet stylish way for people to meet and congregate.”

Gorpcore jackets and tops

$600 at Arc’teryx

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“I spent hours researching the perfect Gore-Tex shell jacket and I ended up going with this one because I found it to be the most versatile — technically-minded but still lightweight,” explains Wilson. “I wear mine at least a few times a week, no matter the weather,” she adds. “Nothing screams gorpcore like Arc’teryx,” explains Johson. He describes this jacket as lightweight and comfortable, and notes that the Gore-Tex material “works magic in the rain.” 

$229 at Patagonia

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Johnson calls this a classic outdoor staple piece. “You have to have at least one Patagonia in your rotation,” he shares.

$270 at Snow Peak

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Snow Peak

Vests are a must-have for layering, and this pullover Shetland wool option is effortlessly chic and totally practical. It’s designed to be oversized, so you can wear it over thicker shirts and even sweaters when the weather gets really chilly.

$2,700 at Gucci

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The North Face

When it comes to the intersection of fashion and gorpcore, Lavàn describes this piece as leading the way. A classic down puffer jacket, the bright orange color is classic gorpcore.

$320 at The North Face

Women's 1996 Retro Nuptse Jacket

“This bubble jacket is a great example of gorpcore as it’s classic and iconic,” explains Wilson. Its boxy cut lends itself to effortlessly layered looks, while the ripstop fabric and coating is a practical touch. “The jacket comes in plenty of color-blocked iterations,” she adds, “but personally I love the Cone Orange-Lapis Blue-Ponderosa Green colorway which feels retro yet current.”

$129 at Patagonia

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Half-zip and anorak-style jackets are a mainstay for sustainably-minded brands like Patagonia, Wilson explains, and this option is one of her favorites. “It’s made with more eco-friendly materials like recycled polyester and nylon, and is fair trade credited sewn.”

$600 at Goldwin

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This delightfully oversized puffer from the quintessentially gorpcore brand Goldwin is made from recycled marine plastic waste, which is used in the coat as an insulation material. This material enables the jacket to maintain heat-retention, even when it gets wet. 

$200 at Arc’teryx

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Made from 100% recycled polyester, this midweight fleece is warm, soft and great for layering. “I like that gorpcore items are practical and can often be worn for years,” explains Wilson. “They often hold some resale value as well,” she adds. Some brands, like Arc’teryx, even have programs that help you repair, resell and upcycle pieces.

$990 at Zappos

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Lavàn recommends this sleek raincoat from Vetements, one of the brands he feels embodies gorpcore. It boasts inside and outside pockets in addition to a super practical drawstring hood and button-up closure.

$2,760 at Moncler

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“This is the most beautiful collaboration between Moncler x JW-Anderson,” shares Lavàn. Made from a soft denim material, this jacket definitely leans a bit more toward fashion than function. But the sheepskin collar, straps and chic construction make it a gorgeously irresistible nod to the gorpcore trend.

$189 at Patagonia

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One of Wilson’s favorite parts of the gorpcore trend is that pieces are often made with better-for-the-planet materials and practices. Many of the trend’s premiere brands also “have sustainability built into their company ethos — like Patagonia,” she adds. This vest is a perfect example, it’s made from 100% recycled materials.

$205 at Ssense

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“Cargo pants are a staple of any gorpcore fit and these ACG trousers are a perfect example,” shares Wilson. “I love the mix of Cordura nylon canvas, olive tones and contrast stitching for pants that are practical but still make a statement.”

$100 $49 at Huckberry

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These shorts are made from a recycled nylon material that’s both lightweight and stylish. They sport handy features like a key loop and adjustable webbing belt, and the golden-yellow beehive shade is classic gorpcore.

$400 at Marmot

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According to all our experts, Gore-Tex and other weather-resistant or weather-proof shell materials are essential components of gorpcore. These high-performance, waterproof ski pants come in a bold copper color that’ll pop on the slopes and in the city.

$316 at Kozaburo

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Snow Peak

This collaboration between classic gorpcore brand Snowpeak and Japanese menswear brand Kozaburo is a total marriage of fashion and function. 

$310 at Snow Peak

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Snow Peak

Made of canvas and treated with flame-retardant acrylic, these classic workwear pants are sturdy, functional and very much on trend. The oversized look and loose fit, along with a plethora of pockets make these pants a perfect way to incorporate gorpcore into any relaxed street style outfit.

Gorpcore shoes and accessories

$300 at Asolo

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One of Johnson’s personal favorite gorpcore shoes, he describes these as “a must-have in the late 2000’s.” Fortunately, the design, comfort and durability make it a timeless option that’s equally suited for trekking around the city and lighter hikes.

$90 at Snow Peak

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Snow Peak

Low-brim hats are a gorpcore staple and this fleece cap sports ear warmers that we’re absolutely obsessed with. 

$190 at Salomon

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“These are an essential gorpcore shoe,” shares Johnson. “Extremely versatile and great for dodging NYC rats.”

$255 at Mr. Porter

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Mr. Porter

Made from a strong yet lightweight recycled nylon material called econyl, Wilson originally purchased this as an everyday bag and carry-on tote for traveling. “I’ve brought it to the jungles of Costa Rica and the streets of New York,” she explains. “Its multiple ways to carry, endless pockets and minimal silhouette are practical and easy to mix and match.”

$140 at Packer Shoes

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“These are just really dope and I love the silhouette,” shares Johnson. This iconic 2000’s Nike shoe was recently brought back, and the earthy colorway is perfectly gorpcore.

$150 at Teva

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A classic all-weather hiking boot, this colorful option is made from a swath of recycled materials. It’s waterproof and durable, while still lightweight and breathable for ultimate all day comfort.

$163 $130 at Oakley

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“Oakleys are classics especially in the outdoor community,” explains Johnson, “so they would for sure be a gorpcore necessity.”