Clothes For An Alaskan Strongman
As retired mushers, Mark and I had numerous pieces of clothing from a company known for its “brown duck” pants and coveralls popular with mushing people and their handlers. Last fall, we set out to find a pair of bibs from the brown duck company and had a heck of a time finding a pair that was long enough for the big dude. After going from store to store, store to store, and…well you get the picture I was disappointed to find out most of the new styles for this season had a maximum inseam of 32″. With Mark being a solid 6’6″ a 32″ inseam would definitely qualify as “flood pants” for him! Although with as tall as he is, he usually can get by with a 34″ inseam, but only making pants to a size 32??? In the past we bemonaed Big and Tall stores were really just “big” stores. In the few stores we’ve tried to find pants to fit Mark, we can find pants with 50-60″ waists, but not with longer inseams. We always wondered where is the tall part of the store!
For a good part of 30 years, when it came to getting Mark work pants or jeans to fit and be well made, we could count on the said Brown Duck company. That was until last fall when I went in search of the coveralls. Thankfully one of the stores in town had a pair left over from the previous year’s order and when he tried them on, they fit in his backside (all the squatting he’s been doing has made that grow!) and in length! However, for the first time in almost 30 years, he was extremely disappointed in the quality of the hardware on the snap and buttons. Each time he wears them, the worries they are going to break. I thought to myself, maybe it’s time to try something new…
The something new, really isn’t THAT new. I first heard of the company in the 90’s when they introduced The Bucket Boss, a handy canvas cover for a 5 gallon bucket to carry tools and then again in the early 2000’s when they introduced the Long Tail T, the cure for plumbers butt! They then went off our radar a bit when we moved to our remote cabin and lived without TV for 12 years and subsequently retired from sled dogs. Besides, Mark and I tend to be very loyal and stick with things we know and like. That was until the Brown Duck coverall issue.
Duluth Trading Company has been a long-time sponsor of the John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon and we heard great things about their products from mushers and handlers. I thought I’d write the company a quick note explaining our disappointment in the other company’s bibs and asked if they would be interested in letting Mark test out some of their clothes. I was pleasantly surprised I heard back from Kate a couple of days later with a resounding yes! At the time they were extremely busy with Black Friday specials, new store openings and the Christmas shopping season. After a few emails back and forth, sometime in mid-January a huge Duluth Trading box was delivered to our front door. Mark texted me and said it was “like Christmas”! Not only did they send a pair of pants for Mark, they sent an awesome pair of insulated bibs and jacket, but they also sent some pieces for me too!
Something New; Pants From Fire Hose?
As soon as Mark tried on the pair of DuluthFlex Fire Hose Pants, he was SOLD! From the mouth of the dude himself:
What I like about my work pants is that they are so soft and comfortable right away. Not like (the other pants) where you have to wash the a bunch of times before they soften up. I also like all the belt loops; keeps the belt where it belongs! I like the ease of getting stuff in and out of the nice, big pockets. I like the quality of the construction. All in all, like much better than the last pair of (the other company’s) pants I bought. I will be a Duluth customer from here on out!!!
One of the reasons Mark wanted the bibs was his belt cutting into his back while sitting for 12 hours at time bouncing around in his haul truck. The back of the Fire Hose pants have a long channel as a belt loop, not just one little strip of fabric, that “keeps the belt where it belongs!”. (See photo below, courtesy of Duluth Trading) Since the Fire Hose pants entered his life, the bibs have been worn only once or twice, when I insist on washing them! We will definitely buying more of these in the future! (And this writer realized as she was writing the article, she didn’t get a picture of The Dude in his favorite pants! I will add to this posting at a date in the near future).
Alaskan Hardgear Bibs Good Enough For An Alaskan Strongman
Unfortunately the jacket was too big for the Incredible Hulk (yep, he keeps growing), but when he tried on the Alaskan Hardgear bibs, he commented out loud “I wish I had a pair of these while running dogs!” Again, in the words of the Dude:
The bibs I haven’t worn near as much as the pants, but I like all the pockets and they are plenty warm. I wore them at the start of the Iditarod, at 20-30 below, and stayed warm being a spectator. Once I got them zipped and cinched up, they were pretty easy to walk in. Construction seems top notch. Will have to wear them more!!!
In the past, we had bibs custom made to fit his size. With him being broad in the chest, most bibs were too tight on top and too short on the bottom. As you can see in this photo with musher and Duluth Trading sponsored Nathan Schroeder (we knew this guy when he was a pre-teen hanging out at races helping his dad!) at the re-start of the Iditarod in Fairbanks last week. It was 20 below at the start and only warmed up to about 10 below! We were total spectators, not petting a single dog, not bending over to put on a single bootie and not scooping a single pile of dog poo! (There’s a blog already started on the spectator topic…watch for it in the next week or so).
As mentioned earlier, I received a few pieces of clothes as well. I LOVE them and I will share my experience in future post. As this product review comes to a close, The Aging Youthful Dude and I give Duluth Trading’s clothes two thumbs up! Check out their website or one of their retail locations (more are opening every year and we are waiting to hear when a retail store will come to Fairbanks! Thanks Kate and Duluth Trading, you’ll be seeing more orders from this Alaskan Strongman!
We’d love to hear from you! What are some of your favorite Duluth Trading products. One of mine, is their commercials. HELLO….they are hilarious!!! Leave us a message on our Facebook or Instagram pages with your faves.