There are pieces of clothing that are durable. You can put them through their paces and they’ll hold up… for a bit. Then there are clothes designed to confront a world full of extreme situations. These clothes are the result of humans being death-defyingly stubborn creatures and are some of the coolest, craziest things we’ve ever seen. If you want to combat the worst the world can toss your way, these are the clothes you’re looking for.
Most people know what aerogel is when they see it, especially if they’re looking at that iconic photo where it looks like someone’s holding a cloud. It’s ridiculously versatile, but the main thing it’s been used for has been insulation against extreme heat and cold. NASA’s put it in and on a ton of space-faring vehicles, with the one they’re proudest of seeming to be the Mars Pathfinder rover.
They’ve been trying to bring aerogel to the masses for a long time, but it wasn’t until recently that they were able to figure out how to make it into a viable commercial product. Early prototypes had some issues with shattering if bent the wrong way, being ridiculously easy to dissolve in pretty much any liquid, and providing far too much insulation, three problems you can’t really have if you want people to wear something. They’ve solved most of that though, so now we can buy the Oros Orion Parka and the Lukla Endeavor, two of the most viable and successful aerogel jackets.
Fire Hose Flannel-Lined Limber Jacket
Forget bomb shelters. If we know the nukes are coming, we’re going to wrap ourselves up in Duluth stuff. We’re talking clothes that will last your entire life, maybe even more, so when you’re looking for a jacket that can withstand a more rigorous routine, Duluth is where we’re looking first. This jacket’s made with fire hose canvas, which is the heavy stuff. There won’t be accidental rips and tears if you get it caught on something. If anything, the jacket will pick up and carry whatever stuck into it. $75
Husqvarna Classic Pants
Chainsaws are terrifying. It’s wild that anyone ever got the idea for “tiny metal teeth spinning insanely fast only inches from our hands” approved. Like anything dangerous, they need their own safety equipment. In this case, they use pants that stop a chainsaw in less than one rotation, which is so fast you can’t really conceptualize it until you see the pants in action. Despite the technology in these pants, the idea is pretty simple. A chainsaw can’t cut a human apart if it’s not moving. Therefore, you have to get the chainsaw to stop moving as quickly as possible. That’s achieved with a special type of nylon called an aramid. They’re long molecules that can be spun into fibers with extremely high tensile strength, and then tightly packed into these pants and pants like them. When the chain hits these fibers, it pulls them into the guts of the chainsaw, bringing the machine to a dead stop. $140
Blaklader Work Pants
Pants from Blaklader are what you buy when you need the kind of resistance Husqvarna offers for chainsaws, but need it to be more general use. These won’t stop a chainsaw, but they’re for people who want to buy a pair of pants that’ll last longer than a week or two at the construction site. They’re thick, heavy, and have plenty of reinforced stitching, meaning they won’t come apart at the first sign of use. There are also a ton of pockets on these pants, so if your job requires you carrying supplies constantly, you won’t run out of room here. Link
Miguel Cabellero Bulletproof Clothing
You might know Miguel Cabellero’s name from when he helped David Blaine prepare for his bullet catch stunt. If that wasn’t it, maybe you own clothing from his bulletproof fashion line. It’s good looking stuff and would be expensive regardless of its ballistic resistance, but that’s kind of the point. The line is supposed to be for people who work in dangerous areas and need protection from small arms, but still need to look professional. We’re talking private security, military personnel, police departments, and super paranoid rich people. The armor’s in use across the world, particularly in South America, and most of it is rated to stop the same bullets as the AR500 we talked about above. Link
Indigo Sport Motorcycle Jeans from Resurgence Gear
When you fall off your motorcycle, you’re either going so slow nothing bad happens or so fast you’ll slide for a couple hundred yards before coming to a trembling stop on the side of the road. If it’s the latter, you need protection. To the industry’s credit, there are plenty of pieces of protective clothing out there, made out of materials you could drag along the road for twelve miles then get up and keep wearing like new. But for those of us not driving crotch rockets, we need clothes that match the bike. These pants do that. Looking at them, you’d think you just have a slightly bulkier pair of regular jeans, but they’re the highest rated, toughest motorcycle jeans on the market and should let you walk away from a spill without much more than a few scrapes. $299