When we set out to create a long-sleeve riding top we naturally looked at the classic flannel shirt for inspiration. Nothing quite encapsulates that laid back cool than someone bombing through the woods, shirt open drifting around corners. Add in a healthy dose of nostalgia and you could be one of the very people forging a new sport on the fire roads of Marin County in the late '70s. But then a traditional flannel shirt has its limitations. It's these restrictions that we sought to address when we designed the Overland Long Sleeve Shirts. How can we turn a much loved iconic product and make it work for an active and sustainable life?
During the years of testing, we found that normal shirts often needed to be paired up with other items, such as jacket, t-shirt or gilet, to make them more usable. So we made our version feel the same weight as a flannel shirt but with a tighter weave of fabric, making it windproof and still breathable. Adding a durable water repellent coating gave our shirts extra protection against the elements, so they didn't absorb water and will shrug off a greater range of weather conditions. So perhaps we should have called it a jacket, or maybe even shacket?
But then whilst we weren't opposed to calling it a jacket or shacket, this didn't really reflect the foundation and true aim of the product; to create a shirt that behaves like a cycling jersey. Super stretchy with two large hidden side pockets (you don't get these on regular flannel shirts) it bends, flexes and warps to all manner of body english as you navigate the trails. Carry all your tools, snacks and valuables in the three pockets and there is no need to carry a backpack either.
The central ethos to any Overland product is to help you buy less. The world produces 400% more clothing than it did 20 years ago and we use it 36% less with 60% of people admitting they own more clothing than they need. This will result in a potential increase in CO2 clothing emissions by 1200% by 2050. Something has to be done. We spent years researching different fabrics and testing them in a broad variety of conditions and we don't just mean across numerous adventure sports. We also put them in such testing conditions as meetings with the bank manager and get-togethers with the in-laws. A much stiffer test to pass than the unexpected howling snowstorms we experienced on one spring gravel ride! We created these shirts so they could handle office meetings to multi-day expeditions, from spring sunshine to winter storms. Ultimate versatility.
They will handle it all, so you can forego the regular flannel shirt (£30+), the normal cycle jersey (£60+) the lightweight jacket (£50+) and the windproof shower resistant coat (£40+), saving you money and the carbon emissions from unnecessary clothing production and waste.
So what the hell is it? A shirt? A jacket? A cycling jersey? In fact, it is all of these things. Carefully designed in a way that brings a fresh perspective to technical sports apparel. One where you can reduce clothing consumption due to the incredible versatility and, more importantly, look like you're fresh from Mt Tamalpais after spending some long summer evenings drifting on fat tyres.