Climbing clothing lifestyle brands seem to be enjoying a bit of a resurgence lately, which is great for those of us who don’t want to dress up in dorky uber-technical wicking wear every time we just go cragging, bouldering, or to the climbing gym.
The U.K.-based husband-and-wife team of Guy and Jessica Mor hit me up last month and introduced me to their venture, 3rd Rock Clothing, an organic and recycled climbing wear brand that is making some pretty cool stuff.
They sent me a few pieces to test, and I’ve been rocking them out ever since. Here are some thoughts I have on each item … But first, a Q&A with Guy and Jess.
Q&A with Jessica and Guy
Tell me about yourselves and why you started 3rd Rock.
Guy: We live in the U.K., close to the Peak District. We met six years ago in Namibia, and travelled together to South Africa, where we climbed in Waterval Boven, which still holds a very warm place in our hearts.
Jessica: I worked in the London high-fashion industry following my fashion and pattern-cutting degree. During that time I witnessed the negative sides of the industry: Environmental abuses, human-rights violations and the disposable nature of fast fashion. I have made it my mission to create an alternative, to make a difference and make something of use. Being a fashion designer & a rock climber, the road was clear as to how to go about it, so I started 3rd Rock, an eco-activewear brand for climbers, yogis and all active people out there.
Guy: I helped Jessica to set up the business the first couple of years while studying for a degree in biology & ecology.
In the last 15 or so years that I’ve been writing about climbing, I’ve seen a lot of “lifestyle” brands come and go in the climbing world. What makes yours different and why will you be successful?
Guy: It’s a very good question, I think what makes 3RD ROCK unique comes from a few different factors:
The product, with our movement-inspired designs like the Arms Up Cut Zoom Hoodie. The team, with our in house designs and innovation, and the fact that we are all climbers. And our ethos. We have made it our mission to design and create the best, most comfortable and long-lasting products while causing no harm. We believe these values provide a refreshing alternative to what’s out there at the moment.
Jess, tell me about your background as a fashion designer. How does your passion for climbing/yoga influence your approach as a designer, and vice versa: does your eye for design influence you as a climber?
As a pattern cutter and designer I am a little obsessed with the fit of clothing and clever designs. My passion for climbing definitely influences me, I’m constantly thinking of the moves I make and the problems I have with my clothing while climbing. I then take these issues to the drawing board when developing our new styles and updating our existing ones. I question comfort levels and movement potential, which can negatively impact our focus and then I personally test out the developments until I’m happy.
With regard to my eye for design influencing me as a climber, I can only say that I get a little distracted a little too easily when training at the gym and checking out what everyone is wearing! Being out in the wild at some incredible cliff face with less climbers around is always better for my focus when it comes to climbing.
Where is your favorite place to climb, and why?
Guy: Ha ha, that’s easy for me I guess: Waterval Boven. Being a sport climber combining with the fact that that’s where I’ve started to climb, that would be my choice. But other than the climbing, I really like the vibe, and the nature and community around it.
Jessica: That’s not easy to answer, I love so many places. I think for me Thailand, Tonsai and Railey were where I first fell in love with tufas and stalactites and really started to improve my climbing. It always adds another dimension of fun to a climb when monkeys start descending down your route to meet you halfway up and start throwing poo at you.
Review: Zoom Hoodie
If there’s one piece of clothing that I always want to be wearing, it’s a good hoodie. Surprising, the good ones are hard to find.
The Zoom, with its 80-percent organic cotton / 20-percent polyester lining and myriad features tailored to climbing, is one of the good ones. What’s most unique about the Zoom is that it’s designed so that the waist doesn’t rise up every time you raise your arms—which, obviously, has a clear application to climbing. The Zoom fits, and stays, under a harness, and it also won’t creep up while bouldering.
This thing is really warm, making it a great piece for really chilly climbing days. And unless it’s quite cold out, you’re probably not going to be wearing it while climbing. I’d love to see a lighter version that you’d actually wear in less-frigid climbing conditions.
My favorite parts are the hood and hand pockets. The pockets are individual, which I prefer to the traditional pouch found in most hoodies. The hood’s layered cut gives you ample room around your neck, unlike other hoodies. When the hood is on, you feel cozy without being suffocated.
In addition to a lightweight version of the Zoom, I’d also prefer to see a better design on the front. There’s nothing wrong with the 3rd Rock logo front and center, but not everyone wants to feel like a walking billboard for a brand all the time.
I think I’ve worn this super-warm, thick hoodie every day since receiving it. It has quickly become my favorite hoodie for climbing and chilling. Sizing is also spot on.
Review: Nova Trousers
Why aren’t there more men’s climbing pants—or, “trousers,” as they say across the pond—that come with elasticized waists? This has always been a mystery to me. I’m not going to be wearing a belt under my harness, and I’m showing off my plumber’s crack every time I lower off a route.
The Nova Trousers have that feature that I’ve long been missing. The elastic waist band is comfortable and secure, and keeps my pants were everyone wishes they would be: up around my waist.
There is also a drawstring that adds an additional bit of security. While this, in general, is a nice feature to have, I found that it often got in my way while tying my knot. It might be cool to figure out a way to tuck this drawstring out of the way for those times you rope up.
My biggest gripe with these pants was the seam running down both pant legs. While the curvy seam adds a bit of flair to the fashion, I found it irritating to have a seam running over the middle of my thigh and top of my kneecap. It also interfered with knee-barring on routes, adding an additional pressure point.
These minor points aside, I really liked the Nova Trousers. They’re comfortable, loose and allow for unrestricted climbing movements. And they’ve been my go-to pants for this winter gym training cycle. Sizing is spot on.