Anyone who's spent a significant amount of time outdoors in cold weather, whether on a ski hill or a river, knows there's nothing that can ruin a day quite like an uncomfortable base- or mid-layer.
A unique new product created by a trio of Vancouver locals and outdoor industry vets is working to make sure outdoors enthusiasts never have to deal with that issue again, while addressing issues surrounding sustainability in the apparel industry.
The OV—it stands for overall—is a three-season, technical mid-layer. According to the company's Kickstarter campaign, it's intended to be worn under ski or snowboard pants and fishing waders, but is designed to look like workwear, in order to make it "versatile enough to wear as a standalone piece."
As Sidechannel founder and design director Dano Pendrygrasse explains in a release, the idea for the game-changing product originated one day as he was getting ready to go snowboarding.
"I looked at the fleece pants that I had been wearing for 20 years. In some ways they were the best piece of kit I owned," he tells. "They were pretty warm, they had lasted forever, and I used them for both snowboarding and under my waders for fly fishing. On the other hand, they were pilled and worn, the waistband stacked up with two other waistbands and cut into me, they got sweaty, and they looked, frankly, like crap. I thought, 'Everyone is wearing some dumb piece of clothing as a key layer... I bet I can do better.'"
According to the Sidechannel team, he has.
The breathable, water-resistant layer is crafted from a synthetic twill face fabric paired with a fleece liner, created in an effort to meet its founders' technical needs while also presenting like regular clothing—in other words, a piece of gear that's able to take its wearer from a full day of shredding to the pub for aprés.
The OV also allows the free movement of warm air thanks to its waistband-free design, and the leg is designed to be slimmer than traditional overalls, so they can fit comfortably beneath outerwear. It also features adjustable suspenders, an articulated knee for easy movement and a ton of handy pockets.
Better yet? The garment is made in Canada.
Says Pendygrasse, "The best design is personal. It solves a real problem in our lives and maybe even solves some problems we didn't know we had in the first place."
But aside from serving a purely functional purpose, the product also puts its founders' beliefs surrounding anti-specialization, sustainability and environmentalism into practice. After all, if you love the outdoors, it only makes sense to want to protect them as best you can.
"We want less stuff that works for more things and lasts a long time," reads a Sidechannel release. "The best environmental action a brand can take is to make highly versatile and durable pieces... and keep their product out of the landfill. We want to create gear that is a standard part of your kit, and that stays with you for the long haul."
To that end, the company is also pledging to repair or replace the product in the event it fails.
Now, here's where the company is seeking help from potential customers.
It's created a kickstarter campaign to crowdfund the product's launch, and has already raised $30,215 of its $32,279 goal, or 94 per cent, from 122 backers as of press time. However, the campaign falls under Kickstarter's "all or nothing" funding model. That means the project will only be funded in the event it reaches its funding goal by a set deadline—in this case, Thursday, Nov. 19 at 5 p.m.
It also means anyone interested in tossing some cash towards Sidechannel or procuring their very own OV has four more days to do so.
Potential backers can opt to pledge an amount of their choosing, and receive no reward in return, or pledge $235 or more to purchase an OV at a cost of 19 per cent off the Manufacturer Suggested Retail Price of $289. Pledge $490 or more and you'll earn two pairs of the OV, alongside a 15 per cent discount.
Sidechannel has also partnered with Chromer Sport Fishing to offer a series of packaged rewards for those willing to drop a minimum of $960, which include guided river fishing tours near Vancouver.
While the OV might be the Sidechannel team's newest endeavor, it's certainly not their first rodeo in the outdoors industry.
Pendygrasse's three decades of flyfishing and snowboarding "are the foundation of Sidechannel," the company explains in the release, while 20 years in the action sports photography business led to him producing visual media and developing campaigns for major companies like Monster Energy and Arc'teryx.
Founding partner Jon Roth, meanwhile, is a long-time flyfisherman and former pro snowboarder with an entrepreneurial streak: He's the man behind the Crowsnest Barber Shop chain.
Finally, general manager Kim Duff cut her teeth in the corporate world, "spanning procurement, logistics, market analytics, business development, marketing, and communications," before building her own consultancy and falling in love with the outdoors.
For more information about Sidechannel and the OV, check out its Kickstarter page.