The parcel from Ramblers Way arrived with perfect timing. I was packing for a 20-day, 6,000 mile, truck-camping trip to Maine and back. I might see a washer and dryer at the midway point, but nice-looking, packable, stink-resistant tops would be key. They’d have to be versatile: for city and country, for hiking and reporting stints. They’d have to be warm or cool, depending on weather conditions over three weeks and 20 states.
Read more about Ramblers Way and its founder, Tom Chappell.
Like the perfectly chosen audio book or the most comfortable pair of hiking shoes, these tops were the tops. They helped make the trip easy and enjoyable.
I tried the women’s Henley tank, crew neck and quarter zip polo – all sized medium, in a warm charcoal grey of superfine Rambouillet wool.
“Itchy wool?” you ask.
No, yummy-next-to-the-skin, lightweight, delectable wool. Not your grandfather’s, scratchy beard wool, I reply.
The three items can be worn together or on their own. I mixed and matched. On a balmy Colorado walk and for a sultry college commencement in New York, the Henley tank served marvelously on its own and under a blazer.
The long-sleeved crew has the perfect neckline for showing off a necklace, but isn’t so scooped to make it inappropriate for active use. I wore it hiking and tucked it into my jeans for a slightly neater look and a dinner engagement.
To be honest, I also wore both as pajama tops, that’s how inseparable I was to these separates.
The quarter zip feels a bit like your favorite flannel shirt, but it’s warmer, classier and exponentially more versatile.
When I buy fabrics like wool or silk, a red flag immediately goes up: What about the dry cleaning or handwashing?
Ramblers Way items can be tossed in the washer and dryer. The care instructions say you can also hand wash and line dry them, but they held up well to my regular, no-fuss wash and dry treatment.
The last requirement for an active traveler, of course, is pack-ability. All of the tops were crammed into my pack (they’re made of fine, four and five ounce knit and compact exceedingly well). I even balled up the crew neck and used it to help with my sciatic pain while driving. They retained their shape perfectly and always looked wrinkle-free.
They might cost a bit more, but there’s something to be said for feel, the literal and more thoughtful varieties.
It’s nice on the skin. And, with Ramblers Way’s mission of sustainability and Made in America values, it’s nice on the brain, too.