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Fall Gear Roundup: 2020

Masks, gloves, tee shirts, and even shemaghs!!!

Summer is wonderful, with its sunny bright days, breezy warm evenings, and crickets chirping nights. Fall in New England, though, has colors that Summer can only dream of. Fall is coming and we can’t wait!!!

Seeing those vibrant Fall colors up close and personal, though, means venturing outside. and with the temperature dropping, that means gloves, maybe a jacket, and later in the season, a scarf.

Of course, because of the global pandemic, it absolutely means a mask.

Gloves, tees, masks, and even a shemagh!!!

In this Fall Gear Roundup, we’ve got you covered on all the essentials, including the latest in face coverings.

What really makes us happy is not just finding companies with products we like, but promoting them because they also take their socially responsibilities seriously.

Maroon Bell Outdoor

Many companies make quality products, but only a few have that something extra. Maroon Bell Outdoor’s retro-inspired driving gloves do. They have both a classic look and the quality to back it up. 

These gloves are constructed using full grain water buffalo leather, which is 3X stronger than cow hide. These gloves are tough as nails and really, really, durable.

The brass snaps and the stitching flash back to the quality craftsmanship of the past, but the thumb and index finger are tipped with conductive materials so a smartphone can be operated without taking them off…definitely a nod to the necessities of the present.

The gloves are a bit stiff and sized a little small, but we are assured that the  leather will soften over time and will stretch to fit (most leather items do that). We look forward to them fitting like, uh, a glove, and to fully “settle in” after a few months.

Whether you live in the city or the country, whether you are going for a top-down drive or working in the garden, these gloves will be the right choice!

Maroon Bell Outdoor donates 3% of all sales to non-profit organizations they believe in.


We learned of Vaja when we were looking for a fine protective cover for our first iPad more than a decade ago. Their craftsmanship was outstanding,and we still check in with them every so often to see what they have been up to. 

So it was not a surprise when they announced a line of high-quality face masks in response to the pandemic.

The Vaja face masks are made with the same attention to quality, features, and details as they apply to all of their other products:

  • Handcrafted
  • All-weather Floater leather for the exterior
  • Soft Caterina leather for the interior
  • Smart washable filter attachment system
  • Adjustable headbands and aluminum nose clip for fit

Unlike other masks, the Vaja mask, because of the design and materials, will stay further away from the nose and mouth, making breathing and talking is easier. This design is not possible with the fabric-type masks. 

The inner fabric filter is washable and replaceable. It is attached using an ingenious two-magnet design that keeps the cloth off the face.

Vaja got its start making quality leather covers for smartphones. Unlike some accessory makers, they stayed true to their high-quality roots.  We are happy that they have continued that approach for their ever-evolving product line!

True Classic Tees

We have looked at travel wear made out of fleece, out of merino wool, and even out of kevlar. While we loved the gear, they were always priced at the upper end because of the materials used. The quality was worth the premium, but affordability was always the tradeoff.

When a few readers pointed us to True Classic Tees, we were intrigued because the founders had similar concerns, that “nobody was putting out high quality basics that were reasonably priced.” We KNEW right then that we had to check these guys out!

“Classic look, modern fit” is the tagline, and it is absolutely true.

No boxy/baggy look with these tees. They are closely fitted without being constraining. It is NOT like wearing a small when one should be wearing a medium. The feel of the material is stunningly soft and so comfortable that you don’t want to take it off even at the end of the day! 

Yeah, these guys nailed it.

As for giving back, a portion of every True Classic Tees sale goes towards helping homeless vets get the housing they need to get off the streets.

Combat Flip Flops

When we posted an article early this year about face coverings, a few readers asked us about shemaghs from a company called Combat Flip Flops. We had no idea what a shemagh (pronounced “shamay” or “schmog“) was…we had to look it up.

A shemagh is a square scarf commonly found throughout the Middle-East,  and provides protection from the sun, dust and sand. The shemagh has a fascinating history of colors, lineage, and perception. Reminded us of the subtleties of Scottish tartan and other similar patterns.

We are exploring the different ways to wear one. Some people are using them as an alternative to masks, suitable for all kinds of weather. The shemagh must be highly functional, because it is used by those who live and die by their choice of equipment in places where things can get hostile.

As for doing good, the folks at CFF walk the walk when they say they are trying to “create jobs, fund women’s education and improve people’s lives!” They source their goods wherever it can do good.

Hey, we are all in this together!

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