Opinion: Why Bright is Right

Bright colors are our thing. We stuff our gear rooms with the loudest lenses, the most colorful kicks, and the most scintillating shells. And, we’ve even impulse-bought everything from ropes to packs because we were dazzled by their colors.

Needless to say, after reading the recent Outside magazine article “Yes, Running Clothes Are Hideous,” we’re ready to defend them. If you haven’t had a chance to read it, the piece touches on how ridiculous certain outdoor gear looks in everyday use. Particularly, the writer hammers away at the super-bright colors covering today’s running attire.

Credit: Tim Peck
Credit: Tim Peck

For us, however, bright colors are fun. So, when we pursue hiking, climbing, skiing, and other activities for enjoyment, why not let our outdoor wardrobe reflect our happiness? Sure, a black hardshell can probably do double duty on those rainy days when you commute to your “real job,” but it’s boring. Instead, try a bright yellow one. It screams “fun” and may even give you something to smile about.

Want people to like those outdoor pics you spend so much time shooting? Think about the colors your subject is wearing. They’re often the difference between whether a photo pops off the screen or simply gets scrolled by. Don’t believe us? Check out Outdoor Research’s “One Tip to Improve Your Buddies’ Outdoor Photos.” You can probably guess what that is.

Sure, a black hardshell can probably do double duty on those rainy days when you commute to your “real job,” but it’s boring.

Bright colors are also safer. Particularly, they stand out in a natural setting. So, thanks to that vivid orange jacket, you’ll be more easily spotted, whether by friends lagging on the trail, skiers speeding down the hill, or bystanders watching you send that five-star climb. On this note, bright colors attract way more attention in an emergency than dark colors.

Finally, let’s be honest. You’re way more likely to find an awesome deal on a must-have puffy in an absurd color than you are in something more neutral. So, embrace your inner dirtbag and save a few bucks for your fall climbing trip, even if you end up looking like the Kool-Aid Man.

Credit: Tim Peck
Credit: Tim Peck

As children of the ’80, we are likely biased, too. After all, those neon onesies worn by the decade’s ski icons and the insanely patterned tights of the era’s leading climbers heavily influenced us. For outdoor athletes, it’s easy to get lost chasing first tracks, climbing grades, and waves. But, don’t forget to keep chasing the most important thing. See you out there. Hopefully, you’ll be so bright, we can’t help but spot you.