Traveler's Gear Box: Carhartt's Huron Jacket

Carhartt's Huron jacket provides a waterproof, breathable layer for when you encounter rain in the parks.

Carhartt is a brand best known around ranches and job sites where grit and sweat mix freely. But lately the company that got its start in 1889 crafting work cloths for railroad workers has been reaching out to outdoor enthusiasts in general.

And why not? Gear that can stand up to abuse, whether intentional or not, is worth having in the parks. With an eye on the recreational user -- and traditional Carhartt devotees who like to head outdoors after work -- the company is producing items that can be worn both on and off the job and look great and be functional no matter what the setting.

The Huron jacket (MSRP $120) is one of those items. A waterproof, breathable outer shell, the Huron is made from a 3-ounce, 100 percent nylon ripstop fabric that stands up to traveling through brush. All the seams are taped and waterproofed, and there's an attached hood for when you encounter a storm on the trail.

A chest pocket over your left breast can hold an MP3 player or smartphone, and there's an inside portal to pass your earphones through. Two other pockets stand ready to hold your hands or any small items you carry with you. Hook-and-loop (aka Velcro) patches let you adjust the cuffs and waist.

An innovation the company carried over to this jacket from its work line of clothing are two-way zippered seams on the sides of the jacket. These enable quick access to your pants pockets without needing to hike up the jacket, or can be used to vent the jacket, which is light and easily packed away.

Flashy? No. But it performs in the field.