Following in the footsteps of Garbstore and Harvest our latest ‘Shop Ten’ comes from Bensons Outfitters. If you’re unfamiliar with the format, it’s where the world’s coolest shops compile us a top ten of whatever the hell they like.
It’s not everyday that you find a gem of a shop like this on the internet, they plan to go to bricks and mortar soon too.
I pestered shop owner Tom to tell me what inspired him whilst also insisting that he do us a list of things he really loves at the moment, this is the result…
Tom: I set Benson Outfitters up earlier in the year with the idea that its the kind of place you would stock up if you were on the run from the law or heading out in to the wilderness to build a cabin and hunt and fish etc.
But those are rather niche markets so I’m also stocking things for the weekend adventurer, country-phile or average Joe who dreams of living in a cabin (or being a fugitive of the law).
I love small time brands, stuff with a bit of soul, traditional manufacturing and materials so this is what I look for in my suppliers. I have particularly enjoyed finding items from the US and abroad and bringing to the UK some things which aren’t particularly well known over here.
1: Archival Clothing
When I began considering the top ten things I really like at the moment I almost dived straight in with the Archival Clothing Rucksack. But then I remembered their awesome Tote Bag which has done me such sterling service as I have been, well… tote-ing it around for the past few months and straight after that I remembered the fantastic Field Bags they have just added to their line up, which I hope we will have in stock in the next couple of weeks. So I decided that Archival Clothing as a company and a brand (and of course an awesome blog!) deserved a spot on my list to reflect their awesome line up of brilliant, soulful bags, and their great company ethos.
2. The Barbour Jacket
I currently own a Game Fair and a Beaufort. Like old friends which smell great (what more could you want from a coat, or an old friend for that matter) and they develop, or should I say earn, a great patina with age their warm and dry and comfortable. I have this niggle about the things I own being ‘real’ they must be practical before fashionable, though they are both these days). I love the fact that they are made with brass and cotton rather than plastic and gore-tex, that’s just what I want from my possessions.
3. Between the Woods and the Water – Patrick Leigh Femore
I read this book a few months ago now and since I finished it I have been daydreaming of packing up my rucksack with a few fresh shirts and a pocket knife, strapping on a stout pair of leather boots and setting off for Constantinople over land across Eastern Europe on foot. It’s a fantastic tail of a young mans journey in a Europe now lost to history. PLF is a really interesting and inspirational character and a master of the English Language, a Great Briton. I would advise it to anyone.
4. Benson Outfitters red enamel coffee pot
Throw away your cafetieres, espresso machines and cappuccino frothers.I have recently started enjoying a very simple type of coffee. I have heard it called Camp Coffee, Cowboy Coffee and Finnish Style, any name is fine with me. The highly complicated procedure is this: Throw a few spoons of coarse ground coffee in to the pot of hot water, wait letting the worse of the grinds settle out and the pour, just crunch up any grinds which find their way in to your mug, it adds to it.
5. The Opinel Pocket Knife
In a time when carrying a pocket knife is becoming taboo in the ‘Daily Mail Society’ I get a little extra enjoyment out of carrying a pen knife, because it is probably frowned upon by a lot of people. This aside, they are of course also extremely useful. Made very simply in France from wood and steel they and relatively cheap to get hold of, the carbon steel Opinels also take a great patina and wear really nicely with age which is pleasing.
6. Sloe Gin
While mulling this list over I almost overlooked one of my top current interest which was staring me right in the face. That is this years batch of home made Sloe Gin. With the sun setting about 4.15 and the cold (and snow) really setting in, it is one of the more welcome fixtures of the season around here. I like it sharp so we don’t put to much sugar in the home made stuff.
I come from South West Devon not far from Plymouth, and like anyone who has been there knows, there isn’t much nice you can say about the city itself except that the Plymouth Gin Company make great gin, in fact I think they make the best gin, better than any of the London gins, so I would advise their own Sloe Gin to anyone who can’t get their hands on some of the home made stuff this year.
This awesome photo won the the 2010 Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize, awarded by the National Portrait Gallery last month.
The Tintin comics were really popular with me as a child and an inspiration to my wardrobe as an adult, you only really need a few choice classics (knitwear, oxford shirts and a pair of khakis) to get you round the globe and in and out of the clutches of evil villains, no problem. So I have been keeping a weather eye on the current buzz building up around the Spielberg/Jackson movie offering set to arrive next year. Initial signs look promising.
I can’t help but love these, it seems a bit of a shame that all the ones I have come across in the blogsphere seem to be wall mounted rather than out chopping wood but that doesn’t detract from a really cool item and a really nice idea.
10. The Kelly Kettle
I’ve had one of these for a few years now and they are starting to become more and more well known.These days no walk in the country or trip to the beach is complete with out firing it up to make a brew. There is just something cool about the lick of flame and the small of wood smoke.