Western Rise Explorer Outfit in the Highlands

It felt great to travel again, this time on a road trip for a workshop retreat into Scotland, on the fringe of the Highlands. It’s like four seasons in a day with how unpredictable and ever-changing the weather is up here, but that’s Scotland! I figured this would be the perfect time to try out an outfit from Western Rise – a Colorado, US brand focused on performance clothing made for work, travel, and play. I last tried Western Rise clothing a few years ago back in Malta and I was impressed by the technical fabric being woven in smart-looking everyday garments. So I’m keen to see how this outdoor-focused outfit does to match my adventure and active lifestyle.

Wearing the StrongCore Merino Long Sleeve


For disclosure, this article features affiliated links which means I may receive a commission if you make a purchase through these links. They in no way influence or dictate my thoughts towards a brand, product or service. As the sole creator of One Tech Traveller, this helps support my work and platforms.

Western Rise for the Highlands

StrongCore Merino Long Sleeve

Today’s outfits from Western Rise are individual pieces that can mix and match or work together, with a range of colours to suit the kind of occasion, style, or aesthetic you’re looking for:

You’ll find each in a standard black if you like to play it safe, however, I went for different colours on the Spectrum Jogger and AirLoft Vest to better highlight how these look and give a little more colour. The AirLoft and Spectrum Jogger are in Blue Grey, while the StrongCore Merino, Socks, and Versa Hat are all in black.

AirLoft Vest

AirLoft Vest


After a week of everyday usage, this is my new favourite piece from Western Rise. I mean it. Really. The AirLoft Vest is such a versatile piece to have as a layer for those colder days under a jacket, or the main layer for cool, breezy days over a shirt, long sleeve, or jumper. I never find myself overheating like stuffy gilets or feeling too cold with thinner vests… it’s got the perfect balance of retaining and regulating warmth.

The high neck collar gives good protection against windy elements, with a smooth zip and easy-to-grab heat-pressed zipper pull. THere’s a total of four pockets – two side pockets for your hands and gloves, one inside pocket chest level to secure valuables like a wallet, AirPods case, and cards, while a hidden rear pocket adds plenty of use to stow the Versa Hat, a neck gaiter or stuff to free your hands off. The rear pocket is super useful and makes accessories easy to reach (just a grab from behind) and a zipper pull that’s easy to open.

For the warmth it holds, the AirLoft Vest is surprisingly light, and not bulky, making this a great all-weather piece to pair with anything in my wardrobe. For that, it impresses me the most and I love the modern silhouette and all-around performance.

StrongCore Merino Long Sleeve

StrongCore Merino Wool Long Sleeve


This is the StrongCore Merino long-sleeve version of the short-sleeve I tried a few years back, delivering excellent warmth and coverage in a thinner gauge merino wool fabric. I like the long sleeve, especially for colder temperatures as it helps retain heat throughout my upper body. The fit is flattering on the shoulders, chest, and arms, while comfortable towards the stomach for a smart, modern aesthetic. There’s a slight drop on the rear hem with side cuts which help with your everyday mobility and less garment drag on the body. Merino wool is a staple for anyone living in colder areas as it holds warmth incredibly well and helps block the cold chills better than other materials.

The fact the merino fabric is not a heavy thick gauge makes this great for traveling lighter, prevents overheating in hotter climates, and manages to pull off a slick aesthetic for the smart/ smart casual attire.

Versa Hat

Waterproof Versa Hat


I’m not too much of a hat person, but on my travels, having a hat is essential for those just in case moments. Hats like these are sometimes hard to pack because the brim is too structured and the cap compresses in. They can also lack useful properties under the sun or hold off rain. Western Rise made the Versa Hat functional and practical to wear – this is the first waterproof hat I’ve come across and it really does the job brilliantly.

The Versa Hat is light collapses down super well so I store it in the back pocket of the AirLoft Vest to grab it anytime. The brim is malleable so I can have it flat or curved, and the cap is light and breathable without any visible ventilation holes. Until you have one in your hand it’s hard to understand the quality build but it feels amazing to the touch, very soft and smooth inside lining, reinforced spandex headband for an adjustable fit, and has a clean method to store the adjustable head size by sliding the extra material within the headband.

For the technical side, it really is waterproof. Water beads off even when I was caught in heavy showers, with my head and the Versa Hat looking presentable as always. As I said, I don’t wear hats much but having one hat to handle everything outdoors… this is the one.

This is a great piece for the minimalist, all weather conditions as it’s light, breathable, and not heavy, and is suited for convenience and waterproof properties. Winds in Scotland were crazy so I did have to make sure I made the fit was tight as the brim can move around but we’re talking extreme gusts so this actually surprised me it handled that well. A fave and new addition to pack when I travel.

Spectrum Joggers

Spectrum Joggers


The Spectrum Joggers feel as easy to move around in as typical joggers but have the midweight durability and quality of Western RIse’s other technical pants. I like the fact the waistband is stretchy and a fairly wide band, as it holds onto the waist well and feels comfortable. It doesn’t have the tightness or compression of narrow waistbands. There’s a heat-pressed drawstring tucked on the inside for extra hold for those active moments, but I found the waistband more than sufficient.

These sit on the midweight side of the Western Rise range which is great if you don’t need the heavy-duty fabric of the Evolution, AT, or Diversion, but want more structure and durability than typical joggers. These certainly have the craftmanship to handle the elements if things get a little dirty/off-road in Scotland.

The fit is similar to other Western Rise pants if you’ve ever tried them – a modern fit around the upper thighs, a slight drop seam on the crotch for extra room, and a tapered fit towards the cuff. Everything feels well made and I like the mix of active and smart aesthetics with a false fly to dress this up and the lines that cut towards the calves. The side pockets are open and accessible, with items sitting towards the front thigh, while a side zip pocket on the hip stows valuables securely and away from distraction when active. The zipper rear pocket has a mesh liner for breathability, a nice detail there.

A lot of attention, detail, and consideration went into making a more active-minded pair of pants and it’s great to see the quality of Western RIse’s workmanship carry over to the Spectrum Joggers. I feel it offers something a little more relevant for the active lifestyle but still dresses well for smart, professional, or casual occasions.

StrongCore Merino Socks


It’s not always easy to talk about socks but I’ll comment a little on The StrongCoreMerino Crew Socks because they deserve a mention. In colder climates especially when it snows, the cold can reach your feet very quickly so it helps to have good footwear and quality socks to retain the heat. Some of the benefits of merino are that it’s odor resistant so you can wear them for longer without the smell and the stink, which happens fast with other sock materials.

Combine this with the fact it retains heat and warmth so well makes these my go-to socks in cold conditions. The long crew length gives great coverage and is available in black or grey. And for the technical properties, I think these are excellent value for money.

Outfit Verdict in Scotland

Western Rise

These create an entire outfit that works well, offers function, quality, and practicality, with the durability to last a long time. I love that these can mix and match with pieces besides Western Rise’s garments because they’re flexible across the seasons. The AirLoft Vest is the star of the show with its amazing adaptability to wear, quality, warmth retention, modern fit, and layering options, while the StrongCore shows you don’t have to compromise on comfort while looking the part.

The Spectrum Joggers is an excellent foray into the active lifestyle, bringing the best of Western Rise fabrics in midweight pants, mixing travel with pleasure. Western Rise has an acquired fit which I think you may find to your taste if you’re looking to modernise your pants collection.

And of course, the Versa Hat is an incredible hat where if you only need one, this would be it. Waterproof, super easy to pack, light, and adjustable is all you need to have headwear all-year round, and in colours to suit your taste. Keep an eye out for my individual reviews on the larger garments but from my experience testing these during my retreat in Scotland, these are certainly worth thinking about.

For disclosure, this article features affiliated links which means I may receive a commission if you make a purchase through these links. They in no way influence or dictate my thoughts towards a brand, product or service. As the sole creator of One Tech Traveller, this helps support my work and platforms.