Tackle, Urbantrout

Useful and beautiful: Urbantrout goes Kryptek

Urbantrout Kryptek Highlander caps 2

I’ve got a thing for a really good fabric print.

It certainly started when I was working at the big old Liberty department store in the mid-1990s, first on the shop floor, merchandising a 15-yard wall of silk ties, and later in the buying offices, where I’d spend hours rifling through fabric swatches, picking out just the right colours and ranges for the next season’s collections.

Those were the years when I first saw the Wandle, too. William Morris and Arthur Lazenby Liberty had their printing works at Merton Abbey Mills, one of my aunts gave me a hand-carved Liberty printing block rescued decades before from a junk shop in Guildford (at a time when all the prints were being transferred onto silk screens, and the precious old blocks were being dumped or burned) and I took the tube down to Colliers Wood to see where it all began…

All that was a long time ago, of course. But a really good fabric print can still make the hairs on the back of my neck stand up, and that’s exactly how I felt on finding the Kryptek family of prints a couple of years ago.

When I started developing a little eco-branded range of fishing products for the Urbantrout website which I’d set up as the continuity blog for my book Trout in Dirty Places, I wanted to offer gear that you probably couldn’t get elsewhere. Funky rasta steelheader beanies, hoodies for non-tweedy urban (and other) fishing… and camo caps that might give a traditional old ghillie apoplexy.

That’s partly why the range is still quite small. But I’m satisfied that it’s helluva different, and here, finally, are the kind of camo caps I really, really wanted.

According to the ‘battlefield to back country’ developers’ notes…

Kryptek patterns utilize multi-level layering techniques by incorporating background shading and random geometrical foregrounds to create a three-dimensional effect that ensures the utmost in concealment at both close and long ranges… Kryptek Highlander is specially designed for those geographical regions that are varied… increasing stealth when pursuing a wide range of quarry in mixed terrain.

So… impressive stealth pedigree for starters (Kryptek is shortlisted as one of three potential patterns for the US Army’s Future Soldier programme), plus crisp, graphic lines that to this old print buyer are nothing short of beautiful, channelling just the kind of nervous, random geometric ripple you see on sun-dappled river currents, coloured with every shade of green, brown and grey you’ll find on the margins of urban streams and rural rivers alike.

By now you’ll have gathered I’m just a tiny bit excited to have these things for sale in my Urbantrout store, not to mention prowling the Wandle’s banks…

Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful”. I reckon old William Morris would approve.

Update: For the 2017 fishing season, I’ve restyled these caps with exclusive 3-D rubber badges. Click here to take a look.

Urbantrout Kryptek Highlander cap