Critical Intel

Critical Intel
Who Has the Best Adventure Outfit: Indy, Lara Croft, or Nathan Drake?

Robert Rath | 24 Jul 2014 16:00
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nathan drake

NATHAN DRAKE

It's amazes me that Nathan Drake is alive. While his outfits have improved over the course of the series - they're best in Uncharted 3 - his outdoors gear is riddled with rookie mistakes and baffling decisions. On the other hand, he's also willing to adopt local garments and accessories and seems to understand the value of a base layer, so maybe he's not so much incompetent as he his strapped for cash - adventurer-thieves don't make a lot of money.

Headgear
Nate wears no headgear or eye protection whatsoever, whether in the sun or the cold. The one exception to this rule comes in Uncharted 3 when he sports a Jordanian shemagh, a light cotton scarf favored in the Middle East. Conceivably, Drake could wrap this around his head for sun and dust protection, but considering he fails to do so while lost and dehydrated in the Rub' al Khali desert, it's probably more to protect his neck.

Or it's a fashion accessory and he has a death wish. Whichever.

Shirts, Jackets and Base Layer
Unlike the other two on this list, Drake often wears an identifiable base layer. Usually cosplayers and fans have identified it as a cotton T-shirt (and given Drake's propensity for baseball shirts this may be true) but I'd venture that both this is actually smart fabric, Merino wool, or some other wicking material. This would help keep moisture off Drake's skin, and dry quicker between his impromptu swimming excursions.

For the same reason, I believe Drake's long-sleeve Henley is a Merino wool blend like this one, since it would make more sense than cotton. Drake's decision to wear a long-sleeve overshirt is a smart one - long sleeves provide some of the sun and cold protection he lacks from neglecting a hat, and he can push them up if he's getting too warm.

In Tibet, Drake also ads a leather jacket with a nice wool lining. Given that it's made in the village, it's likely a good-quality jacket and will aid insulation - but he makes the fatal mistake of never wearing gloves or a hat. Not a good idea.

Trousers
Nate tends toward jeans, which is an extraordinarily poor decision. While jeans provide a barrier to environmental hazards, they're also the worst trail pants imaginable. Denim is made from heavy cotton, and cotton retains moisture instead of wicking it away like wool or synthetic smart fabrics. This means jeans take a long time to dry out once wet by either the environment or sweat, and that moisture on your skin sucks away body heat leading to greater risk of hypothermia (and terrible chafing). Worse still, in below-freezing climates wet jeans can actually ice up. This makes them a liability in both humid regions and cold ones, with dry climates being the only time they're useful - and even then, there are better choices. To be fair, I met a trekker on the Inca Trail who favored jeans, but he seemed like a comparatively dry hiker. One look at Nathan Drake tells you he's one sweaty dude.

In Uncharted 3 Drake switches to cargo pants - which, if they're synthetic, was probably a wise move. He probably has UnderArmour or wool long johns as a base layer, because while those materials are expensive, they're also easy to shoplift.

Footwear
I don't know how to say this other than that canvas shoes are terrible for what Nathan Drake does. They're without doubt his most baffling piece of gear. Jeans and canvas shoes are what you wear if you're fourteen and this is your first hike at sleepaway camp, not if you're a seasoned traveller and adventurer.

In Uncharted 3 Drake switches to more sensible desert boots and, I assume, curses himself for all the years he spent destroying his arches and making squeaky noises on stone floors.

Gear Bag
Drake has woeful carrying capacity. He mostly makes do with his pockets and some minimal pouches, and neglects any sort of water. Given how often he's stranded with no notice, maybe a collapsible or roll-up water bottle would be a good thing to keep in one of those new cargo pockets or that hard-shell zip pouch he's wearing in the Uncharted 4 trailer.

Pros: Good base layer, solid boots (Uncharted 3), adapts to conditions using local products, likely sues wicking fabrics and wool

Cons: Jeans increase risk of chafing and hypothermia, years of poor shoe choices, no hat in cold or hot climates, no eye protection, little room for gear, outfits inadequate for his (frequent) strandings in cold and hot climates

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