Necessity is the mother of invention, and that could not be truer for Mandy Bland, founder of Purple Rain Adventure Skirts, which makes skirts for hiking, backpacking and around town.
When Mandy began her thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail in 2012, she used a trash bag as a rain skirt. In awe, after seeing other hikers fashioning their own gear, she figured she’d give it a go herself.
First she tried cutting up some hiking pants, but quickly heard about someone selling ripstop nylon by the yard. Mandy begged her mother to get some fabric and sew a skirt for her – in purple of course – and the first Purple Rain Adventure Skirt was born.
That led to a rather appropriate trail name for Mandy: “Purple Rain.”
Growing up in the Midwest, sewing was a part of Mandy’s upbringing. Learning from family (and a few YouTube videos) Mandy figured out how to make some pretty badass skirts.
Purple Rain skirts offer everything you could ask for in an active wear bottom. Skirts allow airflow, which reduces chafing and makes peeing a breeze.
Mandy’s hiking and backpacking skirts are made from durable, lightweight, stretchy fabric that dries quickly. They have a stretchy, comfortable, yoga-style waistband made of wicking fabric.
The skirts also have POCKETS! Who doesn’t love pockets especially when on the trail?! Small, non-functional or altogether non-existent pockets can be a real issue for women’s clothing, especially when it comes to hiking bottoms, but Mandy has taken care of that! The Velcro pockets on Purple Rain Adventure skirts are big enough to hold all of your essentials, such as a camera, chapstick, lighter, snacks and even your map.
Men, Mandy didn’t forget you! Purple Rain also offers hiking kilts. The kilts include a snap for more modesty when around camp or in town, if needed.
Purple Rain Skirts and Kilts are made in Mandy’s home studio in Southern Oregon. Mandy recently hired another seamstress and the two create each and every skirt. Mandy hopes to focus on new designs and custom orders now that she has some help.
Mandy still uses that first ever skirt that her mother made. Its new job is covering her son’s wagon when they go for walks in the rain. It is a true rain skirt through and through.