Modern Living: The Call of the Wilderness

Manhattanites in plaid flannel shirts and crepe-soled leather boots are hiking down Fifth Avenue. Students in goose-down vests and baggy sweatpants are trekking through Harvard Square. Dudes in lumber jackets are hanging out in Beverly Hills. Few of these folks have a clue how to swing a fly rod or an ax. But they do know that outdoor gear designed for the backwoods has come in from the cold for wear everywhere.

The new First Family may help push the roughing-it fashions into high gear. The President-elect clomps around Plains, Ga., in cowhide ankle...