Joel Lambert, Discovery Channel’s resident escape and evasion expert and star of Manhunt, is an exceptionally-skilled former U.S. Navy SEAL who constantly seeks out new endeavors that test the limits of his ability. Today he tell’s us about his career and personal style.
I grew up in a small logging town on the Columbia River in the Pacific Northwest, right on the border between Washington and Oregon. Beautiful place, but not a lot of opportunity. In fact, my hometown consistently rates on the Ten Worst Places in Washington to live, so there’s that. I felt the need to prove myself, start a journey, do something exceptional when I was in my early 20s, and that ended up being a career in the SEAL teams. It was an incredible experience, it changed my DNA. When people ask me what I would have done had I not been a SEAL, I can’t answer, because I don’t know who that man would be…the one who was never a SEAL.
After serving and deploying to places like Kosovo and Afghanistan, I came back and did a couple years of Instructor Duty. While I was there in San Diego, I got pulled back into the world of film and TV, which I had been involved with before the Navy.
Moving up to LA, I began working behind the camera, doing military advising and weapons work, training actors, that sort of thing. While I was doing this, I was working in front of the camera as well, doing small parts in TV shows and in movies. A friend of a friend then contacted me, he was putting together a show for Discovery International, an escape and evasion show. I had a strong background in survival and escape and evasion, would I be interested? I sent him my stuff, and through a long process, Manhunt (Lone Target in the USA) was born. I did a few seasons of that show, which aired worldwide, then another series called Predators Up Close, which is airing in the USA on Animal Planet, as well as a two-part special on Fukushima…among other things.
As for my personal style:
Jeans: I really love to wear old, broken-in clothing. I’m not much of a “dress-up” guy, though I always think I look stylish. I think my clothes should serve, or at least not hinder, a purpose.
I love Kuhl pants. I wear ‘em until the holes in awkward spots are too big to ignore, then I reluctantly retire ‘em. I have a pair of RRL jeans that I love, that I wear all the time as well. Paige used to have a cut that I loved, but they’ve since discontinued them. I’m not much for the skinny jeans. I don’t like the baggy ones, but I’m fairly muscular so I like a little bit of room, and if I have to move aggressively, I want to be able to do so with ease. I actually have trouble finding denim I really like.
Shirts: Again; I have several button down flannel shirts from RRL that I love, the material and style of that line really speaks to what I like. Old leather, flannel, denim, oil stains…it’s my favorite fashion line. I love the unique material James Perse uses in some of his tee’s. They don’t last long, but the feel is excellent.
Pants: I just got a great pair of outdoor slacks (is there such a thing?) from the Royal Robbins line. They look AMAZING and feel great! They look like wool but are not, and have a very 40s cut to them. Pair them with a nice button down or great solid tee and I’m stylin’. Royal actually just passed away this year….he was a legendary big wall climber based out of Yosemite.
As far as other non-jeans pants go, Kuhl all the way. Such a great brand.
Suits: I have several that I love…I have a Hugo Boss semi-formal black suit that gets a lot of use, a beautiful wool jacket from J. Lindeberg that fits and hangs so well, a couple of slouchy jackets from Hugo Boss again, and a fantastic light brown linen single-button suit from Reiss that I got about eight years ago and still looks just exceptional.
Shoes: My absolute favorite shoes are my old leather jump boots I was issued in about 1998 as I was graduating from SEAL selection and heading to Army parachute school. They’re 100% leather, and had a few details that made them specific to the regulations in Army Airborne Training. Most of us got rid of them after that, but I held on to mine, and after almost 20 years of occasional use, what used to be stiff leather is now worn, full of character, and absolute buttah.
As far as outdoor foorwear goes, I’m crazy about’s foray into the hiking boot world. I’ve used them in winter in Mongolia, summer in the Arctic on floating sea ice, in the mountains of Uganda and the depths of Lapland and they’ve been exceptional. Not cheap, but they’ve paid for themselves many times over.
I’m partial to boots. Even my formal shoes are usually some kind of boot. I have some suede Chelsea boots that I love, and a couple pairs of. Can’t go wrong with Frye.
Accessories: I always wear a ball cap. I like beanies too. Depends on the weather. I have my own line of logo ball caps and beanies so I wear one of those, or one of my old ones from my days in the SEAL Teams.
I don’t wear a lot of jewelry, I have a pounamu from New Zealand that was given to me by a dear friend and SAS operator…they’re given as tokens of respect, so it means a lot to me. I wear that.
As far as watches go, I always wear one. I have several really nice watches, but I always find myself wearing my Garmin Tactix Bravo. It’s a GPS watch with all sorts of tactical apps on it, sunrise/sunset, moon phase, tides and currents, skydiving apps, and is compatible with night vision , and also extremely stylish! I almost don’t wear anything else anymore.
Outerwear: I have a light down jacket from Haglof’s which is great. Whenever I’m in Scandinavia I tend to buy outerwear there. They really, really know what they’re doing. I also wear a lot of Arc’Teryx’s LEAF (Law Enforcement/Armed Forces) line. Simply the best, most rugged outerwear I’ve ever used. Period.
I have a light jacket from Kuhl that I love, and a few other light ones from James Perse.
Favorite cologne: Bois d’ascese by Naomi Goodsir. It smells like campfire and road tar. It’s difficult to find and it’s my favorite smell EVER! Women really love it, surprisingly.
Next style/gear purchase: Just put some great new off road bumpers and a winch on my Ford Raptor, I’m messing with the suspension as I’ve been spending a lot of time bashing it around up at Hungry Valley.