Monthly Archives: January 2013
Black Diamond Dome Beanie
$19, 1 oz.
Nordic skiing, backcountry skiing, snowshoeing, ice climbing—those high-energy winter activities require a little head coverage to stave off a chill, but too much hat will make you overheat. Enter the Dome Beanie, perfect for aerobic activities when you only need light insulation on your head. I’ve worn it for several days of skate-skiing and backcountry skiing and found it ideal in temperatures from the mid-20s to 30s when I’m exerting at moderate to high levels. This stretchy skullcap feels soft, covers your ears, fits under a helmet or even a warmer hat (as a wicking layer in deeper cold), and dries lickety-split. Continue reading →
L.L. Bean Ultralite 850
$179, 1 lb. 1 oz. (men’s medium), $189 tall
Sizes: men’s S-XXL, tall M-XXL, women’s XS-XL, petite XS-XL
In heavily falling snow at around 9,000 feet on Copper Mountain in Idaho’s Boise National Forest, I felt the cold touch my bones. We had been climbing uphill on skis, breaking trail, for about 90 minutes; I was wet, and now the wind on the exposed ridge where we had stopped for a bite hit us. I pulled this down jacket on over my shell jacket and kept it on while skiing back downhill—I was that cold—realizing the snow could saturate the feathers and thinking, “Well, we’ll see if this water-resistant down works.” Continue reading →
Winter Shell For Kids
REI Salix Insulated Jacket
$62, 14 oz. (boys medium, size 10-12)
Sizes: boys and girls XXS-XL (4-18)
When your kids get old enough for hours of active backcountry recreation in winter like cross-country skiing or snowshoeing, they need a shell jacket that offers protection from snow and wind and some insulation without causing them to instantly overheat. In other words, they need a shell that it fits into a layering system, just like an adult. You want a well-made, durable jacket, but it’s nice if it doesn’t rival the price of an adult model. REI’s Salix Insulated Jacket for boys and girls fits that description completely. Continue reading →
Patagonia Capilene 4 Expedition Weight Zip Neck
$99, 6.5 oz. (men’s medium)
Sizes: men’s XS-XXL, women’s XS-XL.
No matter what your outdoor activity, in any season, the most versatile piece in your apparel quiver will always be a highly breathable, fast-drying, midweight top. That’s especially true in winter, when instinct tells you to go for a thicker, warmer base layer—which will often just make you overheat while on the move and then dries slowly. (More on that point at bottom of this review.) Patagonia’s Capilene 4 Expedition Weight Zip Neck fits the fill perfectly, pulling duty alone or over a lightweight, wicking top in winter, while being light enough for cooler days in spring and fall or in the mountains in summer. Continue reading →
As we neared Gunsight Pass in Glacier National Park, on the middle day of a three-day family backpacking trip, a man and woman in their fifties stopped to talk with us. They sized up our kids and smiled; Nate was nine and Alex was seven. “We’re impressed!” they told us. “We never had any luck trying to get our kids to backpack when they were young.” We chatted a bit and then headed off in opposite directions on the trail.
After they were out of earshot, Alex turned to me, wanting to clarify a point: “You didn’t get us to do this,” she told me. “We wanted to do it.” Her words, of course, warmed my heart. But her comment also spotlighted the biggest lesson for parents hoping to raise their kids to love the outdoors: Create experiences that make them eager to go out again the next time. Continue reading →