Tag Archives: outdoor apparel reviews

My 10 Most-Read Gear Reviews

June 7, 2015  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   2 Comments
Osprey Atmos AG 65

Osprey Atmos AG 65

By Michael Lanza

Other than my home page, the link clicked most often at The Big Outside is my Gear Reviews category—and individual gear reviews consistently rank among the most-viewed pages at my blog. So I like to periodically post a list of my reviews of outdoor gear and apparel that are the most popular with you, The Big Outside’s readers. Sifting through my blog’s analytics data, I produced this top 10 list of the most-read gear reviews at this blog, with a link to my original review of each item. As you’re shopping for specific outdoor gear or clothing, check this out to see what’s popular with your fellow outdoor enthusiasts and fans of The Big Outside.

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Review: Marmot Crux Jacket Ultralight Rain Shell

June 5, 2015  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment
Marmot Crux Jacket

Marmot Crux Jacket

Ultralight Rain Jacket
Marmot Crux Jacket
$275, 7.5 oz, (men’s medium)
Sizes: men’s S-XXL, women’s XS-XL
marmot.com

Your relationship with your rain shell can feel a little dysfunctional at times: on again, off again. On numerous trips from early March through May, from backpacking the Grand Canyon’s Royal Arch Loop—including an unusual, full day of rain showers and wind—to dayhiking in the Tetons and Zion National Park, trekking the Kepler Track in New Zealand’s notoriously wet Fiordland National Park, and backpacking five days down Paria Canyon on the Utah-Arizona border, I found the ultralight Crux good for trips where you’re cycling between wearing it and carrying it. Continue reading →

Review: L.L. Bean PrimaLoft Packaway Fuse Jacket

May 15, 2015  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   4 Comments
L.L. Bean PrimaLoft Packaway Fuse Jacket

L.L. Bean PrimaLoft Packaway Fuse Jacket

Insulated Jacket
L.L. Bean PrimaLoft Packaway Fuse Jacket
$159, 13 oz. (men’s medium regular)
Sizes: men’s regular S-XXL, men’s tall M-XXl, women’s misses XXS-XL, petite XS-XL
llbean.com

Someday, outdoor enthusiasts of a certain age may reflect back on the dark ages of the early 21st century by saying, “Remember when an insulated jacket was something you only wore when you weren’t moving?” Well, given the growing profusion of jackets with breathable insulation, those “ancient” shells that are essentially half a sleeping bag with sleeves are already obsolete. I wore the most affordable piece of active insulation I’ve yet seen, Bean’s PrimaLoft Packaway Fuse Jacket, at times on wet, chilly, windy days trekking the Dusky Track and Kepler Track in New Zealand’s Fiordland National Park in early March, and in camp on cool evenings and mornings (days were quite warm) on a five-day, family-backpacking trip down Paria Canyon on the Utah-Arizona border in late March. It’s as versatile as some pricier competitors and will fit more people than other jackets in this category. Continue reading →

Review: Montane Featherlite Shell Jacket

March 27, 2015  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment
Montane Featherlite Shell Jacket

Montane Featherlite Shell Jacket

Rain Jacket
Montane Featherlite Shell Jacket
$399, 11 oz. (men’s medium)
Sizes: men’s S-XXL
montane.co.uk

Not many corners of the globe receive more rain than southern New Zealand’s Fiordland National Park, which sees anywhere from seven to 10 meters of precipitation annually—that’s anywhere from 275 to almost 400 inches of water falling from the sky, upwards of 20 times as much as received by famously gloomy Seattle. That makes it a pretty good place to test a rain jacket. The new Featherlite kept me dry and comfortable—sometimes for many hours of hiking in steady rain or wet snow—on Fiordland’s Kepler and Dusky tracks earlier this month. Continue reading →

Review: Black Diamond Dawn Patrol Touring Pants

February 20, 2015  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment
Black Diamond Dawn Patrol Touring Pants

Black Diamond Dawn Patrol Touring Pants

Winter Pants
Black Diamond Dawn Patrol Touring Pants
$299, 1 lb. 11 oz. (men’s small)
Sizes: men’s and women’s XS-XL
blackdiamondequipment.com

Finding one pair of pants for all of your backcountry skiing or riding, snowshoeing, and climbing adventures in the mountains, from the frigid days of early winter to corn skiing on sun-blasted slopes in April, is a tall order. But Black Diamond’s Dawn Patrol Touring Pants demonstrated that kind of range for me while backcountry skiing in the Idaho mountains on days ranging from 3° F, to the 20s with falling snow, and the 40s under a thermonuclear sun. Continue reading →

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