Tag Archives: outdoor clothing reviews

Review: Black Diamond Alpine Start Hoody

July 10, 2015  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment
Black Diamond Alpine Start Hoody

Black Diamond Alpine Start Hoody

Ultralight Jacket
Black Diamond Alpine Start Hoody
$149, 7.5 oz. (men’s medium)
Sizes: men’s and women’s XS-XL
blackdiamondequipment.com

A breathable, ultralight jacket that sheds light precipitation can be the most versatile garment you own—something you wear almost as much as your skivvies. Over the past several months, I pulled on BD’s Alpine Start Hoody to combat wind, light rain, and cool temps on a 17-mile dayhike over the four summits of New Hampshire’s Northern Presidential Range in June; on a 25-mile, May dayhike in the Grand Canyon; trail running in the hills of central Massachusetts and standing on the blustery summit of New Hampshire’s Mount Monadnock in April; while climbing in February in Joshua Tree National Park; during a November overnight hike of The Narrows in Zion National Park; on a chilly, October hike and scramble up 9,820-foot McGown Peak in Idaho’s Sawtooths; and on numerous trail runs and rides in the Boise Foothills and bike commuting around the city. That list alone speaks volumes about the range of this sub-eight-ounce jacket. Continue reading →

Review: L.L. Bean PrimaLoft Packaway Fuse Jacket

May 15, 2015  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   6 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: 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 →

Review: Outdoor Research Superlayer Jacket

January 22, 2015  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment
Outdoor Research Superlayer Jacket

Outdoor Research Superlayer Jacket

Insulated Jacket
Outdoor Research Superlayer Jacket
$225, 15 oz. (men’s medium)
Sizes: men’s S-XXL
outdoorresearch.com

What would you think if I told you that I went for a backcountry ski tour that involved climbing uphill for an hour, sweating enough to get both my base layer top and my hat wet, then skied for a while along rolling terrain, and finally turned around and descended fast to my car—all without making any layering change? That was just my first outing wearing OR’s new Superlayer Jacket. Over the course of several winter days field-testing it, in temperatures ranging from the low single digits to the 30s Fahrenheit, I found it so remarkably breathable that it often never left my body. Continue reading →

Gear Review: Outdoor Research Helium Hybrid Jacket

April 24, 2014  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   5 Comments
Outdoor Research Helium Hybrid Jacket.

Outdoor Research Helium Hybrid Jacket.

Ultralight Jacket
Outdoor Research Helium Hybrid Jacket
$165, 5.5 oz. (men’s medium)
Sizes: men’s S-XL, women’s XS-XL
outdoorresearch.com

On a 7.5-mile trail run in Idaho’s Boise Foothills near my home, on an April morning with temps in the 50s and a strong, cool wind blowing, I stopped after climbing uphill for close to an hour. Sweating hard in that wind, wearing a lightweight, long-sleeve top that was now wet, I felt almost instantly chilled. Ahead of me were the last few, mostly downhill miles. So I pulled on this ultralight shell. While I was still perspiring for the rest of my run, the jacket delivered enough wind protection that I stayed warm. And when I finished, the inside of the jacket was only slightly damp. Continue reading →

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