Tag Archives: outdoor clothing reviews

Gear Review: Black Diamond Dawn Patrol Hybrid Shell

January 21, 2014  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment
Black Diamond Dawn Patrol Hybrid Shell

Black Diamond Dawn Patrol Hybrid Shell

Winter Shell
Black Diamond Dawn Patrol Hybrid Shell
$349, 1 lb. 2 oz. (men’s medium)
Sizes: men’s S-XL
blackdiamondequipment.com

We expect more of jackets made for our winter outdoor pursuits because we spend more time in them than in a rain shell in summer (which may not even come out of your pack). Most of all, it has to fend off a wide range of nasty weather while breathing well enough that you don’t wind up creating a nasty storm of sweat on the inside. Black Diamond’s new Dawn Patrol Hybrid Shell did just that for me over numerous days of skiing the backcountry of Idaho’s Boise Mountains, in temperatures ranging from single digits with a below-zero wind chill through the high 30s, in falling snow, light rain mixed with wet snow, wind, and just plain calm, sub-freezing air. Continue reading →

Gear Review: The North Face Radium Hi-Loft Jacket

January 6, 2014  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment
The North Face Radium Hi-Loft Jacket

The North Face Radium Hi-Loft Jacket

Fleece Jacket
The North Face Radium Hi-Loft Jacket
$170, 15 oz. (men’s medium)
Sizes: men’s S-XXL, women’s XS-XL
thenorthface.com

Given all the modern choices in outdoor apparel for the backcountry, is the classic fleece jacket obsolete? Not hardly. An insulating layer that’s highly breathable remains indispensable when you’re active in cold temperatures; I always have some kind of fleece layer when out backcountry skiing, cross-country ski touring, hiking, or snowshoeing in winter or any time of year in temps in the 30s or colder. The good news is that advancements in fabrics have transformed your father’s fleece into a more versatile outer or middle layer—like The North Face Radium Hi-Loft Jacket. Wearing it quite a lot while cross-country skiing on a four-day, December yurt trip in Idaho’s Boise Mountains, and as a middle layer while resort skiing as well as around town, I found it impressively warm, comfortable, and functional. Continue reading →

Gear Review: Black Diamond Coefficient Jacket

October 21, 2013  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment
Black Diamond Coefficient Jacket

Black Diamond Coefficient Jacket

Fleece Jacket
Black Diamond Coefficient Jacket
$139, 11 oz. (men’s medium)
Sizes: men’s S-XL
blackdiamondequipment.com

Keeping your body from overheating or getting cold while active is a challenge in shoulder seasons, or anytime you encounter fast-changing weather and temperatures from the 20s to the 50s Fahrenheit. The key is clothing that provides just enough warmth without making you perspire too much, and that moves moisture out quickly when sweating becomes unavoidable. On numerous spring and fall days of hiking and rock climbing in Idaho’s City of Rocks National Reserve and Castle Rocks State Park, and dayhiking in July in Mount Rainier National Park, the Coefficient Jacket hit that ideal balance that kept me from cycling between hot and chilled. Continue reading →

Gear Review: Black Diamond Dome Beanie

January 31, 2013  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment
Black Diamond Dome Beanie

Black Diamond Dome Beanie

Lightweight Hat
Black Diamond Dome Beanie
$19, 1 oz.
One size
blackdiamondequipment.com

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 →

Gear Review: Westcomb Recon Cargo Pants

October 20, 2012  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment

Westcomb Recon Cargo Pants

Trekking Pants
Westcomb Recon Cargo Pants
$200, 13 oz. (men’s small)
Sizes: men’s XS-XXL, women’s XS-XL
westcomb.com

One of the best pieces of advice I got this year was when a friend recommended these soft-shell pants to me for a weeklong, hut-to-hut trek in Norway’s Jotunheimen National Park in July. Continue reading →