Gear Reviews

A skier on Pilot Peak in Idaho's Boise Mountains.

The Best Mittens for Winter 2024

By Michael Lanza

Let’s start with two truths about mittens: 1. We know they’re warmer than gloves. 2. We often choose gloves over mittens, anyway, for some reasons that make sense and some reasons that, well, don’t make as much sense. Whether you need them for resort or backcountry skiing or snowboarding, hiking, walking, snowshoeing, bike commuting, trail running, clearing snow, or something else, this review covers the best mittens for a wide range of temperatures and cold-weather activities.

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The North Face Ceptor Jacket.

Review: The North Face Ceptor Jacket and Bib

Winter Shell Jacket and Bibs
The North Face Ceptor Jacket
$430, 1 lb. 9 oz. (men’s medium)
The North Face Ceptor Bib
$410, 1 lb. 12 oz. (men’s medium)
Sizes for both: men’s S-XXL, women’s XS-XXL

When you love skiing, you commit yourself to enduring almost any weather conditions for your sport—and that requires a shell jacket and pants that really protect you from the elements. Through numerous full days of skiing at Oregon’s Mount Bachelor and the full range of Cascades weather—dumping snow, cold temps and wind, occasional sunshine and, yes, even winter rain—TNF’s Ceptor Jacket and Bib kept my college-age daughter, a former ski instructor, smiling and ripping all day.

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The Hyperlite Mountain Gear Mid-1 ultralight solo backpacking tent.

Review: Hyperlite Mountain Gear Mid-1 Ultralight Solo Tent

Ultralight Solo Backpacking Tent
Hyperlite Mountain Gear Mid-1
$599, 16.8 oz./476.3g

After crossing Texas Pass, at around 11,460 feet, a friend and I descended into the incomparable Cirque of the Towers in Wyoming’s Wind River Range, reaching the shore of Lonesome Lake—where the sky suddenly darkened, soon followed by thunder and lightning. We hustled to pitch the Hyperlite Mountain Gear Mid-1 as a temporary shelter and both dove inside just as the full force of that thunderstorm walloped us with pounding wind and rain, even spawning a new, little stream that flowed under one end of the tent. But we stayed warm and dry inside it while waiting 30 minutes or more for the storm to pass. And that’s just one tale of the weather the Mid-1 endured, demonstrating its value as one of the very best ultralight solo backpacking tents available today.

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A backcountry skier in Idaho's Boise Mountains.

The Best Gloves For Winter 2024

By Michael Lanza

Looking for winter gloves that keep your hands warm and dry and are made to last for years? As a professional gear reviewer who gets cold hands easily and spends many days outside in winter, from downhill, backcountry, and Nordic skiing to trail running, biking around town, and working outside, I’ve used many types of gloves and learned a lot over the years about how to select the right gloves for a variety of uses.

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The Rab Mythic Alpine Down Jacket.

Review: Rab Mythic Alpine Down Jacket

Water-Resistant Down Jacket
Rab Mythic Alpine Down Jacket
$390, 11 oz./313g (men’s medium)
Sizes: men’s S-XXL, women’s XS-XL

A weeklong backpacking trip in Glacier National Park in mid-September presented a quandary: Starting out with the weight of a week’s food gave me added incentive to trim all superfluous weight from my pack; yet the possibility of temperatures dropping near or even below freezing made bringing adequately warm layers essential. The Rab Mythic Alpine Down Jacket achieved both goals, keeping me warm on our coldest mornings in Glacier while weighing less than most comparably warm puffy jackets.

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