climbing apparel reviews

The Black Diamond Distance Wind Shell.

The Best Ultralight Hiking and Running Jackets of 2022

By Michael Lanza

You’re out on an all-day hike in the mountains, or a long climb or trail run, or backpacking. The weather forecast looked pretty good before you set out—but no one shared that memo with the wind that just started hammering your summit ridge, or the spitting rain and hail now pelting you as you contemplate the sudden drop in temperature and the miles between you and shelter. The question now is: What’s in your pack?

If you’re smart, it’s an ultralight jacket that takes up little space, but is about to gift you with just the right amount of weather protection when you need it.

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Outdoor Research Helium AscentShell Jacket.

Review: Outdoor Research Helium AscentShell Jacket

All-Season Shell Jacket
Outdoor Research Helium AscentShell Jacket
$399, 11.5 oz. (men’s medium)
Sizes: men’s S-XXL, women’s XS-XL

Heading to Iceland for a couple weeks of hiking—including trekking hut to hut, when we’d be committed to hitting the trail every day, no matter the weather in a place where it’s rarely good—I knew I’d basically be living in my rain shell, so I wanted it to feel good and to work. I wore OR’s Helium AscentShell Jacket for several hours every day for a week trekking Iceland’s Laugavegur Trail and Fimmvörðuháls Trail, through cool temps with wind and rain on most days, and on several dayhikes along Iceland’s Ring Road, with similar weather, including hard, wind-driven rain at times. And this lightweight shell rose to the challenge of some of the most difficult conditions that most hikers, backpackers, and climbers ever face.

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Feathered Friends Eos Down Jacket.

The 10 Best Down Jackets of 2022

By Michael Lanza

Whatever you need an insulated jacket for, there’s a down or synthetic puffy for your needs, within your budget. And whether you want a puffy jacket for outdoor activities like backpacking, camping, and climbing, or just to keep you warm around town or at outdoor sporting events, this review will help you figure out how to choose the right jacket for your needs, and it spotlights the best down and synthetic puffy jackets available today.

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Featured Friends Eos Down Jacket.

Review: Feathered Friends Eos Down Jacket

Down Jacket
Feathered Friends Eos Down Jacket
$389, 11 oz. (men’s medium)
Sizes: men’s XS-XXL, women’s XS-XL

When you have something that works, the worst thing you can do is change it much. Feathered Friends stuck with a winning formula when updating its popular Eos Down Jacket, making just two minor improvements. Testing the updated Eos on adventures ranging from a windy and chilly June camping and climbing trip in Idaho’s City of Rocks National Reserve to nine days backpacking through the High Sierra in August, I found it just as warm and comfortable as I have found the previous iteration of this poofy puffy in the backcountry of Idaho’s Sawtooth Mountains, Glacier National Park, and countless other wild places.

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The Black Diamond Helio Active Shell.

The 6 Best Rain Jackets for Hiking and Backpacking

By Michael Lanza

Shop for a rain jacket for dayhiking, backpacking, trail running, or climbing in the backcountry and you’ll see shells for adults ranging in price from under $100 to over $500 and in weight from less than half a pound to over a pound—with just as huge and confusing a range of opinions on them from reviewers and consumers. Look no further. This review spotlights the best rain jackets for the backcountry and provides expert tips on how to select the right one for your adventures.

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