climbing apparel reviews

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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The Black Diamond Approach Down Hoody.

Review: Black Diamond Approach Down Hoody

Water-Resistant Down Jacket
Black Diamond Approach Down Hoody
$360, 10 oz. (men’s medium)
Sizes: men’s S-XL, women’s XS-XL
moosejaw.com

Sometimes it’s hard to anticipate how much warmth you’ll need from your insulation, especially on a multi-day backcountry trip—and you may be tempted to go with an ultralight puffy jacket and hope for the best. If your choice is BD’s Approach Down Hoody, you’ll achieve the ultralight objective with little risk of feeling under-dressed. Wearing it on cool, very windy evenings and mornings down to the 40s Fahrenheit on a six-day backpacking trip in the Grand Canyon in early April and in similar temps on a five-day, late-summer hike in the Wind River Range, I stayed both perfectly warm and happy that I’d avoided adding more ballast to a pack already encumbered with substantial food and water weight.

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A backpacker hiking in rain on the Dusky Track in Fiordland National Park, New Zealand.

5 Expert Tips For Buying a Rain Jacket For Hiking

By Michael Lanza Choosing a waterproof-breathable rain shell for hiking, backpacking, climbing, or other outdoor activities can seem daunting. Prices range from under $100 to over $500, and weights from less than half a pound to over a pound. Some are loaded with features, others so minimalist they seem like a glorified trash bag. You’ll also find the full gamut …

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Beyond Dasche L3 Jacket with hood up.

Review: Beyond Dasche L3 Jacket

Breathable Insulated Jacket
Beyond Dasche L3 Jacket
$190, 14 oz. (men’s medium regular)
Sizes: men’s XS-3XL
beyondclothing.com

Over several cold days of ski touring from Utah’s Wasatch Range to Idaho’s Boise Mountains, with temps in the single digits and teens Fahrenheit, snow falling, and a cold wind chill at times, the Dasche L3 Jacket rarely left my body, whether serving as a middle layer skiing downhill or an outer layer skiing uphill—a testament to its breathability and versatility. The fact that it comes in under a pound and under 200 bucks should make a variety of winter adventurers sit up and take notice.

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A backcountry skier at Baldy Knoll in Wyoming's Tetons Range.

How to Dress in Layers for Winter in the Backcountry

By Michael Lanza If hiking, backpacking, and climbing from spring through fall teaches us the fundamentals of layering our clothing for comfort in variable weather, the backcountry in winter confers a graduate degree in layering. In mild temperatures, getting wet with perspiration or precipitation merely risks discomfort. In freezing temps, it can quickly lead to hypothermia and actually become life-threatening. …

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