outdoor apparel reviews

The Outdoor Research Skytour AscentShell Jacket.

Review: Outdoor Research Skytour AscentShell Jacket and Bibs

Winter Shell Jacket and Bibs
Outdoor Research Skytour AscentShell Jacket
$349, 1 lb. 5.5 oz. (men’s medium)
Sizes: men’s S-XXL, women’s XS-XL
backcountry.com

Outdoor Research Skytour AscentShell Bibs
$349, 1 lb. 9 oz. (men’s medium)
Sizes: men’s S-XXL, women’s XS-XL
backcountry.com

The waves of December snowstorms rolled through for days, dumping cold, dry, light powder in the mountains. In the backcountry, the skiing was epic—as were the weather conditions. That’s when high-quality shells demonstrate their value. On numerous days of ski touring through hours of heavily falling snow, temps ranging from the single digits to the teens and 20s Fahrenheit, and frequent wind, OR’s Skytour AscentShell Jacket and Bibs passed every qualifying exam to rank among the very best outerwear for winter.

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

The Best Mittens for Winter 2022

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 Black Diamond Helio Active Shell.

The 5 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 five 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 Treeline Rain Shell.

Review: Black Diamond Treeline Rain Shell

Rain Jacket
Black Diamond Treeline Rain Shell
$130, 10 oz. (men’s medium)
Sizes: men’s XS-XXL, women’s XS-XL
backcountry.com

High-performance rain jackets for the backcountry cost real money. Cheap rain shells often compromise on quality. Through a rainy, three-day, August backpacking trip in the Wind River Range, including hiking nine miles in wind-driven rain and temps in the 40s Fahrenheit on our last day, this lightweight jacket kept my 20-year-old son dry. If you want a rain shell that delivers good quality at a price that leaves you gas money to reach the trailhead, the Treeline warrants a close look.

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