Tag Archives: outdoor apparel reviews
By Michael Lanza
Whether climbing peaks, taking an ultra-dayhike or trail run, Nordic or backcountry skiing, or backpacking, the more time I spend in the backcountry, the more I value and wear lightweight jackets and vests that pull double duty as middle and outer layers. Unlike with heavier, warmer, and less-breathable jackets, you can often wear this type of garment while on the move—while your body is producing heat, but you still need some warmth. That makes you more comfortable and, ultimately, safer in widely ranging mountain weather. Plus, you get more bang for your buck from versatile layers like these because you use them more.
Here are six of the very best. Continue reading →
Westcomb Recon Cargo Pant
$240, 11 oz. (men’s small)
Sizes: men’s S-XL
With heads bowed against the steady rain and driving wind, we plodded uphill toward the Grand Col de Ferret, a mountain pass at 8,323-foot (2537m) marking the border between Italy and Switzerland on one of the world’s great multi-day treks, the Tour du Mont Blanc in the Alps. Throughout that July day when the weather ranged from light rain to a wind-driven tempest, I never wore rain pants, only the Westcomb Recon Cargo Pant. I also wore them at other times on that nine-day trek, in light rain, cool wind, and in milder temperatures and sunshine, and through heavy rain and thunderstorms and temps in the 40s and 50s Fahrenheit on a 39-mile, mid-September backpacking trip in Wyoming’s Wind River Range. All of those situations demonstrated how these three-season soft-shell pants excel when the weather turns foul. Continue reading →
With sleeping bags, we have temperature ratings. But with down/insulated/puffy jackets, what is best way to determine if a jacket will be warm or warmer or hot? Is it the amount of fill? Some but not all jackets indicate the amount of fill.
Hybrid Insulated Jacket
Arc’teryx Cerium LT Hoody
$379, 11 oz. (men’s medium)
Sizes: men’s XS-XXL, women’s XS-XL
In the evening shade of a windblown campsite at around 10,500 feet in Titcomb Basin, an alpine valley in Wyoming’s Wind River Range, I pulled this jacket on and instantly felt warmth infuse my torso and arms. Popping the hood up mimicked the sensation of wearing the top half of a sleeping bag—if the bag had a hood that seemed designed around a sculpture of my head. Throughout that 39-mile, mid-September backpacking trip in the Winds, wearing this puffy jacket over just a couple light base layers kept me warm in evening and morning temperatures in the 40s Fahrenheit, while fitting like a glove. I had to keep reminding myself it weighs just a few ounces over a half-pound. Continue reading →
By Michael Lanza
Think of your layering system of clothing for outdoor activities as a musical instrument. When you’re first learning how to play, you practice one chord or note at a time. But you only begin to produce music once you can link chords in a way that sounds good—because they work together. Similarly, we tend to acquire the parts of a layering system piecemeal, regardless of how well they work together. In this article, I’ll give you 10 specific tips for thinking about your layering system in ways that make it work better for you—and ultimately help you spend your money more wisely. Continue reading →