outdoor apparel reviews

Gear Review: Marmot Storm Shield Kids Rain Jacket

Marmot Storm Shield Kids Rain Jacket

Kids Rain Jacket
Marmot Storm Shield
$65, 14 oz. (L/10-12)
Sizes: boys and girls XS-XL

It can be challenging to find kids outdoor apparel that delivers the quality and performance for adult-size backcountry adventures. So I was delighted to come across the Storm Shield. My 12-year-old son got a lot of use out of this jacket all summer. In Idaho’s City of Rocks, he wore the jacket through hard rain and gusts over 40 mph.

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Gear Review: MontBell Torrent Flier Jacket

MontBell Torrent Flier Jacket

Ultralight Rain Shell
MontBell Torrent Flier Jacket
$249, 8 oz. (men’s medium)
Sizes: Unisex S-XL

When a violent thunderstorm caught me on the 9,595-foot summit of Eagle Cap Peak in Oregon, and the skies opened up with booming thunder, lightning, and pounding rain and hail, I was certainly glad to have this shell handy. It fended off strong winds and kept me dry through that tempest, as it did in extended, wind-driven rains in Norway’s Jotunheimen National Park, and when I got caught in a sudden June snow squall a pitch off the ground while rock climbing at Idaho’s City of Rocks.

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Gear Review: CW-X Pro Shorts

CW-X Pro Shorts

Trail Running Shorts

CW-X Pro Shorts
$72, 6 oz. (men’s small)
Sizes: men’s S-XL

After numerous hilly trail runs in my local Boise Foothills—ranging from six miles to a 25.5-mile, 4,600-foot, seven-hour July morning trail run-hike—I’m completely sold on the physiological benefits of these compression running shorts. Even on that 25-miler (running about three-quarters of the distance, walking the rest), a distance that would typically leave my quads feeling very worked and bloated with lactic acid, I felt strong right to the finish. My recovery from that run was faster, too, with much less stiffness and residual fatigue than I’m accustomed to after that long an outing.

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Gear Review: Hiking Shorts from GoLite and MontBell

Hiking Shorts

GoLite Yunnan Shorts

GoLite Yunnan Hiking Shorts
$75, 6 oz. (men’s small)
Sizes: men’s S-XXL, women’s XS-XL

Hot summer hiking is a breeze in these shorts. I wore them for five straight, hot August days backpacking with my family (read: sweating under a heavy pack) in Oregon’s Eagle Cap Wilderness, and on summer dayhikes from Idaho to New Hampshire’s rugged and humid White Mountains. These shorts are cool and dry fast, thanks to mesh-lined hand pockets and a lighter, thinner nylon than is used in many other hiking shorts—perfect for summer hiking.

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Gear Review: MontBell EX Light Down Jacket

MontBell EX Light Down Jacket

Ultralight Puffy
MontBell EX Light Down Jacket
$190, 5 oz. (men’s medium)
Sizes: men’s S-XXL, women’s S-XL

Don’t ask: How lightweight can a down jacket be and still keep you warm? Instead, reframe the question: How light a puffy do you want and how does it fit into your layering system? With sewn-through construction to prevent down from migrating, elastic cuffs to seal out drafts, and no hand pockets, this jacket stuffed with just 1.8 ounces of premium, 900-fill down feathers is no fat puffy. But it’s a very light stand-alone insulation piece for mild summer temperatures, or a versatile middle layer in a system that you can customize for a variety of outdoor activities in any season.

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