Tag Archives: outdoor clothing reviews

May 10, 2016 Boston Charlies Camp on the Catwalk, Olympic National Park.

10 Smarter Ways to Think About Your Layering System

In Backpacking, Gear Reviews, Hiking, National Park Adventures, Skills   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   2 Comments

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 →

Review: Black Diamond Alpine Start Hoody

July 10, 2015  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment
Black Diamond Alpine Start Hoody

Black Diamond Alpine Start Hoody

Ultralight Jacket
Black Diamond Alpine Start Hoody
$149, 7.5 oz. (men’s medium)
Sizes: men’s and women’s XS-XL
blackdiamondequipment.com

A breathable, ultralight jacket that sheds light precipitation can be the most versatile garment you own—something you wear almost as much as your skivvies. Over the past several months, I pulled on BD’s Alpine Start Hoody to combat wind, light rain, and cool temps on a 17-mile dayhike over the four summits of New Hampshire’s Northern Presidential Range in June; on a 25-mile, May dayhike in the Grand Canyon; trail running in the hills of central Massachusetts and standing on the blustery summit of New Hampshire’s Mount Monadnock in April; while climbing in February in Joshua Tree National Park; during a November overnight hike of The Narrows in Zion National Park; on a chilly, October hike and scramble up 9,820-foot McGown Peak in Idaho’s Sawtooths; and on numerous trail runs and rides in the Boise Foothills and bike commuting around the city. That list alone speaks volumes about the range of this sub-eight-ounce jacket. Continue reading →

Review: L.L. Bean PrimaLoft Packaway Fuse Jacket

May 15, 2015  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   8 Comments
L.L. Bean PrimaLoft Packaway Fuse Jacket

L.L. Bean PrimaLoft Packaway Fuse Jacket

Breathable Insulated Jacket
L.L. Bean PrimaLoft Packaway Fuse Jacket
$159, 13 oz. (men’s medium regular)
Sizes: men’s regular S-XXL, men’s tall M-XXl, women’s misses XXS-XL, petite XS-XL
llbean.com

Someday, outdoor enthusiasts of a certain age may reflect back on the dark ages of the early 21st century by saying, “Remember when an insulated jacket was something you only wore when you weren’t moving?” Well, given the growing profusion of jackets with breathable insulation, those “ancient” shells that are essentially half a sleeping bag with sleeves are already obsolete. I wore the most affordable piece of active insulation I’ve yet seen, Bean’s PrimaLoft Packaway Fuse Jacket, at times on wet, chilly, windy days trekking the Dusky Track and Kepler Track in New Zealand’s Fiordland National Park in early March, and in camp on cool evenings and mornings (days were quite warm) on a five-day, family-backpacking trip down Paria Canyon on the Utah-Arizona border in late March. It’s as versatile as some pricier competitors and will fit more people than other jackets in this category. Continue reading →

Review: Black Diamond Dawn Patrol Touring Pants

February 20, 2015  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment
Black Diamond Dawn Patrol Touring Pants

Black Diamond Dawn Patrol Touring Pants

Winter Pants
Black Diamond Dawn Patrol Touring Pants
$299, 1 lb. 11 oz. (men’s small)
Sizes: men’s and women’s XS-XL
blackdiamondequipment.com

Finding one pair of pants for all of your backcountry skiing or riding, snowshoeing, and climbing adventures in the mountains, from the frigid days of early winter to corn skiing on sun-blasted slopes in April, is a tall order. But Black Diamond’s Dawn Patrol Touring Pants demonstrated that kind of range for me while backcountry skiing in the Idaho mountains on days ranging from 3° F, to the 20s with falling snow, and the 40s under a thermonuclear sun. Continue reading →

Review: Outdoor Research Superlayer Jacket

January 22, 2015  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment
Outdoor Research Superlayer Jacket

Outdoor Research Superlayer Jacket

Breathable Insulated Jacket
Outdoor Research Superlayer Jacket
$225, 15 oz. (men’s medium)
Sizes: men’s S-XXL
outdoorresearch.com

What would you think if I told you that I went for a backcountry ski tour that involved climbing uphill for an hour, sweating enough to get both my base layer top and my hat wet, then skied for a while along rolling terrain, and finally turned around and descended fast to my car—all without making any layering change? That was just my first outing wearing OR’s new Superlayer Jacket. Over the course of several winter days field-testing it, in temperatures ranging from the low single digits to the 30s Fahrenheit, I found it so remarkably breathable that it often never left my body. Continue reading →

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