Tag Archives: Polartec Alpha product 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 →
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 →
Hybrid Insulation Jacket
Outdoor Research Deviator Hoody
$185, 10 oz. (men’s medium)
Sizes: men’s S-XL, women’s XS-XL
On cool mornings in May while backpacking the Grand Canyon’s Royal Arch Loop, and in late March on a five-day, family backpacking trip down Paria Canyon on the Utah-Arizona border, I did something unusual: I started the day’s hiking wearing the same jacket I had worn while in camp, OR’s new Deviator Hoody. From cool-weather hiking to skate-skiing in winter, I liked the Deviator as a next-generation, hybrid insulation piece whose versatility is limited only by your creativity in thinking about your layering system. Continue reading →
By Michael Lanza
Thinking about buying a new backpack, tent, boots, or other outdoor gear or apparel? Last August, I spent a couple of days wandering the floor of The Salt Palace in Salt Lake City—a convention center you could fit a few Wal-Marts inside—at the Outdoor Retailer Show, ogling the best of the new products for hiking and backpacking that will hit stores this winter and spring.
I’ll test and review many of these, but here’s an early peek at the most interesting items I saw (in other words, the stuff I’m most coveting).
Hybrid Cold-Weather Jacket
Marmot Alpha Pro Jacket
$225, 13 oz. (men’s medium)
Sizes: men’s S-XL
If you’re like me and cycle between being hot and cold when you’re active outdoors in cold temperatures, here’s a secret weapon for comfort. I wore this jacket frequently over the course of four days of wonderful backcountry skiing in the Baldy Knoll area of the Tetons last March, when daytime temps ranged from around zero Fahrenheit into the high 20s, often with strong winds and bright sunshine combined. I also wore it ski touring in Idaho’s Boise Mountains in temps typically just below freezing, at times in a cold wind and snow flurries. Both places presented challenging conditions in which to stay warm and dry. But the Alpha Pro shined, keeping me remarkably comfortable in rapidly shifting conditions where I would have otherwise been repeatedly taking a shell on and off—all while making my layering system lighter and simpler. Continue reading →