Tag Archives: Polartec Alpha product reviews

September 14, 2017 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 , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   5 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: Outdoor Research Deviator Hoody

May 22, 2015  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   2 Comments
Outdoor Research Deviator Hoody

Outdoor Research Deviator Hoody

Hybrid Insulation Jacket
Outdoor Research Deviator Hoody
$185, 10 oz. (men’s medium)
Sizes: men’s S-XL, women’s XS-XL
backcountry.com

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 →

February 1, 2015 Timberline Trail, Oregon.

A Preview of This Year’s Best New Gear

In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment

By Michael Lanza

 

Osprey Aura 65 AG

Osprey Aura 65 AG

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).

Continue reading →

Gear Review: Marmot Alpha Pro Jacket

November 15, 2013  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment
Marmot Alpha Pro Jacket

Marmot Alpha Pro Jacket

Hybrid Cold-Weather Jacket
Marmot Alpha Pro Jacket
$225, 13 oz. (men’s medium)
Sizes: men’s S-XL
marmot.com

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 →

Gear Review: Marmot Isotherm Hoody Puffy Jacket

October 15, 2013  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment
Marmot Isotherm Hoody

Marmot Isotherm Hoody

Breathable Insulated Jacket
Marmot Isotherm Hoody
$225, 13 oz. (men’s medium)
Sizes: men’s S-XL, women’s XS-XL
marmot.com

A puffy jacket that’s breathable? That holy grail of backcountry apparel seemed elusive until Polartec Alpha synthetic insulation entered the scene. Looking for a fairly lightweight, Alpha-filled jacket that would be versatile for year-round use—and that has a hood—I used Marmot’s Isotherm Hoody on spring and summer hiking trips. Although just 13 oz., this full-zip jacket kept me warm on mornings ranging from calm and 15° F. (with a warm top on underneath it) in southern Utah in late March, to the 40s with steady winds of 40 to 50 mph in Idaho’s White Cloud Mountains in July. Even more impressively, on a frosty morning in the teens and 20s in Utah’s Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, I could wear it hiking at a brisk pace without overheating. Continue reading →

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Grand Canyon Hiker