puffy jacket reviews

The Black Diamond Approach Down Hoody.

Review: Black Diamond Approach Down Hoody

Water-Resistant Down Jacket
Black Diamond Approach Down Hoody
$360, 10 oz. (men’s medium)
Sizes: men’s S-XL, women’s XS-XL
moosejaw.com

Sometimes it’s hard to anticipate how much warmth you’ll need from your insulation, especially on a multi-day backcountry trip—and you may be tempted to go with an ultralight puffy jacket and hope for the best. If your choice is BD’s Approach Down Hoody, you’ll achieve the ultralight objective with little risk of feeling under-dressed. Wearing it on cool, very windy evenings and mornings down to the 40s Fahrenheit on a six-day backpacking trip in the Grand Canyon in early April and in similar temps on a five-day, late-summer hike in the Wind River Range, I stayed both perfectly warm and happy that I’d avoided adding more ballast to a pack already encumbered with substantial food and water weight.

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Beyond Dasche L3 Jacket with hood up.

Review: Beyond Dasche L3 Jacket

Breathable Insulated Jacket
Beyond Dasche L3 Jacket
$190, 14 oz. (men’s medium regular)
Sizes: men’s XS-3XL
beyondclothing.com

Over several cold days of ski touring from Utah’s Wasatch Range to Idaho’s Boise Mountains, with temps in the single digits and teens Fahrenheit, snow falling, and a cold wind chill at times, the Dasche L3 Jacket rarely left my body, whether serving as a middle layer skiing downhill or an outer layer skiing uphill—a testament to its breathability and versatility. The fact that it comes in under a pound and under 200 bucks should make a variety of winter adventurers sit up and take notice.

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A backcountry skier at Baldy Knoll in Wyoming's Tetons Range.

How to Dress in Layers for Winter in the Backcountry

By Michael Lanza If hiking, backpacking, and climbing from spring through fall teaches us the fundamentals of layering our clothing for comfort in variable weather, the backcountry in winter confers a graduate degree in layering. In mild temperatures, getting wet with perspiration or precipitation merely risks discomfort. In freezing temps, it can quickly lead to hypothermia and actually become life-threatening. …

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A backcountry skier in Idaho's Boise Mountains.

The Best Clothing Layers for Winter in the Backcountry

By Michael Lanza

There’s one certainty about the clothing layers we use in winter: We get our money’s worth out of them. While a rain shell or puffy jacket may rarely (or even never) come out of our pack on a summer hike or climb, we almost invariably wear every article of clothing we carry when backcountry, Nordic, or downhill skiing, snowshoeing, snowboarding, climbing, or trail running in winter. That’s money spent wisely to make us more comfortable and safer.

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The Black Diamond Vision Down Parka.

Review: Black Diamond Vision Down Parka

Down Jacket
Black Diamond Vision Down Parka
$465, 1 lb. 4.5 oz. (men’s medium)
Sizes: men’s S-XL, women’s XS-XL
moosejaw.com

On a morning in the first week of March, with the temperature a blood-thickening 17° F at a campsite on the edge of The Maze District of Canyonlands National Park, this fat down parka felt like my best friend. That followed a night in the teens spent inside a sleeping bag not rated for temps that low, when I spread the parka over my torso and hips inside my bag and felt an immediate infusion of warmth that enabled me to enjoy a comfortable night of sleep.

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