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The Best Winter Camping Gear of 2016

The Best Winter Camping Gear of 2016

There's no need to put away your camping gear come winter. Just upgrade it. Presenting everything you need to stay warm and have a blast on snowbound nights.

Western Mountaineering snowjack
  Photo: Western Mountaineering

Western Mountaineering Snojack parka

This 850-plus-fill down jacket, made from Gore Windstopper, was easily the warmest of the dozen tested. But with quilted stitching along the side panels, we never felt we were trading mobility for coziness. Bonus: the expanded hood creates better peripheral vision. 

Price $775 

Valandre odin neo sleeping bag
  Photo: Valandre

Valandre Odin Neo sleeping bag

The new Odin Neo is 10 percent lighter than last year’s but equally capable. With an impressive draft collar, it kept us warm even in the negatives. 

Price $900 

Granite Gear nimbus trace acces
  Photo: Granite Gear

Granite Gear Nimbus Trace Access 85 pack

The Nimbus Trace is bigger (85 liters!) than ever, but keeps important features like the lightweight yet stiff composite suspension system. Cool feature: the front panel can be peeled away with a rip of Velcro for quick access to extra layers. 

Price $370 

Sea to Summit comfort plus slee
  Photo: Sea to Summit

Sea to Summit Comfort Plus sleeping pad

Sure, this pad has Thermolite insulation, durable face fabric, and a double-valve system that inflates in less than a minute. But we’re most excited about the layered cushioning. A bubble of air along the bottom kept us above the snow, while a pressurized chamber let testers fine-tune the softness. 

Price $200 

Ortovox snow saw
  Photo: Ortovox

Ortovox Snow saw

Great for cutting shelter blocks and testing snowpack. Pair with the Kodiak shovel. 

Price $59 

Sierra Designs convert 3 tent
  Photo: Sierra Designs

Sierra Designs Convert 3 tent

This three-person tent shines in winter, with its large removable vestibule, which kept gear for three adults dry during a snow storm.

Price $690 

Ortovox kodiak shovel
  Photo: Ortovox

Ortovox Kodiak shovel

For moving lots of snow, nothing quite measures up to the Kodiak. A large blade, sticky rubber coating on the shaft, and shovel and hoe digging modes made this the ideal tool for making avy test pits. 

Price $89 

Petzl tikka headlamp
  Photo: Petzl

Petzl Tikka headlamp

Petzl updated the Tikka by making the on-off switch bigger for mitten-friendly use and adding a glow-in-the-dark element, so the tangerine-size light is easy to find at night.

Price $30 

Snow Peak geoshield stove
  Photo: Snow Peak

Snow Peak GeoShield stove

The GeoShield locks into a single-piece unit—windscreen plus stove. But we really like the way the canister connects to the heating element via a hose, so you can optimize gas pressure for subzero temperatures. 

Price $100 

The Best Helmets of 2016

These six brain buckets manage to look slick and feel great, all while offering state-of-the-art protection.    Photo: Giro Giro Range MIPS  Best For: Oddly Shaped NogginsGiro developed a unique ratcheting system that lets wearers adjust both the exterior shell and the interior liner for a custom fit. Result: the Range is the most comfortable helmet here. Well-placed vents and mesh ear pads make the whole package plenty breathable.  Price $240   Photo: Smith Optics Smith Vantage  Best For: Season-Long UseOur favorite helmet of the test, thanks to a slick, low-profile design that’s packed with smart features, including grooves along the sides to hold goggles in place

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The Best Gloves of 2016

It's simple: better mitts equal happier hands. The engineering and tech that went into these six warmers—which deliver on warmth, breathability, and fit—is not.    Photo: Hestra Hestra Narvik Wool Terry Like most of the leather gloves here, the Narvik is made from goatskin, but unlike some of them, it’s tanned with plant tannins. Like Flylow, Hestra utilizes a wax coating rather than laminating its fabrics. It’s a touch less breathable but still adequately water resistant, provided it’s waxed periodically. The removable wool liner is exceptionally fast drying.  Price $185   Photo: Seirus Seirus HeatTouch Torche Seirus upgrades the typical battery-heated glove, adding a poly-fleece

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The Best Goggles of 2016

With these tools, you can vanquish flat light forever—improving reaction times and reducing eye fatigue. Heck, that's enough to make you a better skier.    Photo: Abominable Labs Abominable Labs Abom  Nothing ruins a ski day faster than foggy goggles. But the geniuses at Abominable Labs have a solution. The antifog Abom has a thin, invisible heater inside the double-layer lens that works like a rear-window defroster—that is to say, brilliantly. Leave it on low in wet conditions, and switch to Boost mode after a wipeout for a quick thaw.  Price $250   Photo: Scott Sports Scott Sports LCG Compact  Bluebird blower days are nice,

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The Best Packs of 2016

Packs keep getting lighter, smarter, and easier to use. We ran 18 new models through the wringer, and almost every one made the final round. But while it’s easy to find a great pack, choosing the perfect one still requires careful consideration. For starters, standard or airbag equipped? If you spend more than ten days a year in avalanche-prone terrain, consider an airbag. Next there’s size. As a general rule, opt for 15 liters or smaller if you’re riding lifts, 15 to 25 for sidecountry adventures, 25 to 45 for day trips, and 45 or more for multi-day missions. Finally,

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The Best Base and Mid Layers of 2016

Your ability to have fun playing outside in the cold is only as good as your layering system. A good base or mid layer should be warm, breathable, comfortable, and (ideally) stink-free. These six versatile tops and bottoms deliver.    Photo: Icebreaker Icebreaker Zone One Sheep Suit onesie Onesies bring out our inner kid. Plus they’re warm and won’t ride up under a shell. The hooded wool Sheep Suit is toasty yet breathable, with mesh under the arms and at the knees. When nature calls, just use the two-way zipper and fly—no disrobing necessary.  Price $200   Photo: Under Armour Under Armour

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The Best Snow Safety Tools of 2016

Staying safe in the backcountry is mostly about good decision making. But you'll also want a few pieces of simple, reliable gear.    Photo: Back Country Access Backcountry Access Scepter 7075 Aluminum poles The Scepter is BCA’s classic two-piece adjustable metal pole, with a built-in scraper on top to help you keep your skis, skins, and boot soles clear. Because nothing is worse than dragging ten pounds of caked ice up the hill with you.  Price $80   Photo: Black Diamond Black Diamond Free Glide Skin Care wax  Spring skiing means wide temperature swings, which can cause climbing skins to soak up moisture and lose

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