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Gear Guy

Would you use a Marmot parka on Denali?

If a guy was headed to Denali in May, and asked you to compare the Marmot 8000 Meter Parka with the Feathered Friends Rock & Ice Parka that you used, what would you say? And, since I very good-looking, would you like to use my photo at the head of your column and tell people it was you? Bob Reno, Nevada

A: First of all, the proper phrasing is "because I am very good-looking," not "since". Using "since" implies that you recently became good-looking, and that before extensive plastic surgery you actually were a pretty ugly spud ("since I had the surgery, chicks dig me"). Besides, I guarantee I look smarter than you do, so am inherently more trustworthy when it comes to dispensing advice. People around here want the real deal, not some pretty boy.

So, as for the picture, no thanksB

As for the parka choice, it's almost a toss-up. Marmot's 8000 Meter Parka ($575; is an extremely warm, expedition-ready, 800-fill down parka with a DryLoft shell and reinforced shoulders and elbows. Very nice, indeed, and Marmot's quality is excellent. Feathered Friends' Rock & Ice is perhaps just a small cut above. One advantage: It can include an eVent shell, a new waterproof-breathable fabric that in my limited experience is noticeably superior to Gore-Tex. With eVent, the price is $650 ( You can also add some down for another $25. The Rock & Ice is also a little longer than the 8000 Meter, and features interior water-bottle pockets. The day I summitted Denali with mine, I didn't even take a pack—I stuffed the pockets with Snickers bars, water bottles, and spare overmitts, and did just fine.

My conclusion: Either is fine, with the Rock & Ice edging ahead, as the price spread suggests.

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