Nordic Skiing

Classic or skate? Either way you'll go fast with the latest—and best—Nordic gear.

Nordic Skiing Gear

   Photo: Jens Mortensen

1. Fischer RCS Carbonlite Skating
By employing a new carbon-fiber laminate in both the tip and tail, these ultralight skate skis weigh just 17.5 ounces apiece. Translation: You'll fly. $599; fischerskis.com

2. One Way Diamond Storm 10Max Titanium Poles
The cork grip and wrist straps are the comfiest around, and the lightness and stiffness are World Cup–worthy. $289; alpinasports.com

3. Madshus Race RPS Skate Boots
The fiberglass lasting board makes sure all your energy transfers to the ski, while the anatomical cuff and heat-moldable upper increase lateral support and prevent blisters. $249; madshus.com

4. Atomic Race Carbon Classic Boots
Light and comfortable, they're flexible where they need to be and, thanks to a carbon plate, rigid underfoot. But the real kicker is the easy-on/easy-off Quick Lace system. $289; atomicsnow.com

5. Patagonia Wind Track Pullover
Smart touches like thumb loops and swaths of fleece that cover your lats make this trim-fitting, windproof pullover our go-to top. $135; patagonia.com

6. Rossignol X-ium Classic C2 AR NIS
One setup, all conditions: This top-notch waxless ski has a solid kick and fast glide. Plus, thanks to its double camber and super-strong fiberglass construction, it's stable in variable snow. $580; rossignol.com

Ice Climbing

Upgrade your frozen fun with the best new tools and apparel.

Ice Climbing Gear
  Photo: Jens Mortensen

1. Rab Neutrino Endurance Jacket
This down-filled belay parka is cut long for full coverage and kept testers warm even in frigid, spindrift-filled gullies. $250; rab.uk.com

2. Outdoor Research Alti Glove
You simply can't beat this workhorse. A Gore-Tex shell keeps hands dry, abrasion-resistant palms withstand sharp points and rope wear, and the insulated inner liner can be removed when you need utmost dexterity. $139; outdoorresearch.com

3. Asolo Comp XT
This integrated boot/crampon system (a.k.a. fruitboot) increases control and reduces weight with a carbon-fiber midsole. $600; asolo.com

4. C.A.M.P. Vector Nanotech
A new steel alloy called Sandvik Nanoflex, which is stronger than standard steel, makes these automatic crampons the lightest that really work. $240, 880 grams; camp-usa.com

5. Arc'teryx Gamma Salopette Bibs
Polartec Powershield bonded to a cozy fleece lining makes these bibs weather- and scrape-resistant, warm, and wicking. Bonus: Removable knee pads protect and insulate. $399; arcteryx.com

6. Scarpa Summit GTX
These insulated, Gore-Tex-lined boots walk well on long approaches and are stiff enough for front-pointing. $379; scarpa.com

7. Lowe Alpine Extreme Attack 20+20
Haul a load to the cliff, remove rack and harness, then compress the Attack down into an ascent pack that hugs your back. $175; lowealpine.com

8. Petzl/Charlet Moser Nomic
With its adjustable head weight and protected grip, this 635-gram ice ax practically swings itself. $280; petzl.com

Winter Camping

Enjoy the peace, quiet, and very, very warm gear.

Winter Camping Gear
  Photo: Jens Mortensen

1. The North Face Solar Flare
Pack the wrong bag and you'll be shivering instead of sleeping. This 800-fill-down, 20-below sack will let you snooze comfortably everywhere short of Everest. $519, 4 lbs; thenorthface.com

2. Black Diamond LightHouse
It weighs just over three pounds, but this single-walled four-season mountaineering shelter beats condensation with breathable Epic by Nextec fabric. $379 ($139 for the side-mounted vestibule); bdel.com

3. Cloudveil Inversion Parka
Overstuffed hood, weather-beating Windstopper shell, and spindrift-stopping neoprene cuffs make this 800-fill-down parka a sweet package when you stop moving. $450, 2 lbs; cloudveil.com

4. Brunton Vapor AF
For reliability and versatility in cold and at altitude, you can't beat this one-pound, multifuel (including pressurized canisters) stove. $149; brunton.com

5. Black Diamond Quantum
Put it all in this four-pound, minimalist pack (read: fewer gimmicks for you to lug). Making a dash for the summit? Cut more weight by removing the hipbelt and top compartment. $240; bdel.com

6. Therm-a-Rest RidgeRest Deluxe
On snow, a closed-cell pad like this is essential for insulation. $30, 1.2 lbs; thermarest.com

7. Sierra Designs Classic Down Booties
You can just tromp around in your boot liners, but these waterproof, rubber-soled slip-ons are one luxury we won't do without. $40; sierradesigns.com

Winter Cycling

Don't give in to the trainer. With the right gear, you can ride all winter.

Winter Cycling Gear
  Photo: Jens Mortensen

1. Assos Airjack 851
It may feel a bit snug at first, but get into a bike crouch and the cycling-specific cut of the windproof AirJack snaps comfortably into position. Good down to 32 degrees. $310; assos.com

2. Giordana Forma Gindfront Gib Gights
A windproof front panel makes these comfy bibs (seamless shoulder straps and gel chamois) suitable for freezing temps. $240; giordanausa.com

3. Look Ultra Cycling Beanie
Made from a fleece-lined nylon-and-Lycra blend and with a drawstring opening at the top, this thermal lid easily fits under your helmet. $40; lookcycle-usa.com

4. Giordana Corsa Windtex
These sleek shoe covers sandwich a wind- and water-fighting membrane between a warm, brushed inner layer and an aerodynamic outer layer. $55

5. Knog Gator 605
Starting or ending without much light? The Gator can cut through the dark with three headlight-bright LEDs, a variety of settings, and a slender lithium-ion battery. $399; knog.com.au

6. Pearl Izumi Microsensor Thermal Long-Sleeve Jersey
The polyester-Lycra shell with a brushed interior can handle the bite of crisp mornings, while vented panels keep you cool later. $130; pearlizumi.com

7. Descente Coldfront
With thick synthetic fill, high cuffs, and silicone strips at vital contact points, the Coldfront gloves strike a perfect balance between on-bike performance and cold-weather utility. $40; descenteathletic.com

Tropical Getaway

The key to packing light for a warm-weather trip: quality, not quantity.

Tropical Getaway Gear
  Photo: Jens Mortensen

1. Aqua Lung's U.S. Divers Travel-Ready Snorkeling Set
Never again use beat-up rental gear. This mask, dry snorkel, and the compact fins come in their own handy carrying case. Added bonus: a whole DVD's worth of snorkeling tips. $35; usdivers.com

2. GoLite Chrome Dome Umbrella
Consider it the man parasol, with 21st-century upgrades like a metallicized canopy that fully deflects the sun. $30; golite.com

3. JBL Mini Speargun
At only 18 inches, it's ideal for close-up shots. $75; jblspearguns.com

4. L.L.Bean Adventure Duffel
No bells, no whistles. This classic and virtually indestructible nylon duffel comes in four sizes and plenty of colors. $30–$60; llbean.com

5. Ahnu Men's Tilden Sandal
It may be sensitive (ecologically speaking), but it's tough. The all-terrain, well-ventilated Tildens have enough support for mellow hikes. $90; ahnufootwear.com

6. QuiksilverEdition Surf Patrol BoardShorts
These 100 percent polyester heavyweights can handle both beach and bar duty. $55; quiksilveredition.com

7. Olympus SP 550-UZ camera and PT-037 underwater housing
Get the antidote to crappy underwater pictures: an 18x wide-angle super-telephoto zoom lens housed in a specially designed case that's waterproof down to 133 feet. Camera, $500; case, $380; olympusamerica.com

8. SeaLife ECOshot Digital Camera
This fully armored and rubberized six-mega-pixel camera could bounce off just about anything and be no worse for wear. Better still, it's fully waterproof down to 75 feet. (Pelican carrying case is sold separately for $160.) $280; sealife-cameras.com

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