Nordic Skiing

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

(Jens Mortensen)
Nordic Skiing Gear

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
(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
(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
(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
(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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