Trail-Running Gear Essentials

1. SHELL MontBell's Mistral Parka is a hooded squall shield that vents well enough for sweaty runs and packs down to a softball-size bundle. $110; montbell.com

Trail-Running Gear Essentials

2. SUNGLASSES The new VR50 lenses in Oakley's Flak Jackets block blue light to make trail details pop, while the fast-changing photochromatic lenses mean you won't trip in the shadows. $205; oakley.com

3. GAITERS Inov-8's socklike Debris Gaiters are great at keeping sand and pebbles out of your shoes, though they soak up too much water for sloppy runs. $17; inov-8.com

4. SHORTS Three reasons we love Brooks's Element Notch Shorts: The two gel pockets, trail-rugged fabric, and a compression liner that prevents chafing. $45; brooksrunning.com

5. SHIRT The reinforced shoulders of Arc'teryx's Ether Comp Jersey SS mean hydration-pack straps won't rub you raw. $70; arcteryx.com

6. WATCH Garmin's low-profile, GPS-based Forerunner 405 tracks distance, pace, elevation, and heart rate (with accessory strap) and uploads wirelessly. Touch-bezel menu can be tricky at first. $350; garmin.com

7. BOTTLE With a fist-friendly, ergonomic shape and comfortable strap, The North Face's 20-ounce E50 Water Bottle Holder lets you forget you're carrying it. $20; thenorthface.com

8. PACK Plenty of pockets and a great cinched-down feel make the Salomon Raid Revo 15 the best pack we tested for long runs. $80; salomonsports.com

Climbing Gear Essentials

Climbing Gear Essentials
(Terry Heffernan)

1. JACKET Rab's Generator is tough enough to stand up to the most abrasive rock. $150; rab.uk.com

2. SLIPPERS Sure, this soft, slightly downturned Velcro slipper pulls harder than most other shoes on steep rock. But it's Stealth Green rubber, ground up from leftovers and painted all over the shoe's toe, that sets Five Ten's Jet 7 apart. $125; fiveten.com

3. ROPE BAG Metolius's burly Porta-Cord is a rope tarp that rolls into a backpack big enough to carry everything you need for a day of sport climbing. $55; metoliusclimbing.com

4. PROTECTION Employing the company's tested small-cam angle for unmatched holding power, Metolius's Master Cams are narrow for tricky placements and ergonomically perfect in the hand. $55–$60

5. HARNESS Thanks to revolutionary new webbing treatment (bye-bye, vertical strands of webbing), Arc'teryx's R320 is comfier than a traditional padded design (no hot spots!) and crazy light and packable (just 11.2 ounces). $125; arcteryx.com

6. BELAY DEVICE Hard to believe, but Petzl's Reverso 3 is even more versatile than its predecessor. It now fits almost every size rope (single and half/twins), meaning you'll need just one belay device. $30; petzl.com

7. SHOES La Sportiva's popular Miura gets a long-awaited update with Velcro to become the Miura VS. Same edge control, in an easier-on, easier-off package. $140; sportiva.com

Fly-Fishing Gear Essentials

Fly-Fishing Gear Essentials

1. JACKET Simms's waterproof/breathable G4 Pro comes with microfleece-lined hand-warmer pockets, and retractors are built into the chest for easy access to clippers and forceps. $450; simmsfishing.com

2. ALL-PURPOSE REEL For hogs, we'll take Ross's size-2 Rhythm, an ambidextrous model with an idiot-proof drag that handled seven-inch and seven-pound fish equally well. $220; rossreels.com

3. FLY BOX The carbon-fiber C1 fly box by Carbon Flybox Co.—filled with Umpqua's precise, durable flies (from $1.50; umpqua.com)—is as rockproof, light, and expensive as you'd expect. $65; carbonflybox.com

4. WADERS Thanks to a synthetic facing that protects the Gore-Tex membrane, Cloudveil's 8x Pros are as durable as they are comfortable. $475; cloudveil.com

5. WADING BOOTS At 1.7 lbs, Simms's Guide Boot is a full ten ounces lighter than the manufacturer's previous top model. $160

6. SPRING-CREEK REEL For fish you can land with a 4-weight rod and no mechanical drag—which is to say, most trout—use Sage's responsive, featherweight (2.9-ounce) 3100 Click and Pawl. $280; sageflyfish.com

7. SPRING-CREEK ROD Thanks to streamlined graphite fibers that run directly down the blank, this four-piece, eight-foot-six, 4-weight rod—part of Sage's ZXL series—is smooth, accurate, and resilient, fighting big fish surprisingly well for its 2.9-ounce weight. $665

8. ALL-PURPOSE ROD Orvis's new, ultralight ZG Helios rods restore much-needed cred to the mega-brand. At just 2.6 ounces, the nine-foot, 5-weight mid-flex drove long casts into the wind with little effort. $755; orvis.com

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