Light Fantastic

Get the most out of long summer days with featherweight performance gear for running, riding, climbing, and hiking

Jun 1, 2006
Outside Magazine
running gear

Photograph by Jens Mortensen

WITH MOST OF THE U.S. seeing 15 hours of sunshine every day this month, there's enough light for epic trail runs that start after work and dawn-to-dusk hikes and rides that pack a week's worth of sights into a single Saturday. Of course, if you want to tick off mile after mile chasing the most memorable day of the year, you need to bring along weight-saving equipment that's still durable and functional. In the pages ahead, we've gathered the best new gear for all your summer adventures.

1. The Windshell Get unrestricted mobility for running—heck, for climbing trees—with ARC'TERYX's five-ounce SQUAMISH. The stretchy nylon blocks wind and sheds light rain. A hood, plus seals at the cuffs and hem, let you batten down the hatches in a serious blow. When the weather clears, the whole thing disappears into its own chest pocket. $139; 2. The Shirt Thankfully, the textile wonks at PEARL IZUMI think about sweat the way others obsess over fine wine. The FLY TOP employs yarns of varying diameter—finer outside, larger inside—to efficiently pull moisture away from your skin. $45; 3. The Pack PATAGONIA's HOUDINI is light without being flimsy, and holds all the essentials—hydration bladder, snacks, layers, cell phone. A wide hipbelt and contoured shoulder straps give it a snug, no-bounce fit. Store sunscreen or tunes in the handy waist-level pockets. $100; 4. The Shorts Try running a dozen miles in the wrong pair of shorts and even mowing the lawn sounds like a better option. Eliminate chafe with CLOUDVEIL's EXCURSION SHORTS. Panel construction, a brushed tricot waistband, and a wicking liner make them übercomfortable, and the eight-inch inseam (men's model) is just long enough that you can stop at the pub on the way home without changing. $43; 5. The Shoes With breathable mesh uppers and a rubber toe cap, NEW BALANCE's 872 trail runners are both airy and armored. The close-to-the-ground feel, combined with a judicious amount of stability and cushion, makes for a quick and nimble ride. $90;