You may have noticed a slight absence from the blog over the last couple of weeks. That's because I was busy checking out the best winter gear from Outdoor Retailer and SIA—and writing reviews of the ten best products for winter 2013. Here some more outdoor gear that caught my attention at the shows.
Brooks-Range Mojave Jacket: Waterproof down was big news at this winter’s Outdoor Retailer show. We gave Sierra Designs a Gear of the Show award for its Dridown Sleeping Bag. Down has long been recognized as the lightest, most efficient insulator—until it gets wet.
Brooks-Range Mojave Jacket uses 800-fill goose down feathers that have been individually treated to make them water repellent. The result is a down that repels water while maintaining its fluffiness and ability to insulate, even in a rain storm. Unlike synthetic insulation fibers, Brooks Range says that treated down actually helps wick away moisture. The Mojave’s shell is made of silky soft, lightweight durable Pertex fabric. So it’s ideal for climbers, skiers and mountaineers. Available Fall 2012, price TBD, brooks-range.com
Outdoor Research Blackpowder Gloves: Leather work-style ski gloves remain as popular as ever amongst skiers and snowboarders, backcountry and frontcountry. Outdoor Research just showed us its entrée into the category, the Blackpowder glove. Its supple waxed goat leather with ample insulation to keep your fingers warm during cold chair lift rides, with a rib knit cuff that keeps the snow out. And it’s not just for when the lifts are spinning. The Blackpowder is the first work glove built with an eye towards après. An integrated stainless steel ring-shaped bottle opener will let you crack a cold one without taking off your gloves. Available fall 2012, $75, outdoorresearch.com
Black Diamond Ascension Nylon STS Skins: Black Diamond (BD) makes some of the best backcountry ski skins. Its nylon Ascension nylon skins have excellent grip on the ups, and for those who do more touring than climbing up steep slopes to ski down, its mohair skins have been an excellent choice.
But each kind of skin had its sacrifices. The nylon skins didn’t glide as well as the mohair, and the mohair didn’t provide as much traction as the nylon. The choice is no longer a hard one. This fall, BD will introduce the first “no sacrifices” synthetic skins, called the Ascension Nylon STS. They have mohair-like glide, and they’re lighter than current nylon Ascensions and quicker to dry. Plus, BD also reformulated the glue. We're not sure how they did it, but the new glue somehow makes the skins stick better to your skis, but also easier to pull apart when you’re ready for your next lap. Available Fall 2012, $140-$170, blackdiamondequipment.com.