Your ability to have fun playing outside in the cold is only as good as your layering system. A good base or mid layer should be warm, breathable, comfortable, and (ideally) stink-free. These six versatile tops and bottoms deliver. 


Icebreaker Zone One Sheep Suit onesie

Onesies bring out our inner kid. Plus they’re warm and won’t ride up under a shell. The hooded wool Sheep Suit is toasty yet breathable, with mesh under the arms and at the knees. When nature calls, just use the two-way zipper and fly—no disrobing necessary. 

Price $200 

(Under Armour)

Under Armour Charged Wool Trek 1/4 Zip shirt

Built from Polartec’s new Power Wool fabric, the Trek is good for everything from subfreezing tours to 60-degree hikes. The material layers wool under synthetic for the warmth-to-weight ratio of natural fibers and the wicking abilities of the man-made stuff. 

Price $125

The North Face M summit l1 pant
(The North Face)

The North Face Summit L1 pants

Soft as cotton, stretchy as Lycra, and airy as polyester, the L1 is the Superman of the technical-tights world. The North Face achieved this feat by weaving different yarn types together to create a single, versatile fabric with just one seam running along the legs, plus a crotch gusset. Our only gripe? No fly. 

Price $125

SmartWool corbet 120 midlayer

SmartWool Corbet 120 midlayer

With the good looks of a retro sweater but the heart of a performance piece, the wool-insulated Corbet kept us warm on walks to the bar and days up on the hill. Wear it under a shell or as outerwear; its stretchy back panels vent heat. When the day’s done, keep it on for rocking après. 

Price $200

CW-X Stabilyx tights

CW-X StabilyX tights

During testing, we found that compression tights like the StabilyX provided noticeable support to tired muscles on the trail. The price of all the reinforcement? This base layer runs hot, due to the thick fabric and crisscrossed compression bands, making it most comfortable on sub-45-degree days. 

Price $150

Patagonia capilene thermal weig

Patagonia Capilene Thermal Weight Zip-Neck shirt

The Capilene line ditches the skintight nordic-racer fit in favor of a looser cut. We’re happy to report that it still strikes a fantastic balance between warmth and breathability, thanks to the Polartec Power Grid fabric’s soft, waffled fleece made with recycled materials. 

Price $119

The Best Helmets of 2016

These six brain buckets manage to look slick and feel great, all while offering state-of-the-art protection.  (Giro) Giro Range MIPS  Best For: Oddly Shaped NogginsGiro developed a unique ratcheting system that lets wearers adjust both the exterior shell and the interior liner for a custom fit. Result: the Range is the most comfortable helmet here. Well-placed vents and mesh ear pads make the whole package plenty breathable.  Price $240 (Smith Optics) Smith Vantage  Best For: Season-Long UseOur favorite helmet of the test, thanks to a slick, low-profile design that’s packed with smart features, including grooves along the sides to hold goggles in place

Read More

The Best Gloves of 2016

It's simple: better mitts equal happier hands. The engineering and tech that went into these six warmers—which deliver on warmth, breathability, and fit—is not.  (Hestra) Hestra Narvik Wool Terry Like most of the leather gloves here, the Narvik is made from goatskin, but unlike some of them, it’s tanned with plant tannins. Like Flylow, Hestra utilizes a wax coating rather than laminating its fabrics. It’s a touch less breathable but still adequately water resistant, provided it’s waxed periodically. The removable wool liner is exceptionally fast drying.  Price $185 (Seirus) Seirus HeatTouch Torche Seirus upgrades the typical battery-heated glove, adding a poly-fleece

Read More

The Best Goggles of 2016

With these tools, you can vanquish flat light forever—improving reaction times and reducing eye fatigue. Heck, that's enough to make you a better skier.  (Abominable Labs) Abominable Labs Abom  Nothing ruins a ski day faster than foggy goggles. But the geniuses at Abominable Labs have a solution. The antifog Abom has a thin, invisible heater inside the double-layer lens that works like a rear-window defroster—that is to say, brilliantly. Leave it on low in wet conditions, and switch to Boost mode after a wipeout for a quick thaw.  Price $250 (Scott Sports) Scott Sports LCG Compact  Bluebird blower days are nice,

Read More

The Best Packs of 2016

Packs keep getting lighter, smarter, and easier to use. We ran 18 new models through the wringer, and almost every one made the final round. But while it’s easy to find a great pack, choosing the perfect one still requires careful consideration. For starters, standard or airbag equipped? If you spend more than ten days a year in avalanche-prone terrain, consider an airbag. Next there’s size. As a general rule, opt for 15 liters or smaller if you’re riding lifts, 15 to 25 for sidecountry adventures, 25 to 45 for day trips, and 45 or more for multi-day missions. Finally,

Read More

The Best Snow Safety Tools of 2016

Staying safe in the backcountry is mostly about good decision making. But you'll also want a few pieces of simple, reliable gear.  (Back Country Access) Backcountry Access Scepter 7075 Aluminum poles The Scepter is BCA’s classic two-piece adjustable metal pole, with a built-in scraper on top to help you keep your skis, skins, and boot soles clear. Because nothing is worse than dragging ten pounds of caked ice up the hill with you.  Price $80 (Black Diamond) Black Diamond Free Glide Skin Care wax  Spring skiing means wide temperature swings, which can cause climbing skins to soak up moisture and lose

Read More

The Best Winter Camping Gear of 2016

There's no need to put away your camping gear come winter. Just upgrade it. Presenting everything you need to stay warm and have a blast on snowbound nights. (Western Mountaineering) Western Mountaineering Snojack parka This 850-plus-fill down jacket, made from Gore Windstopper, was easily the warmest of the dozen tested. But with quilted stitching along the side panels, we never felt we were trading mobility for coziness. Bonus: the expanded hood creates better peripheral vision.  Price $775 (Valandre) Valandre Odin Neo sleeping bag The new Odin Neo is 10 percent lighter than last year’s but equally capable. With

Read More