Winter adventure starts here

buyer's guide
(Courtesy Eddie Bauer)

Eddie Bauer BC EverTherm Down ($499)

If you’re a cold-weather backcountry adventurer, you need a fail-safe layer stashed in your pack—the lighter the better. Warm enough for an emergency alpine bivy and waterproof enough to handle drizzly conditions, Eddie Bauer’s BC EverTherm is your superlight safety kit. At just 1.2 pounds, it has the best warmth-to-weight ratio of any waterproof puffy we tested. The secret is Eddie Bauer’s proprietary Thindown insulation, which debuted last year and is made of ultralight down clusters that are pressed into a continuous sheet rather than blown loose into baffles. That means the jacket isn’t perforated by thousands of stitches that allow heat to escape, so you stay warmer. The seam-taped 15-denier waterproof shell keeps the down dry and offers additional wind protection for a truly impervious outer layer; we pulled the BC EverTherm out during many a storm-lashed Teton summit last winter. The long hemline offers great coverage in back even while swinging ice tools overhead. With an eye toward backcountry travel, Eddie Bauer included a cavernous hood with a stiff brim and plenty of storage—including a huge interior drop pocket to quickly stash essentials—without adding much weight. 1.2 lbs (men’s, pictured) / 1 lb (women’s)

Men's Women's

jackets
(Courtesy Salewa)

Salewa Sesvenna Polartec Alpha ($225)

Best Hybrid

Assembled from five distinct fabrics, the Sesvenna is a veritable Megazord for high-output ski missions. A wind- and weatherproof Pertex Quantum outer layer shields the chest and shoulders, which had us leaning into blowing wind and precipitation on the skin track, while four-way Durastretch rounds out the torso for base-layer-like mobility. The sleeves and hood are insulated with breathable Polartec Alpha, while across the back porous Alpha Direct moves excess heat and moisture so efficiently that we were able to wear the Sesvenna on snowy evening training runs. Kudos for sustainability: the fabric is Bluesign approved and the DWR finish PFC-free. 1.3 lbs (men’s, pictured) / 1.1 lbs (women’s)

Men's Women's

buyer's guide
(Columbia)

Sponsor Content: Columbia Women’s OutDryTM EX Diamond Piste Jacket ($650)

A technical, feature-rich jacket designed for the serious powder hound. Crafted with a waterproof-breathable, fully seam-sealed shell and our most advanced thermal-reflective lining with soft next-to-skin comfort. Mountain-friendly features include 800-fill down insulation, ski pass and goggle pockets, helmet-compatible storm hood, underarm venting, and adjustable cuffs, hem, and powder skirt.

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jackets
(Courtesy First Lite)

First Lite Chamberlin Down ($360)

Best on Frigid Days

Designed for hunters sitting perfectly still in the woods amid inclement weather—think 34 degrees and rain—the Chamberlin Down, from Ketchum, Idaho, apparel maker First Lite, is an absolute bear of a coat. It’s overstuffed with top-shelf 800-fill down sandwiched within sturdy, DWR-treated waterproof fabric. It also boasts a sophisticated design you don’t see a lot in camo and earth-tone duds, with box-baffle construction and articulated sleeves. While First Lite named the Chamberlin Down for a peak in the threatened (and big-game-rich) Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, the jacket served us beautifully in the lower 48 as we slashed downhill through Douglas fir forests in the Tetons. 1.5 lbs

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jackets
(Courtesy Picture)

Picture Signe ($350)

Best for the Resort

This insulated jacket has something special going for it: it’s sustainably made, yet it performs just as well as conventional outerwear. The PFC-free DWR coating prevented puking snow from soaking through the recycled-nylon face fabric. Across the back, Sorona insulation—a corn-based alternative to down—delivered a welcome dose of warmth on the lift and wasn’t stifling during powder laps. Mesh-lined pit zips on the Signe (the men’s version is called the Goods and runs $400) kept us from overheating, and an extra-tall collar screened our cheeks from raking wind. The removable powder skirt sealed out snow on deep days. For aggressive in-bounds riding, this jacket hits all the notes. 2.8 lbs (men’s) / 2.6 lbs (women’s, pictured)

Men's Women's

jackets
(Courtesy Black Crows)

Black Crows Ventus Light ($549)

Best Backcountry Shell

Here’s the Goldilocks option for backcountry touring and mountaineering. Neither flimsy nor overbuilt, this three-layer shell is breathable enough for high-output climbs and just tough enough to spar with errant ski edges. The 70-denier Gore-Tex C-Knit fabric fended off hammering wind and snow and was flexible even in brittle-cold conditions. An array of huge pockets, patches of fleecy jersey on the inner collar, and a grippy hem to prevent the jacket from riding up combine for a surprising feature set for fast and light apparel. And the pit zips—21 inches long, with a three-way zipper for endless adjustability—are next level. When the Ventus’s work is done, it balls up to the size of a grapefruit. 1.3 lbs (men’s) / 15 oz (women’s, pictured)

Men's Women's

jackets
(Courtesy Fjällräven)

Fjällräven Keb Touring ($330)

Best Soft Shell

Most people love soft shells because they’re stretchy, quiet, exceptionally comfortable, and more casual than their techy-looking hard-shell cousins. We also dig their breath­ability on days when the risk of rain or snow soaking through the seams is low. Fjällräven’s Keb Touring jacket is the exemplary softie of 2019 for cold, crisp cross-country ski tours or spring skiing at the resort. The handful of no-nonsense accoutrements—enormous drop pockets on the inside to hold a hat or climbing skins, big chest pockets that don’t interfere with the waist belt of a pack, and vents on the torso to dump heat on the go—team up well with the Swedish brand’s famous streetwise style. 1.9 lbs (men’s, pictured) / 1.6 lbs (women’s)

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jackets
(Courtesy Arc'teryx)

Arc’teryx Gaea ($199)

Best Aerobic Layer

This is the finest winter training piece we’ve ever pulled on. With synthetic Octa Loft insulation across the chest, at the shoulders, and even in the snug collar, the Gaea (and the men’s Argus) is warm where you need it to be while remaining supremely breathable, thanks to Octa Loft’s excep­tional permeability and the jacket’s stretchy, uninsulated back panel. Fleece-lined pockets in the front warm chilly hands, and a pair of stash pockets in back swallow a hat and gloves when you build up steam. Plus, those pockets have media ports to keep a headphone cord neatly out of the way. And like most Arc’teryx garb, the trim, articulated Gaea just fits better. 11.3 oz (men’s) / 9.3 oz (women’s, pictured)

Men's Women's

Après

The Best Adventure Blankets of 2019

Six cozy throws, from plush to practical   (Courtesy Klymit) Klymit Versa ($80) Truly adaptable, the Versa goes from blanket to lightweight sleeping bag with a series of snaps and the pull of a cinch cord. With four insulated hand pockets and a footbox, it’s pretty much all you need to keep your extremities warm during picnics on brisk autumn evenings. Buy Now (Courtesy Coalatree) Coalatree Kachula ($79) Hey, all you overlanders: this is the blanket you want in the back of your Tacoma. With a ripstop-nylon bottom coated in a DWR finish, it’s our first choice when we have

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Après

The Best Base and Midlayers of 2019

Tights and insulators to keep you warm and feeling strong (Courtesy Direct Alpine) Direct Alpine Mountain Series Bora Jacket ($230) We appreciate an athletically cut jacket that doesn’t bind up. No wonder the Bora (women’s pictured) is at the top of our list—the waist flares and the arms moved with us as we swung our ski poles. Supple Polartec Alpha Direct on the interior wicked moisture and kept us warm on the slopes. Buy Now (Courtesy Corbeaux) Corbeaux 3/4 Centennial Leggings ($89) Layered under ski pants, the polyester-­spandex Centennial (men’s pictured) kicks ass. “Felt great against my skin, and

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Après

The Best Vests of 2019

We don’t need no stinking sleeves (Courtesy Big Agnes) Big Agnes Thorpe ($180) “Just substantial enough to maintain a comfortable core without sending my body temperature into overshoot,” one tester said of the Thrope. This pullover’s PrimaLoft Gold Active insulation and stretchy armholes for unfettered movement have made it a key part of our layering strategy for high-output days in the mountains. Buy Now (Courtesy Marmot) Marmot Origins ($200) We like vests because they’re freeing, with no fabric around the arms to constrict. But that doesn’t mean we’re opposed to adding that fabric back elsewhere. Take the Origins, which

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Après

The Best Winter Workwear of 2019

Burly clothes can still be comfy (Courtesy Voormi) Voormi San Juan Jacket ($299) To fight off any storm, the San Juan pairs old-school cotton-poly with Cordura reinforcements and a weatherproof membrane. The result is as breathable as canvas, offers greater durability, and doesn’t mind being put through the wringer. Buy Now (Courtesy Hestra) Hestra Njord Gloves ($105) Removable merino liners set these goatskin gloves apart. Wear them unlined on warm days, then slip in the merino when temperatures sink. Buy Now (Courtesy Darn Tough) Darn Tough Paul Bunyan Socks ($26) These over-the-calf, full-cushion socks are made of extra-fine knit

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Après

The Best Ski Pants of 2019

Slick trousers for powder-day overachievers (Courtesy Flylow) Flylow Smythe ($450) Our male testers unanimously agreed that these were the most comfortable bibs in our test, thanks to the roomy cut. They’re streamlined, too: big vents, well-placed pockets, and nothing else. Buy Now (Courtesy Black Diamond) Black Diamond Recon Stretch ($329) Whether on long tours or for big objectives, these pants (women’s pictured) deliver. Black Diamond’s proprietary waterproof-breathable membrane keeps the elements out, while four-way stretch, articulated knees, and offset side venting allow for all the backcountry booty dropping you desire. Men's Women's (Courtesy Marmot) Marmot BL Pro ($600) The nylon

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