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The Holiday Gifts Backcountry’s Gearheads Recommend

The e-retailer’s employees are equipment junkies and data nerds. Heed their buying advice.

Gearheads make sure Backcountry customers get the perfect gear for their needs. (Photo: Courtesy Backcountry)
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Backcountry employs over 200 Gearheads, full-time employees whose sole job is to connect Backcountry customers with the best products for their needs. The job qualifications: intimate knowledge of a specific type of gear, whether it be fly-fishing rods, SUPs, or road-bike helmets. Have a question about sizing on a new pair of trail runners or which ski shell to buy? Go to Backcountry.com, then call or chat with one of its Gearheads who has a specialty in that sport.

Backcountry is sponsoring this Gearheads series through the holiday season. That means our editors collaborate with Backcountry’s employees to pick the gear you see below. We’ll update this page twice a month as new products come in.

Arc’teryx Women’s Sentinel LT Jacket ($649)

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(Photo: Courtesy Arc'teryx)

This year, Arc’teryx took the beloved Sentinel jacket and added a bit of length and a trimmer fit to create the Sentinel LT. Designed to protect you from the elements on big-mountain tours, it features a three-layer Gore-Tex construction that delivers complete weather protection in snowstorms, rainfall, and high-altitude wind. The C-Knit backer reduces jacket crunch while providing a soft, supple feel against your skin, allowing comfortable movement.

Gearhead: Zina Bougri
Expertise: Climbing, skiing, hiking, and camping
Next Goatworthy Moment: Climbing Time Wave Zero in El Potrero Chico, Mexico

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The North Face Men’s Fuse Brigandine Bib ($549)

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(Photo: The North Face)

Velcro straps that tighten around your waist, oversized zippers that are easy to grab while wearing gloves, and strategic pockets (like a pack-friendly kangaroo pocket) give the Brigandine all the bells and whistles I look for in a pair of snowboarding pants. I particularly like the articulated knees, which provide comfort and ease of movement in my downhill stance.

Gearhead: Warren Young
Expertise: Splitboarding and snowboarding
Next Goatworthy Moment: Finding some fluffy snow in Japan and Canada

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Rossignol Women’s Soul 7 HD Ski ($750)

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(Photo: Courtesy Rossignol)

The playful Soul 7 is a versatile, all-mountain ski that can handle just about any kind of condition. They’re perfect for ripping groomers or floating on powder. This year, Rossignol reduced the weight and slightly squared off the tail, which allows for easier skin attachment and makes them more backcountry-friendly. Vertical sidewalls give the ski a bit more edging power and a more hard-charging look. While these skis are nice and light, the race-inspired Carbon Alloy Matrix in the core keeps things stiff enough to charge when you’re feeling aggressive.

Gearhead: Ashleigh McClary
Expertise: Skiing, SUPing, hiking, and backpacking
Next Goatworthy Moment: Skiing around the western United States with the Epic and Ikon passes

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Backcountry Men’s Mid Ivory Sherpa Fleece Jacket ($140)

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(Photo: Courtesy Backcountry)

This fleece, designed by Backcountry, is that all-around warm jacket you need. It’s perfect for hiking on the trail or just hanging out around the fire and offers a classic outdoor style that keeps you comfortable whether you’re exploring a new town or a new trail. High-pile sherpa fleece locks in warmth, and woven overlays at the chest and shoulders help block the wind. The relaxed fit means you can wear it alone or layered beneath a shell. Four zippered pockets are perfect for stashing all your essentials.

Gearhead: Zak Ricklefs
Expertise: Skiing, mountain biking, and backpacking
Next Goatworthy Moment: Finding some fresh powder in Hakuba, Japan

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Blundstone Women’s New Original Series Boot ($190)

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(Photo: Courtesy Blundstone)

These are my go-to year-round boots. They’re stylish and go with everything in my closet. The utilitarian design is great for tromping in the snow or around camp on a cool summer night. They feature a rugged and durable thermo-urethane outsole that’s built to withstand all kinds of work environments yet offers all-day support and comfort.

Gearhead: Koly Swistak
Expertise: Hiking and camping
Favorite Place to Camp: Glacier National Park, Montana

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Arc’teryx Voltair 30L Backpack ($1,300)

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(Photo: Courtesy Arc'teryx)

Arc’teryx perfected the avalanche pack as we know it with its Voltair series. The airbag system utilizes a 22.2-volt lithium-ion polymer battery that’s rechargeable and capable of inflating the bag upwards of 20 times a day in temperatures as low as 14 degrees Fahrenheit.

Gearhead: Zak Ricklefs
Expertise: Skiing, mountain biking, and backpacking
Favorite Place to Ski: Wolverine Cirque, Utah

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Filed To: PantsClimbingPatagoniaBikingMountain Biking
Lead Photo: Courtesy Backcountry
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