We gave this jacket a Gear of the Year award in 2017. “Think of it as a Nano-Air on steroids: a stretchy, waterproof-breathable fabric wraps the synthetic fill, while the interior is made from the same plush liner as the original. Add pit zips and you have a bombproof jacket that wears and breathes like a sweatshirt,” wrote our tester.
The Best Deals on Beginner Climbing Gear
The Half Dome is gear editor Jeremy Rellosa’s go-to climbing helmet. The wheel clicker makes it easy to dial in the fit while four large vents dump heat quickly during toasty days at the crag.
The Storm is a perfect example of how far headlamps have come. It’s moderately priced but pumps out 370 lumens from a proximity beam—ideal for working in close quarters or as a spotlight when you’re on the trail. We really like the battery meter, which shows how much juice you have left in your AAAs. Oh, and it’s fully waterproof.
We have yet to find a better starter climbing kit at this price. Mad Rock’s package has the all the essentials for a session at the climbing gym or crag: an adjustable harness with four gear loops, a chalk ball, chalk bag, Wingman belay device, and a locking carabiner.
Our Gear Guy tested five lightweight soft shells, and the Keele was his favorite. “I was most impressed with how [it] almost completely repelled water during the shower test, leaving very little moisture on the interior after 30 seconds,” he wrote. This is the jacket you should grab for chilly runs.
The First Light’s stretchy face fabric adds durability and breathability while a DWR treatment repels water, dirt, and oil. Testers like what’s inside: PrimaLoft Silver synthetic insulation provides consistent warmth, even through the start and stop cycle of alpine climbing and backcountry skiing. When the snow begins to fall, pull the adjustable hood over your helmet for extra weather protection.
Contributor Jakob Schiller included these pants in his holiday style guide. Schiller found the slim fit flattering and said the spandex-cotton blend “means they’re great on the bike if you commute to work.” They’re also stylish enough to wear at both the office and dinner parties.
These rock rings are a solid budget option for training at home. In our roundup of the best fitness accessories of 2018, we wrote, “These portable climbing holds take [pull-ups] to the next level, turning the standard move into a feat of grip strength.” (20 percent off with the code 20CLIMBSALE)
We named this jacket the best uphill layer in our 2020 Winter Buyer’s Guide. “It’s as comfy as a cotton sweatshirt and treated with an interesting heat-regulating technology called ActiveTemp, made from a non-Newtonian polymer that becomes a liquid when cold, helping to block transmission of warm vapor,” we wrote.
Our testers hailed the Stretchdown as one of their favorite winter puffies. “Mountain Hardwear developed a loom that weaves the face fabric and lining simultaneously and creates the baffles without stitching,” one tester wrote. “A snug hood and 800-fill down retained warmth on 20-degree mornings.”
In our 2020 Winter Buyer’s Guide, we featured this jacket as one of our favorite midlayers. “The Wolverine Cirque is for those of us who can’t decide what kind of midlayer to wear,” we wrote. This clever piece has the warm synthetic fill of a puffy, and the stretchy, quick-drying qualities of a fleece.