Gear columnist Jakob Schiller loves the Weekenders. “They look great, have high-quality lenses, and are so affordable that I won't worry about them getting a little bit dinged up,” he says. “It's rare to find one pair of shades I want to wear for 80 percent of the things I do outside—and even rarer to find one at this price.”
Our Favorite Gear from Small Brands We Love
These were among favorite boardshorts in our 2019 Summer Buyer's Guide. For pure toughness, these burly trunks win big, with a cotton-poly material that holds its shape so you don’t wind up with a waistband full of sand. As a bonus, four pockets hold wallet, keys, and other sundries for after-session cervezas.
The Dirt Surfer made our list of cool crossover bike gear. “Club Ride added a little bit of spandex to this poly shirt for extra stretch, as well as a UPF 50 rating to give the Aloha vibe technical chops,” our tester writes. It also has perforated pit vents and zipper pockets on the front and back.
The Cannons are some of our favorite women's sneakers. “Every aspect of this sneaker uses environmentally sustainable materials and construction,” our tester writes, “but it doesn’t look like a 'green' shoe, and that’s the point.” The synthetic upper uses recycled plastic bottles and the soles use Bloom foam made from repurposed algae.
These are some of our favorite do-it-all men's pants. Kudos to the drawstring adjustment on top of the traditional button-and-fly closure, which kept the Everywhere snug without the weight of a belt, making airport security a breeze. Factor in the ten pockets for all of your EDC gadgets, and you’re set.
In our 2017 Summer Buyer’s Guide, we picked the Disco 15 as the best sleeping bag for “side sleepers who like to sprawl.” The bag widens at the shoulders and knees, so you have plenty of room while on your side. We also like the two zippered chest vents that keep you from overheating on warmer nights.
Black Diamond’s Spot 325 has all of the traits that made the original Spot so popular (red night vision, multiple power settings, IPX8 waterproof rating) but in a smaller package that weighs just three ounces. It’s not rechargeable (it requires 3 AAA batteries, which come included), but its 325 lumens at the highest setting are plenty bright for early morning trail runs and evening sends.
The Wildcross made our 2021 Winter Buyer's Guide list of the best running shoes. It “absolutely slays loose, off-trail terrain, firmly grabbing sandy trails, rocks, and mud,” wrote testers Lisa Jhung and Cory Smith. “However, its chops on messy surfaces come at the expense of its ability to handle hardpack well.”
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,” our testers wrote.
Nearly every guy in the Outside office has a pair of Stretch Zions. That’s because they’re supremely comfortable (way superior to jeans) and the DWR-treated nylon-Spandex fabric makes them a solid choice for hiking and climbing.
Running in a thick hat is a recipe for overheating at mile two. Opt for this lightweight merino blend that keeps your head and ears warm, but doesn’t trap excessive heat. Thanks to the flat seams and low profile, you can also wear this beanie under helmets while climbing or biking for extra warmth.
Shalane Flanagan paid special attention to her diet when she was training for the 2017 New York City Marathon—a race she won. Later, she worked with chef Elyse Kopecky to transcribe her nutritional know-how and favorite recipes into this cookbook designed for runners. The authors focus on simple meals and snacks that are nutritionally dense but quick to prepare, so runners can fuel on the go.
The Quest 4D 3 GTX is our go-to boot for hunting. It’s “stable and waterproof-breathable, with a stiff chassis and aggressive tread for hard and high treks in search of game or just a view,” wrote our tester, Grayson Schaffer. Plus, the boots have an antimicrobial treatment to help keep odors at bay.
We take the Better Sweater almost everywhere because it hits the sweet spot between warmth, comfort, and style. It's made from a polyester knitted fleece that’s soft on the skin. Plus, the fabric is Bluesign approved and the sewing is Fair Trade Certified, so you can feel good about wearing it.
There are more powerful headlamps out there, but it’s the ultralight design of the 200 that makes it especially intriguing for runners. BioLite ditched its external battery design for a more streamlined design where the light and battery are combined in the front panel, and the brand did it without sacrificing weight (it’s just 1.75 ounces.) or comfort—the 200 offers a truly no-bounce run.