In our Gear Guy’s roundup of backcountry ski packs, he wrote: “If I were to choose a pack for a winter worthy of Game of Thrones, this would be it.” The Bergtagen is a lightweight, high-volume option that’s ideal for backcountry hut trips. We especially liked the hip belt and wooden frame.
Men's Pants That Work Well Everywhere
Consider these a must for any outdoorsman’s wardrobe. The Quandary is made from 95 percent nylon and 5 percent spandex for a light, stretchy pair of pants that dries super quickly. We like the wicking mesh on the waistband, the zippered rear and thigh pockets, and that most of that nylon is recycled.
Duer is known for creating stretchy, performance-friendly denim, but its new Weightless pants take things to the next level. The pair weighs just six ounces and has spandex for that signature stretch but also an antibacterial treatment to combat stink and breathable CoolMax fibers that wick moisture. Chances are these will be the lightest jeans in your closet.
Vuori takes the casual sweatpant aesthetic (complete with a drawstring waistband) but blends the cotton with spandex for a comfortable four-way stretch. A gusseted crotch adds even more mobility. The Ripstop Climbing is tough but light enough to wear through summer. Back- and side-zippered pockets keep valuables secure, even when you’re high off the ground.
You probably haven’t worn a pair of cargo pants in a while, and we don’t blame you—they’re often too baggy and dorky. But 686 has reimagined this nineties staple. The Anything Multi is made from a streamlined, stretchy, and breathable nylon-spandex blend coated in DWR. And it has 13 pockets, including RFID-blocking and phone-specific ones integrated seamlessly into the design.
Like many other pants made for the outdoors, the Konfidant is constructed from a light and breathable blend of cotton, nylon, and spandex. But the real story with these pants is the vents. They’re everywhere—in the rear pockets, in the front pockets, in the thigh pockets, on the back of the knees, and in the crotch. The idea is to keep air moving so you stay cool when you’re on the trail.
Roark Revival bills the Layover as made for travel, but really it performs in all kinds of situations. The slim fit looks good anywhere, and cotton, nylon, and elastane mean these pants move and breathe well. Also, there are nice details aplenty, like the vented mesh panel on the back of the waist for more breathability and the dedicated cell-phone (or passport) pocket.
The Bitterblaze made it into our 2019 list of favorite gloves for a reason: they’re out-of-this-world warm. Outdoor Research lined them with aerogel—the überwarm, porous silica insulation used by NASA in its space suits.
“Booties are dorky and they take forever to put on. But they will change your life,” we wrote in our staff picks roundup of winter gear. We especially like the waterproof fabric and reflective elements to keep you drier and more visible on the road.
The Nano Puff is a classic jacket that is “super versatile, warm, and looks good with any outfit.” It’s built with 100 percent recycled polyester for the ripstop shell and 55 percent recycled content for the insulation. Plus, it packs down into its own chest pocket for easy transport.
This light is one of ultrarunner Dean Karnazes’ favorite tools for running trails at night. Karnazes likes the Zephyr Fire 300’s hand-strap which minimizes strain on his arm. Plus, the light’s rechargeable battery lasts for three hours on its highest setting.
These gloves are among our favorite pieces of bike safety gear. “Buy these a size bigger than your normal gloves and stow them in a rear pocket or pack for extra protection,” writes our tester. The neon back and reflective hits keep you visible while the waterproof fabric helps protect your hands on wet commutes.
Our tester Wes Siler loves these shoes for hiking and backpacking trips. Siler said the Lone Peak 4 “is more comfortable and has better grip than anything else I’ve tested.” Altra designed the Lone Peak 4 for hikers and runners with a wide, comfortable footbed and exceptional traction on anything from loose dirt to slippery mud.
The Micro Puff was our favorite jacket of 2018 because there’s a lot to love about this warm, super-light piece. “The PlumaFill is tacked between sheets of ten-denier nylon fabric in long strands, so it won’t shift and create cold spots,” our tester wrote.
How did this baby make it on our very exclusive list of fall's best flannels? It has everything to do with the variety of colors and patterns, the heavy-duty warmth, the absurd softness, and the two big chest pockets for storage.
The Speedcross 4 was our top choice trail-running shoe for big alpine outings. “With its narrow last, rock-solid fit, and big six-millimeter lugs, it can quickstep through sketchy rock piles and bank tight switchbacks with confidence,” wrote our tester.
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