Here it is: the best eco-shell in our Summer Buyer’s Guide jacket test. “The three-layer construction is more durable than its 2.5-layer predecessor,” our testers wrote. “Still, as with Torrentshells of old, it’s breathable (pit zips help), a high collar and brimmed hood seal out showers, and there are hand pockets for snacks.”
Now Is the Time to Stock Up on Ski and Snowboard Gear
At our annual ski test, we loved the Bonafide as a men’s all-mountain shredder. The double sheets of Titanal make these skis stable “steamrollers” for fast, aggressive skiers. One tester said the skis were “both stout as hell and an easy round-turn carver.”
We gave the Switcher MIPS a Gear of the Year award. “After more than a dozen testers placed the Switcher on their noggins, all agreed that it was the most comfortable helmet they’d worn,” we wrote. The helmet ticked all the boxes we wanted (like a MIPS construction and a magnetic closure on the strap).
This past winter, our writer tested 20 new ski and snowboard goggles and the Scott Linx came out on top. He called these the best “performance bang for your buck.” “We took the Linx out in storms and blue-sky sessions through the spring and forgot we weren’t wearing goggles twice as expensive," he wrote.
In this year’s alpine touring ski boot test, the Celeste III became a favorite because of its roomier lower portion of the shell and the cuff. “The Celeste performs more like a ski-mountaineering boot than a four-buckle powerhouse,” we wrote. Plus, the boot has a 60-degree range of motion in walk mode so climbing is smooth and efficient.
Unlike Salomon's earlier boot, the MTN Lab, the updated Salomon S/Lab MTN has Custom Shell HD technology making it heat moldable to accommodate your foot specifically. When we tested this boot for our 2019 Winter Buyer’s Guide, our testers said “it skied like a boot with twice the buckles.”
Several years ago, Dynafit introduced a turnable heel to prevent pre-release and the new ST Rotation 10 improves on that. This new version includes a spring-tensioned toe piece that auto-realigns itself so it’s easier to step back into the heel piece. This feature is why we included the Rotation in our 2019 Winter Buyer’s Guide.
Salomon took its women’s all-mountain board, the Pillow Talk, and sliced it in half to get this splitboard. This past winter, when we rounded up the best splitboarding gear of 2019, the Pillow Talk was our favorite women's splitboard in spite of the name. "The flex is on the soft side, but the board handled well in mixed conditions,” we wrote.
In our review of the best ski pants of 2019, our tester wrote, “the Patsey Marley excels on all-day missions.” Convenient features like side zippers and four pockets allowed us to store plenty of snacks and easily use the bathroom when we needed.
In our roundup of the best jackets of 2019, we dubbed the Ventus Light the top backcountry shell. “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,” our tester said. Bonus: it packs down to the size of a grapefruit so it’s easy to stuff when traveling.
Outside columnist Wes Siler called these the best hiking boots he’s tested. “If you need ankle support and weather protection, then you’ll find more of that in these Altras at less of a weight penalty, and with more comfort, traction, and support, than you will in just about anything else,” he wrote.
The Snap-T is a classic piece of outdoor gear. When it was released in 1985, it was the first sweater of its kind. “Here was an insulating layer that offered next-to-skin softness but had the wool-like ability to keep the wearer warm even when wet,” we wrote. Bonus: it’s made with recycled materials.
The Momentum is one of our favorite beginner shoes, but it also excels on long outdoor multipitch routes or as an intermediate gym shoe. The relaxed fit is ideal for those who want more toe space, and the breathable knit upper helps keep your feet from overheating.
The full-zip version of this windbreaker was one of our favorite pieces of peak bagging gear for its compact size and light protection. This half-zip is ideal for day hikes or getting around town, and it won’t blend into the landscape—that’s just fine with us.
We featured these slippers in our 2017 Summer Buyer’s Guide. The braided and tanned water buffalo upper stays true to its heritage roots in India, but the goat-leather lining and natural rubber outsole deliver a much needed dose of modern comfort: “The City molded to our feet for a truly custom fit,” our tester wrote.
In our 2019 Summer Buyer’s Guide, these were our favorite all-mountain chargers. “The toothy Vibram Megagrip lugs offer killer traction, and that surefootedness, combined with massive Hoka cush, inspires confidence on technical terrain,” we wrote. The third version of the shoe has an updated tongue and a heartier toe bumper.
Outside columnist Jakob Schiller loves his Lowdown Flips because of their durability and comfort: “I’ve probably put over 400 miles on them,” he wrote. “Now the footbeds bear an imprint of my toes, the soles are slightly worn down, and the webbing is filthy. But they aren’t showing any signs of falling apart.”
Our Gear Guy crowned the Workman Mid Comp Toe the best mud boot in his test. “The flexible footbed, coupled with a hugging heel cup, kept the Workman Mid absolutely snug on my foot while climbing the muddy hill,” he wrote. “And they never let a drop of water in as I splashed in a soaked and unruly bamboo patch.”
In 2018, we called this shell “the holy grail of waterproof jackets.” “It feels softer than a soft shell but as waterproof as any hard shell I’ve used,” one tester wrote. If you want a jacket that covers all the bases with weatherproofing, breathability, and stretch, look no further than the Interstellar.
Keen makes some of the most comfortable sandals we’ve tested and the Astoria West is no exception. While we wouldn’t wear these for thru-hiking, we like them as a daily driver and for casual day hikes. The grippy rubber sole kept us confident on wet rock. “Perfect for river hangouts,” one tester said.