Kelty brought back the external frame pack but with a modern twist. The Zyp uses a lightweight steel frame and a suspension system that doesn't suffocate your back. “I found it light and incredibly comfortable despite the water, camera, and food I was carrying,” our gear editor wrote.
The Best End of Summer Apparel Deals at Backcountry
The Deviator is one of our favorite mid-layers. It uses hydrophobic Polartec Alpha insulation, which moves water away from your body and packs down well. Our Gear Guy gave it top marks for breathability: "I didn’t start to really sweat until a mile into a 51-degree run with it zipped part way up," he writes.
This jacket was our favorite alpine shell in our 2019 Summer Buyer's Guide. The hand pockets didn't interfere with a harness, and the fabric is stretchy, durable, and weather resistant. “It’s not breathable enough for running, but the details that make it ideal for climbing work just as well for getting to the crag on a bike or on foot,” our testers wrote.
We love this lightweight rain jacket, so we gave it a Gear of the Year award in this year's Summer Buyer's Guide. The Bantamweight strikes a perfect balance between being waterproof and breathable, so you stay dry in summer showers and comfortable on strenuous hikes. “The Bantamweight feels like a windbreaker but performs like a hard shell,” we wrote.
We tested these shorts during our 2019 bike test and loved them. The Vista Short “is just as comfortable for walking around town as it is in the saddle,” we wrote. While other cycling apparel has started catering to race types, these shorts are perfect for cyclists who just want to enjoy the ride and an après barhop.
The best part about this shell is a set of zippers from arm to hem that allows it to vent like a poncho. Last winter, we evaluated over 100 men’s and women’s jackets to find the best ones for outdoor sports. While the Hemispheres wasn’t our top choice in the test, it still stood out as a high-quality backcountry hardshell.
This jacket is perfect for sudden afternoon showers or for layering over a puffy in colder months. Our writer tested the Ozonic on a climbing trip in the Sierras and appreciated the jacket’s stretchiness. Plus, it’s built with 40-denier nylon, so you don’t have to worry about scraping it against rock and ripping it.
Pearl Izumi has long been an Outside favorite for its “good-looking, hyperfunctional, and not too expensive gear,” as we wrote in our review of soft goods from this year’s bike test. The ELITE Escape Tank is no different. It has a longer torso for full coverage, a pocket in the back, and a built-in compression bra lining.
When we tested new ski gear in 2017, this was the jacket we were most excited about. The eVent DVexpedition material is breathable and waterproof—ideal for grueling days in the backcountry or intense hikes. “We scratched the jacket over scree and raked it through tree branches, and it held up great,” we wrote.
Fend off chills and cold weather in the Ghost Whisperer Reversible jacket. Nikwax-treated 800-fill down retains heat while also resisting moisture, so the jacket can be worn in light rain and snow and still provide ample protection from the elements.
If the idea of a climbing-specific sports bra sounds strange to you, you’re not alone. Our editor felt the same way until she tried the Beyond the Wall bra. She especially appreciated the high-cut neck and the thick crisscross straps, which “feels modest without being restrictive."
We called this the “the most portable SUP ever" in our 2019 Summer Buyer’s Guide. The board, pump, and included paddle all stow in a backpack. “The board’s length means it has less than exceptional glide, but 32 inches of width give it stability, and it was incredibly maneuverable,” we wrote.
We featured the Rounder in our selection of the best puffy vests. It melds classic western style with modern materials, like a water-resistant, rip-stop outer shell and Primaloft One insulation. Outside contributor Graham Averill wrote: “We like the touch of corduroy on the shoulders and the front snap pockets.”
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.
When it's time to pack for a ski trip, our gear testers opt for the Boot Cube because it keeps their gear organized and compact. The Cube has built-in ventilation holes to let your boots air out and dry after a long day on the slopes. The front and interior pockets let you store your helmet and goggles in one place.
Treat yourself to cozy cabin vibes this fall with one of our favorite essentials from last year: the United by Blue Enamel Mug Candle. The nine-ounce candle gives you 40 hours of pine-and-vanilla-scented cabin bliss. When the candle is used up, wash the mug out and you have a handy coffee mug for your next camping or cabin trip.
The Spin Ultra won our 2019 Gear of the Year award for its high-quality performance on the trail. The Vibram Megagrip soles “serve up unparalleled traction,” our testers said. Plus, Scarpa added extra cushioning to the Spin Ultra for all-day comfort whether you’re charging up a hill or doing ultra-distance runs.
This hard shell made it into our Gear Guy's ultimate ski touring setup. “This is one of the most breathable hard shells I’ve tested,” he wrote. Plus, when you’re not using it, the shell packs down to the size of a tangerine and only weighs one pound.
Our Gear Guy recommended this running stroller in his roundup of the best gear for road-tripping with children. Folded down, the Revolution Flex goes down to 35-by-10 inches and easily squeezes into an already full car. Jackson especially liked the stroller’s stability and shock-absorbing suspension system.
We included the Dyna Solo in our favorite women’s running gear of 2019. The waistpack lets you carry the essentials like water, phone, ID, keys, and a gel on your trail run. Plus, the elastic, women-specific hipbelt provides a comfortable, secure fit.
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