Last spring, our Gear Guy tested five different fleeces and the Tekno Ridge came out on top. “It excelled during every activity and looks so good that my wife stole it from me,” he wrote. This hoodie is close-fitting for easy movement, sturdy enough to fend off 15-mile-per-hour headwinds, and has side-seam zips to dump heat.
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The Cragsmith was our favorite pack for sport climbing in 2018. We especially loved the main compartment’s easy access with a top entry and a U-shaped zipper, which allows you to open up the entire back and see all your equipment. That way, you never have to take everything out of your bag just to find one sling or your GriGri.
Our Gear Guy praised this shirt in his test of the best performance flannels. “The Fjord deserves points for its 100 percent organic cotton, which felt soft and supple, and it had just enough give to never slow me down as I rode the Jabberwocky Trail outside Ashland, Oregon,” he wrote.
Last year, Outside tester Anna Callaghan chose the R1 Fleece Hoody as the best overall fleece. “The R1 was my go-to choice when I knew I’d be working up a sweat,” she wrote. Plus, the R1 is so well-loved, it had people literally breaking into song earlier this year.
This superlight jacket is filled with Patagonia's new PlumaFill insulation, which is made of hydrophobic polyester fibers that mimic the structure of down. Rather than being blown into baffles like other synthetics, the PlumaFill is tacked between sheets of 10-denier nylon in long strands, so it won’t shift and create cold spots.
Iterations of the R1 have been on the market for years, but it’s still the ideal layering piece for a variety of activities, and it’s our favorite overall fleece. The R1 uses Polartec’s Power Grid fabric—tiny squares of thicker fleece arranged in a grid pattern and separated by thinner fleece fabric. The pattern is meant to increase air transfer and reduce the material’s overall weight.
Last fall, we tested dozens of women’s climbing pants and the RPS Rock Pant was our staffer's top choice. Stretchy fabric, articulated knees, and an adjustable waist make these pants perfectly designed for rock climbing. "These have quickly become my favorite pants to climb and boulder in,” our tester wrote.
A perennial part of our back-to-school gift guide, the 28-liter Refugio is the perfect size for carrying daily cargo like lunch and gym clothes, and it even makes a decent day-hiking pack. Plus, it has a lined tablet pocket and padded laptop sleeve to keep all your valuables safe.
The Performance Better Sweater is the perfect mid layer for cold-weather pursuits. The side panels are stretchy for extra mobility and the back hem is lower for better protection against the elements. We loved this hoodie so much, it was our favorite hoodie in 2018.
This superlight jacket is filled with the company’s brand-new PlumaFill insulation, made of hydrophobic polyester fibers that mimic the structure of down—gossamer tendrils radiating from a central spine. Rather than being blown into baffles like other synthetic down, the PlumaFill is tacked between sheets of ten-denier nylon fabric in long strands, so it won’t shift and create cold spots.
After six months of testing the Capilene Cool Trail shirt, our Gear Guy loved it so much he wrote an ode to it. “I love this tee because it quietly does everything I expect from a technical layer extremely well while still looking good,” he wrote. The shirt boasts a soft, moisture-wicking fabric, odor control, and a flattering fit.
We included the Dart in our 2020 Winter Buyer’s Guide as one of the best pieces of men’s running gear. “This single-bottle holster sits comfortably around the waist, thanks to mesh and an adjustable belt,” we wrote. The included water bottle is 1.3 liters and the main zippered pocket can hold your phone and keys.
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.
The Little Black Dress of fleeces, the Denali is as essential as it is simple. The fleece is inspired by the 1988 design, but it's been updated in a few ways in the sustainability department: the Denali is now made with recycled material, and you can track the fleece's journey from factory to gear shop.
This jacket provides serious warmth in a lightweight package. The DWR finish sheds water and the elastic cuffs lock in heat. And, when you’re ready to stow away the jacket for the season, it packs into the hand pocket.
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.
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 Altras let your feet spread out and give your toes room to breathe,” wrote Appalachian Trail hiker Tara Dower in our roundup of AT gear essentials.
The Snap-T Pullover is one of those iconic pieces of outerwear that we think will last you a lifetime. “Chances are you’ll be wearing the same one 30 years from now,” we wrote. Plus, it’s built with recycled plastic bottles.
Contributor Andrew Skurka recommended this shirt for summer hiking in the West because it offers full coverage from the sun. The Echo uses lightweight, breathable polyester to keep you cool on warm days and provides UPF 15.
The Quest 4D 3 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.