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.
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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 tester 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.
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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