Gear editor Ariella Gintzler loves the Houdini for its versatile, lightweight material. “The papery quality of the Houdini offers superior next-to-skin comfort; you can wear it over a short-sleeve shirt without that clammy shell sensation against your arms,” she writes. It's billed as a trail-running shell, but works just as well for climbing.
The Winter Layers Our Editors Swear By, on Sale
This is the midlayer that makes life easier on 20-degree high-alpine backcountry excursions. “The outer fabric on the Proton LT was more wind resistant than many of the other jackets,” we wrote in our review.
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.
The Anchor Line was one of our favorite technical flannels in our 2019 Winter Buyer’s Guide. Our tester liked its “funk-fighting boost courtesy of a merino-nylon blend that wicks moisture as you move and lends a bit more stretch.” The nylon material on the shoulders and sleeves helps shed light drizzles and snow.
Kari Traa’s base layers are specifically designed for women, by women, and the Rose pant is a perfect example of that. The pant uses playful, Nordic-inspired patterns that don’t feel overly girly. Plus, it's made from 100% merino wool that wicks moisture, dries quickly, and resists odor.
The Sabre Snow Pants are our Gear Guy’s favorite do-everything pants, which he included in his ultimate ski touring kit. “The perfectly articulated legs bend and move like champs while I’m skinning, and ample zippered vents prevent sweat buildup,” he wrote. If you plan to really get after it this winter, these are the pants you want.
You might think a down-puffy beanie is overkill, but it still made our list of favorite winter hats. “The Transcendent might be the warmest hat in your quiver thanks to the 650-fill down stuffed inside the ripstop poly shell,” wrote contributor Graham Averill.
The Adventure Pack is a solid all-around gear hauler. “I can fit everything I need for a week in this pack,” wrote our reviews editor. While it’s fantastic for packing gear on extended trips, it has features that make it suitable for everyday use, like a variety of compartments, a laptop sleeve, and a burly exterior.
“These sweet performance morsels are so delicious (and not filled with creepy additives) that I find myself using them as both run fuel for myself and dessert for my family,” wrote our Gear Guy, Joe Jackson. “Unlike some bars, they’re light, easy to munch on the move, and eminently digestible.”
If weight is an issue, you can’t beat Hydro Flask’s Trail Series bottles, which are 25 percent lighter than their original versions. They’re still double-wall insulated to keep beverages cold for hours. You can fit two pints in their larger, 32-ounce bottle making it perfect for a happy hour sunset hike.
Black Diamond’s Spot has all of the traits that made the original version so popular (red night vision, multiple power settings, IPX 8 waterproof rating) but in a smaller package that weighs just 3.2 ounces. It’s not rechargeable (it requires 3 AAA batteries), but its 300 lumens at the highest setting are plenty bright for early morning trail runs and evening sends.
The TC Pro is the best shoe for big walls and cracks, hands down. “The toe box is pointier than a lot of trad shoes, so it not only fits into small splitters but also holds onto some overhung features, making it uniquely versatile,” wrote our testers.
We featured this 3.4-ounce headlamp in our 2020 Summer Buyer’s Guide for its plethora of features. “[Its] spot- and floodlight modes can work in tandem,” wrote tester Will Palmer. “The resulting 1,400 lumens are like turning on your car’s high beams.”
We featured the Shakedry in our 2019 Summer Buyer’s Guide. “Sparse but effective, the Shakedry Trail is essentially a waterproof membrane without any additional laminating fabric,” wrote tester Fritz Huber. “That’s why it might be the lightest water- and windproof jacket on the market—a size large weighs just over six ounces.”