Published

Keep your hands toasty in below-freezing temps

Keep hands toasty and fingers functional with these sturdy mitts

Hot pockets—nuking not required (unless we’re talking about snow)

Your paws deserve the best. (Outdoor Research) Outdoor Research Capstone Heated Why spend five bills on electric gloves? To play longer when the mercury drops. A heating surface covers 70 percent of the Capstone (twice the area of most other models), and the lithium-ion batteries deliver up to eight hours…

Better mitts equal happier hands

If you ski mostly in wet snow, like the stuff in Northern California and the Pacific Northwest, then you need something waterproof. In drier climes, like the Central Rockies, a water-resistant soft-shell glove should suffice. The more leather it has, the more waterproof it’s going to be.

Trail shoes still fall into two basic categories: (1) heavier-duty, backpacking-boot-inspired high-tops that can handle off-trail travel and have serious ankle support, and (2) lighter-weight low and mid cuts that are designed to be worn either on less technical terrain or when you’re shouldering a lighter pack.

Outside reviews the best gear in the 2012 Winter Buyer's Guide, including the Black Diamond Cayenne gloves

A claw-like hybrid that offers up the best of both worlds: It’s mitten-toasty but, because your index finger has its own separate condo, nearly as dexterous as a glove. levelgloves.com…

Three rechargeable lithium batteries in each glove power a heating system that relies on sensors to regulate temperature. In warm conditions, the heat stays off; bury your hands during a digger and it kicks in. mountainhardwear.com…

Good for BackcountrySkiing in this soft shell is as close as you can come to doing sports in your jammies. But with a raised back waist, reinforced knee patches, and kick patches at the ankles, the water-resistant Randonee is worthy of fair-weather resort skiing or a backcountry hike.

I loved this glove for midwinter tours. My routine: Skin up wearing just the waterproof-breathable shells, then put the fleece liners in for a warm, dry descent. blackdiamondequipment.com…

The PrimaLoft-insulated and waterproof/breathable Ripped has a moisture-wicking liner made of odor-resistant bamboo charcoal. kombisports.com…

Good for BackcountryStretchy Windstopper fabric places these versatile beauties somewhere between hard shell and soft. Which is to say they’re just right—weatherproof but also comfy on long climbs. arcteryx.com…

No sloppy fit here. Because the Cocoon’s Gore-Tex barrier—called Xtrafit—is permanently fused to the rest of the glove, the inner layer never shifts around annoyingly. scottusa.com…

Fluted bands across the knuckles + wool insulation that doesn’t bunch up = the best-fitting glove here. backcountry.com…

Good for BackcountryWe loved the subtle pinstripe herringbone pattern and the ceramic scuff guards on the ankles. And thanks to the waterproof/breathable eVent fabric, they didn’t get stuffy on an hourlong hike to Taos, New Mexico’s Kachina Peak. westcomb.com…

By welding, and not stitching, this waterproof-breathable soft-shell glove to a leather palm, Spyder made the most comfortable glove in this year’s test. spyder.com…

Backcountry skiing, hiking, snowshoeing, skate skiing. We did it all in this versatile soft-shell glove. seirus.com…

Because of its high-cut shell and 11 metal-screened vents that channel air in but keep snow out, I could feel the air rushing around my head, making this the perfect lid for those warm spring days. Available in ten different graphic options. nutcasehelmets.com…

There are dozens of leather, waterproof gloves on the market, but none fits as well as the Tangent. Credit the thinner fleece insulation on the palm and heavier, loftier filling on the back of the hand. outdoorresearch.com…

Removable wool liner. Remarkably supple. And the leather is made without any synthetic dyes or harmful metals. hestrausa.com…

A small pump on the right side of the chin strap inflates eight EVA-foam pads spread out along the helmet’s interior; a release valve on the other side deflates the helmet. A bit gimmicky, sure, but it works: This lid will not wobble on your head regardless of how…

With reinforcements at the palm and fingers, ample insulation, a removable liner, and Xtrafit technology (see Scott, left), these are the perfect mountaineering gloves. Of course, I loved skiing in them in frigid temps, too. marmot.com…

Removable liner, elastic leash, chamois, goggle squeegee, iPod-wheel fingertip dots: If the Patrol had a bathroom, you could sublet it. 180s.com…

This bike-helmet-esque lid has a barrel ratchet adjuster that fine-tunes to head size with a quick turn. Another quick flip of a lever on the top opens and closes ten vents, and we love how your goggles nestle into the short brim, which has a fog-eliminating vent.

This is the warmest glove here. The outer is a beefy, Gore-Tex-lined and insulated glove with goatskin fingers and a full over-the-jacket-cuff gauntlet. But testers especially loved the inner glove, which has a Windstopper liner and tacky palm that make it perfect for nordic or spring skiing.

FlyLow takes a classic pigskin-and-Thinsulate work glove and oven-bakes it with a beeswax coating. The result: warmth and water resistance for the price of dinner. flylowgear.com…

On a slope full of shiny happy helmets, Pro-tec has a response: canvas. But don’t let the army-issue look and the sweet price fool you: The Ace has two adjustable front vents and two mesh-covered rear vents. pro-tec.net…

An inner lining of reflective material—think space blanket for your hands—bounces your body heat back at you. It’s a smart idea, and it works: They’re toastier than they look. Breathability is so-so. Great chairlift-riding gloves. TAGS: silver lining, great price…

This highly breathable spring glove is insulated with recycled wool and Thinsulate. gordini.com…

The lightest option here (it weighs just 15 ounces), this airy helmet was our top choice for touring. If you’re a hothead like me, you’ll love the way the vents flow air through the helmet as well as in between the outer shell and the liner.

Yup, these lightly insulated work gloves are basically the same ones you’ll find at the local hardware store. The difference is, this Denver company bakes them in beeswax, a natural water repellent. They received high marks for dexterity but are only so-so breathers. TAGS: tough, hardware store…

Good for Backcountry Problem: Snowy lifts are cold. Solution: the Hoback. Cloudveil took a two-layer Gore-Tex Pro Shell and shot it up with PrimaLoft insulation. Too toasty? Unzip the thigh vents. cloudveil.com…

Front vents above the goggles force air between the helmet’s two layers, while the back vents draw air away. The result: chimney-like airflow that doesn’t whistle across your head. Flip a lever to open six additional vents on the helmet top, or flick ’em closed when the snow starts…

Although it was designed for ice climbing, the Minus One proved ideal for everything from backcountry skiing to cold-weather mountain biking. It’s waterproof, light and supple, reinforced in all the right places, and surprisingly warm. It fits snugly; consider upsizing. TAGS: versatile, warmer than it looks…

The folks up in Vancouver have created an Armani suit for your hands. With the dexterity of a spring glove and the warmth of a mitten (there’s a removable fleece liner), the Gore-Tex-and-leather-palmed Alpha SV is as impressive and unbelievably precise-fitting as it is pricey. Best full-gauntlet glove we’ve…

Good for BackcountryThe relaxed-fit Unltd is like a soft shell that Super Fly would’ve worn. But with Gore’s latest laminate lining, taped seams, and strategically placed Thermolite insulation, you won’t have to suffer for style. scottusa.com…

Where I live, we do the Santa Fe Double in springtime: a morning ski tour followed by a bike ride. This lightweight, neoprene-cuffed, Gore Windstopper glove was my favorite for both. dakine.com…

Aigle Shems – Midweight Jackets: Reviews   With a soft fleece interior and warm, durable merino wool/nylon exterior, this jacket combines our favorite fabrics in one versatile top. 1.9 lbs; aigleusa.com         Patagonia Pau – Footwear: Reviews (Terry Heffernan) The coolest mocs we’ve ever laid eyes…

The synthetic-and-wool lining on these waterproof spring-weight gloves does a great job of wicking away moisture. Dexterity is only so-so, but they’re a solid glove at this price. TAGS: stretchy, spring skiing…

Good for BackcountryPatagonia’s H2No shell is about as closed off as North Korea, only much cozier, thanks to a polyester mesh lining that puts a warm buffer between your skin and the well-guarded exterior. patagonia.com…