Field Tested: GoLite Anorak and Messenger Bag
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I went snowboarding for a week on Mt. Hood in Oregon this August. I'd never boarded before, nor was I much of a skier, so the learning curve was steep. Ultimately, I survived the trip with all my body parts in tact, while managing to make some pretty sweet turns on a black diamond run by my fourth day of riding. I'm already looking forward to my next bout of shred time. Here are a couple of gear items I'd take with me again.
Demaree Canyon 800 Anorak: This 800-fill down pullover from GoLite proved to be a very good outer layer on the hill and beyond. Temperatures on the mountain varied widely. When the sun was out, as it often was during my week there, it felt like t-shirt weather, especially as I got towards the bottom of a run. But on the chairlift, at the top of a run, and during moments of rest due to fatigue, the wind usually had a chilly bite, and that's when the anorak came in handy, particularly when paired with a wool base layer. It's practical, light-weight, and well-cut, with flattering contoured side panels. I thought it stylish enough to wear on the mountain and in town, both day and night. I was glad to have it on when nocturnal temps dipped to the 40s. It's got a 1/4 button-clasp collar, hand-warmer pockets, a small bag in which to stuff the anorak, and a large zip pocket in front, good for stashing sunscreen, lip balm, and other small essentials. My only quibble: A front zip-pocket can create a faux paunch if you stuff unwieldy things in it. The anorak will be in stores at the end of August/early September. ($185; golite.com)
TraveLite Messenger Bag: Also from GoLite, this bag is great for traveling and everyday use, too. I took it along as a carry-on, holding my 15″ laptop (it can accommodate up to 17″), water bottle, snacks, and a bunch of newspapers. It was a heavy load, but the bag didn't feel heavy when it was on my shoulder, probably because of the major padding on the strap and in the back panel. The bag, made from nylon recycled from GoLite's backcountry pack, has a utilitarian-chic look and feel. It transitions seamlessly from travel to outdoor adventure to work. And if you happen to be a commuter biker, you can secure the bag on you with its waist strap so you don't have to worry about clunking while pedaling. ($90; golite.com)