Top 10 Sweaters
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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
The coolest mocs we’ve ever laid eyes on or stuck feet in. Construction is superb on the utilitarian, sustainability, and aesthetic levels, and wool innards provide serious cush. A travel-day dream. patagonia.com
GoLite Wisp – Hard Shell: Reviews
There’s not much here—a half zip, no hood—but that’s the point. At three ounces, the Wisp weighs less than a kiwi and scrunches into an integrated stuffsack that fits inside your palm. Bring this DWR-coated pullover with you on every mountain-bike ride, hike, or even run (it’s that light), and the next time you’re hit with the inevitable surprise storm, you won’t be shivering all the way back to the trailhead. The Wisp also has a trim, athletic fit that doesn’t flap around in the wind. Its side stash pocket is just big enough for a key, credit card, and Gu (smart) and has a fabric loop for attaching to a carabiner (even smarter). 3 oz; golite.com
Atomic Coax – Alpine Skis: Reviews
Good for Big Mountain
Our testers expected the Coax—like the Kästle, another Austrian-made tip-to-tail wood-core ski—to go like a runaway train, with about as much control. They couldn’t have been more wrong. Thanks in part to its twin-tip construction, the Coax was nimble, light, and loose in everything from trees to bumps. And while the hold was unwavering on harder snow, it’s a natural round-turner that loves wide-open slopes. All it takes is a little bit of pressure and the Coax turns as quick as the mountain demands. 139/105/128; atomicsnow.com
Thule Double-Decker Surfboard Carrier
There isn't anything wrong with simply lashing your boards to your roof rack. It's just that the Double-Decker makes doing so easier and faster. But the best part: you can lock them up once they're there. Fits two boards up to 26 inches wide.
TAGS: lockable, multi-board storage
Granite Gear Escape AC 60 – Weekend Backpacks: Reviews
Yes, the AC 60 is impressively light (3.2 pounds) and streamlined for a 3,660-cubic-inch pack—note the p-cord and locks instead of the traditional webbing and buckles. But it’s tougher and more user-friendly than it looks. Thanks to the high-density polyethylene back panel, it hauls 40-pound loads just as well as packs with much beefier suspension systems. “It’s light enough for weekend trips,” said one tester, “but just big enough for longer ones.” Bonus: There’s an inconspicuous pocket for an ultralight removable rain fly (sold separately, $34). 3.2 lbs; granitegear.com
The North Face Single-Track – trail-running shoes: Reviews
Picking a road shoe is all about how you run. But getting the right trail runner is about what you run. You’ll see a lot of heavily engineered shoes with hard rubber toe bumpers, underfoot protection, stiffer midsoles, and powerful lateral stability—which you can test by twisting the shoe from heel to toe. Those are best for steep, rocky, and rooty trails, but they’re overkill for mellow everyday workouts. And watch the weight: Anything over 14 ounces (for a single men’s size 9) is a hiking shoe masquerading as a trail runner. If you stick to even, dry terrain, look for a comfy, more efficient low-profile tread and road-shoe characteristics like flexibility in the toes and lots of cushioning. Technical trails or mud? You’ll appreciate a really toothy tread.
Imagine a shoe that feels right whether you’re running three miles around the park or all day in the mountains. Fantasy? Nope. Everyone on our team—from hardcore ultramarathoners to high-cadence 10K trail racers to casual runners—fell in love with The North Face Single-Track almost from the beginning. A minimalist upper keeps the weight competitive—and the comfort ranking high—without feeling flimsy, thanks to well-placed overlays. “This shoe hugs my foot better than any others,” said one tester. A form-fitting heel cradle made of firm EVA foam helps stabilize the shoe when you’re barreling down technical trails. “It’s extremely nimble and agile on a variety of terrain,” another tester said. The thin plastic plate under the forefoot offers protection from rocky jabs, and neutral cushioning and good forefoot flexibility allow a smooth turnover, even if you run pavement to get to the trailhead.
11.5 oz; thenorthface.com
Traction: 4.8 (out of 5)
Smith Touchstone – Sport Sunglasses: Reviews
You can just about taste Smith’s grapey Ignitor lens tint, in delicious polarized, photochromic, optically ground glass. Pinkish in low light, like rosé wine, it deepened to pinot in bright sun. Acuity was as good as it gets: easy on the eyes, for all-day wear. The Touchstone was easy on greener consciences, too, with some frame material sourced from castor bean plants, of all things. The style statement is big, solid, macho. All-around excellent frame, but also a slight puzzle: The reddish tint screamed action and speed, but the glass said no. So we went easy, while looking really hard—and were especially wild about the Touchstone for training runs on quiet streets. Rx-able. smithoptics.com
Sport/Street Crossover: 4.6
MSR XGK EX – Camp Stoves: Reviews
After 30-odd years on mountains the world over, this roaring Old Faithful gets updated with a flexible fuel line, retractable legs so it can pack smaller, and stabler pot supports. The flamethrower still won’t sauté shallots, but for boiling gallon after gallon of water—even with dirty gasoline straight from a pump in Tibet—this is the most reliable stove we’ve used. Fuel: white gas, kerosene, unleaded gasoline, diesel. 11 oz; www.msrcorp.com
VonZipper Rhombus – Sunglasses: Reviews
Why They’re CoolWear these street shades to look like a player and/or to play; the design is surprisingly apt for light sport. » The view is sharp and unobstructed through the big rhomboid (hence the name) poly lenses, which have a striking two-tone tint. The upper half of each lens is a darkish, color-neutral gray, shifting to orange down low. This scheme blocks harsh light from its major source—the sky—while amping up depth at ground level. » Slick nylon and a lack of sticky patches notwithstanding, the grip from the springy frames and temples is solid enough for rec-level action—say, jogging or bike riding or general-purpose scoping.
Hmmm . . .The uptight won’t want to look so louche. » Sport these for low-impact action only.
RX-ABLE?Not a chance, sweetheart.
Gordini Warrior – Gloves: Reviews
Simple, warm, and sturdy. The mostly leather Warrior has a drawstring at the wrist that keeps the snow out. gordini.com
BonusGordini processes the leather without using toxic heavy metals.
Rab Women’s Atlas 750 – Sleeping Bags: Reviews
With more than a pound and a half of 610-fill down evenly distributed in arced baffles, this bag has serious loft and feels like a feather bed. And it’s equally toasty: The external draft collar is plush, while the articulated foot area allows ample wiggle room to warm up your digits. 10°F, 3.7 lbs; rab.uk.com
CamelBak Omega HydroTanium Reservoir – Hydration Systems Reviews
The Omega HydroTanium Reservoir comes in six sizes, and is so tough that as of last year it comes with a lifetime guarantee. 35–100 ounces; camelbak.com
Eddie Bauer First Ascent Mountain Guide Jacket – Lightweight Jackets: Reviews
We were skeptical, but Eddie Bauer’s new technical apparel is legit. This water-resistant, quick-drying shell is lightweight but still roomy enough to layer underneath. firstascent.com
MSR Sweetwater Purifier System – Water Treatment (Filters & Purifiers): Reviews
For sheer pumpability, the SweetWater is our favorite filter. It moves the wet stuff smoothly, with heaps of mechanical advantage. A clever adapter fits the 11-ounce filter directly to Nalgene and Platypus bottles and bladders. The SweetWater pump is not strictly a purifier, but it stakes a claim in that direction because it’s packaged with a bottle of chlorine dioxide drops, hence “system.”
Patagonia Ultralight Down Shirt
Made from ripstop nylon with a water-repellant finish and stuffed with 800-fill goose down, Patagonia’s five-ounce (yes, five-ounce) Ultralight Down Shirt will keep you toasty on summer nights. Plus: it squashes down to the size of a Nerf football in its stuffsack.
ASICS Gel-1140 – Running Shoes: Reviews
The Gel-1140 gives you 90 percent of the performance of ASICS’s top-shelf shoes for about two-thirds the price, and our testers found this bargain just too good to pass up. The Gel-1140’s ample heel cushioning and substantial medial post stood up under heavy mileage. Yet it still felt snappy during tempo efforts, making it one of our most versatile picks this year. “It’s one of the few shoes I would consider using for just about anything,” said one tester. All this in less than 12 ounces—how do you say bravo in Japanese? 11.8 oz; asics.com
Patagonia Footwear Maha Breathe Shoes – Urban Wear: Reviews
Breathable mesh makes these ballet flats as airy as flip-flops, while an anatomical EVA footbed gives you enough support for a day’s worth of post-yoga adventures. patagonia.com