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Good for Trail More nano than puff. This half-zip, one-pocket, and lightly insulated synthetic pullover is remarkably bulk-free, considering how warm it is. We loved it as a midlayer on cold days at the resort or as a light jacket on chilly fall outings. 10 oz;…

Form and Function The Ruston was the surprise hit of the test. For starters, Scott’s designers nailed the details on this highly water-resistant soft shell: The hood is top-notch, and there are good-sized pit zips. Even more impressive is that this jacket doesn’t scream “I’m wearing a super-techy soft shell!”…

A naysayer to the skort? This quick-dry, mostly polyester skirt (with built-in shorts) is so comfortable it will convince you otherwise. Its 13-inch inseam hit just the right spot on our thighs to be flattering, and the four-inch shorts didn’t move midrun (read: chafe-free). Plus, two internal pockets secure…

Stash this tissue-thin, rain-resistant polyester shell in your jersey. It’s three ounces with a pocket, vents, reflective stripes, and a micro-stuffsack. bontrager.com…

Luxury Comes Cheap Pata-Gucci? Not in this case. The Snowshot was one of the least expensive jackets in our test but also a tester favorite. Like the Cloudveil, it’s an ideal everyday, all-season jacket for Rocky Mountain resorts. It’s stuffed with the perfect amount of synthetic insulation. It’s waterproof. You…

The 100 percent merino-wool jersey knit in SMARTWOOL‘s moisture-wicking MICROWEIGHT TANK is so comfortable, you’ll likely have rolled out of bed in it.

I've been frustrated for years with "waterproof" jackets. The waterproofing invariably wears off after a year or so, especially if the jacket is worn in the sun. (I know, I shouldn't do that, but I'm a city guy who likes to wear one jacket all day - when it's raining and when it's not.) Hasn't some manufacturer solved the problem of "disappearing" waterproofing? Jack New York, NY

I'm starting to outfit for a trip to climb Denali via the West Buttress next year. My Julbo Nomad glacier glasses that I've used for years still work, but they've never fit well and always give me a headache. Additionally, since I wear prescription glasses, I would like to have a pair made with my script included. For five years, I've had great results with my Rudy Project cycling glasses that with photocromatic lenses. Reading your review of the Zyon Sailing glasses (noticing the removable side shields), I'm curious if I could have one eyeglass to replace them all? Would the Zyon photocromatic lens be dark enough for mountaineering? Or is a special hi-altitude lens required? I really don't want to have two pairs of custom prescription glasses made, especially if one is only going to be used during mountaineering. Joseph Washington, DC

As an active gal who prefers standing to sitting, running to walking, I dread packing for a trip. By the time I've taken into account the varying weather of my destination(s); the comfort factor when traveling long hours; the hiking and running and the occasional dressed up…

San Francisco software executive Charles Veley, 45, is the world's most traveled person.* Which means he cares about what goes on his feet.

What's the best backpack for a dog? The Editors Santa Fe, NM

Under Armour has become a brand most associated with football players and weight lifters, but they’re trying to expand their reach to active young women. Their first attempt had a “shrink it and pink it” conceit, which, not surprisingly, failed to woo the ladies.

What's the one item you never travel without? The Editors Santa Fe, NM

I'm doing the Tough Mudder in November and was wondering what shoes to wear? -Ben (Albany, NY)

By Stephen Regenold It looks like an old-school SLR camera wrapped inwaterproof housing. But the ATC9K All-Terrain HD Video Camera, a new productfrom Oregon Scientific of Tualatin, Ore., is an HD-recording, shock-resistantshooter that's waterproof up to 65 feet underwater. The $299.99…

I am looking for polarized sunglasses that are highly rated and are not expensive. Any ideas? -Jack Carmel, CA

By Stephen Regenold The marketing spiel does not mix words: Outside Labs Inc., a startupsunscreen maker in Gardena, Calif., touts its SCAPE product line as”the most advanced sunblock on the planet.” When the company came onto the market this spring, it intended to makea…

Researchers from the University of Portsmouth in England recently attached reflective markers to the breasts of a group of female runners to test whether breast movement altered running form, NYT reports.  Researchers had the women jog along the track while wearing several different bras, or none…

By Stephen Regenold On the hunt for a set of workout-ready earphones, I came across anunlikely candidate. The Wicked Little Buds, made by Empire Brands Inc.of Lindon, Utah, are touted as “noise-isolating earbuds that providean edgy look and great sound.” With…

Where you put your sunglasses when they're not on your face says more about you than which pair you choose to wear.

I'm looking to go all out on a really good hard shell to last me a long time. I'm thinking about the Arc'teryx Alpha SV. I want something that can handle every condition possible, but wonder if this jacket really only for the worst of the worst weather and any other time it'll be too much. Should I be looking at the Theta AR instead? I'm in Ireland, so no extreme weather really. Any other suggestions welcome. -Cillian Louth, Ireland

Finding the right pair of sunglasses can often be a tricky game of hit or miss, involving a blend of science, fashion and comfort. Below are five tips for finding the perfect shades. 1. UV Protection According to Dr. Kevin Beebe of the Brainerd Eye CareCenter, the…

What are the best office-friendly travel clothes? The Editors Santa Fe, New Mexico

A new study shows good luck charms–like baseball player Jason Giambi's lucky thong–can improve athletic performance, the New York Times reports. Researchers in the psych department at Germany's University of Cologne conducted a…

One week ago, digital storage company, LaCie, introducedwhat it calls “The World’s Most Adventurous USB Flash Drive.” To back up this claim,…

By Stephen Regenold This year, I took two watches around the world. On international trips from Iceland to Nepal, watches from Suunto and Timex served as ever-ready, wrist-mounted gauges. Time, weather, direction, heart rate, and altitude were among the read-outs on my…

I’m searching for a great multi-purpose backpack for graduate school. I'd like to use it while biking to carry my laptop, books, and some dog accessories. In addition, I'd love to be able to throw a bladder in there along with some hiking gear. Any suggestions for me as to what route to go for a super sweet new pack?—LizDenver, CO

Strong silent types.

I would like to find a pair of clipless cycling shoes that are suited for adventure cycling with conditions that demand you have to hike while carry the bike. I have some old Sidi shoes but they don’t do the job when walking. Suggestions?—TonyLima, Peru

Think fast: Name three personal items you can’t live without while on the road. Running shoes? iPod? Journal or camera? What makes the cut? How do you decide? I’m not suggesting the Pearl Izumi P.R.O. Ultrasoft Shell Jacket ($160) bump anything off your list. But…

By Stephen Regenold Marketed as “the Swiss Army knife of prescription eyewear,” Smith Optics' PivLock V90 glasses offer a new type of system for anyone in need of vision enhancement in the outdoors. In short, glasses wearers can purchase a prescription lens…

By Stephen Regenold In the running as the priciest underwear on the outdoor market, Ibex Outdoor Clothing touts its Balance Boxer Shorts as a body-mapped “second skin.” They cost $45 and are made of an itch-free wool that in my test did indeed take…

Meet the top performance kicks of spring.

This year, U.S. Soccer finally fields a team worthy of competing—and making a serious run—at the world's greatest tournament. Heard that one before? Presenting a few reasons June in South Africa could be a whole different story.

1. If there’s one thing you need, it’s a nice pair of bibs. Whether or not the contoured fit of Sugoi‘s RSE bibs ($200; sugoi.ca) helped lessen muscle fatigue, as advertised, was hard to gauge. But both the moisture-wicking interior and quick-drying chamois received rave reviews.

1. Zoic‘s Black Market ($69; zoic.com) quickly became our go-to shorts. The reasons: plenty of pockets, a loose but not baggy fit, and, most important, an inner short with a super-comfy chamois. Mountain biking apparel MTB style 2. Thanks to its street-smart style and semi-fitted…

By Stephen Regenold It won't be in stores until this summer, but at $199, the Nano Puff Hoody from Patagonia is worth putting on your gear radar right now. I have been wearing an early-release version of the lightweight hooded…

Ketchum, ID

Bethel, CT

By Stephen Regenold The certified multisport helmet has long been a Holy Grail in the outdoor world. KONG, an Italian company, comes close to the perfect multi-use hard hat with its Scarab Helmet, a lid certified by various agencies…

By Stephen Regenold Conjuring visions of Ninjas as well as union-suit-style long underwear of yore, the Pilot Suit from I/O Bio Merino can create a “perfect body environment,” the company touts. Indeed, the head-to-ankle base-layer suit ensconces the…

If you've got an active kid–or are hell-bent on raising one–check out Axl's Closet for threads to dress up your groms. The company offers an array of outdoor clothing, including surf and skate, from Patagonia, Volcom,…

By Stephen Regenold Ironman champion Chris McCormack wears one. So do multiple Olympians and NFL players like Adrian Peterson of the Minnesota Vikings. The new category of sports accessory called performance mouthpieces is certainly catching fire among pros and amateurs…

Last year, when I wrote about a pair of bike pants from Outlier clothing, I noted the company's products are made for a “small, affluent market niche.” Indeed, Outlier's tagline–“Tailored performance clothing for cycling in the city”–nods to the New York City-based company's theme of design that treads a line…

I recently went for a snowshoe hike in the Adirondack mountains and struggled to maintain a comfortable temperature. The day started out at -11 degrees F and as long as I stayed moving I was warm, but once I stopped I would freeze! How do I layer properly for variable weather so I don't roast when moving and freeze when stopped?—AlvahGeneva, NY

First Ascent Mountain Guide Jacket Price: $229 Don’t let the interior seam tape mislead you: This is not a hardshell. But after subjecting it to frigid, 30-mph February gusts, we had to cut it open with a knife to prove this thin, supple softshell wasn’t…

We don't know when the phone will hit the U.S., but Puma recently announced they have a solar-powered phone coming to the market. Engadget has more details, but from what we can tell, it will do everything a regular smartphone can…

By Stephen Regenold Managing a large camera on a hike can be a pain. Big SLR cameras with long lenses are such a hassle that I often opt to leave them behind when heading outdoors. The KEYHOLE Hands-Free Camera Harness, a $30…

Justin's Picks: The Most Noteworthy Gear of Winter Outdoor Retailer 2010 Part 1: If you're as geeked about gear as we are here at Outside magazine, you probably already know that the Outdoor Retailer show in Salt Lake…

By Stephen Regenold Visions of the Michelin Man might come to mind, but for untold thousands of winter lovers, horizontally-banded, ultra-insulated puffy down jackets have become the ubiquitous choice for the coldest of days. I am one of these mini Michelin Men. In Minnesota,…

By Stephen Regenold “There is a fine point where an athlete could freeze up, break down or thrive.” That is a tagline from Craft, a Swedish maker of clothing catered to runners, cross-country skiers, and cyclists. During activity or not, the average body functions best at…

As a newcomer to a cold climate, I've found several outdoor sports I enjoy. I've figured out how to keep my body and digits warm, but my face gets so cold it goes numb and my eyeballs feel like they'll freeze in their sockets. I've gotten a mild case of frostbite on my face. How can I keep my face warm and protected?

I need a soft-shell jacket with high breathability that I can also use for casual wear most of the time. I'm going to use it on spring and cool summer nights. Basically something I can wear with a T-shirt after hiking or rock climbing, something highly breathable and wind proof, but it doesn’t need to keep me too warm. Should I wait until new models come out in spring or buy one now? Ugur Istanbul

Hi, I want to get my husband some cold-weather gear for paddling (wet suit, paddle jacket) so he can kayak year round. What products would you suggest to keep him warm? Casey Fayetteville, AR

Julia Mancuso The first time we heard about Julia Mancuso, she was winning gold in the 2006 giant slalom, in Turin, after top U.S. contender Lindsey Vonn was injured in practice. The Lake Tahoe native went on to have a career-best season, but in the years that…

This year I began tossing some of my older, deformed wool socks for swamp-running and replaced them with socks from Vermont-native sock company Darn Tough (socks from $14). I picked up my first pair of neon striped boot socks in a discount bin in…

The Lolë Women’s Travel pants ($80) were designed specifically for me, I’m sure of it. Okay, so maybe they weren’t, but they fit like they were built for my needs, wants and activities.  The travel pant looks like a dressier trouser, stretches like your favorite…

Jimmy Winkelmann might have a sense of humor, but The North Face isn't laughing. 

 The gear and apparel giant is suing the 19-year-old founder of “The South Butt,” a line of apparel parodying The North Face's logo and motto, claiming Winkelmann's brand of humor…

If you have a winter-sports junkie on your shopping list, and you've seen Outside's third annual Winter Buyer's Guide, you've got your ski-coat, hard-shell, and soft-shell needs taken care of. To fill in the gaps, we found ten great jackets for…

Dear Auntie Nellie, Thank you so much for the closet-full of holiday sweaters. I particularly love the one with the reindeer branded festively across my chest–the sewn-on bells were a nice touch too. And not annoying at all. This year, I thought I might lend you a hand in…

I like clothing that encourages you to use it and abuse it.  The tags attached to my new Lululemon Contender Jacket ($108) read: “Play hard and sweat hard.”  It also claimed it was “created to withstand five years of physical athletic abuse.” After wearing it…

The surprisingly adventurous roots of a very personal effect.

By Stephen Regenold Jeans rarely do double duty as performance wear for active types. But this month Quiksilver releases three sport-specific pants that are fashionable enough and can squeak by for cyclists and skaters looking to jump a curb or kickflip a set of stairs while wearing…

By Stephen Regenold Mate a hooded sweatshirt with a base-layer top and you'd get the Ibex Hooded Indie. This hard-to-categorize piece, which is new this fall, includes a long zipper on the chest, a tight-fitting hood, and sleeves equipped with thumb-hole cuffs.

Over the past few years, we've written about and reviewed a bunch of gear from Nau, makers of stylish and eco-conscious technical outerwear and clothing for men and women, like the jacket the bearded gentleman is wearing above. If you're not familiar with their stuff, check it…

Are gaiters really necessary or just another piece of equipment to spend money on? If gaiters are needed, then what should I be looking at to find the best functioning/performing gaiter for the price? It seems from everyone I've talked with, or reviews I have read so far all speak to the band/tie that goes under the boot always failing. What is your experience with gaiters? Matt Stevens Point, WI

By Stephen Regenold Dressing right for aerobic activity in cold weather is a continual challenge. With its new Animagi Jacket, The North Face offers a hybrid option that insulates where needed but also breathes. Horizontal panels and a high neck give the Animagi the look…

Presenting nine foolproof rules to keep in mind when scouting for presents (or just a little swag for yourself), plus 67 great products we couldn't keep under wraps.

By Stephen Regenold When you pay $38 for a pair of socks–that's $19 per foot, excluding tax–they had better be something special. The EX-Celerator Socks from Injinji Footwear, which have individual toe slots and an over-the-calf compression fit, do…

By Mary Catherine O'Connor When Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard wanted to have a confab about gear, Ernest Capbert knew that he and his cohorts at the outdoor clothing startup Finisterre were doing something right. The company is the dreamchild of…

Can you comment on Lands' End as a source of backpacking outerwear? For exple, they sell the 700 SnowPack Down Jacket, which is similar to down sweaters by Patagonia and Mountain Hardwear—save that Lands End’s version weigh 14 oz for men's medium, which is heavier than the higher-end brands. They also market the Marinac Jacket, which is Polartec fleece with Windcheck barrier. Have you used any of these or other Lands' End gear? David Columbia, MO

By Stephen Regenold It ain't a technical top. Some people think its prairie-dog-with-wings motif is silly or childish. But the Topo T-Shirt, an organic-cotton, casual short-sleeve, has been an unlikely wear-everywhere jersey for me over the past few years. I am on my second one. The $36…

By Stephen Regenold Touted to be a “storm fortress” with a pedal-specific cut, the Cyclical Shell offers a solid waterproof/breathable top with a svelte look tailored for commuters and the urban single-speed set. It employseVent fabric, which is commonly used in outdoors- and mountain-oriented…

Think of Julbo's new glacier sunglasses, The Bivouak ($120), like a Transformer. At the base level, they're a wraparound frame with a stylish shape for moseying around town. Now, attach the fire engine red side shields and you have a glass that is…

By Stephen Regenold I'm not sure exactly when humble “long underwear” became “next-to-skin technical base layers,” but somewhere over the past decade designers in the outdoors industry switched up the nomenclature and cut words like “skivvies” and “long johns” out of the conversation. It…

By Stephen Regenold At $180, the Outlier 4Season OG Pants are a specialty productcreated for a small, affluent market niche. Essentially, these are “performancedress pants,” a unique hybrid for office workers who bike commute or activetypes who want a comfortable pair of pants to do double duty…

The Merrell Siren rain jacket ($230) makes travel more comfortable. Not only does it hold up in light rain and torrential downpours, it fits easily into a small bag or purse. Made of Gore-Tex Paclite, the jacket is extremely lightweight so…

I would like to do some long-distance fast hiking with about a 25- to 35-pound pack. What shoes or boots would be supportive enough for rough trails, but light and flexible enough to go fast? Ben Milledgeville, GA

By Stephen Regenold The deer hunter comments started coming the first time Iput the jacket on. Indeed, the obscene-orange ViZi-PRO Collection — a line ofapparel from Saucony to be released this month — is made with “thebrightest, most…

I'm heading to Nepal (November through December) for a one-month trek to Mt. Everest Base Camp. Can you recommend a glove and gaiter that would suffice for trekking, scrambling, cold temps, etc. Nathan Los Angeles, CA