To cope, Outside staffers have been alternating between physical activities in the cold and cozying up at home.
To cope, Outside staffers have been alternating between physical activities in the cold and cozying up at home. (Photo: blyjak/iStock)

The Gear Our Editors Loved in January

The items we're using to stay outdoors—and keep cozy when we come in

To cope, Outside staffers have been alternating between physical activities in the cold and cozying up at home.

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We made it into the new year, but life still feels hard. To cope, Outside staffers have been alternating between physical activities in the cold and cozying up at home. Here’s the gear we’ve been using to accomplish both. 

Toyo Open Country WLT1 Tires ($120 and Up)

(Courtesy Toyo)

I finally removed the outdated set of winter-compound all-terrain tires from my Ford Ranger and replaced them with these more snow-and-ice-specific Toyos. I’m glad I did. We’re having bizarrely mild weather here in Montana. While there’s virtually no snow anywhere, there’s sheet ice everywhere. The WLT1’s not only feature a tread pattern specifically designed to grip snow and ice but also a rubber compound that remains pliable at low temperatures and wicks away meltwater created by the weight of a truck as it contacts ice—something no all-terrain tire is capable of. Equipped with a load rating appropriate for a fully laden pickup truck and a reinforced carcass that strongly resists punctures, the WLT1’s let me keep using my truck just like normal, both on road and off, bare ice be damned. —Wes Siler, contributing editor

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Mons Royale Olympus 3.0 Half-Zip Top ($150) and Legging ($120)

(Courtesy Mons Royale)

I just spent six straight days in the Mons Royale Olympus 3.0 Half-Zip top and legging, and I’ve probably worn these base layers 30 times already this season. The buttery, 250 merino-wool set has become my go-to for both touring and resort skiing, thanks to a weight that’s just right: light enough for long boot-packing and uphill slogs but warm enough to keep me cozy on frigid before- and after-work skins or slow chairlifts. Elastane helps them keep their shape through multiple days of wear (many other wool options stretch and sag after a day). The wool resists odor, too—I have to wash my synthetic midlayer more frequently than I do these, which sit next to my skin. Plus, with flattering color blocking and saturated but somehow still neutral hues, they’re cute and look good with just about everything. —Abbie Barronian, associate editor

Buy Top Buy Legging

Outdoor Voices All Day Sweatpant ($88) 

(Courtesy Outdoor Voices)

I’m not usually a sweatpant person, but almost a year into the pandemic, I’ve finally given in. This pair from Outdoor Voices is made from an incredibly soft polyester-spandex blend that keeps me comfortable while I’m lounging around at home, and the fitted silhouette helps me feel put together on the rare occasions I actually leave the house. The sizable hip pockets are a nice bonus, too. —Sophie Murguia, assistant editor

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Mountain Hardwear Southpass Fleece Hoody ($170)

(Courtesy Mountain Hardwear)

I already wrote about the Southpass in our 2021 Winter Buyer’s Guide, but I will take any opportunity to sing its praises here because it remains the coziest, warmest, most comfortable fleece I have ever owned. It’s made of a thick, high-loft polyester, with a boxy cut and high collar, all of which means it feels more like a wearable blanket than a piece of clothing. I lovingly call it my teddy-bear suit. It’s the first thing I reach for when I get home from climbing or skiing—it’s even warm enough for a quick dash to the mailbox or to a local restaurant to pick up dinner. Come summer, I’ll be bringing it along on camping trips to keep me toasty while making early-morning coffee and hanging out by the fire. —Ariella Gintzler, associate editor

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Outdoor Research Transcendent Down Pullover ($229)

(Courtesy Outdoor Research)

I used to bribe myself to get up a ski hill or to a backcountry campsite with the promise of gummies or dried mango at the end. Now I look forward to putting on this down hoodie (and let’s be honest, sometimes still rewarding myself with those gummies, too). Stuffed with responsibly sourced 650-fill down, it’s super cozy and provides instant warmth when it’s five degrees on the side of a mountain. And while Outdoor Research also makes this jacket with a full zip, I prefer the pullover version: its side zipper makes it easy to pop over a helmet, and a fleece-lined kangaroo pocket warms up chilly fingers. While other jackets with this amount of poof turn me into the Michelin man’s younger sister, the cropped cut makes this jacket both flattering and cute. —Kelsey Lindsey, associate editor

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Murad Essential-C Day Moisture Broad Spectrum SPF 30 PA++ ($65)

(Courtesy Murad)

A part of me is still balking at the price of this moisturizer, but I’ve been applying it daily from a single tube for over six months and have seen a noticeable improvement in my acne-prone skin’s clarity and hydration—the latter of which is super important when living in a dry climate like Santa Fe, as most moisturizers are either not hydrating enough or leave my face oily after hours of wear. The Essential-C strikes the perfect balance and also contains that all-important desert ingredient: SPF 30. I’ve found that it provides enough everyday protection from sun damage, but if I’m doing any lengthy activities outside, I layer up with Supergoop’s Superscreen SPF 40. —K.L.

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The North Face Women’s Flight Futurelight Jacket ($280)

(Courtesy The North Face)

I’ve never been much of a runner, but a pandemic winter and a lackluster early-snow season drove me to the trails for some much needed cardio. The Flight Futurelight jacket has been my partner on every run recently. The soft, stretchy, wind- and waterproof fabric keeps chill and flurries at bay, and even on freezing mornings, I was warm enough with just a base layer beneath it (good thing, too, as its sleek fit won’t accommodate much more). On a warmer afternoon jog, it was extremely breathable and comfortable over a tank. If I do get too hot, the jacket folds into its roomy back zip pocket, which has a shock-cord handle inside for easy carrying in your palm. —Maren Larsen, assistant editor

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Leki MCT 12 Vario Poles ($250)

(Courtesy Leki)

During this warm, dry winter, the MCT 12 Vario poles have been my go-to for long, steep trail runs in variable conditions. Here in Santa Fe, my favorite running routes often have frozen northern aspects and completely dry southern ones. Micro spikes are great if most of the run will be icy but are overkill if I’m just traversing the occasional slick patch. These poles give me peace of mind in those areas, thanks to the two other points of contact that keep me from falling. They’re extremely light (200 grams), easy to adjust, and feature Leki’s top-notch quick-release strap system for times when you need to set them down to get something out of your hydration vest. I’m training for a Grand Canyon rim-to-rim-to-rim this year (COVID pending), and these poles will be my support on that journey. —Will Taylor, gear director

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POC Essential Road Softshell Glove ($60)

(Courtesy POC)

These are the gloves I grab most when I head out the door to exercise. They’re designed for cycling, and I use them for mountain or gravel riding when the temperatures drop down to about 45 degrees (they’re not insulated, so I wear something warmer when it gets colder than that). They’re also great for running in 20-degree weather, since I’m creating more body heat. The soft-shell backing blocks chilly winds, silicone grips improve control of my handlebars, and they work well with touchscreens. They’re also durable—I’ve been putting them through the wringer since last spring, and after a lot of sweat and abuse, they still look as good as new when they come out of the wash. —W.T.

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Yeti Rambler 10-Ounce Lowball Tumbler ($15) 

(Courtesy Yeti)

I’ve had my Rambler Lowball for at least three years. For most of that time, it traveled around with my camping kitchenware in the back of my truck, but since the pandemic hit and I’ve been driving a lot less, it’s found its way indoors. The Lowball is now my preferred container for morning coffee. In true Yeti fashion, its double-wall vacuum insulation keeps my drinks warmer than any mug I own. And the small size fits perfectly in my hand and helps me justify a third cup of coffee with zero guilt. —Abigail Wise, digital managing director 

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Lead Photo: blyjak/iStock

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