I learned that the little things make the biggest difference, but ultimately, it mostly comes down to style and personal preference. And we're totally OK with that.

Thicker than a button-down and lighter than a coat

Comfortable, practical—and, yes, they actually keep you warm

From a performance-minded midlayer to an apres statement piece

You can take the Outdoor Retailer trade show out of Salt Lake, but you can't take the Salt Lake blues out of the show

The gear you need to shred all winter long

Mission-critical supplies for when the mercury drops

Shred all winter long with these essentials

Uberlight and able to take moisture in stride, a new breed of synthetic down is changing the winter jacket for good

There's a lot to talk about when it comes to this fabric

24 products—for work and play—that we fell in love with this year

Is riding with headphones really such a big deal?

Stainless steel water bottles wrapped in cork.

The best ways to get your tea and coffee fix on the road

Don’t leave home without a warm winter buddy.

The Mobot Big Bertha is the ultimate après tool

They'll keep your beer cold for a stupid long time and are easy to transport

Après layers that pull double duty on the trails and slopes

Not all travel mugs are created equal. Pick the wrong one and your coffee will be cold before you reach the ski hill.

Barely-there shells for all kinds of conditions

Forget the forecast. This gear will keep you moving through the toughest season.

What do you get in a super-luxury jacket? A good laugh, and a lot of pockets.

We put five stainless-steel water bottles through the ultimate test, including punting them off a 50-foot cliff and shooting at them with a rifle. Here's how they stacked up.

A jacket that can handle the trail but looks tailored enough for a dinner in Aspen—and is 100 percent American? We'll take three.

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Be prepared for any situation.

The Halogen can’t do it all, but it does so much so well that it rates as one of the most versatile winter jackets we’ve ever tested.

Tired of waiting for the industry to start offering appropriately-sized splitboards and other backcountry items, Ali Carr Troxell is turning to Wagner Custom for the perfect made-to-order gear

Ali Carr Troxell tests Helly Hansen’s new, innovative way to keep you warm out on the slopes

A company never satisfied with the status quo has designed two new jackets that are as cozy and comfortable as some of your favorite pieces

According to Mountain Hardwear, the Ghost Whisperer (hooded) is the world's lightest down jacket—seven ounces, 850-fill down, two pockets, and a ripstop shell that's down- and wind-proof and water repellant

The Arc'teryx Keibo is a moderately insulated, synthetic-fill snowsports hard shell with a relaxed fit

The first question to ask yourself is: Down or synthetic? Synthetic insulation is water-resistant, dries quickly, and is usually not as marshmallowy as its natural counterpart, which makes for better layering.

Who says you can't eat, drink, and sleep in your car as well as you do at home? These products, from the three-gallon Nemo Helio portable shower to the low-profile, synthetically-insulated Montbell U.L. Therma-wrap to the 16-pound, 55-inch long REI Camp Table XL, are all about upping the comfort factor.

Nordic skiers and cold-climate runners will love this aerobic-oriented jacket, which has a wind-blocking front face and a thin, breathable back.

Sierra Designs DriDown technology, unveiled at Outdoor Retailer, allows down to retain its insulating properties even while wet.

I’m looking for an all-purpose jacket that looks decent around town when it’s cold and wet, but also wouldn’t be out of place on a winter hike or snowshoe trip. Not a rain shell–something that has a little warmth. Any suggestions?

Outside picks the essentials for January, including the Patagonia Reversible Flannel jacket.

So you're shopping for someone who shuns modern technology? This rugged, timeless gear is sure to be a hit.

She can shred like nobody's business. Here's what to get her.

The perfect gifts for the active city-dweller.

Classic boots, a backcountry-ready axe, and other awesome gifts for hikers.

The best holiday gifts for climbers, from peak baggers to Himalayan mountaineers.

Outside reviews the best gear in the 2012 Winter Buyer's Guide, including the Patagonia Ultralight Down Hoody.

Outside reviews the best gear in the 2012 Winter Buyer's Guide, including the Jones Snowboards Mountain Twin.

Outside reviews the best gear in the 2012 Winter Buyer's Guide, including the Canada Goose HyBridge Lite jacket

Outside reviews the best gear in the 2012 Winter Buyer's Guide, including the Helly Hansen Odin Mountain jacket.

What are your ten favorite pieces of outdoor gear from the past ten years?

After competing in more than two dozen adventure races, Stephen Regenold breaks down his go-to outdoor gear

What type of jacket do you recommend for winter traveling in Mongolia, where temps will drop to as low as -40? Can I get a good jacket for $200 or cheaper?

Outside reviews the best gear in the 2011 Summer Buyers Guide, including the Patagonia Nano Puff vest.

What's the warmest and lightest winter jacket for under $300 for a woman? JonWarren, VT

What's a great men's down jacket that's extremely warm (waterproof would be nice) in the $250 range? I'm looking to wear this alone in the middle of winter without the need for layering. Peter New York, NY

The best new winter coats for on or off the mountain.

Famed explorer Alan Arnette gives us the inside scoop on what he wears to stay warm in the South Pole

I've decided to go big and invest in a quality down jacket, one that I'm going to wear for the next decade. I may be using it when I'm shoveling snow, snowshoeing in the mountains, or just around town. Which jacket do you recommend? Lindsay Durango, CO

PUFF LIGHT Of all the jackets we tested, none saw as much field time as the Xenon. The slightly puffy top is stuffed with enough PrimaLoft insulation to be worn alone down to about 30 degrees. And while its face fabric appears thin and fragile, it’s anything but. One tester…

Town Crossover Stuff the synthetically insulated Guise into one of its pockets and—voilà—it’s a U-shaped travel pillow. Though the DWR coating and pit zips give it a bit of technical prowess, without interior pockets, Velcro closures, or a hood cinch, this jacket is not designed for serious backcountry use.1.8 lbs;…

Throw on this 540-fill faux-down jacket (our warmest here), insulated side in, when you’re at the resort. The waterproof, breathable, neon-sunshine hard shell will keep you safe from the elements (and from getting lost). Afterwards, turn it inside out for a street-smart lime puffy. TAGS: reversible, neon, technical…

Town Crossover Sure, you can sled or snowball-fight in your technical puffy. But you might appreciate the extra padding that this machine-washable wool-nylon beast provides. The huge collar pops up as high as your ears—and stays there. 4.6 lbs; TAGS: wool, machine-washable, heavy-duty…

The wrong knee-length parka can make you look like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. Not the Aria. Its 650-fill down is toasty on blustery winter days, but the close-fitting silhouette doesn’t add bulk. Plus one of the hand pockets doubles as a stuffsack. TAGS: knee-length, media pocket, packable…

Buy More Passes With its subtle herringbone-like weave, square buttons, and asymmetrical front pockets, the Mohave is stylish in a low-key way. So when we saw the reasonable price tag, we figured Scott blew the budget on flair. Wrong. This insulated hard shell is brimming with smart touches, like wrist…

This lightly insulated, water-resistant soft shell is perfect for nordic skiing or snowshoeing on winter’s coldest days. It’s got a plethora of pockets, activity-friendly four-way stretch, and a helmet-compatible hood. Why we didn’t want to take it off: The quilted lining is like wearing your softest sleeping bag all…

Hot Deal With top-shelf synthetic insulation (PrimaLoft Eco), a tough, waterproof outer fabric, and all the creature comforts you could want (including nine pockets, pit zips, a powder skirt, and a goggle chamois), the 4 Pines has all the ingredients of a high-performance, full-featured resort parka. Normally, all this adds…

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;         Patagonia Pau – Footwear: Reviews (Terry Heffernan) The coolest mocs we’ve ever laid eyes…

Puff Daddy We were impressed by how well the Mission’s pit zips regulated temperature on a mild midwinter trip to British Columbia, but there was plenty of stuffing (500-fill down) for the most frigid test days, too. So if single-digit readings are commonplace at your home resort, check out this…

Backcountry Staple If you don’t already have a jacket like the Atom LT Hoody in your quiver, it’s time to add one. What’s so great about it? Because it’s lightly insulated with a highly compressible synthetic fill, it’s impressively warm for such a light and packable jacket. Plus its stretchy…

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…

Packable Half-Zip “It’s as packable as it is practical,” observed one tester. That pretty much sums up the Zephyrus. While it has roughly the same amount of synthetic insulation as the Arc’teryx Atom LT Hoody, it was better at shedding light rain and snow, due to its more windproof (and…

Twofer The big selling point here is obvious: You get both a warm, burly ski shell plus a thick, synthetically insulated sweater that can be zipped in to boost the warmth. Both jackets are constructed with Columbia’s new Omni-Heat lining, a matrix of metallic dots that reflect heat back to…

Technical The synthetically insulated and DWR-coated Igniter is slim enough to slip beneath a shell on cold mornings at the resort. Worn alone, it held its own into the mid-twenties, and it packs down smaller than a volleyball. 1.4 lbs; TAGS: synthetic, great midlayer…

Soft Touch “It just feels right,” said one tester. That pretty much sums up the Welder, and after we added up all the comments, it was clear that it was the most breathable, stretchy, supple, and comfortable insulated soft shell we saw this year. The Welder delivers enough water and…

Technical This waterproof hard shell is stuffed with the same amount of synthetic fill as the Igniter (above), making it a bit warmer (and more windproof) but also, not surprisingly, not quite as breathable. Because it’s completely impervious to wet snow and sports a hood with a visorlike rain brim,…

ALPINE DO-IT-ALL Take a hard-shell jacket, stuff it with sleeping-bag insulation, and you’ve got the Gravitor. It’s made with the same synthetic insulation as Mountain Hardwear’s sleeping bags. It sounds bulky, but it isn’t. The warmest jacket here, the trim-fitting Gravitor was designed with cold-weather climbing and hiking in mind.

Technical Top-shelf (800-fill) down + ultralight 15-denier ripstop nylon + an extremely athletic fit = as light and compressible a puffy as you can get. Our favorite feature: side zips that allow you to quickly dump heat or futz with inner layers. Least favorite: no zipper on the front kangaroo…

SMART INSULATOR Like the Gravitor (left), the Prima Fusion is also an insulated hard shell—with a few key differences. First, it’s insulated only in strategic areas along the chest, back, shoulders, and tops of the arms. The uninsulated sides, helmet-compatible hood, elbows, and pit-zip-equipped underarms make it cooler but…

Town Crossover Combine a down vest with a fleece-lined soft shell and this is what you get. We liked the long cut and urban utility look but not the floppy collar or double-what-we-expected price. 1.6 lbs; TAGS: soft shell, down, hybrid…