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Barely-there shells for all kinds of conditions

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

The stout chromoly tubing on Jamis’s Aurora Elite (27 lbs) gave us confidence, even on circuitous descents with full loads.

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

Outside reviews the best gear in the 2012 Winter Buyer's Guide, including the Surly Pugsley bike.

Outside reviews the best gear in the 2012 Winter Buyer's Guide, including the CW-X Insulator Stabilyx tights.

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

Design and Technology Special: The world's most streamlined and innovative new gear, gadgets, tools and toys, including Arc'teryx's Veilance Partition Coat.

Outside reviews the best gear in the 2011 Summer Buyers Guide, including the Rapha Wind Jacket.

Outside reviews the best gear in the 2011 Summer Buyers Guide, including the Merrell Rowena Jacket.

Essential winter running clothes and accessories.

The most refreshing trend in skiwear: technical ski jackets that are stylish enough to wear around town. The water-resistant J-Turn looks as good with jeans as it does with ski pants. quiksilver.com…

Old-school cool meets new-school green in the lightweight Klein, made in part with recycled polyester. Wear it with just a base layer on mild spring days. Or around town all fall. holdenouterwear.com…

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 (Terry Heffernan) The coolest mocs we’ve ever laid eyes…

Why It RulesThe Momentum is exactly what it needs to be. Thanks to a slim, clean cut and spare styling, this piece will keep you comfortable on the crags as well as in the city. » The Schoeller Dryskin fabric functions by virtue of its construction: A tight, double weave…

Why It’s CoolIf you’re planning on hitting Costa Rica’s Arenal volcano—or any rainforest from B.C. to Brazil—this is what you want. Ditto for changing a tire in the rain. » Thanks to its slightly longer cut, your thighs stay dry, too. » Two-layer construction—nylon laminated with a proprietary waterproof-breathable membrane,…

When buttoned up, the 550-down-filled Format can handle the coldest mountain weather. And when it finally warms up, detach the hood, crack the underarm vents, and keep on riding. scottusa.com…

There's the gear you want, and there's the gear you need. After much internal debate, we present the 25 products every guy should own.

Hi! I'm trying to decide on a jacket to use as an insulating midlayer for backpacking this winter. I want one that's warm while sedentary, but really breathable while doing aerobic activity. I’m not sure what to go with: fleece, soft shell, or down? The Arc’teryx Hercules jacket seems to be promising because of the high loft fleece interior and superior breathability, although I'm concerned it might not be warm enough. The mercury usually dips into the low teens here in late winter. Any advice? Matt Birmingh, AL

What are some great recycled products? The Editors Santa Fe, New Mexico

1. FELT ZW1 BIKE It looks fast, it feels fast, and it is fast—even if you’re not. The oversize carbon-fiber tubes are dialed for female riders; they were never too stiff, never too soft. Shimano’s finest Dura-Ace components, Mavic Ksyrium Elite wheels, gel grips, and Felt’s women’s carbon saddle…

I've just started running again after a long lay off, and I don't want to lose momentum over the winter. What's the best shell I can get to keep me dry and warm without blowing the thermostat? KT London, England

Room for only one jacket in your luggage? Merrell‘s lightly insulated and water-resistant Uniform Parka is the perfect choice ($189; merrell.com). Merrell Uniform Parka Jacket            …

I’m hiking the John Muir Trail and want to take some super-lightweight raingear. But there are so many options on the market, that it makes the choice confusing. What are your top picks? Janet Charlotte, Vermont

I'm going on a trek through the Indian Himalayas near Darjeeling in early March, and don't know what, or how much, to bring. We’ll spend several days hiking between villages in moderately cool weather. What should I bring, and are iodine tablets sufficient to make the water safe? Chris Cincinnati, Ohio

Tired of the green-product spin? Here are 11 industry leaders doing their part.

Eight new tools to help you make the most of your next backcountry foray

The latest batch of storm shells and insulated jackets ends the debate about performance vs. style

Are there any outfitters that still manufacture their products in the USA? Do any produce items based on the principles of fair trade or with recycle or natural materials? I’m trying to find a good winter jacket with these pareters in mind, but it seems that it is not so common. Yoni New York, New York

Classic or skate? Either way you'll go fast with the latest—and best—Nordic gear.

1. Bern Muse Helmet Slope Style This downsized lid has zero bobblehead factor yet still has room for a removable liner (with speakers). $99; bernunlimited.com 2. Marmot Furlong Like it or not, you will get noticed in the lift line when you’re…

Call it trickle-up technology. In the past 30 years, adventure-centric products have moved from the margins to the mainstream. Here's drool-inducing proof that today's top manufacturers are on our side.

I need a new jacket, but I’m not a big fan of bulky hardshells or anything too puffy, such as down jackets. Would a fleece or a soft shell jacket keep me warm enough in Colorado’s winter? Do you have any suggestions? Rachel Colorado Springs, Colorado

I’m looking to replace my old REI 300 fleece jacket. It has served me well as a regular jacket around town and for hiking and snowshoeing. I’d like something similar, but that will better resist wind. Any suggestions? Kathy Olympia, Washington

I’m looking to buy a new ski jacket and pants—something comfortable, warm, and not too bulky. I'm after something unique. Any suggestions? Everett Charlotte, North Carolina

I'm heading to Alaska’s Brooks Range for a two-week backpacking trip in June. I'm trying to find, with no success so far, a Patagonia Micro Puff or Moonstone Lucid jacket. Any suggestions on a comparable jacket that may do similar (or better) service? Sue Atlanta, Georgia

I need a women’s shell that’s versatile enough for both ski and around-the-town use. I considering Mountain Hardwear’s Descent DT Trifecta. What would you recommend? Kelly Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

I love the look of soft shell jackets instead of typical hard shells. But most soft shells I’ve seen are very thin with little or no insulation. Is there one that will keep me warm while I bounce around in Vermont? Eric Randolph, New Jersey

Taking their cues from urban sidewalks and fashion runways, sportswear designers redefine the look of winter

My daughter has just begun her studies at the University of Chicago. Her dorm is quite a distance from the main cpus and, as a result, she'll be spending time waiting for buses and walking to classes. What jackets provide good protection from the cold and wet yet are stylish enough for her to wear? A hood seems to be a necessary part of the jacket. What do you recommend? Rowan Potomac, Maryland

I looking for a lightweight insulated jacket, preferably using synthetic insulation for greater resilience to wet conditions. What are the relative merits of the different types of insulation available? PrimaLoft and Thinsulate (plus Thinsulate Lite) seem to be the most commonly used for this type of application, but how do they differ in terms of warmth and durability? Chris Perth, Western Australia

Presenting our just-discovered Periodic Table of Outside Elements, a breakthrough in mapping the scientific building blocks of big, bad fun. We've alchemized gold, steel, titanium, wood, leather, wool, silicon, plastic, and carbon fiber into an array of 56 high-design gifts that you'll definitely want to give. And, just as important, get.

I need a really, really warm fleece for a trip on the Pacific Crest Trail this coming season. I'm having a hard time deciding on the right fleece, especially with all the soft shells on the market to muddy the picture. I own a soft shell, which is great for when I'm actually walking with a pack or up a hill, but otherwise it doesn't really keep me warm at night or when I'm just getting moving. Gear Guy, what is this fleece I seek? Do you know its ne? Sarah Santa Barbara, California

Can you suggest a few jackets that can multitask for snow sports, short hikes, and the commute to work? I like the hard-shell feel but don't need expensive Gore-Tex; I'd like adjustable cuffs and a removable hood; I would prefer something without a powder skirt but with a zip-out style that's not parka length; I like a simple jacket in solid colors without oodles of pockets and zippers. Hope I didn't overload you. Suggestions? Jim Ann Arbor, Michigan