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What Our Gear Guy Wants from Winter OR

When you have access to thousands of products to test, it speaks volumes if one sticks out of the crowd. Outside Gear Guy Joe Jackson weighs in on his five personal favorites from Winter Outdoor Retailer 2020.

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JOE JACKSON: Hey, this is Joe Jackson, Outside online's gear guy. And I'm here at the Denver Convention Center at the Outdoor Retailer Show. While Outside's gear team is here, we meet with dozens of brands, and there are thousands of brands here. There's so much gear that it's incredibly overwhelming. I looked through for the past few days and found my absolute favorite pieces of gear that I would want to bring home to my family or envelop into my own kit. Come check it out. 

I personally want to buy the RAB Chroma Infinity Tour Glove because it looks like it's going to hit a perfect sweet spot for me. When I go ski touring, I usually go early in the morning when it's really cold. And I have a tendency to run hot. So if I wear bulky gloves, I'll sweat through them. If I were thinner gloves, I have a tendency to get cold. 

This whole panel here is Gore-Tex Infinium, which is windproof. And then all of this is leather, meaning that it's going to be easy for me to get down and fiddle with my Dynafit bindings or mess around with any of the other type of stuff that I'm doing at the end of a ski tour to transition to ski back down. 

It's also incredibly comfortable. It's one of those things with gloves-- I'm sorry you can't put them on yourself because once you put them on, they just feel amazing. 

DPS has made my favorite lightweight touring skis for years. And I'm really excited about the Pagoda, specifically because it might be their dampest ski yet. While really lightweight skis have a tendency to be really reactive and chattery in adverse conditions. 

And the way that they're trying to combat that is by using foam. Often foam is looked at as a cheap thing to put in the cores of skis. But here, they use an extremely advanced NASA-inspired aerospace foam, which they layered with different types of wood to make for a really damp ski. 

While the Julbo Rush sunglasses aren't the type that I would walk around town in, I am so excited about having these for a ski touring and mountain biking sunglasses. They have a bunch of really cool design features that make them comfortable all day. And the type of glass you can put on first thing in the morning and not take them off over the course of a ski tour that last 12 hours. 

Variety of reasons for this. One, is that the arms are fully adjustable, so you can really meld them to the contours of your face. Same goes with the nose piece. Both those things are going to make this a significantly more comfortable glass on a 10 to 12-hour ski tour. 

It's also a reactive lens, which can go completely dark to a completely clear. So if it's early in the morning, and I'm getting going on a ski tour before the sun comes up, I have a clear lens so I don't have to worry about any visual issues there. And then when the sun does come up, it'll just naturally change to whatever darkness I need. 

The main reason that I want to get the Sunday Afternoon Snow Flip hat for my daughter, Josie, is because it's really cute. But beyond that, it actually has a lot of cool design details. They're going to make it a perfect hat for her for the winter. 

One that I really like is the fact that it has a brim, but it's also an insulated hat. Because a lot of times when we bring her outside with a beanie, she's just getting blasted in the face with the sun. So the fact that it has a brim means she's going to get a little bit of protection from the sun, as well as a little bit of protection from the cold. 

It also is fully packable. So if she gets over the hat, or it warms up, I can just throw it into my jacket pocket. Finally, it flips inside out. So some days she's going to look a little cuter in blue maybe. Some days she's going to look a little cuter in pink. 

I'm a total insulation geek, which is why I'm freaking out about the North Face's 50-50 down jacket. On the inside, they separated the baffles. And what that does is create a ton of area for your body to breathe, but also these baffles are really thick so that if you put an outer layer over it, there's enough dead space to where you'll have a crazy warm kit. Another cool detail is that on the interior of each of these baffles there's an aluminum coating, which adds a whole other layer of warmth. 

As with all the products that I have the luxury of checking out at this show, all I'm doing is checking them out here. I'm just giving my hands on them and looking at them under fluorescent lights. I am really excited to get all those products out in nature and actually see how they perform. 

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