Mountain Magazine features OR Flex-Tex Gaiters
Our go-to top for cool weather activities like winter trail running and XC skiing, the Centrifuge fits and feels more like a shirt — the front side has a wind-blocking fabric but on back (where you sweat most) there is only a thin, air-permeable fleece.
The end result is a glove that you can keep wearing that works just like your bare hand on your touch-screen device. The technology has been used in fashion gloves since 2009, but Outdoor Research is the first company to put TouchTec™ in the type of gloves you need when out on an alpine climb or skiing.
Outdoor Research's unique sidecountry and backcountry ski apparel lines. Those two experiences require different gear. Backcountry demands self-sufficiency and the ability to adapt to changing conditions. Sidecountry? According to Hattrup, it’s a blending of what you need at the resort and what you need for the backcountry. And that difference is reflected in the apparel and other gear that people use for these two different activities.
Your hat (or, to be more precise, headwear) is the most important piece of gear you don’t really think about. It's well known that you lose most of your heat through the top of your head, but what you wear on top of it can do much more than keep you toasty. Your headgear protects from wind, sun and rain. It's the best layering item you can carry—immediately effective and easy to put on and take off. It’s a much more technical piece of gear than many people think. So what to look for when you purchase headwear?
Think of the shell of your backcountry ski jacket as an extension of your skin. Just like the biggest organ in (or should we say on) the body, your shell has two very important purposes—to keep you dry and to breathe. The problem is that those two objectives are often at odds with each other.
Even the best waterproof/breathable fabrics in ski jackets need some venting when you’re alpine climbing or backcountry skiing.
When it comes right down to it, there is no formal industry-wide definition for the terms “soft shell” and “hard shell.” The “soft shell” came into vogue about a decade ago when some fabric manufacturers began making soft, stretchy materials that repelled wind and light precipitation, but weren’t fully waterproof. In cold, dry climates, these “soft shells” worked 70 percent of the time or more for an outer layer.
According to International Federation of Mountain Guides Associations
(IMFGA) ski mountaineering guide Martin Volken, the most important requirement for safe travel in the alpine backcountry is having your avalanche beacon and being well trained in how to use it. Now, when it comes to how you wear that beacon, Volken thinks there is some room for personal preference. While most backcountry travelers strap their beacons to their chests, Volken wears it in his pants pocket. He’s not alone; many guides and pros choose to wear beacons in their pockets.
A bivy sack or bivy shelter is a bit of a riddle—both sleeping bag and tent, and at the same time not truly either of those things. At its most basic, a bivy is a personal shelter for backcountry hikers, climber or skiers who are more concerned with their objective than they are with spending relaxed time in a tent. It’s a bare-bones, protected place to sleep.
Outdoor Research offers a wide combination of insulation layers made using different materials that cover any need—the big question is how to choose the right one.
Gaiters, at their most basic, are gigantic seam seals. They protect the weakest link in the body armor you create when you dress in hi-tech fabrics. The gap between shoe/boot and pant can be devastating if snow, water, dirt or trail debris works its way in—but outdoor adventurers sometimes don’t think about that until it’s too late. A solid pair of gaiters, built for the appropriate conditions, make a big difference out in the wild. As with most of our apparel, the tool here needs to fit the job at hand.
Think of your gloves as tools. And when it comes to choosing gloves, particularly for outdoor activities where different kinds of dexterity versus amounts of warmth are needed, you need to have the right tool for right the job. The type of gloves you will need really depends upon what activity you are doing and where you’ll be doing it.
Over the past decade, merino wool has been a fiber with some serious buzz. Believe the hype. The high-performance qualities of merino in outdoor clothing are for real: it’s warm when damp, it adapts to changing temperatures, it resists body stink and it comes from an eco-friendly supply chain. But synthetic fibers do have their own high-performance qualities that have made them so popular for so long: they effectively wick moisture, even if they stink and feel harsh on the skin.
We have a saying around here: “Neoprene is awesome in a beer koozie, not so much on your face.” You see, neoprene doesn’t really breathe. So when you exhale, all that moisture from your breath gets stuck on the surface and freezes up against your skin. Not only does it cancel out the warmth of the balaclava, it makes a disgusting mess.
Echo Duo Tee featured on Elevation Outdoors magazine cover