Equipped

If there’s one item of winter gear that merits a splurge, it’s a good sleeping bag. Few things are as luxurious—or as essential for an enjoyable cold-weather camping experience—as a cozy and warm night’s sleep. A winter sleeping bag is a significant financial investment, however, making it all the more important to find the perfect…

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Fill power indicates the volume of a given amount of down. Specifically, it measures how many cubic inches an ounce of down occupies under standard laboratory conditions. I often describe the world of outdoor company hype and catalog spin as 90 percent marketing and 10 percent science. When it comes to measuring and certifying the…

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Don’t sweat. You may have heard this basic adage of winter adventure, which in my experience is all but impossible to achieve. But there are some simple things you can do to minimize the amount you sweat, which is still a very worthwhile goal. Why not sweat? It’s simple. If you sweat, your base layer…

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It’s a face-off (hand-off?) between two winter options, with a quick review of the pros and cons of each, as well as my personal preferences and recommendations. In This Corner: Gloves!  Gloves provide you with maximum dexterity, which is crucial if you’re doing anything that requires some degree of coordination. For day-to-day around-town winter handwear,…

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Don’t overlayer. You generate substantial body heat even in the coldest and windiest conditions, especially if you’re powering up a mountainside.  Leash your mittens or gloves to your wrists to prevent strong winds from blasting away these critical items. Secure loose straps on the outside of your pack or clothing to prevent them from flapping wildly in the…

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The cost of high-quality goose down for puffy jackets and sleeping bags has more than doubled since 2009. This recent Wall Street Journal article tells the story, but it basically boils down to increasing demand meets decreasing supply. Most goose down comes from China and is essentially a byproduct of producing geese for food. But…

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The number one mistake made by novice cross-country skiers: overlayering. You generate a lot of body heat as you ski. Here’s what to wear for cross-country skiing. A warm base layer is sufficient to keep you comfortable in all but the most arctic conditions.  Heat-stealing wind is a major concern. Wear a lightweight, wind-resistant top and…

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A round-up of everything you wear, from head to toe, with some commentary on my personal preferences. Head, Face, and Neck You likely won’t need every square inch of your head and face covered while winter camping, but if you plan on heading above treeline in cold, very windy conditions, definitely have the four essentials—liner…

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The snowpack can be tricky and uneven. Hidden soft spots and hard objects lurk within. Use poles to enhance your balance—and to assist your recovery in the event of a tumble. Upgrade three-season trekking poles for winter use by swapping in a pair of winter baskets to prevent the tips from sinking into the snow. Note…

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Prior to breaking my wrist this winter cycling season, I had the opportunity to break in a pair of the Pearl Izumi P.R.O. Softshell Lobster Gloves. Quick review: Warmest cycling handwear I’ve used. Fits large hands well. Worth considering for other cold-weather pursuits. Here’s the best snapshot of their capabilities: I left for an hour-long…

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