Old Brands Become New Faces In the Winter Outerwear Market

After much of ski country suffered one of the warmest, most disappointing winters on record, hope is on the horizon. The 2012-13 is weeks away, and hopefully it proves a little colder and snowier than winter 2011-12. Because the winter outerwear market, which already seems flush with competitors, is about to get even bigger. Last winter, several outdoor industry staples announced the launch of a new outerwear line, which was just a tad ironic given...
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Fresh Season, Fresh Outerwear: New Jackets Made From Gore-Tex Alternatives

This winter is a potential turning point in the world of outerwear. After decades of complete and utter Gore-Tex domination, there are a few high-profile materials that offer attractive alternatives. Each material (including a new Gore-Tex variant called ActiveShell) offers better breathability than traditional Gore-Tex. Materials like Polartec Neoshell, Columbia OmniDry and Mountain Hardwear Dry.Q promise breathability (and in some cases stretch) comparable to a soft shell with the weather protection of a hard shell....
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Gear Review: Brooks-Range Cirro Hoody

One of Brooks-Range mountaineering's more visually striking pieces of apparel, the Cirro Hoody (13oz., $189) is a synthetic insulated jacket that provides a huge amount of warmth in a minimalistic package. I've been testing the Cirro Hoody for the last few months, and it scores big points. I like my gear to fit close to the body, so as a rule, I’m generally not a big fan of puffy style layers, but the Cirro Hoody’s...
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Gear Review: Columbia's Peak 2 Peak Jacket

High-end jackets are a tough proposition-unless you've got Charlie Sheen money, buying one is a major event. I mean, if you're going to cough up $300+ for a shell, it had better be an awesome one, right? I've been testing out Columbia's Peak 2 Peak Jacket (14oz, $350), and so far, it has lived up to its price tag. It's an outer shell with no insulation, so its main purpose is to keep wind, rain,...
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Gunning For Gore-Tex: Big Name Brands Introduce Their Own Waterproof/Breathable Fabrics

For years, the choice for waterproof jackets for skiing, backpacking, hiking, climbing, etc. was pretty cut and dry: Gore-Tex and all the other junk. And by other junk, we mean the proprietary waterproof/breathable fabrics that just never quite gained a foothold in the battle against the Gore Goliath. Gore's formula has been part marketing (how many other fabrics have taglines as well known as Gore's "Guaranteed to Keep You Dry"), but bigger part substance: The...
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Champion Supersuit Insulates While Drastically Cutting Bulk

I still associate Champion with the hooded sweatshirts that were all the rage back when I was strolling the hallways of the sixth grade, but apparently the company makes some pretty mean outdoor gear too. One of the major unveils at the Outdoor Retailer, the Champion Supersuit is a breakthrough in serious winter expedition gear. Touted as the “the thinnest extreme weather suit ever developed", the Supersuit is a functional shell that is extremely thin...
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Klymit Expands its Line of Clothes

  I originally covered Klymit last summer. At the time, the company was offering a vest that is insulated with argon. This year, Klymit has taken it way past a vest, debuting a line of outerwear meant to complement the mid-layer vest. The Kinetic shell line includes the Olympus, Paregoria, SekoVent and Zephyros shells. Each one features a chest pocket which enables one to easily access the control dial for pumping up the argon in...
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Loki Jackets with Built-In Mitts and Neck Gaiter

  Yesterday was the Outdoor Retailer All Mountain Demo at Snowbasin Resort in Utah. The event is a pre-show for the Outdoor Retailer Winter Market, the outdoor industry's expo. At the demo, a small percentage of OR displayers present their goods and let you try them out on the snow. There was about a foot of fresh snow and I ditched most of the Demo to ride some fresh lines, so I don't have too...
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Mizuno's Breath Thermo Running Gloves

When I'm running in cold weather, my core doesn't usually get that cold, and my legs are always warm (I've rocked shorts when temperatures have been down in the 30's with no problem), but my hands are always freezing. I guess it's an extremity thing. To combat this, I've been rocking a pair of glove liners with little hotties in them, but that gets a little pricey if you're running every day. Thankfully, the good...
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High-Fashion Tent Jacket

  I don't do much of my gear shopping on the fashion circuit, but judging by this "Wearable Shelter" designed by a group of Philadelphia students--Jin Hong, Sebastian Brauer, and Jackie Starker, perhaps it's time to keep an eye out. The product is a jacket that transforms into a waterproof tent and it recently took an award at that So Re Fa eco-fashion show. It was designed for use in post-disaster scenarios, but such a...
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Bear Grylls' Latest Stunt: Sweatshirts, T's and Funky Hats

How good is Man vs. Wild? How many shows can be that contrived, overdramatic and reputedly outright fake and still make it to your weekly TiVo schedule? Unless you're a WWE fan, Man vs. Wild might be it.  Despite his flaws, Bear Grylls is damn entertaining. How well his entertaining character will translate into style should be interesting to see as Bear unveils his own line of performance outdoor sportswear. The line, ranging from T's to...
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All-In-One Jacket, Backpack and Tent?

That's correct. The Vessel, a new design by Justin Gargasz, is a tent and backpack waiting inside a rugged outerwear jacket. The jacket is made of different weights of Cordura, while the "Cocoon" (tent) uses 1.1 oz. silicone-impregnated nylon rip-stop, so this baby's not just a unique idea, it's a potentially high-quality, functional piece of gear. While the backpack is admittedly one of those queer-looking, over-one-shoulder jobs that will always bring me back kicking and screaming to the days of...
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Aluminum Insulation to Keep the Heat In

If a $3.00 emergency blanket can use a reflective aluminum coating to keep your body heat at a safe level, why can't a jacket? GoLite has answered this question with an emphatic It can! Their Sympatex Reflexion barrier outerwear uses a thin coating of aluminum to help keep you warm using the most natural source of heat available. No need for bulky insulation. The technology is currently available in one of its jackets, the Reverb,...
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Heated Outerwear from Brookstone

New from Brookstone are these heated outerwear items for both men and women. The technology utilizes ‘five lightweight carbon fiber bundles’ which deliver heat to ‘key body areas’. They come with a three-level controller that enables you to adjust the level of warmth as needed. Using rechargeable batteries, they can keep you toasty for 5 hours. The men’s vest and women's vest are $149.95, whereas the men's jacket and women's jacket are $179.95. Okay, so...
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Prana Reversible Quilted Vest: my favorite fall outer layer

Full disclosure: I got the vest free because I review apparel and gear for a website, www.FitnessTravelGear.com. That doesn't affect my opinion though, really, because I would adore this vest no matter what. It keeps my core cozy, even in the wind that blows fierce and cold off the waters of North Beach in Point Reyes National Seashore. It has a hood. It's reversible. It goes with everything- jeans, t-shirts, turtlenecks, fleece jackets...And it's really...
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