Gear you didn't find under the tree.
So the holidays have come and gone and you didn't get squat that's worthwhile? Luckily, we have the privilege of testing the season's best, providing you with the inspiration you need after the holiday returns are taken care of. Hopefully you got gift receipts.
Uberlayer Jacket—OUTDOOR RESEARCH
Finding a jacket that can be worn in almost any type of winter situation is not an easy task—at least not until I found the Outdoor Research Uberlayer Jacket. Weighing less than 17 ounces, this synthetic jacket is warm like down, thin like a fleece layer, and water-resistant like the best softshell. The jacket is perfect for ski tours, hikes, and even walks around town in anything short of a full-on dump. While incredibly light and compact, it's still durable and warm. You’ll never run out of storage with five pockets—three that zip up and two that are internal—and the wire-brimmed hood and internal front stormflap are essential for keeping warm in the frosty air. Made of a nylon shell and polyester lining, it traps heat when you’re cold and releases heat when you’re too warm. This jacket does it all and now I don’t go anywhere without it. $300; outdoorresearch.com. —COLLEEN WINN
When you spend a lot of time outdoors in the winter, protection is key, but functionality is equally important. With that in mind, I went looking for a workhorse ski pant that could stand up to the elements in southwest Montana and landed on the PowSlayer Bibs from Patagonia. The PowSlayers feature all the standards for top-of-the-line shells, like three-layer Gore-Tex, an embedded Recco rescue reflector, and lightweight construction. Where they stand out is in the details. The hips and knees are nice and roomy, providing full mobility on the bootpack and the downhill, while the overall design is low-profile and minimalist, meaning no unneccssary weight or bulk. The side-zips open from the knee or at the waist, meaning you can customize your heat-shedding tactics based on the situation, and the fly also opens from the top or the bottom, depending on how urgently nature is calling. With all the deep days we've had already this winter, I really appreciate the extra protection the bib design gives me when I'm waist-deep on the Ridge, but with the included belt loops, I can drop the upper portion of the pants on the way up. If there's one drawback to the PowSlayers, it's in the thigh pocket zippers, which are difficult to close with one hand, especially when you're out in the elements with gloves on and limited mobility and visibility. $600; patagonia.com. —CHRIS MCCARTHY
Mahtomedi—FARM TO FEET
Typically, socks are large on my small feet, but the Mahtomedi Nordic knee-highs from Farm to Feet fit and feel great. On a backcountry ski trip in the Tobacco Roots, they provided everything I needed: exceptional durability and breathability during the day, and warmth and comfort at night around the fire. They have a lifetime warranty, which is great because I don’t plan on taking them off anytime soon. They come in various weights and lengths, and I plan on using some of the heavier versions on hikes in the alpine this winter. $24; farmtofeet.com. —CAROLINE MILLER
Rainier Stove—CAMP CHEF
Living a dirtbag lifestyle used to mean eating cold burritos and stale peanut butter & jelly sandwiches. No longer, thanks to the Rainier Stove from Camp Chef. Now I can ski like a bum and eat like a king. The propane-powered stove features a 10k BTU burner, which boils hot water for coffee in a flash, and an 8k BTU grill, for breakfast sausages in the Bridger parking lot on a powder day. As an added bonus, the unit includes a nonstick griddle, meaning pancakes are also on the menu. Your flame is protected by lactchable windflaps that fold into the unit when your feast is over, and the included carrying case makes transport simple and organized, so whether you're sneaking down to Moab for a mid-winter bike trip or making post-skiing burgers at the trailhead, the Rainier should be part of your kit. $153; campchef.com. —DAVID TUCKER
- O/B Store