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The Showa 281 Glove is suitable as a wind- & waterproof shell for hiking and running.

Review: Showa 281 Gloves || Inexpensive water- & windproof shell

The Showa 281 Glove is an inexpensive (less than $15), lightweight (sub-2 oz), and somewhat breathable shell made of waterproof/windproof polyurethane. Its exterior is textured and very abrasion-resistant. It is the unlined version of the Showa 282 Gloves, about which I have written a more in-depth review. Online availability of the 281 is limited. I purchased […]

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The double wrist cuff helps to reduce drafts, keeping arms (and thus fingers) warmer.

Reviews: Sierra Designs F17 Puffies || Well designed & priced, but heavy

On our recent elk hunt in the Colorado Rockies, Steve and I wore two new Fall 2017 puffies from Sierra Designs, the Tioga Hoodie and Sierra Jacket. These two pieces share nearly identical features with the Tuolumne Jacket and Whitney Hoodie, so I will dare to extrapolate our experiences and include them in this review […]

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Stay warm when it’s wet: How to protect down insulation from moisture

When shopping for a sleeping bag, insulated jacket, or insulated pants, you will have a choice of insulations: Down, which is a commodity product measured by fill power, e.g. 800-fill; or, Synthetic, which is normally made of interwoven plastic fibers and which may be marketed as Primaloft, Climashield, or a proprietary version like TNF Thermoball. […]

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The liner adds warmth and buffers the hand from moisture, but its durability is questionable. Notice the extensive pulling after just a few weeks of use.

Review: Showa 282 Gloves || Preferred cold & wet solution, but imperfect

When hiking or running in cold and wet conditions, keeping my hands comfortable has been a chronic challenge. On multiple occasions I’ve pulled into a campsite, trailhead, aid station, or my house with inoperable and painful fingers. To minimize (or perhaps even, to end) this suffering, this summer I looked beyond conventional rain mitts like the REI […]

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Recommended clothing systems: Backpacking in the Mountain West

What clothing is necessary for backpacking in the Mountain West in 3-season conditions? Let’s discuss. I define the Mountain West as the semi-arid ranges of the Sierra Nevada, Intermountain West, and Rockies. Examples: Pacific Crest Trail in California and southern Oregon High Sierra, including the John Muir Trail and multiple high routes, e.g. Sierra High […]

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A close-up of the 5.5-oz Ultimate Direction Deluge Jacket, which features 20d waterproof/NON-breathable fabric  and taped seams.

Preview: Ultimate Direction Deluge || Waterproof/NON-breathable jacket & pants

The Ultimate Direction Deluge Jacket and Deluge Pants — which will be released in Spring 2018 — are awesomely light, at 5.5 oz and 2.3 oz for men’s Large. But I’m more excited about the fabric. No, they’re not made of the latest-and-greatest membrane that is more waterproof and more breathable than anything the world […]

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Wearing a 200-weight fleece atop 13,250-foot Mt Bancroft, where the wind was howling at 30 mph and temperatures were only in the 50's.

Review: REI Quarter-Zip Fleece Pullover || Benchmark standard for $22

On three-season backpacking trips in the Mountain West, and on cooler trips elsewhere, I consider a fleece top like the REI Co-op Quarter-Zip Fleece Pullover ($45, 8 oz) to be an essential item. It serves two functions: As a second layer in brisk conditions (e.g. chilly mornings, windy ridges and peaks), when my hiking shirt isn’t […]

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With warm temps, steady rain, high humidity, and light winds at this pre-dawn start, Buzz was very happy with his umbrella, especially since we would spend the next four hours climbing.

Reader question || Backpacking umbrellas: Pros, cons & recommendations

Recently I received a question from reader Eric W about umbrellas, which I’ve mentioned previously (e.g. Core 13 Clothing, The Ultimate Hiker’s Gear Guide) but never addressed in great detail: Under at least some circumstances, all modern raingear options for backpacking are flawed. For example, most rain jackets and pants — which are the most common selection […]

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