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Long-term review: Black Diamond Rhythm Tee with NuYarn, innovative nylon/merino blend

By Andrew Skurka / April 24, 2019 / 17 Comments

At the end of a Black Diamond media lunch at Outdoor Retailer last November, I was given a t-shirt that we’d been quickly briefed about but that seemed like vastly inferior product seeding relative to the new powder skis and airbag packs that’d really wow’d us. I’m notoriously particular about my athletic clothing, and I expected this…

Long-term review: Saxx Kinetic Boxer Briefs || Pricey perfection

By Andrew Skurka / April 17, 2019 / 14 Comments

After my first trip last spring, I cut out the boxer brief liner of my favorite hiking shorts, which were designed for running and which I’d scored at Marshalls for $15(!) a few years earlier. The elasticized liner had lost its rebound, resulting in an imperfect fit and insufficient support. The shell was still in…

Review: The Packa, hybrid jacket/poncho || A for innovation

By Andrew Skurka / October 18, 2018 / 12 Comments

When I wrote the Core 13 Clothing series, I was frustrated with the existing rain gear options. Manufacturers were (and still are, three years later) unquestioning of waterproof/breathable fabrics, which fall short of their hyperbolic claims; and there was little innovation in format, with everyone stuck on traditional jackets and pants. Subsequently I was contacted by Edward Hinnant (“Cedar…

Review: Glacier Glove Ascension Bay Sun Glove || Rare new item in my kit

By Andrew Skurka / February 7, 2018 / 29 Comments

The Glacier Glove Ascension Bay Sun Gloves protect hands not just from sun, but also from rocks, vegetation, and chilly breezes. Here, scrambling on sharp granite to Paiute Pass, 11,800 feet in the Indian Peaks Wilderness.As a native Easterner (and, perhaps, as a naive twenty-something), it took me many years and many backpacking trips to…

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

By Andrew Skurka / December 13, 2017 / 39 Comments

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…

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

By Andrew Skurka / November 13, 2017 / 22 Comments

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…

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

By Andrew Skurka / November 7, 2017 / 24 Comments

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.…

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

By Andrew Skurka / October 30, 2017 / 30 Comments

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…

Recommended clothing systems: Backpacking in the Mountain West

By Andrew Skurka / August 23, 2017 / 20 Comments

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…

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

By Andrew Skurka / August 14, 2017 / 16 Comments

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…