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Gear Spotlight: Rain Jackets 101

You know how everything called a waterproof breathable shell or rain jacket has the same silly info graphic tag of the water cycle of a rain jacket? On this tag, from the outside of the material, rain is kept out and squiggly arrows push the water vapor out from the inside. It tells you nothing about the reality of how ... Read More »

Gear Spotlight: An Ultralight Sleep System

Yep, I’m a weight geek. I may not drill holes in my toothbrush or cut straps off my pack, but playing the game of cutting grams in the right places helps me push through challenging trips as I get older. In general though, sleep is so important, that my sleeping bag and pad warrant careful consideration. Perhaps, the sleeping bag ... Read More »

Winter Gear to Make the Season Safe, Warm and Bright

STABILicers™ Hike Macro When it comes to traction devices for your feet, the options are plentiful. The Hike Macro ice cleats from Stabil offer 1/2-inch (replaceable!) cleats combined with a unique TPE (Thermoplastic elastomer) binding system that covers the entire bottom of the boot and is tough yet flexible and stretchable, even at sub-zero temperatures, making it easy to put ... Read More »

A Good Night’s Rest and Other Great Ideas

Therm-a-Rest Neo Air XTherm Our friends in Seattle do it again: Therm-a-Rest continues to lead the way when it comes to sleeping pads. The Neo Air®  XTherm™  is light (15 ounces), warm (R-Value 5.7), and packs small. It puffs up to a more-than-comfortable 2.5 inches. And it’s durable. This is what they mean when they say “top of the line.” ... Read More »

Great Outerwear for the Trail (and Town)

Arc’teryx Beta AR Woman’s Shell As we’ve come to expect from Arc’teryx, the Beta AR Woman’s Jacket represents a pinnacle of hard-wearing, all-weather engineering: absolutely bomb-proof. Combining two weights of GORE-TEX® to maximize both breathability and ruggedness, the Beta AR has bells and whistles galore—an advanced  hood/collar interface featuring a soft microsuede chin guard, generous (but low-profile) pit-zips that glide ... Read More »

A Base Layer, a Pullover, a Balaclava…and a Rhino Box

Arcyterx RHO AR Men’s Bottom Base Layer Made of a combination of Polartec® Power Stretch® polyester and elastane, the RHO AR base layer from Arc’teryx delivers amazing light-weight warmth and durability for cold weather activities. Weighing in at only 7.8 ounces, the RHO AR hugs the pelvis and legs, providing complete contact—and warmth— against your skin. It’s moisture-wicking, breathable and ... Read More »

The Art (and Science) of Your Backpack

Someone asked me recently if ultra light gear has gotten too light; too weak to hold up to the rigors of outdoor adventures. While there will always be some problems with manufacturing, ultra light gear requires extra care to avoid shredding it. Zippers can’t be forced, pads can’t be thrown down on rocks, and backpacks need to be fitted and ... Read More »

Hiking Essentials for Your Cascadian Summer

Arc’teryx Gamma MX Softshell Jacket The ‘best of both worlds’ beauty of the softshell concept is simple – yet complicated. The idea is that softshell garments shed water, snow and wind and yet offer the comfort of stretchability and a ‘soft hand’. The Arc’teryx Gamma MX lives up to this promise with style and the kind of bomb-proof construction that ... Read More »

Best Ski Boots for Baker? Try These

At Backcountry Essentials, we’ve expanded into alpine skiing with more services and boot-fitting. Now in addition to carrying the best of backcountry ski boots, we also carry boots for inbounds skiing that will provide the performance and comfort you’re looking for. And we guarantee that fit when you buy boots and custom footbeds (come in to learn more)!   Wherever ... Read More »

Sweet Dreams – Spend the Evening with Big Agnes

Yin or Yang: When choosing a sleeping bag you’ve got two choices – down or synthetic. Down is lighter, more compressible, more durable, and in my opinion, more comfortable; but it’s slow to dry if it gets saturated wet. Synthetic bags, by contrast, are heavier, bulkier, more fragile and lose their loft sooner than down; but when wet, they’ll dry ... Read More »