Winter is winding down fast but of course here in the northern mountains there are still lots of opportunities for cold weather travel. Here’s a round-up of some choice gear options to make your late-winter travels warm and wonderful.
Mountain Hardwear Tangent 2 Four-Season Tent
Mountain Hardwear’s brand new four-season tent, the Tangent 2 trumps even the company’s venerable Trango series – long a standard for bomb-proof four-season tents – as a light-weight “go-to” shelter for the harshest winter conditions. It’s a two-wall with the weight (5 lbs, 9 oz!) of a single-wall. The Tangent 2 has two doors and vestibules and boasts an amazing 12 points of contact for rock-solid wind resistance. All this and it’s the lightest four-season tent that Mountain Hardwear makes. It’s not spacious, but the combination of packability and fortitude makes it a great choice for winter adventurers.
Ibex Woolies 150 Base Layer
Woven from super-soft New Zealand Merino wool, the Woolies 150 Bottom layer kept me warm and cozy on multiple outings this winter. Ibex prides itself on extremely fine-spun wool fibers used in the yarn from which their products are spun and the result is something akin to luxurious comfort. And since wool is naturally antimicrobial, they help mitigate the, shall we say, odiferous aspects of wearing a base layer for several days at a time.
Tubbs Xpedition Snowshoes
Since Walter F. Tubbs started making snowshoes in Norway, Maine in 1906, the Tubbs name has been synonymous with the evolution of the snowshoe. The XPedition carries this long tradition forward with superb flotation, toothy heel and toe crampons and a binding system that makes getting into (and out of) the shoes a snap. The footprint is long and slender, the traction is excellent and the heel-lifts are a god-send on long, steep climbs.
Outdoor Research Filament Pullover
Warmth to weight ratio: It’s the Holy Grail of Insulating layers. The Outdoor Research Filament Pullover really hits the mark when the goal is maximum warmth with very little weight. Weighing in at only 7.3 ounces (large size), this feather-light layer is made of Pertex Quantum® Rip-stop nylon and stuffed with a thin layer of 800 fill goose down. It’s so light and compresses so small (about the size of an orange), you’ll forget that it’s in your pack. But put it on, and you’ll be amazed at how warm such a wisp of fabric can be. I use this as an outer mid-layer and it’s trim fit lends itself to adding layers over it. The zippered Napoleon pocket doubles as a stuff sack for packability. On several backpacking adventures this winter I slipped into the Filament to wear around camp and even slept in it once or twice. Cozy? You bet.