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 easily and adjustable wrist closures. The hip length design provides ample protection from the elements and works well with a pack waist strap. At 16.7 ounces, it’s not the lightest shell on the market but if you seek uncompromised protection from the worst weather, the Beta AR will not disappoint.

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The North Face Straight Paramount 3.0 Convertible Pants

For me, zip-offs are essential backpacking garb—the option to use them as long pants and shorts provides an efficient two-for-one wardrobe option. The North Face Straight Paramount 3.0 Convertibles are everything you could want in a zip-off. They’re lightweight (17.5 ounces) yet tough, and the stretchy nylon is soft to the touch; repels water; wicks moisture and provides UV protection. The key to these kind of pants is—of course—the zippers. The zippers on the Paramount 3.0s are smooth and virtually undetectable during wear (and they’re color-coded so you know which leg goes where!). Zippers at the leg openings facilitate making the switch from pants to shorts (or vice versa) without having to remove your boots.

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Toad & Co. Woman’s Spindrift Anorak

For casual outings that might include a little of the ‘liquid sunshine’ that the Pacific Northwest is known for, this anorak from Toad & Co. is great for running around town or going for short walks in a light rain. Water repellent and quick-drying, this nylon pullover has a soft cottony hand and three-piece hood. It’s lightweight, durable and packs into one of the pockets. Our gear tester loved the slightly longer length and the fact that the fabric is bluesign® approved for sustainable textile production.

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