Ready for Spring? Our Reviews: Down Vest, Rain Pants & Trekking Poles

Outdoor Research Transcendent Down Vest

There’s just something about a puffy down vest. The venerable Transcendent Down Vest from OR is somewhat of a standard bearer when it comes to this layering essential. Warm? Oh yes. Light? 9.7 ounces. The Transcendent is stuffed with 650-fill responsibly-sourced goose down and has a roomy fit to accommodate a couple of layers underneath it. With two hand pockets and a zippered chest pocket, this vest also works well as a top layer and does yeoman’s work in keeping your core warm. It’s a classic.

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Arc’teryx Zeta SL Rain Pants

Rain pants are a necessary evil. If all goes well, they spend most of the time in your pack and thus light weight is essential. But when the heavens open up (and trust me, they will), you’ll be most concerned with their fortitude. The Arc’teryx Zeta SL Rain Pants deliver on both counts. They’re simple and light and capable of keeping you dry in deluges of biblical proportions. The Gore-Tex Paclite ® Plus fabric is super breathable and they weigh in at only 8.6 ounces (Arc’teryx’s lightest rain pants). The ¾-length side zips make donning them a snap when the tempest comes calling.

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Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Z Trekking Poles

Guest Review by Gary Malick

The Black Diamond ® Alpine Carbon Z trekking poles are a great set of light-weight, fixed-length collapsible hiking poles. I have a set of the 120 cm poles (I am 6’1″) they fold down to a 16″ long package that fits nicely into a day pack. These poles are maintainable, with replaceable hand straps, interchangeable tips (Carbide Tech tips to bite on ice and other hard surfaces and soft rubber tech tips with excellent grip). The set comes with two sets of baskets—2 ¼ inch trekking bale (basket) and 3 ¾ inch powder baskets. The quick deployment locking mechanism is a bit stiff right out of the box but wears in to an easy-to-use lock after a few uses. Overall a great set of light but durable poles.

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