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 them on and take them off. I put them to the test in the Canadian Rockies on high routes that offered a mix of snow, ice and rock and they performed flawlessly. And I love the fact that you can buy replacement cleats—a non-disposable product: what a concept.

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Rhino-Rack 572 Ski Carrier

Rhino-Rack has been making car-top rack systems and cargo carriers for 25 years. Based in Australia, the Rhino-Rack name is slowly becoming better known in North America, thanks to their no-nonsense everything-proof products. Their 572 Ski Carrier attaches to all Rhino Rack crossbars (and most other brands as well), holds two sets of skis (or one snowboard) and features an easy release mechanism designed for gloved hands. It’s water- and rust-proof, mold resistant, and backed by their five-year warranty. One small gripe: An allen wrench is required to put them on and take them off.

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The North Face Denali 2 Fleece Jacket

I love a thick, cushy fleece jacket. There’s just something about the coziness, the plushness of a good fleece. The Denali 2 jacket from The North Face® really delivers in the coziness and warmth department. It’s  an interesting combination of the new and the classic—It’s certainly old school in that it reflects the construction of the original Denali jacket from the 80’s (and that’s a good thing) but it’s cutting edge in that 85% of its Polartec 300 is recycled from plastic bottles. Lots of pockets. It’s not light (25 ounces) but it’s thick, tough and really, really warm.

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Toad & Co. Airvoyant Puff Jacket

The woman’s Airvoyant Puff Jacket from Toad & Co. offers a wealth of features in a lightweight package. Made of recycled bluesign® approved fabric and blown-in poly insulation, it provides eco-friendly warmth along with a DWR (Durable Water Repellent) coating and wind-proof comfort. The longer length in the back (and a drawcord hem) keeps your bottom toasty on cold mornings. And the three-piece hood makes it an excellent choice for all-day adventures in winter weather. Order a size larger to accommodate layering.

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Luci Outdoor 2.0/Pro Solar Lantern

I’ve been a fan of Luci® Lights from MPOWERDTM for some time now. These ingenious inflatable lanterns are solar powered and provide illumination around camp while weighing almost nothing. The new Luci Outdoor 2.0/Pro takes this innovative concept one step further by virtue of its built-in USB port and brighter light. You can charge it via the solar panel, which takes about 14 hours for a full charge or via the USB port (two hours). Once charged, it provides up to 50 hours of cool white light (on the low setting), sufficient for reading, writing or doing the NY Times crossword puzzle. It’s heavier than previous models – the 2.0/Pro weighs in at 5.5. ounces, but for car camping or short backpack trips, it’s wonderful. You can also use the USB port to charge up your cell phone. It’s rugged, waterproof and incorporates straps that facilitate hanging.

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