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The Gear Our Editors Loved in February

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February always feels like a long month, pandemic or not. Many of us experienced severe winter weather, only for it to disappear as fast as it came.
Outside editors huddled around fires, went on hikes, and made better coffee to get through it all. This is the gear we used to do it.
Burch Barrel Fire Pit ($895)
Photo: Courtesy Burch Barrel)
I replaced our backyard grass with Astroturf a couple of years ago. That’s been an amazing upgrade for this owner of three large, extremely active dogs. While the synthetic fibers are impervious to weather, claws, and even copious quantities of poop, the material does have one major Achilles’ heel: heat. That’s what originally attracted me to this hanging fire pit. The secure tripod suspends the burn barrel two feet off the ground, protecting any surface below from both sparks and radiated heat. But it wasn’t until I tried one in person that I realized it was also a really neat grill. This thing has quickly become a centerpiece for outdoor entertainment, allowing other people to join in the cooking and giving us a source of warmth to gather around while we eat. Perfect for this pandemic winter. — Wes Siler, contributing editor

The Gear Our Editors Loved in September

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The seasons change, but some things don’t:
Outside editors love durable, versatile, comfortable gear. As summer gives way to fall, these are the items that our staff has been reaching for time and again, whether for working out, relaxing, or heading into the backcountry.
Jaybird Vista Earbuds ($180)
Photo: Courtesy Jaybird)
I’ve always considered Bluetooth headphones to be more trouble than they’re worth: easy to lose, always running out of battery, falling out of my ears. Not the Vista earbuds. They’re so comfortable and secure that I recently spent ten minutes wondering why everything was so quiet before realizing I’d left them on with no music playing. When you are listening to something, the sound quality is excellent, and I’ve never run out of juice—using the case to charge, they’re good for up to 16 hours. Most important for outdoor athletes, they’re Jaybird’s most durable option, as shockproof, waterproof (IPX7), and sweat- and dustproof as headphones can get. I’ve only put a month of hard use on them, but through downpours and lots of sweaty trail miles, they haven’t skipped a beat. —Abigail Barronian, associate editor

The Best Hiking Shoes of 2020 | Outside Online

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Photo: Courtesy Salewa)
Finally, a hiking boot that does it all. With true-to-size fit and a lightweight suede and mesh build that requires zero break-in, the MTN Trainer Lite Mid is at home on mellow hikes. At the same time, the supportive cuff ­and ­­semi-stiff sole excel on steep, rocky climbs and descents, with an aggressively lugged outsole that grips everything from kitty-litter scree to wet boulders. A rubber rand around the base of the upper boosts durability, while the supportive, cushioned footbed reduces fatigue. Salewa’s trademark heel-pocket design locks you in to avoid blisters. Yes, they’re expensive, but the years of use you’ll get out of them makes the investment a smart one. 19.4 oz (men’s) / 16.4 oz (women’s)

How to Get Away Without Leaving Your House

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One thing I’ve realized from finally having the time to catch up on my media queue is how much of the joy of travel comes from anticipating it, the sweet spot between the moment you find out about a place and decide to start planning a visit and your actual departure—all the dreaming that happens in between. While we collectively retreat and wait out this homestay, these are the travel films, books, podcasts, and other immersions that we’re turning to for inspiration and escape.
Photo: Courtesy The North Face)
Hilaree Nelson and Jim Morrison went to Nepal in 2018 to attempt the first ski descent of the Lhotse Couloir, and their journey is stunningly captured in the short documentary 

Men's Sweats You Could (Theoretically) Wear Anywhere

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Sweatpants are an easy garment to overlook. The mainstay of dads and guys who live in their mom’s basement, the frumpy, super casual trousers have long been the international sign for “I give up.” But fashion and outdoor brands have revamped the Rocky Balboa staple into something more modern, versatile, and—dare we say it—stylish. I had the tough job of testing half a dozen of the best-looking pairs on the market. I rotated these through my wardrobe on a daily basis, wearing them to yoga and the gym and the coffee shop, during heated Ping-Pong battles, and even to dinner. (Yes, there are date-night options now.) Here are my favorites.

10 Things to Keep You Moving Outside This Winter

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Effective (and Cute) Cold Weather Gear for Your Toddler

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When my daughter was born two years ago, I made a promise to bring her with me on as many runs and skijoring outings with my Thule Chariot as possible—inclement weather be damned. This commitment has proven significantly tougher to keep than I anticipated. While the Chariot itself is fantastic for moving efficiently in the outdoors with a child, it has been tough to keep her cozy, entertained, and comfortable in there, which is necessary to keep my promise. However, with the right combination of gear, I’ve been able to maximize both her satisfaction while riding in the Chariot and her fun when we stop to play in the cold. 

I Tried to Hate the Amazon Parka, But It Won Me Over

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wanted to hate it. I wanted it to arrive already bursting a seam from shoddy craftsmanship. I wanted it to smell like noxious plastic or fire retardant or cigarette smoke. I wanted some last desperate sign from the universe that cheap fashion is bad and I should take my money to a local business instead. But when the Orolay Thickened Down Parka—commonly known as the Amazon coat—arrived, I couldn’t help but admire its heft. I put my hands on its folded plumpness and let the down deflate under my fingers like a pillowy stress toy. When I slipped it on, its chonky plushness enveloped me. And I felt happy.

The Best Ski Pants and Bibs of 2020

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Photo: Courtesy Patagonia)
Three-layer Gore-Tex construction made the Untracked second to none at keeping the elements out as we broke trail through a foot of dense, wet Pacific Northwest snow. The fit system is simple yet brilliant—a thick, stretchy belt attaches to Velcro on the hips. The trim waist is countered by a wider freestyle cut at the cuffs, which didn’t inhibit our strides even on steep boot-packs.

The Best Gloves of 2019

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Oyuki Haika ($150)
This Japanese import has two features we always look for in a touring glove: a removable liner, and external seams on the fingers for maximum dexterity. The Haika’s liner is made from highly breathable Lycra and has durable goatskin leather in the palm. A  suppler goatskin makes up the glove’s shell, with comfy tricot inside.

The Best Travel Gifts This Year | Outside Online

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Photo: Courtesy Away)
The Away Carry-On with Pocket bag fits in the overhead bin and comes equipped with all the most important roller-bag features: ejectable battery to charge your phone, combination lock, interior compression system, 360-degree rotational wheels, and the welcome upgrade of a zippered front pocket that’s perfect for stashing an extra layer or a book. 

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