If Conrad Anker were the CEO of some well-known social-networking site, this is the kind of hoodie that he’d be seen sporting. In short, it does the business when conditions are at their worst, including during several frigid nighttime rides and downpours this winter. The jacket employs Schoeller’s sophisticated Nanosphere technology to offer reliable water- and abrasion-resistance (a claim to which we can attest, with the caveat that water beads up and has habit of dripping off onto other more casual, non-water-resistant apparel like shoes and jeans!). Compared to other burlier winter coats, the Stealth Hoodie almost feels a little flimsy, but this is an illusion. Triple Aught’s “c_change” membrane provides wind- and waterproofing, while offering breathability when things get more aerobic than running from a little rain; the non-fussy nylon exterior protects against abrasion without making you look like Robocop. By itself, it’s not the warmest of pieces, but layer up and you’ll be snug. Overall, as Mark Zuckerberg might say, “Like!”.
Editor’s Note: We also reviewed an earlier model of the Slealth Hoddie LT; the new one boasts additional features (like the use of Nanosphere)…and a higher price.
This March, Princeton Tec will unveil a new outdoor/all-purpose headlamp that should hit the sweet spot for weekend warriors and backpackers looking to light up the backcountry (or brave a power outage). The design of the Vizz itself is nearly idiot-proof, with one big button—and that’s about it. Press the button once and you illuminate two ultra-bright red LEDs, press it twice and get dual ultra-bright white LEDs. You can also hold the button down to cycle through the modes, which includes a 150-lumin max-bright LED that can illuminate up to 90 feet. The Vizz is waterproof down to one meter for up to half an hour, and runs on three AAA batteries—with a built-in power meter to let you how much juice you’ve got left in the estimated 160-hour run time; a low-battery indicator also triggers when you’re down to 20 percent.
This fall Arc’Teryx will introduce down-insulated pieces into their line of high-quality apparel. And, as with everything this boutique brand does, they’re doing it in a new, interesting way. The down they’ll use in pieces like the 850-fill Cerium AR ($259, pictured right) and Cerium LT ($350, pictured left) jackets is “food-grade,” which means that the feathers are sourced from fully grown birds from Europe used in the production of foie gras. The feathers are consequently larger than those found in other brands. Other innovations in their new down line include a durable shell construction, with “core loft” synthetic insulation in high-compression areas like the shoulders and cuffs to eliminate cold spots. We also love the reconfigured hood design, which carries the down baffles vertically over your head/helmet, and lets the crown of the hood nestle comfortably over your head and ears. There will be a total of 11 products in this line, along with hybrid products that boast the new Gore Tex Pro Shell.
We honestly didn’t think that Stanley—who’s been making great food and beverage containers since 1913—could improve upon their Classic Flask. But they proved us wrong. This spring, be sure to save a Jackson for their new eCycle Flask.
This eight-ounce container is made from recycled (and recyclable) plastic, and it boasts two lids—an attached bottle-style screw-top, and a large hinge top. The latter open the top wide for a thorough cleaning, so you can use this flask for any variety of drink (mixed or straight, non-alcoholic or otherwise) without worrying about lingering tastes or smells. The dishwasher-safe flask is also leak-proof. Better still, thanks to the wide-mouth opening, you can also use this flask as a makeshift dry box for your various electronic must-haves….
www.deuter.com, one pound, three ounces
When you’re squeezing yourself through a narrow, ice-covered chute, the last thing you want is your pack or one of its appendages to get stuck—which was exactly what our tester was thinking while putting this pack through its paces on an icy day hike in Shenandoah National Park this winter. No such problem with Deuter’s Speed Lite 20, which seems to combine the design ingenuity of a BMW with the robust handling of an Audi (those German gear eggheads even managed to stitch illustrations for making distress signals to an airplane inside the pack). The sleek profile of this 20-liter pack includes a tapered design to allow for greater arm freedom while hiking, trail running, or ski touring; and the chest and hip belts are pared down to add to the pack’s minimalist aesthetic. Inside, the main chamber provides a surprising amount of room for spare layers, gloves, hats, lunch, even an extra pair of shoes. A cavernous top pocket swallows and protects more expensive items like your camera and phone, nestled close to the small of the wearer’s back rather than in an exposed area of the pack that might get knocked by branches or rocks. Two mesh side pockets easily house water bottles and snacks, while big, easy-to-grab fabric loops on all the zips make a mockery of those fiddly little metal zips found on other packs on the market. The pack itself feels refreshingly light, but the ripstop 210 nylon held up to significant abrasion tests, and the compression straps helped keep things truly svelte the tight squeezing that became a necessity during the test trials. They can also double to hold skis or hiking poles in a pinch. The U-shaped frame can also be removed for truly ultra-light outings, or when compression is essential.