|NATIONAL PARKS QUICKLINKS|
Backpacker Magazine – Online Exclusive
From head to, well, ankle, our testers give Outdoor Research and L.L. Bean a whirl.
L.L. Bean Timberledge Winter Sport Pant
Perfect for cold weather hiking and backcountry skiing, these affordably-priced soft shell pants were both breathable and wind proof on snowy spring treks in Colorado's Rockies. The tightly woven proprietary fabric-made from 91 percent polyester and 9 percent Spandex–has the look and durability of cotton canvas but the brushed underside is soft and insulating like fleece. A DWR treatment on the fabric's exterior helped the pants shed snow and light rain. Meanwhile, the fleecy inside added warmth and testers reported feeling "cozy" on cold, windswept peaks but also said the fabric was breathable when they were hiking or skiing hard. Deep front cargo pockets can be accessed with a pack on and bottom zips make for easy on and off over boots. A roomy fit through the legs, along with articulated knees and a gusseted crotch, allow for a wide range of movement.
$79; men's S-XXL; 1 lb. 9 oz. (m's L). (800) 441-5713; llbean.com.
Outdoor Research Prismatic Cap
Don't be fooled by the simple baseball cap design. The Prismatic Cap is three hats in one: a rain hat made with taped seams and waterproof/breathable Gore-tex fabric; a winter hat with fleece-lined, zip-off ear flaps to fend off frostbite, and a sun hat with a wicking tricot liner and plastic bill to shade the face. "Sure, the ear flaps are kind of dufey looking," admitted a fashion-conscious tester, "but they kept my ears so warm and dry." A cinchable elastic drawcord keeps the cap snug in wind. After a week-long spring hike in Utah's Glen Canyon when conditions ranged from cold rain to sun, one tester summed up: "I would bring this hat on any kind of trip any time of year."
$40; uni-sex M-X; 2 oz. (800) 421-2421; orgear.com.