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Backpacker Magazine – Fall/Winter Gear Guide 2011

Editors' Picks with Gear Editor Kristin Hostetter

Gear Editor Kristin Hostetter with her favorite gear picks for 2011.

RAB Women's MeCo 120 LS Tee (Courtesy Photo)
RAB Women's MeCo 120 LS Tee (Courtesy Photo)
Salomon Minim Down Vest (Courtesy Photo)
Salomon Minim Down Vest (Courtesy Photo)
Sherpa Adventure Gear Hima Hat (Courtesy Photo)
Sherpa Adventure Gear Hima Hat (Courtesy Photo)
Brooks-Range Ski Binding Tool (Courtesy Photo)
Brooks-Range Ski Binding Tool (Courtesy Photo)
Patagonia Northwall Pants (Courtesy Photo)
Patagonia Northwall Pants (Courtesy Photo)

[softshell pants]
Patagonia Northwall Pants
Superb stretch and a flattering, functional fit make these Polartec Power Shield Pro ski pants the most comfortable I’ve worn. The high-loft, gridded fleece interior is warm enough—when worn with a baselayer—to handle the coldest days on the chairlifts. But the weather-resistant fabric is breathable and quick-drying enough to wear alone on long ski tours. Cherry on top: Suspenders and thigh zippers let you drop the seat for on-the-go pit stops. Catch? They cost double most ski pants. $399; 1 lb. 6 oz. (w’s M);

Rab Women’s MeCo 120 LS Tee
This superlight, soft blend of merino (65 percent) and Cocona polyester (35 percent) was my five-day-straight baselayer in Iceland. It wicks like a champ, is warm for the weight, and never stinks. $80; 4 oz. (w’s M);

Brooks-Range Ski Binding Tool
Backcountry bindings often need tweaking. This ergonomic, ratcheting tool has eight different bits (they stow in the handle) so I can adjust any binding in minutes. $10; 5 oz.;

Salomon Minim Down Vest
A toasty down vest is great for frigid-weather layering—you get warmth and mobility—and this is the one I now grab most. The 700-fill down is big-time lofty, and the satiny Pertex Quantum shell knocks back the wind. Fit is torso-hugging, for maximum thermal efficiency. $160; 7 oz.;

Sherpa Adventure Gear Hima Hat
A beanie made of buttery-soft Pashmina wool? Count me in. It’s toasty for its scant weight, and all-day comfortable. The bright stripes? They make me happy. The price is worth it. $45; 1.2 oz.;

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