Almost Editors' Choice

5 near-perfect pieces of gear in our 2011 Editors' Choice testing

Helly Hansen HH Warm After five years of steady use, this midweight blend of polypro and merino has become a go-to winter baselayer for our editor-in-chief. Like the zip-T version he’s worn most, the new Ice Crew (pictured, at right) is a snug-fitting top with wool’s superior warmth and odor-resistance married to polypro’s unbeatable drying times. The hiccup: Some testers don’t like the racing stripes and the way the shoulder-top seams (on the women’s model) rub under pack straps. $75; 7.8 oz. (m’s M); m’s XS-XXXL, w’s XS-XL; hellyhansen.com



Sea To Summit Traverse Xt1
This down bag is loaded with smart details, like the smoothest-running zipper ever and a hood closure that snuggles your face. The NanoShell technology is innovative and effective, but it’s costly and more important on long treks than typical backpacking trips. Plus, some side-sleeping testers felt chilled. Read more on page 116. $500; 2 lbs. 6 oz.; 19°F; seatosummit.com



Sierra Designs Revival 65
Testers loved this pack’s combo of ventilation, load-carrying ability, and smart organization. But the hipbelt padding on the women’s model (Jubilee) barely reached our testers’ hips, and not all male testers got a good fit. Read the review on page 44. $240; 3 lbs. 15 oz.; sierradesigns.com

Snow Peak Hozuki Lantern Say goodbye to cold, blue, spotty lantern light. The Hozuki’s LEDs cast a warm glow through an innovative silicone globe; the pool of light is wide enough for an eight-person tent. Caveat: It’s not small or cheap. $90; 7.6 oz. (with batteries); snowpeak.com

Soto Muka Get white-gas performance (hot and efficient, works great in cold temps) without the hassle or mess of priming. But note: Keeping this stove pressured requires more-than-average pumping. $148; 1 lb. 15 oz.; sotooutdoors.com