Prana Stretch Zion
These pants are just light enough to make the three-season cut, and so tough you can wear them in any terrain. The heavy-duty nylon fabric withstood off-trail scrambles, and a touch of Lycra allowed for good flex on long downhill strides. The feature set is astounding for the price: reinforced knees, five pockets, discreet holes in the crotch for extra ventilation, and a no-rub integrated belt. Snaps convert the pant legs into calf-high capris, which is useful for stream crossings. Air-dry them to avoid lint buildup on the hook-and-loop fly, a welcome no-pinch feature under a climbing harness. $60; men’s S-XL; 1 lb. 2 oz. (Women’s model is due next spring; for fall, check the Bliss Nylon Capri: $50; XS-L). (800) 557-7262; www.prana.com.
EMS Windshear NG Shirt
This versatile jacket shakes off wind like a hard shell and breathes like the lightest of soft shells-and it’s warmer than either. It replaces the Lightfire as my primary insulation in summer, and serves as midlayer in the coldest temps. And it works brilliantly as a wind- and water-resistant outer layer anytime. The ripstop shell can’t handle a downpour, but temp control is no problem, thanks to pit vents and a wicking liner. More perks: a high collar, long tail, and chest pocket. Fit runs loose. $79; men’s S-XXL, women’s XS-XL; 14 oz. (XL). (888) 463-6367; www.ems.com