Being thrify won’t leave you cold–if you choose wisely. By Dennis Lewon
Sierra Designs Hurricane LT Parka
For roughly the cost of a box seat at a baseball game, you can own a 13-ounce technical jacket that packs small and keeps out everything from torrential rain to blowing sleet. Give credit to the adjustable hood, hem drawcord, and cinchable cuffs, all of which sealed tight. I also like the zippered extremity vents, which run the length of the arm. But for 55 bucks, expect compromises. The coated fabric is steamy and quick to wet out, the short waist doesn’t cover your butt, and it won’t last as long as a higher-quality jacket (after a season of use, a few seams were frayed). Choose this if you need a just-in-case shell, rather than an everyday, rainforest workhorse. $55; unisex S-XXL; 13 oz. (800) 635-0461; www.sierradesigns.com.
Cabela’s MTP Tech Silk-Weight Crew
Base layers are a decent place to save cash, so choose yours like you pick a cell-phone plan: Decide which benefits you want, then find the lowest price. I wanted a wicking synthetic shirt with a few basic features: low weight, stretch, and an anti-microbial (no-stink) treatment. On a 3-day trip to Mt. Shasta, this silkweight polyester crew dried quickly after sweaty climbs, and ripened only halfway to serious funk by trip’s end. One nitpick: The fabric pilled a bit after washing. $25, men’s S-5XL, women’s S-XXL (only available in midweight); 5 oz. (800) 237-4444; www.cabelas.com.