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February 2006

Cold-Weather Gear Review: 5 Winter Fixes

How to make your cold months warmer: boots, bags, jackets, backpacks, and booties for frosty weather

©Mitch Mandel

Adidas Korse GTX

Summerlike hikers with winter-ready warmth

Feet are the body’s thermostat–when they’re cold, you’re cold. So start at the bottom with these lightweight high-cuts, which were the ticket for me on February hikes in fresh snow. The Gore-Tex membrane is impermeable even in wet slop, and the 200 grams of Thinsulate insulation will keep feet warm down to 10°F (depending on your toes), but not to zero or below. The dual-density outsole–featuring rubber spikes that harden for better grip in freezing temps–shed snow that balled up on other boots we tested. Good midsole support makes the Korse a solid choice for winter day-hikes or overnights with pack weights of up to 35 pounds. Best for medium-volume feet; go up a half-size if you like to double up on socks.

Price: $120

Sizes: men’s 6-13½, 14

Weight: 3 lbs. (size 9)

Contact: (800) 448-1796;

Backcountry Access Stash Alp40

A tricked-out hut pack with 5-star hydration

If you like the convenience of on-the-go drinking, but love the versatility and easy filling of a standard Nalgene bottle, the Alp40 is the pack for you. It comes with an insulated hydration tube that zips into the shoulder strap to prevent waterline freeze-up, and the hose leads to a Nalgene-compatible cap. Just fill your bottle with hots, and off you go. With a single stay and plastic framesheet, plus thin-but-soft shoulder straps and hipbelt, this top-loading daytrip/hut pack carried 30 pounds comfortably for 8 hours. The packbag is loaded with features: panel access, a huge front shovel-blade pocket, ski and ice tool carriers, and multipoint compression for hauling a snowboard. One minor omission: a sleeve for your Nalgene so the bottle isn’t floating loose inside the pack.

Price: $165

Size: 2,850 cu. in.

Weight: 3 lbs. 4 oz.

Contact: (303) 417-1345;

©Matthew J. Reigner

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