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March 2008 Perfect System: Rocky Mountains

MSR Reactor

An Editors’ Choice Award winner last year, the Reactor features a protected burner that proved impervious to 30-mph gusts on Colorado’s Vasquez Peak–and in many other tough test conditions. Its flame is enclosed by a heat exchanger integrated with the 1.7-liter cookpot, creating a supremely efficient system that boils a liter in three minutes flat. $140; 1 lb. 5 oz.;

Trekking poles
REI Peak UL Carbon Trekking Poles

Steep alpine terrain is great for scenery, bad for knees. These carbon-fiber poles are light yet durable, perfect for 3,000-foot descents through joint-and-stick tweaking talus. $139; 12.5 oz. (pair);

Smith Factor

At high elevations, UV rays will roast unprotected eyes. The near-weightless Factor protects with photochromatic lenses that automatically adjust to light levels, so they’re equally effective at reducing cloudy-day glare and warding off ferocious rays on bluebird days. $149; 0.6 oz.;

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