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An Intro to Outdoor Jackets

Anyone who spends time outside has a favorite jacket—it’s a staple in the kit of every hiker, climber, skier, snowboarder, cyclist, or mountaineer. But the one-jacket-for-everything days are long gone. To get you started on the path to understanding your jacket options, we outlined the five most basic styles.

How to Choose Ski & Snowboard Pants

Frozen chairlifts, day-long submersion in thigh deep pow (we hope), slushy boot packs, and brutal arctic winds are just a few scenarios your pants experience on a regular day at the outdoor office. So when choosing a new pair of pants, it’s worth taking some time researching the various fabrics, features, and styles that will be most applicable to your type of winter recreation.

Winter Layering

Different body types, output levels, and weather conditions require different amounts of insulation. Building a bomber layering system is one part trial and error and one part know-how.

How To Care for Your Down Jacket

Your puffy spares you the shivers on long chairlift rides, it offers a cozy embrace when you’re belaying a long pitch, and it lets you enjoy evening stargazing on alpine backpacking trips. And what do you do for it in return? Cram it into a stuff sack.

Technical Shells Explained

For the worst weather conditions imaginable, you need the reliable protection of Technical Shell. The best Technical Shells often feature waterproof/breathable laminates, watertight zippers, and high denier face fabrics.

Softshells Explained

Can a softshell replace your trusty hardshell in sustained rain or snowfall? Probably not. What softshells do best is keep you warm and dry while your heart rate is up in windy and/or damp weather.
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Men's Clothing

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The products from Men's Clothing have an average rating of 4.7 / 5.0 from 1,273 reviews.

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Kyle Livingston

We are all drawn the open trail, our gear on our back and map in hand searching for some solitude next to a campfire far beyond the lights of the city. When you decide to leave the campground behind and make the leap to the backcountry, there is a lot to consider. My first backpack was a hand-me-down Gregory and it took me years to accumulate the necessary gear to support me in the wilderness as a bona-fide backpacker. Loading up your pack, leaving the car far behind, and carrying everything you need on your back combine to raise the [...]

Ben Rabinowitz

For most people, the appeal of roped rock climbing is readily apparent—long lines, flashy gear, and the thrill of exposure. While roped climbing can be great fun, it’s not the only way to have a good time on rock. Bouldering, while related to roped climbing, is almost a completely different sport. Backcountry Expert Gearhead Ben Rabinowitz breaks down what you need to get started. Bouldering is a great introduction to climbing—it’s social, low to the ground, and presents both mental and physical challenges. So what exactly is bouldering? It’s literally climbing on boulders or other outcroppings, generally around ten feet [...]

Pace

The remote northern end of the Great Salt Lake in Utah is a stark, otherworldly place. Microbes imbue the water with a rusty red color that’s reminiscent of Mars. Delicate salt crystals grow on black basalt rocks spewed from ancient volcanoes. Signs of life are scarce. Extending from the shore near Rozel Point is a jetty made of black basalt boulders. It’s 15 feet wide and 1500 feet long, snaking outward and bending counterclockwise in great cosmic spiral. This is Robert Smithson’s Spiral Jetty. Smithson helped pioneer the concept of creating earthwork sculptures on a monumental scale, outside the confines [...]

Emma Garrard

It’s been almost two and a half years since I became a mom and there are still moments when I find myself thinking, ‘Wait, when did I become a parent?’ Yet at the same time being co-owner of a toddler is now a huge part of my life and identity. Returning to the activities that define and bring me joy was not simple, but was an exciting and challenging journey from athlete to mom-athlete with a lot to learn. No new parents like unsolicited advice directly, but here are my top ten tips from my experience returning to life as [...]

Ben Rabinowitz

Whether you’re a camping novice, a seasoned ultra-light backpacker, or living out of your tent on a road trip, having the right tent is important. Backcountry Expert Gearhead Ben Rabinowitz walks us though the process of selecting the right tent: There are many different types of tents out there, and choosing the right one will ensure a better camping experience. A tent, after all, is quite literally your “home away from home.” In this article I’ll walk you through the different constructions, sizes, weights, and features. I’ll also go into some alternatives. While each adventurer has his or her own [...]

Jared Downs

No matter what your sport or activity, a headlamp is a critical piece of gear for your kit. Not just any headlamp will do; headlamp capabilities vary greatly, and you want to be sure to select the proper headlamp for your use. Backcountry Expert Gearhead Jared Downs breaks down your headlamp options below. Headlamp selection does matter. For example, I do my best to get out trad climbing on a regular basis, and occasionally I run into dusk. Last summer I found myself on the fourth pitch of a multi-pitch climb, here in the Wasatch called “Eleventh Hour.” Getting a [...]

Andrew Bisharat

If you’re going to be a rock climber, you don’t necessarily need to know how to tie your shoes (as long as you wear Velcro slippers), but there are seven essential knots you’ll want to know. There are dozens of knots that might be worth learning as a climber, but for the most part, you can get up and down any climb on Earth with just these basic, essential knots—The Figure-8 Retraced, Girth Hitch, Clove Hitch, Munter Hitch, Double Fisherman’s, Prusik and Euro Death Knot. Know them, learn them, and practice them until you can tie them in your sleep. [...]

Jessica Hamel

Haunted by a past filled with violence, Colombia is a bit of a hidden gem when it comes to exploring in the outdoors. Just 10 years ago, Colombians didn’t feel safe in their own homes so you can’t blame them for not heading out into the isolation of the mountains for the sake of exploration. This has left the beautiful land rather undiscovered. Mix in the lack of information on the World Wide Web and that’s what you call an adventure, right? To be honest, Colombia wasn’t a thought-out trip planned and dreamt about for years. It was actually rather [...]

steph davis

With nearly two decades of hard free ascents, free solos, and mind-boggling BASE jumps under her belt, it’s clear that Backcountry athlete Steph Davis knows her stuff. The Backcountry video crew caught up with Steph for a day of world-class crack climbing and the chance to learn from a true master in Utah’s renowned Indian Creek. Learn from Steph as she explains the different types of climbing ropes and the situations that each rope is best suited for. The Basics: Static or Dynamic With ropes you basically have two options: static ropes and dynamic ropes. Dynamic ropes stretch. Static ropes [...]

Lexi D.

In the gentle rolling hills of Eastern Oregon, along the Umatilla River, you’ll find the old frontier town of Pendleton, Oregon. For over 100 years and through six generations of family ownership, the Pendleton Woolen Mill has cranked out beautiful woolen goods that reflect the culture and heritage of the American West. I received my first Pendleton blanket two birthdays ago, carefully tucked among clumps of newspaper in a modest cardboard box with scant trimmings. The box was big, with ‘Happy Birthday, Cowgirl’ scrawled in black ink across the lid; I had no inkling of what lay inside. Pulling out [...]

Jeff Catalano

Whitewater kayaking is an intense sport. It requires considerable skill, concentration and a solid understanding of the dynamics of water, not to mention a strong ability to control stress and fear. Despite paddling’s difficulty and inherent danger, after just a couple sessions in the water, or like me, simply watching kayaking movies, it’s easy to get hooked on this adrenaline-fueled sport. Whether you’ve been borrowing your buddy’s extra boat for years and already run Class V whitewater or you’re just getting ready to learn how to roll a boat, choosing a new kayak can be a daunting task with so [...]

Jeff Catalano

Once you decide to get into whitewater kayaking it’s time to start building your kit. There’s a considerable amount of kayak gear on the market and it’s pretty easy to get overwhelmed when attempting to choose specific products. Following is a list of essentials and accessories you’ll need to have a great day and stay safe on the river. PFD & Helmet Your PFD (Personal Flotation Device) and helmet are the two most important accessories on the river. In the event of a swim, your PFD will help keep you above water. Rapids are very good at pulling objects, including [...]

Dan Gates

There are countless fly fishing rod options available and choosing one can be an overwhelming task. Dan Gates, an Expert Gearhead at Backcountry.com, shares a few tips to help you select the ideal rod for any given situation. It’s an overcast day in June, the mayfly hatch is thick, and there is a ‘pig’ (really big fish) consistently rising 40 feet away. After a long, slow stalk you are finally in position to cast. All you have to do is place your fly in the perfect position to drift into the fish’s feeding lane. Too many false casts and the [...]

Lexi D.

When you escape the office and break your furry friend out of the doghouse, adventure will nearly always ensue. But long days outside navigating rugged terrain can take a toll not only on you, but on your pup as well. You’ve probably kitted yourself out with fancy trail runners or hiking shoes, a hydration vest, and a rain shell to fend off the elements—but what about your dog? Outfitting your dog properly can make the difference between a pleasant backcountry weekend and having to carry your dog back to civilization over miles of rugged terrain. We love the brand Ruffwear, [...]

rory bosio

Like many outdoor enthusiasts, my most memorable times are spent in the mountains. I love the sense of freedom and peace that comes from running over peaks and through the woods. It’s no coincidence that a lot of races on my calendar take place in the mountains, be it in Colorado, Utah, or even the Alps. However, I don’t love gasping for air at higher elevation. Difficulty breathing, fatigue, light-headedness and other symptoms associated with altitude sickness can turn a fun day into a sufferfest. But whether you’re just planning on getting out while on vacation or are traveling to [...]

dena eaton

Endurance mountain biking sees a variety of formats, from 24 hours to multi-day stage races. And while each sub-section within the discipline requires a different training focus, they all share one thing in common:  to compete in—or even complete—a marathon bike race, you’ll need to spend hours and hours in the saddle. Sure, you can just ride every day. And for many first-timers, that is the best way to train. But, if your goal is to win a stage or even end up on the final podium, you’ll need more than just miles in your legs. For example, the Breck [...]

Stephanie Nitsch

Snow bridges are one of the biggest hazards of ski and snowboard mountaineering over glacial terrain. An innocent-looking swath of snow may hide the hazard lies beneath: a yawning crevasse of ice. Snow bridges collapse without warning, but if you’re wearing a harness and are roped in (why aren’t you wearing a harness and roped in if you’re on a glacier?!), the essential gear in your pack will double as your emergency tools for a crevasse rescue. You hope an emergency never happens, but you need to be prepared if it does. If you’re considering a ski or splitboard mountaineering [...]

Jared Downs

There comes a time in many people’s lives when things need a little shaking up; that feeling overcame Henry Wasserman in 2013. He was a 34-year veteran of the financial services industry, but it was losing its appeal, despite several career moves within the sector; where he found himself did not line up with who he wanted to be. The desk was taking a toll on Henry’s physical health, too. It was time to break away from his desk and hit the trail, time for a mental cleanse and a renewed focus on his health. He began thinking of taking [...]

Stephanie Nitsch

The difference between backcountry skiing/splitboarding and ski/splitboard mountaineering is somewhat ambiguous. Navigating glacial terrain, however, is one activity that sets them apart, and which requires a new level of technical knowledge beyond your usual backcountry skill set. Last year, I took an introductory ski and splitboard mountaineering course through the SheJumps non-profit organization. My instructors, Diny Harrison (the first North American female guide to be certified by the IFMGA) and Kate Devine (a recently certified ACMG ski guide), imparted valuable glacier travel tips for aspiring ski mountaineers, the essence of which is captured below. Risk Management As in ‘regular’ backcountry [...]

Andrew McLean

Coming from an alpine skiing background, I have to admit that I didn’t take to backcountry skiing immediately. The pace seemed too slow, the vertical was one tenth of what I was used to getting at a resort and the gear seemed doily compared to heavy metal alpine gear. On top of that, I had the good misfortune of learning from Alex Lowe, aka the “Lung with Legs,” and spent most of my uphill time with my eyes half-closed, lips pulled back, gasping for air and bordering on puking while I tried to keep up to him while he broke [...]

Lexi D.

Gear fails. It’s inevitable, but many of us avoid facing the facts until it’s too late, and we’re up a creek with a busted paddle. Luckily, Voile—a Utah-based company that manufactures ski touring and splitboarding gear—offers up one the most useful gear inventions out there: the Voile Ski Strap. A marvel of simplicity, durability, and versatility, the Voile Strap is the backcountry equivalent of duct tape. In fact, it’s better than duct tape since it will even work in cold or wet conditions.Though it’s called a “Ski Strap,” don’t be fooled; the situations where a Voile Strap can save your [...]

Kim Havell

Last November, Jackson Hole Ski Patroller Pete Linn and I traveled to Peru to explore the Salkantay Trail (ST), an alternate route to the popular and crowded Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. As guides ourselves, we opted to do the trip without an outfitter to have the freedom to move on our terms. It was a last-minute decision, so we only had a couple of weeks of planning and preparation before we found ourselves in Peru, ready to embark on adventure. Part 1: Packing for Purpose Part 2: The Trek We had flown from Lima to Cusco, spent two nights [...]

Jared Downs

Originally, snowshoeing provided means for me to start my quest of summiting the 48 4,000-footers in the White Mountains of New Hampshire during the winter. Now that I reside in Utah, exploring the Wasatch-Uinta-Cache National Forest is far easier and more fun thanks to my trusty snowshoes. If you’ve always wanted to get out into the outdoors in the middle of winter, a pair of snowshoes may be your ticket to getting away from it all. Here’s a guide for choosing the snowshoes that are right for you. Working on the same general principle as skis, snowshoes spread your weight [...]

Lexi D.

I recently attended the Western Winter Sports Rep Association ski demo at Snowbasin Resort in Huntsville, Utah. A two-day ski gear extravaganza, the WWSRA demo was a chance to investigate the hottest gear for women that will hit shelves in the early autumn of 2015. Here are some of my initial impressions about the women’s skis that stood out on the racks; look for these skis to launch on Backcountry in August and September of 2015! To put my reviews in context, I am 5’3” and weigh 120 lbs (on a good day). I am an expert skier who likes [...]