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Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.
Jonathan Stull | 10.21.2019

It seems like just weeks ago we were basking in the summer sun, soaking up every last ray we could before the autumn turn. Well, just like gravity, the turning of the seasons is an inevitable force of nature, as are the incorrigible corn mazes, pumpkins, pumpkin pies, pumpkin spice, and other assorted squash and squash-like derivatives that also arrive in haste.

Nevertheless, we humans are up to the task that comes with the transition into winter, and so too are those who create the gear we need to venture into the outdoors during the wetter, snowier, and chillier months ahead. We've put together a few of our favorite picks to help keep you dry, warm, cozy, and comfortable when winter throws its worst at you.

In this guide, you'll find the best gear for everything you do outside, from hiking, running, and biking in the rain to snow outerwear for building a snowman with the kiddos. Winter is coming, and this is just the beginning. For the best of skiing and snowboarding gear, check back in next week.


Marmot Bennu EVODry Anorak (men’s + women’s)

Anoraks are back in style, and Marmot’s take on this unmistakable classic marries sustainability with functionality. Its side zipper makes it easy to take off and put on, especially when layering, and its waterproof finish promises to last through several wet and rainy seasons. Plus, Marmot introduced EVODry in early 2018 to advance its sustainability initiative. The Bennu Anorak is spun from upcycled nylon waste and solution-dyed in a process that reduces the use of dyes by 85%. That’s progress. The Bennu is also available in a women’s cut.

$200.00 • Men's • Amazon

$200.00 • Women's • Amazon



Patagonia Women’s Quandary Jacket

A versatile 2-layer jacket, the Quandary is your grab-and-go mainstay for almost any weather scenario. Waterproof and breathable, a barrier against wind, rain, and snow, it is rigorously tested by Patagonia to earn an H2No Performance Standard—a multi-stage process in which water is actively forced through the fabric to test its resilience. Cut for women with five colorways and easy to dress, it could easily become your go-to all-weather jacket whether you’re around town or out on an adventure. For men, check out the Stretch Rainshadow jacket.​

$199.00 • Patagonia | Backcountry


Marmot Minimalist Pant (men’s + women’s)

Like the name suggests, the men’s Minimalist pant is a great lightweight shell that’s versatile enough for a wide range of outdoor activities. Perhaps most attractive is its price point: more complex, technical gear can easily cost several hundred dollars, but the Minimalist offers PFC-free, waterproof GORE-TEX material in a 10-ounce package for less than $200. Properly layered, it’s a fantastic option for mountaineers and day hikers alike. The Minimalist is also available in a women’s cut.

$165.00 • Men's • REI | Backcountry | Amazon

$165.00 • Women's • REI | Backcountry | Amazon


Blundstone Unisex 550 Rugged Lux Boot

Blundstones have become a mainstay for just about everyone in the Pacific Northwest, and the fashionably rugged boot is a perfect fit for the region’s meteorological and Millennial influences. The Australian boot is of high quality, durable and comfortable. But there’s something about its all-purpose nature, the ease with which it can tromp along a leaf-laden path and splash through puddles, that's all too easy. Why bother with any other boot when this one always works? Think of them like Uggs all grown up—mostly. The Lux is a true unisex boot, great for men or women.

$165.00 • Amazon


Merrell Ontario Mid Waterproof (women’s + men’s)

Simply stated, the Merrell Ontario is a classic hiker that harkens back to an era when boots were hightops, leatherbound, and rugged. The Ontario remains true to that while implementing key innovations of late, like a super-sticky Vibram outsole. With the industry’s momentum toward sustainability, we’d like to see that EVA midsole exchanged for something more conscientious, but that will take time. For now, the Ontario is a slick and supportive throwback. Be sure to check out women's version, too.

$170.00 • REI | Backcountry | Amazon

$170.00 • REI | Backcountry | Amazon


Arc’teryx Granville 20

A pack for the urban commuter or rainy-day-hiker, the Granville 20 blends the technical capabilities of an outdoor pack with the aesthetic of those who pair business with pleasure. Although not waterproof, the pack is highly water resistant, featuring compartments for easy organization of the most common commuter items—like computers, tablets, and smartphones—and an easy-to-access enclosure.

$199.00 • Arc'teryx | REI | Backcountry | Amazon


Salomon Women’s Comet Warm Tight

Winter weather demands more layers, and that’s a problem when you’re a runner. For women who need freedom of movement even when it’s cold, the Comet is Salomon’s warmest winter tight on offer, a cold-weather staple that promises to keep you on the trail long after the last leaves have fallen. Plus, tights are the best baselayer for snowsports, too, wicking moisture and keeping you warm on cold days in the pow. For men, check out the Agile Warm Tight, also from Salomon.

$65.00 • Amazon


Arc'teryx Norvan SL Hoody (men’s + women’s)

Billed as the lightest GORE-TEX jacket on the market, the Norvan is built with freedom of movement in mind. Shakedry is one of GORE-TEX’s most breathable waterproof laminates available, an exceedingly useful trait while running on the trail. The jacket sheds water without a bulky face fabric, keeping the Norvan alluringly minimalistic. Plus, it packs down to the size of a fist—meaning you can stuff it into a pocket when the barometer rises.

$299.00 • Men's • Arc'teryx | REI | Backcountry | Amazon

$299.00 • Women's • Arc'teryx | REI | Backcountry


Arc’teryx Venta Mitten

The Venta is an all-around performer for high output activities during winter, especially for missions that straddle the urban-rural divide. Those who wear it around town will appreciate the touchscreen compatibility, and those romping around in the on trails or in the backcountry will love its unobtrusive insulation (and, let’s be honest, its touchscreen compatibility).

$59.00 • Arc'teryx | Backcountry | Amazon


Patagonia Departer Jacket (men’s + women)

Snow outerwear has one of the toughest jobs. Keep me warm when it’s cold? Keep me dry when I’m sweaty? Repel water, solid or liquid? Yes, I’d like all three, please. A two-layer GORE-TEX jacket, we trust that the Departer is up to the task in a simple, attractive look that you can wear in town as easily out snowshoeing or on the slopes.

$349.00 • Women's • Patagonia | REI | Backcountry

$349.00 • Men • Patagonia | REI | Backcountry


The North Face Freedom Bibs (men’s + women’s)

For serious snow missions, pants with suspenders just aren’t enough, and besides, you might as well wear a bow tie. Enter The North Face Freedom Bibs. Designed in fits for both sexes, it comfortably keeps snow out of your clothes and where it belongs: under your skis, board, or snowshoes. Plus, with ample pocket volume, your snacks and belongings will be right where you need them all day long.

$199.00 • Men's • REI

$199.00 • Women's • REI

The North Face Guardian Etip Gloves

Designed for skiers and snowboarders, the Guardian is a winter glove that specializes in snowy conditions. The North Face's Heatseeker insulation provides excellent warmth for its weight, which allows for a smaller profile and nimble fingers while out in the snow. Added bonus: Etip tech for smartphone compatibility.

$50.00 • REI | Amazon


Sorel 1964 Pac Nylon Boot

An everyday, après-ski and snow-country favorite, Sorel’s 1964 Pac Nylon promises to keep toes warm and winter weather out on even the coldest and snowiest days. Its rubber outsole repels light rain, and its insulated inner shell is rated for warmth down to minus 40 degrees. Man or penguin, this is the boot for you. For women, take a look at the Sorel Explorer.

$140.00 • Sorel | Backcountry | Amazon


Smartwool Merino 250 Base Layer Crew + Bottoms (men’s + women’s)

In terms of layering, wool is a timeless top performer. Merino itself, like many wool varieties, is antimicrobial, but only merino is so renowned for its soft feel and warmth. Add that to the numerous colorways and slim-fitting design of these Smartwool tops and bottoms, and you have an all-winter base layer that rivals form-fitting tights for a variety of winter excursions.

$100.00 • Women's Merino 250 Crew • REI | Backcountry | Amazon

$100.00 • Women’s Merino 250 Bottom • REI | Backcountry | Amazon

$100.00 • Men's Merino 250 Crew • REI | Backcountry | Amazon

$100.00 • Men's Merino 250 Bottom • REI | Backcountry | Amazon


The North Face Men’s Echo Rock Pullover Hoody

We love the Echo Rock for its slim fit and easygoing appeal. The hood adds an extra layer of insulation in a key area, and elastic at the pocket openings, cuffs, hood, and waist keep it snug in areas prone to heat loss. For women, consider the Canyonlands hooded fleece.

$85.00 • REI | Backcountry


Smartwool Women’s Spruce Creek Sweater

There’s nothing like a cozy sweater on a chilly winter day, and you don’t need to be fighting the elements in the backcountry to appreciate it. The Spruce Creek sweater is a cozy synthetic-merino blend that will keep you warm and look good whether you’re on the clock our out in the cold. Men, check out the Anchor Line Sherpa shirt jacket.

$160.00 • Backcountry | Amazon


Smartwool PhD Outdoor Medium Pattern Crew Socks (men’s + women’s)

Merino’s warmth-to-weight ratio is again on display and right at home in the sock realm. Because of merino’s exceptional versatility, these mid-weight socks punch above their weight class, equally capable on a Michigan winter hike as a more traditional wool heavyweight. Buy with confidence!

$24.95 • Men's • REI | Backcountry

$24.95 • Women's • REI | Backcountry


Patagonia Nano Puff Hoody (men’s + women’s)

The Nano Puff is a Patagonia classic, and the versatile insulating jacket has been updated to Patagonia’s increasingly rigorous sustainability standards. Although it is now made with 55% post-consumer recycled insulation and a new brick-and-mortar stitch pattern, it’s still the same all-purpose winter insulation, whether you’re sitting in winter-weather traffic or wandering in the woods.

$249.00 • Men's • Patagonia | REI | Backcountry | Amazon

$249.00 • Women's • Patagonia | REI | Backcountry | Amazon


Patagonia Recycled Cashmere Scarf

As a textile, cashmere is as labor intensive is it gets. Once rare, increasing demand for cashmere has strained the lands and people of central Asia, where up to 90% of cashmere is produced. Enter Patagonia. Spun with 95% recycled cashmere, its recycled cashmere scarf is a brilliant way to extend the life of cashmere and create a useful accessory in the process.

$99.00 • Patagonia


Hydro Flask 20-Ounce Coffee Wonder Collection

Special edition! The Wonder Collection from Hydro Flask is etched with the landscapes that inspire awe every time we head to our favorite backcountry haunts. Insulating cold drinks for a full day and hot drinks up to 12 hours, the 20-ounce coffee mug is a great way to individualize a beloved backcountry mainstay.

$32.95 • Hydro Flask | REI


MSR Lightning Explore

MSR has been an industry leader in snowshoes for years, and the longtime Outdoor Project partner has raised the stakes with the Lightning Explore. Added is an EVA foam cushion for improved foot support and a system that makes it even easier to put on and take of the snowshoe. Pair that with the already exceptional grip on level and steep slopes alike, and you have one of the best snowshoes on the market. Also available in women’s sizing.

$279.95 • REI | Backcountry | Amazon


Yaktrak Diamond Grip

Not every winter trail calls for snowshoes. Where ice reigns or snow falls in patches, Yaktrax Diamond Grip ice shoes fill in. “Transitional surfaces” is the active term here. To the hoi polloi, that’s the asphalt, dirt path, rocks, or gravel, all places where a snowshoe is overkill. If you live in especially wintry climes, you might just keep a pair in your car just in case.

$45.00 • REI | Backcountry | Amazon


NEMO Kunai Two-Person Tent

Buying a four-season tent has long been a compromise between weight and weatherability. The Kunai was designed to straddle the divide between mountain and campground. Its rugged brow pole and tapered design stands up tempestuous mountain weather above tree line, but it also has the venting and double-walled construction that makes a relaxed camping trip more enjoyable. It's an easy and reliable option for four-season campers.

$499.95 • REI | Backcountry | Amazon


NEMO Sonic Down Sleeping Bag

Rated down to minus 20 degrees, the Sonic performs well in the coldest climes—coldest climbs?—but it’s the temperature regulation that really makes the Sonic stand out. Gills, they call them: vents at your core that allows heat to escape without letting in chilly drafts. Updated for 2019, it now includes collars to better seal those sensitive areas (like your neck) where cold air likes to sneak in.

$499.95 • REI | Backcountry | Amazon


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