Saturday, April 2, 2011

End of Winter Gear Review

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“All that is gold does not glitter; not all those that wander are lost.”~J.R.R. Tolkien

So winter is finally over, although here (in New Jersey USA) yesterday April 1st we had a bit of a snow storm.  Still, I’m putting away my winter stuff.  So I’ll make a few comments about things I liked the most.  I came across a few new interesting things:

Somehow out of the blue Columbia Sportswear ask my wife and I to test a couple of jackets from their new Omni Heat line.  I’m sure by now you all have seen this stuff, jackets with a silvery metallic lining on the inside, said to increase warmth by about 20%.  It does actually do this.  The technology reminds me very much of the New Balance FUGU jacket I reviewed on this blog long ago (here is that post).

The Columbia Omni Heat line is nice, although so far I don’t see any jackets in that line particularly designed to be light-weight and so not so good for backpacking. jacket                

My wife tested the women’s Heat Elite Jacket Omni Heat Jacket. She liked it very much but did find the sizing to be a little tight considering it’s main use other than day-to-day wear would be as a ski jacket.  The jacket is a soft shell; wind resistant, breathable.  Nicely soft to the touch.

They sent me a Grade Max Full-Zip Sweater. The thing is extremely warm comfortable and I find myself wearing it quite often.  I don’t 220think I would take it backpacking simply because of it’s weight and it wouldn’t pack down well.  I have used it on several day hikes and it breaths well.

Gloves is an area where I’ve seen some improvement but you have to search carefully. Ideally I would like a glove that is warm, water-proof, but not to bulky so that you loss finger dexterity.  I found two sets that fit this: The Serious Xtreme all weather – these are top quality and really are warm (done to very low temps) and water-proof.  uagloveThe other set of gloves I like for not so cold weather (not below 20 degrees F) is the UA Extreme Coldgear running glove. They say it is “water-proof” by I would say it is more like “water- resistant” so long as you don’t' get them to wet.  The fit – “like a glove”; extremely comfortable and give you great dexterity.



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