Here’s a look at some of the coolest new outdoor wear for the upcoming season, whether you’re blazing your own tracks on snowshoes or skis, hitting the resorts, or just hanging with friends around a campfire.
High-tech base layers for warmth
You don’t need umpteen layers to stay warm come winter. Seirus’s new HeatWave base layers — drawn from body-mapped heat studies — use reflective technology to warm key areas and incorporate a wicking material for drawing moisture away from your body. HeatWave tops and bottoms for men and women use a special fabric that boosts the warmth factor 4 to 5 degrees and reflects 20 percent of your body heat in your lower back, kidney, and glute areas, offering the warmth equivalent of a much heavier layer. Meanwhile, a lighter MaxWick material promotes breathability where we tend to heat up: outside legs, belly, groin, and inner arms. The tops and bottoms also contain an anti-microbial mesh in high-perspiration areas to cut down on odor. The four-way-stretch fabric and flat seams add extra comfort when you’re out adventuring. The base layers fit true to size, maintain their shape, and feel soft against the skin. $119.99 bottoms; $129.99 men’s crew top; $134.99 women’s long-sleeve ¼ zip top. www.seirus.com
When ski pants meet skirt
Mainer Cathy Streifel created Snowskants to fill a gap in women’s ski wear: a comfortable pair of snow pants with a built-in skirt for the slopes, something that looks good, performs well, and helps keep wearers warm on icy chairlifts. In other words, a product that’s fun, flattering, and functional. This one-woman company (called Pyxie) produces these snow skirts for purchase online and at the Kittery Trading Post in XXS to XXL. The four-way-stretch waterproof softshell fabric — made of poly-spandex with a soft microfleece layer on the inside — is machine washable and dryer friendly. Snowskants have a generous stretch-fabric waist, come with built-in snow gators and a small pocket on the front, and work for many winter adventures, from snowshoeing to downhill skiing. $139.99. A portion of proceeds from Snowskants sales benefit suicide prevention. www.pyxie.co
Lightweight shells for uphill travel
Lightweight and breathable outer layers prove key for aerobic backcountry adventures, from snowshoeing to backcountry touring. Unless the weather dictates otherwise, you can leave your heavy insulated ski jacket and pants at home and bring a selection of layers that help you regulate your temperature (and avoid overheating) — plus a puffy jacket for keeping warm during breaks and descents.
Outdoor Research’s new Carbide jacket and bibs, which come in men’s and women’s versions, work great as a waterproof and breathable outer layer for skinning up a mountain or snowshoeing in the woods, or for resort days when you don’t need a fully insulated kit. The soft and lightweight hard-shell jacket has pit zips, a powder skirt, a clever adjustable drawstring hood with a clip for “locking” the fit in place (with or without a helmet), and tons of pockets, including two chest and handwarmer pockets (all lined with mesh for breathability) and a zippered internal pocket. The matching bibs have snow gaiters, side zips for ventilation (and a longer zippered opening on the right for pit stops), two hand pockets (one with a clip and sleeve for your avalanche beacon), and reinforced nylon scuff guards on the inner calves to protect from boots. The company added easy-to-adjust stretch webbing made by California-based Arcade Belts for the suspender straps, featuring artwork leased from India’s Warli Tribe. $299 jacket; $299 bibs. www.outdoorresearch.com
Gloves and mitts with high-tech roots
About 20 minutes from Acadia National Park, a company that makes gloves for handling cryogenic materials has decided to create the ultimate winter glove and mitt. Trenton-based Tempshield launches its Mainers brand this month, drawing on the technology used to make gloves for NASA and the US Army. The Mainers glove and mitt work great whether you’re shoveling your driveway, snowmobiling, or skiing. They have a mix of four-way-stretch nylon and soft durable leather on the outside and layers of 3M Thinsulate, Polartec grid fleece, and microfleece on the inside, with a Gore-tex membrane to ensure waterproofness. The strategically placed grid fleece and Thinsulate on the back of gloves add warmth, while the thinner microfleece and leather on the fingertips add a nimble touch, giving you the dexterity to grasp zipper pulls and finer objects, no problem, and provide warmth. The gloves and mitts come in dark blue with splashes of lobster-red embroidery and stitching. $195. www.mymainers.com
Leather gloves for the slopes
Randolph-based Vermont Glove has been hand-stitching leather gloves for the past 100 years and sourcing its materials from the Northeast. The company, known for its workhorse glove The Vermonter, has created a new Uphill Skier glove this year that blends the ruggedness of a leather work glove with the comfort and function of a ski glove. The soft goat leather makes the gloves comfortable on first wear and will conform to your hands as you break them in. Outer seams add to inner comfort. Remove and wear the merino wool glove liners when climbing uphill, then slip on the leather gloves for your descent. A 3¾-inch canvas powder cuff helps shed snow and cinches shut to keep your wrists warm and dry. The Uphill Skier comes in 24 different sizes — yes, 24 — including customized kids’ gloves based on a tracing of your child’s hand. Another company kudo: Its factory is powered by solar energy and a wood pellet boiler. $140. vermontglove.com
Adaptable goggles for all conditions
Conditions on the slopes can change quickly, making it essential to swap your goggle lens in a flash. Dragon’s new Swiftlock 2.0 Lens Change System incorporates a quick-release lever that lets you release one lens and clip another one in place even with gloves on. You’ll find this technology on the new RVX OTG goggles, which also let skiers and snowboarders fit prescription glasses underneath. For those with smaller faces, try the NFX2 goggles, which have the original Swiftlock system with a quick-release lever on each side of the goggle, and come in new colors this year. Both goggles have an anti-fog coating, excellent venting, foam topping with a hypoallergenic micro-fleece lining, and Lumalens color optimizing, which punches up colors and improves depth perception to make navigating a breeze in shifting weather conditions. $230 RVX OTG, $190 NFX2. www.dragonalliance.com
High-tech helmets a must
Protecting your head proves crucial, whether you’re pushing your limits inbounds or venturing into the wilderness. Smith’s new Altus (men’s) and Vida (women’s) helmets straddle both worlds, providing super lightweight, breathable shells that prevent overheating while climbing uphill and superior safety features for the descent. The helmets feature an impact technology called Koroyd, in which hundreds of lightweight cylinders are molded together so they instantly collapse in a crash to absorb the impact and protect your head. The (optional) MIPS technology further protects your brain from the rotational forces of a crash. The helmets also breathe well, look cool, have a one-handed vent adjustment on top, and come with removable ear flaps. The fleecy interior and mesh add extra comfort and venting. $150/$180 without/with MIPS. smithoptics.com
Stylish hats for trail and après
Northern California-based artist Tommy Breeze has launched new winter beanies that work great whether you’re out for a snowshoe adventure or enjoying an après-ski drink around a campfire. Breeze looks to nature for inspiration for his original designs, drawing on the colors, lines, and balance found outdoors near his home in Marin County. The serene scenes depict birds, mountains, and a cypress tree in inspiring colors. With help from a growing staff, he hand-sews each patch onto every knit hat. The warm beanies, made by Milani, have a folded brim and faux-fur pompom, and come in black, maroon, and white. $32. tommybreeze.com
Chill out in these toasty layers
You’ll probably spend more time hanging around outdoor firepits and tailgaiting in parking lots this ski season. Obermeyer’s Sojourner (for women) and Caldera (for men) work perfectly as après pieces, helping you stay warm outside when the temps dip. The longer-length Sojourner has a slim stylish cut with tailored front pockets, an adjustable waist, and a slit in the back for greater range of movement (snap it shut for warmth). It comes with a high fleece-lined collar for extra warmth, fleece-lined handwarmer pockets, and a detachable faux-fur hood with two adjustments for keeping it off your face. The Sojourner has a coated waterproof and stain-resistant fabric and 600-fill down — and comes in sizes 2-20. The men’s Caldera jacket has a sleek, tailored cut but can hold its own on the slopes, too. As a performance piece, it offers stretch fabric for great range of motion and a removable hood, goggle pouch, ski pass pocket, and built-in snow skirt that snaps out of the way. It’s filled with cozy 800-fill goose down and has a waterproof yet breathable soft outer fabric. $329 Sojourner, $339 Caldera. obermeyer.com
Kari Bodnarchuk can be reached at email@example.com.
Kari Bodnarchuk can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.