Want to stay warm and dry while outdoors this fall? Check out these top gear recommendations from Jeff Banowetz.
Feel good about hitting the slopes in Patagonia’s eco-friendly SnowDrifter Jacket
Patagonia has always focused on the environmental impact of its clothing, and this year it has a development to be proud of: All of its waterproof shells — 61 styles — are now made with 100% recycled materials. (They’re also sewn in fair trade-certified facilities, which is another reason you can feel good about them.) Of course, the reason Patagonia has been successful making environmentally-friendly products is that they deliver the goods in terms of performance. Its SnowDrifter Jacket, available for both men and women, is an excellent choice for those looking to spend a lot of time on the slopes this winter. The lightweight, waterproof and breathable three-layer shell offers the wearer full range of motion for comfort going downhill or testing skills in a terrain park. The helmet-compatible hood has a soft, laminated visor to help with visibility, and it can be easily adjusted for a secure fit. You can open the long pit zips to help prevent overheating, and an adjustable powder skirt can be cinched tight to keep out the cold or lie flat when you don’t need it. For those backcountry skiers and snowboarders, there’s a RECCO avalanche reflector embedded in the jacket, making it easier for mountain rescuers to find you. The jacket even has a secure, waterproof pocket on the chest for your phone or other media. So feel good about your purchase’s impact on the environment — and know you’ll be ready to go when the snow comes this winter.
Price: $399, patagonia.com
Gore Insulated Overshoes make winter biking more comfortable
People often look at bike commuters in cold-weather climates like they’re crazy, but cyclists quickly learn that it doesn’t take long to warm up. Most of the time, the ride is much more pleasant than standing to wait for a bus or a train. Cyclists also learn that well-ventilated shoes designed for the summer are a major liability in the cold. The rest of your body may be toasty, but it’s tough to keep your feet warm without some help. Of course, if you have a pair of Gore C5 Windstopper Insulated Overshoes, you’ll be smiling on the whole ride. These booties that go over your shoes are both windproof and water-resistant. The PrimaLoft insulation does wonders to keep your feet warm without feeling too bulky. A full-length zipper makes them easy to take on and off, and a velcro strap on the sole lets you dial in a perfect fit. They’re even reflective to help motorists see you better when riding in the dark. Even if you’re not a bike commuter, you’ll find these overshoes can extend your cycling season—that sunny day in January might be a good day for a bike ride after all.
Train for your next race with this Coros GPS watch
As the year winds down, thoughts naturally turn to the next set of athletic goals. Maybe you participated in a marathon or triathlon this year; perhaps you’d like to do one next year? Now is the time to start planning, and having a quality GPS watch can do wonders in tracking your training data and providing motivation. The Coros Pace GPS Multisport Watch has everything most athletes need in a lightweight and reasonably priced package. The biggest selling point — other than its accuracy — is battery life. This watch will give you 25 hours in GPS mode, and nearly 30 days in standard mode. In just two hours you can recharge, and you’re ready to go again. Triathletes, in particular, will love the swim and bike modes designed for tracking those sports, and the built-in optical heart-rate monitor will help all athletes using zone training. Those who like to dive deep into the stats can measure cadence, stride length, and stroke rate, and everyone will enjoy the customizable screen that lets you see just the numbers you want during a workout. The time to connect to GPS is fast, and the distance measurements are accurate. Another nice benefit for this time of year — with dark morning and evening runs — is the automatic backlight function that engages when you turn your wrist toward you. If you’re interested in adding that bucket-list race to your calendar for next year, this is the watch to help you get there.
Price: $199, coros.com
Stay dry, warm and comfortable in Smartwool’s Merino Sport Fleece
It’s the time of the year when we have to start covering up, which for most of us — at least in the northern part of the country — means it’s time to break out the fleece. These versatile pieces of clothing are lightweight and breathable, meaning that you can wear them indoors without overheating, yet they provide enough insulation for outdoor comfort in most conditions. But the drawback to a traditional fleece becomes evident if you wear it outside during blustery weather — the wind cuts right through the fabric. The usual solution is to wear a windproof shell (and waterproof; a fleece doesn’t do well when wet, either).
Smartwool’s new Merino Sport Fleece combines the appealing benefits of a fleece along with windproof and waterproof properties to give you a do-everything top. It features a Merino wool lining on the inside for that comfortable next-to-skin feel, while the synthetic outer layer provides stretch and protection from the elements. The non-PFC Durable Water Repellent coating keeps the rain and snow outside while you remain comfortably warm. This will quickly become your go-to top for winter hiking, running, and even cross-country skiing and snowshoeing in moderate conditions. Available for both men and women, it’s also stylish enough to get plenty of use in the office and around the house.
Price: $140, Smartwool.com
Light your running path (and space around you) with the Nathan Luna Fire lamp
The fall and early winter is a great time of the year to run — if only the sun would cooperate. Of course, it doesn’t, amd while you may not be sweating bullets five minutes into your workout, you often have to do it in the dark. Headlamps are fine, but they don’t necessarily provide enough light, particularly if you’re going fast or running on tree-covered trails. But here’s a solution that can be a big help: Nathan’s Luna Fire chest/waist light. Rather than fitting around your head, this 250-lumen lamp is designed to be worn around your chest or waist. It’s easily adjustable, so you can point the light exactly where you need it. You can also remove the light from the strap and clip it onto your jacket or hydration pack. The lithium-ion battery is rechargeable via a USB port, and on a full charge you’ll get a burn time of 25 hours. For trail runners, this is an excellent option to light up your whole path — not just where your head is pointing. For those on the roads, you don’t need to rely on those street lights anymore. And for everyone, you can enjoy the cool running weather without worrying about the sun.
Price: $40, nathansports.com