Gear, gear, I get lots of gear, to try and to review.
Since the winter season began, these are some of my favorites.
Adea Wardrobe Basics
Looking for one top that does it all from skiing to après and beyond? Adea makes a lightweight mock turtleneck that can be used as a base layer, for skiing or under a sweater ’round the fire.
Made of an Italian microfiber that breathes and insulates, the shirt I tried is super soft, silky and comfortable. The sizing runs small — I ordered up a size and was glad I did. The fabric stretches in all directions, so it doesn’t bind and it washes up beautifully.
Surprisingly for a synthetic fabric, I found that it didn’t get smelly like some polypro base layers, making it good for several wearings in a row. However, I also didn’t find it as warm as polypro or my favorite, wool. If you’re wearing it skiing, save it for spring.
Otherwise, keep it indoors and you’ll love it!
81 HeadThreads claim there are 8 ways to wear these seamless, stretchy one size tubes of fabric, but I’m pretty sure there are more. While I haven’t tried all 8, my favorites include using the tube as a neck gaiter, ear warmers and best of all (!) as a headband that takes my helmet-head hair and dresses it up.
My husband doesn’t care about helmet head, so his preferred uses include as a sweat band under his bike helmet and a warm layer under his ski helmet.
Yes, there are other similar products out there. But Andrew Hohncke, the owner of 81 HeadThreads is a super nice guy and undergraduate student in Minnesota.
If you’re in the market for this product, buy it from him at 81headthreads.com.
A sturdy little plastic wallet, the Capsul is a Canadian design that holds just what you need for a ski day or week: a driver’s license, credit card, health insurance card, bank card and spare cash. It’s a nice little pocket-friendly box that means you don’t need to bring your purse, or regular wallet, with you on ski adventures.
The Capsul is inexpensive and comes in bright colors, making it hard to lose in your ski bag or pocket. While I find the snap closure a bit balky sometimes, it’s closes up securely and weighs nothing.
It’s also great for kids, perfect for holding their ski day lunch money.
Not a stand alone consumer product, Primaloft’s Performance Down Blends are a new fill product from this long-time maker of synthetic insulation for outdoor gear, pillows, comforters and more.
I had the opportunity to try a puffy coat filled with Primaloft Gold in December. Primaloft Gold is a 70% down, 30% Primaloft fill. A proprietary process combines the down and Primaloft into a lightweight compressible mixture, that is meant to take the outstanding insulating qualities of both fills and enhance them with Primaloft’s superior water resistance. To the touch, it feels just like down, soft and compressible, not a bit stringy or scratchy.
Wearing the jacket under a lined shell on a cold Canadian morning, I found it quite comfortable and warm. After we’d done a bit of boot packing to drop into a bowl, I was sweaty. But that doesn’t mean the fill doesn’t breathe. It meant that we’d done some boot packing, and it was impossible for me to tell what wasn’t breathing: the external material of the coat, my shell or the fill.
I love down. I’m a down snob. But I would definitely consider products made with Primaloft Gold — in sleeping bags, coats and even my for my favorite pillow, especially in high moisture situations.
Columbia Millenium Flash Shell Jacket
A basic Columbia shell with OmniHeat, the Millennium Flash jacket has some great features: pit zips, a powder skirt, a ski pass pocket, an adjustable hem and more. The hood fits over a ski helmet and there’s even a wrist pocket for your ski pass.
I’m still not completely sold on OmniHeat. I think it works quite well after after I’ve built up my body temperature with movement. But it is initially cold and if you’re not moving, it won’t warm up. Still, Columbia makes a good, solid technical product with all the features you expect.
I also love the Hibiscus color!
Coppertone Sport Sunscreen Stick
With Spring skiing just around the corner, you need a good sunscreen. And what makes a good sunscreen? Although my dermatologist always stresses the importance of zinc oxide and titanium, my kids won’t wear most natural creams, finding them “too sticky.” They will wear Coppertone Sport 55 SPF Sunscreen stick and they’ll wear it gladly.
So while we may be giving up the superior UV blocking of zinc and titanium, at least they’re wearing something. Plus, the stick is inexpensive, super handy and not a bit messy. It travels easily and doesn’t expand at altitude.
Best of all, on cloudy days, the slightly waxy texture of the sunblock offers protection from wind and cold. I’ve been wearing it almost every day all winter.
If you prefer creams, Coppertone Sport also comes in an SPF 50 face lotion, which feels surprisingly dry when on, and an SPF 50 “rest-of-you” lotion. They even make a nice unscented chapstick.
As always, all opinions are my own and are exactly what I would tell my family and friends.
Any gear you’re especially enjoying this winter? Please share your finds and favorites!
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