Olympus EP-3 ($1,200)The E-P3 houses everything a devoted dSLR lover wants: exchangeable lenses, fast autofocus, aperture and shutter control, extensive menus, and even programmable buttons. But it’s also compact and easy to use. The included 14 to 42mm lens collapses small, and 10 art filters are built in. And, best of all, the LCD is touch sensitive—tap the subject and the camera focuses and shoots. It can’t shoot the 12-megapixel pics as fast as an SLR, but otherwise it’s on a par in performance (including full HD movies).
Patagonia Gammut Shirt ($60)It may be designed for trail running, but everything that makes the Gammut ideal for long, chafe-free workouts will keep travellers and hikers equally comfortable. Most important is an almost seam-free design. The few seams that do exist are positioned to avoid pinching. The rest of the shirt is body mapped with mesh zones in the back to improve breathability. The polyester-spandex fabric feels good next to the skin, dries fast, wicks and provides UPF 25 sun protection.
Credit: The North Face
The North Face Alpine Project WS Soft Shell ($270)Versatility is an asset on any adventure and this jacket works well in plenty of scenarios. If you’re moving fast, the soft interior will wick your sweat away. If it’s windy, the Gore Windstopper X-fast fabric can handle the gusts. If it’s raining lightly, the DWR treatment and the hood will keep you dry. And when it’s really coming down, the tapered sleeves and trim fit slide easily under a hard shell. Basically, you can take this jacket everywhere.
Credit: Gregory Packs
Gregory Stash Duffel 125L ($110)Part of Gregory’s new travel luggage line, the Stash is the best duffle we’ve had the pleasure to travel with. A single zip opens it wide for packing and two compression straps snug things up. The built-in, padded backpack shoulder straps don’t pinch on a cross-airport haul, and they Velcro together for easy lifting onto the belt. And even after numerous flights, the burly ballistic nylon won’t show a scratch. The Stash comes in four sizes: 45, 65, 95 and 115 litres.
Credit: Outdoor Research
Outdoor Research Treadway Pant ($65)Nice enough to wear to dinner in Whistler, but technical enough to abuse on a multi-week canoe trip to James Bay, the Treadway may be the ultimate adventure travel pant. The light and soft nylon breathes well, dries fast and deflects light rain and splashes. Styled somewhere between jeans and khakis, they’re far sexier than your old convertible hiking pants.
Nikon AW100 ($380)Nikon’s first all-terrain camera is a stellar premiere. Optimized for the outdoors, it features built-in GPS that geotags images, 19 scene modes covering most situations, and easy-to-press buttons. The camera captures 16-megapixel stills and full HD vid, and zooms from 28 to 140mm. Plus, as is standard for this niche, the AW100 withstands submersion to 30 feet, drops from five feet and temps to –10 C. What aren’t so standard are the civilian good looks—the slim design looks more point-and-shoot than Hummer.
Smartwool PhD Graduated Compression Light ($45)The benefits of compression socks aren’t just for athletes. Put them on at the end of the day on a multi-day hike or bike trip, and they’ll help flush lactic acid from tired leg muscles, boosting recovery. Smartwool’s graduated compression socks have just enough squish to do the job, but not so much that they aren’t comfy enough to wear for hours. Plus, like all the company’s merino wool socks, they’re super durable and odour free.
Marmot Four Peaks ($65)This shirt is rad. Imagine a nice, breezy cotton collared shirt. Now add stretch, wicking and fast-drying technologies. The performance secret: combining hollow polyester fibres (for light weight and wicking) with Polygiene fibres (for anti-moisture retention, odour control and stretch). The three colour styles all look good and wouldn’t feel out of place in most nice restaurants. Plus there’s no irritating collar-line tag—a nice touch.
Timex Global Trainer ($295)Forget white rocks or bread crumbs. When we set off to explore a new trail network, we took this GPS-equipped training watch with us. The innovative quartered screen allowed us to keep track of pace, distance, time and speed all at once. Then when we wanted to head home, we turned on the digital compass and used the track back function, which led us to our starting waypoint. The watch also has 41 other performance indicators.
Icebreaker ReelFleece Aspiring Zip ($210)On first touch you’d never know this sweater is made of 100 per cent merino wool. It feels as soft as cotton or synthetic fibres, and the smooth outer surface hides its curly roots. The fleece’s weight is perfect for an early morning in the mountains, when the hand pockets and chin guard will help you cut the chill. But it’s also nice enough to wear out and made to wear anywhere.
Credit: Outdoor Research
Outdoor Research Sensor Dry Pocket ($25)Thanks to Sensor Dry Pockets, you don’t have to worry about the elements anymore when using mobile devices. The pockets come in two sizes—smartphone or tablet—and are completely waterproof, with radio-frequency welding and zip-lock and roll-top closures. A clear plastic cover allows full-touch screen functionality and a waterproof headphone jack keeps the tunes playing. The pockets attach with two Velcro lash points, a plastic clip and a small loop tether.
Fujifilm X100 ($900)Who says they don’t build them like they used to? The X100’s retro style goes beyond looks to the metal body, solid metal dials and stable weight. The quality of the camera’s RAW and jpeg images is matched only by dSLRs. But due to the relatively slow autofocus and the fixed lens (35 mm), this camera is best for still-life and landscape artists, who will love the innovative viewfinder interface and exceptionally rich 12-megapixel images.
Arc’Teryx Alpha SL jacket ($375)Just as a Labradoodle brings out the best in a lab and a poodle, the hybrid Alpha SL offers the best of two hard-shell materials by mixing Gore-Tex’s Paclite and Pro Shell membranes. The jacket has the burly and breathable Pro Shell across the shoulders and under the arms, but the lighter and more packable Paclite everywhere else. Pit- zips crank up the AC and a massive hood keeps the rain off.
Credit: Gerber Gear
Gerber Steady ($65)Like most other multitools, the Steady has a useful assortment of tools (including two knives, three screwdrivers, pliers and wire cutters). But what sets it apart is a tripod—only the Steady can help you take a picture. Two wings fold down to provide support along with the body. The Steady also has a screw mount on top for point-and-shoot style cameras (it’s not strong enough for SLRs) or an optional suction cup for smartphones and the like.
Credit: Mountain Hardware
Mountain Hardwear Warlow Pant ($150)Designed for Swiss speed mountaineer Ueli Steck, the Warlow is built for going fast in an alpine world. The waterproof treatment and double-weave twill can handle a wet approach and a rough rock climb, and the built-in stretch and articulated knees let you lunge and reach without any restriction. You can also customize the fit with an elasticized waist and belt loops. Bonus: Zippered pockets keep essentials safe.
Credit: Black Diamond