It's fall — and it's time to get some new gear! We've tested these three items, and they hold up well. Check them out here, starting with the most technical puffy on the market:
Columbia Titanium Heatzone 1000 TurboDown Jacket
A combination of 890-fill water-resistant down stuffed in baffles that eliminate cold spots, thermally reflective Omni-Heat insulation liner and waterproof-breathable hard-shell fabric on the hood, shoulders and sleeves makes this one of the most technical puffies we’ve ever tested. Cut long with a helmet-compatible hood, Velcro cuffs and five pockets (including a stash on the lower left sleeve) this jacket functions as anything from winter-camping apparel to ski-mountaineering gear. As one tester said, “It’s crazy warm!” (Women’s pictured; men’s and women’s available.)
The funky “Back to School” colours of the Kanken sold us right away—it’s ideal for the gym, cycle-commuting or just an everyday carryall. Then we researched the 37-year-old story of this Swedish pack, originally designed to “straighten the backs” of Scandinavian schoolchildren. It’s simple—webbing straps and carry-handle, a water-repellent Vinylon fabric (which sheds H20 without a chemical coating) and a reflective logo—but it works. And the removable sitting pad is welcome for those wet-grass days of fall.
Employing the same hollow-fiber technology as the LifeStraw Personal Water Filter—used in successful public health campaigns throughout Africa as well as a survival tool worldwide—the new LifeStraw Go is aimed at hikers and travellers. Fit inside a BPA-free waterbottle, these filters purify to 0.2 microns—eliminating 99.9 per cent of bacteria and protozoa (1,000-litre lifespan; replacement filters are $20). Just fill the bottle from virtually any tap, stream or lake and sip from the easy-drinking spout—it doesn’t get much simpler, or safer, than that. Bonus—a portion of the funds from every LifeStraw sale go toward providing community water filters to schools in developing countries.