Mountain Hard Wear
Credit: Mountain Hard Wear
Credit: MEC

MEC Frolic Hoodie (women only)


Weight: 130 grams

Best For: Preventing a little wind or rain from ruining your fun.

Our female testers mostly used this versatile and lightweight wind shell for blustery runs and rides. The ripstop nylon and water-repellent finish did a decent job of deflecting cold mornings and passing showers, though it soaked through when it really poured. At only 130 grams, it's the perfect weight to bring "just in case."

Bottom Line: Stuff it in its chest pocket and never leave home without it.

Credit: Lowa

Lowa Innox Lo GTX


Weight: 770 grams

Best For: Long-distance day hiking.

Don't let the trail-runner looks fool you. They disguise a supportive midsole with two densities of polyurethane cushioning. A spider-web of plastic stabilizers wraps the foot from just behind the toes all the way to the deep heel cup. A Gore-Tex membrane backs the soft shell upper. Supple and stretchy, yes, but not super tough.

Bottom Line: Pricey, but versatile. Most at home on cruising trails, we happily lace them up for everything from walking the dog to short backpack trips.

Mountain Hardwear
Credit: Mountain Hardwear

Mountain Hardwear Hueco 20


Weight: 480 grams

Best For: Rock climbing, short day hikes.

Sure, this pack is designed for cragging — narrow profile that hugs the back, reinforced haul loops, rope strap, bomber 400-denier fabric — but it works just as well as a simple-but-functional day-pack for any adventure. This zip access top-opener holds more than its 20 litres suggest and two side pockets come in handy for water bottles or other essentials.

Bottom Line:  Perfect on a climb and on the approach.