Each time our crew comes together to test product for our Gear Guides, there are inevitably a few products that stand out, catch our eye and out-perform our expectations.
Sure, we talk about how much we enjoy the gear in our 2017 Winter Gear Guide, but we also rave about these products behind closed doors, enthusing about how many access points our new backpack features, what kind of wool our new favorite booties are made from, and where we’ll be taking our new snowboard this season.
Out of everything we tested, here’s the gear that had us frothing to get outside this winter season.
Tester: Jack Foersterling, Editorial Fellow, POWDER Magazine
A good midlayer can make or break your day on the mountain, and that’s why I love the Nano-Air Hoody. It’s light and breathable enough that you won’t overheat when you’re layering up, while still providing plenty of warmth under a shell when the weather closes in. It’s not a strictly function-based piece either. Whether it’s on the drive to the mountain, grabbing a beer at après, or just going out to get groceries, it’s the first thing I grab on my way out the door.
Tester: Taylor Boyd, Managing Editor, TransWorld SNOWboarding
I dislike awkward-fitting outerwear almost as much as I hate being wet. The Dakine Stoker Bib is the best combination of technical and well-tailored that I’ve found. Its 3L Gore-Tex is as waterproof as it comes, and the ample pockets are especially handy in instances when a jacket isn’t necessary but storage is. No designer possesses a snowboarding pedigree on par with Peter Line’s, and his attention to detail shows through in this piece.
Tester: Jon Perino, Senior Editor, GrindTV
The quality of the construction and the materials used to make this suit (Geoflex rubber) were what caught my eye right out of the gate. However, once I got the suit in the water, it was the lightweight feel and unbelievable flexibility that completely blew my mind … without compromising warmth at all.
Tester: Aaron Carrera, General Manager, GrindTV
Traveling can be stressful, but it doesn’t have to be. I can’t help delayed flights, inclement weather, or fellow passengers, but I can suggest the perfect travel companion: Herschel’s Coast Studio duffle. Not only does this bag look better than most of its counterparts - it performs just as well. Throw some jeans and an extra t-shirt in there for an overnighter, or pack a few more supplies and hit the road for the weekend.
Tester: Katie Rodriguez, Social Media Editor, GrindTV
The North Face really knocked the “comfortable, breathable, and functional” legging out of the park on this one. If you’re anything like me, you live, lounge, workout and do pretty much anything you can get away with wearing leggings. From working out, to long hikes and backpacking trips in brisk weather, to lounging at home, these leggings are my go-to. And BONUS: They’re incredibly flattering.
Testers: Sierra Davis and Julie Brown, Associate Editor and Managing Editor, Powder Magazine
Even if the rest of your kit is dialed, having cold hands will ruin your day skiing. The Hestra Fall Line gloves are incredibly warm, without being bulky. The funky lobster-claw look is next-level functional, so I can do everything I’d be able to do in a pair of gloves, yet I get the warmth of a mitten. It’s a hassle having to take off your gloves to adjust your goggles or zip your vents, and with these, I never have to.
Tester: Heather Hendricks, Special Projects Manager, TransWorld SNOWboarding
Whether breaking new trail in the backcountry, or ripping corduroy in-bounds, these bibs can handle it all. They have plenty of pockets, and easily accessible side vents/zippers that make them a breeze to take on and off. They are burly enough to withstand any type of weather, but look so good on, you can easily get away with wearing them all night, even after après. A bold statement, but if I only had one pair of bibs for the rest of my life, these would be them.
Tester: Gabi Aoun, Content Director, GrindTV
Through the window of an airplane after landing in Baja California, I watched a baggage attendant throw this bag on the ground and slam more bags on top of it. I thought for sure the two boards I’d put inside would be damaged, but they were totally intact. The Dakine Recon bag is comfortable to carry, fits two boards easily and most important, keeps my boards safe on those weekend strike missions.
Tester: Liliani Perino, mini-grom volunteer tester, GrindTV
Elan really nailed it with their U-Flex technology. The Sky Quick Shift skis truly give kids the feel of gripping into the snow with their full flex, making the learning curve that much more pleasant for the little ones (which is a huge win on the slopes for parents and kids alike). Paired with Elan’s Bloom XS boots, our little mini-grommet had not one complaint the entire day.