Gearing up for winter

Here’s the latest Great Gear for Work and Play: equipment tough enough for those who work outdoors and light enough for us weight weenies. I test, review and improve outdoor gear in places as far flung as Peru and the Alps and in my backyard on legendary Mount Hood. As snow dusts Mount Hood, here’s some new gear I’m loading up in my winter kit.

A skimo helmet that’s lighter than a tuque, the CAMP Speed clocks in at featherlight 210 grams! No excuses: protect your noggin.

Who would have thought a 1225 gram ski boot could provide enough stiffness in the high alpine, from sidecountry jaunts to big mountain ski descents. I geared up with ultralight Dynafit TLT Mountain 5 plus the quiver-of-one Manaslu ski (118/92/104) with speed skins, ski crampons and TLT Radical binders.

I took the Backcountry Access Float 38, the avalanche airbag pack, on a ski tour of the Haute Route last year, finally replacing my Black Diamond Covert Avalung pack. It’s a well-built pack that held a week’s gear…and it is priced much lower than comparabile airbag packs. 

On a pre-season trip, the Mont Blanc circuit, I circumnavigated the White Mountain, through France, Italy, and Switzerland. I used lightweight, Vibram-clad shoes from Chamonix-designed Millet Friction and a CAMP USA uberlight skimo pack the Campack X3 600.

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