Cold Season Outdoor Gear

Posted November 8th, 2008

Photo by Brian Mohr/Emberphoto.com
We’ve made the long trip around the sun once again. Before long, Old Man Winter will blanket Vermont in white, and many of us will be out there making the most of it on our skis, boards, snowshoes, bikes, and sleds. Ever year, we stumble on a few items that we feel could make your winter season even more enjoyable, and they are featured here. Have a great winter, and stay warm and dry!
Ibex Balance Sports Bra, $49
www.ibexwear.com
Thanks to Woodstock, Vermont-based Ibex, women now have an attractive woolen bra. Women are raving about the warmth, comfort, support, and breathe-ability of this wool-blend (wool, nylon, spandex), wireless sports bra. The stitching is smartly placed for a body-hugging fit and the bra is machine washable. For nearly any sort of winter activity, the Balance Sport Bra is well worth the investment. Available in XS-L, for low-to-medium impact activities. Imported from Turkey, in green, burnt red, and black.
KD Hill Knitwear Round Top Hats, $30-38
www.kdhillknitwear.com
An avid Vermont skier and cyclist, Kathy Dowd Hill knits all of her own designs at her home-based studio in Hinesburg. Knitting a variety of hats, mittens, and headbands for everybody from infants to adults, Kathy’s craftsmanship is truly impressive, her designs fun and colorful, and her prices reasonable. Her Round Top Hats are available in a great variety of designs. They feature 100-percent wool, with accents of rayon and chenille, are lined with arylic, merino wool, or cotton, and can be ordered with or without a tassel. Don’t leave home on a winter day without one!
Lake Cycling Winter Bike Shoes (Model MXZ301), $249
www.lakecycling.com
These are arguably some of the highest quality winter cycling shoes—boots, really—on the market. If you are serious about mountain biking and commuting through our Vermont winters, these are a worthy investment you won’t regret. With insulated leather high-tops with neoprene cuff closures that seal tight above the ankles, the MXZ301s also feature a twist-lock lacing system for precision fit, great traction for winter conditions, and a cozy footbed. They are especially easy to slip on and off, too, making these a convenient option for commuters. Pricey, but still cheaper than a month’s supply of gas for your truck.
Pacific-Cornetta Tea-zer, $22
www.pacific-cornetta.com
This is really a modified 14-ounce thermos designed with serious tea drinkers in mind. Integrating a stainless steel basket for steeping tea bags or loose leaf tea, the Tea-zer is simple to use, portable, and easy to clean. Its double walled, insulated construction will keep things hot for several hours on even the coldest Vermont days, especially if you keep it wrapped in an extra layer and stuffed inside your pack.
Vermont Kicksled Company Kicksleds, $130-$240
www.vermontkicksled.com
For a long time, kicksleds have been a popular form of winter transportation in Scandanavia. They are little more than a small sled constructed with a chair mounted onto a pair of flexible metal or wood runners or skis. The kicksled is driven by standing on one runner and kicking backwards with the other foot, just like the non-motorized scooter. Steer them by twisting the handlebar mounted atop the chair. Sleds with metal runners alone are ideal for very hard packed snow, or better yet, frozen lakes. Plastic skis can be affixed to the metal runners for softer snow conditions. It’s a great way to get out in the winter with kids, and it’s really great exercise. Use them to visit your neighbors, to travel along snowpacked roads or groomed trails, or to explore frozen lakes. The chair can be easily transformed into a luggage rack with a little creativity.
Patagonia Women’s Stubai Waterproof Boots, $160
www.patagonia.com
The Stubai boots are a warm and cozy haven for your feet, while you slosh through winter parking lots, take out the trash and recycling, or snowshoe along your favorite winter trails. In Patagonia’s usual form, these stylish boots feature recycled content in the flip-up fleece collar, the footframe, and in the rubber sole. Waterproof leather (tanned to high ISO 14001 environmental standards), heel and toe reinforcements, and a smooth lacing system are just a few more highlights. Available in sizes 5 to 11 (half sizes) and 12, in khaki, brown, and chanterelle.
Life Link Teton Backcountry Pole, $60
www.life-link.com
This is not only a dependable, adjustable-length ski pole ideal for backcountry skiing and touring, but it is also a great year-round pole for steep hiking and scrambling during the warmer months. The pole is easily adjusted by twisting its upper and lower halves in opposite directions, and it features a grippy “friction patch” for easy adjusting when your hands or the poles are slippery. The baskets are ideal for all snow conditions. Growing kids could make use of these poles for years.
Darn Tough Over-the-Calf/Full Cushion Ski Sock, $22
www.darntough.com
Darn Tough is the culmination of more than 25 years of sock-making by the Cabot family in Northfield, VT. Darn Tough is the company’s line of “Premium All Weather Performance Socks,” and they continue to knit these right here at their sock mill in Northfield. Their Over the Calf/Full Cushion Ski Sock is truly a work of art, featuring high-density cushioning throughout, elastic support around the arch, reinforced heels and toes, and Darn Tough’s custom blend of merino wool, nylon, and lycra. They are guaranteed to be the most durable and comfortable socks you’ve ever owned.
Black Diamond Wool Weight Glove, $40
www.bdel.com
Snug fitting, wool-lined, a full leather palm… these are the perfect gloves for aerobic winter activities, as long as it is not so cold your breath freezes. These gloves are also ideal for long climbs in the backcountry, spring skiing at your favorite ski area, shoveling, even snow ball fights. However, these are not your sheep skin, hardware store specials, so try to avoid more abrasive activities like wood stacking if you want them to last for a while.

Brian Mohr

Brian Mohr

Brian Mohr and Emily Johnson of Moretown own Ember Photography and publish AdventureSkier.com. They can be reached through their website, EmberPhoto.com.