Cool (Weather) Gear

With temperatures dropping, it’s time to gear up for fall.

Flannel or Puffy?

Old school Vermonters wear flannel. New school Vermonters wear a puffy. Or is that now the reverse? Regardless, Outdoor Research’s Kalaloch ($169, women’s and men’s) has you covered. The Kalaloch reverses from a

Outdoor Research’s Kalaloch.

smart flannel shirt (tapered for women) to an insulated puffy. Snaps close the cuffs and on the flannel side there are two side pockets to warm your hands as well as two chest pockets. The reverse side is a slim puffy with a weather-resistant polyester shell and synthetic fill. It’s not the most technical of pieces but it is water-resistant and wicks moisture. And if you’re on a hut or backpacking trip and don’t want to bring two pieces, this could be your solution. The Kalaloch comes in three plaid color variations for men (Storm, Naval, Juniper) and two for women (Peacock and Plum).

A Winter Fat Biker’s Friend

If you are planning on biking through the winter, the new Pearl Izumi Summit AmFib ($185) pants should keep even Iditabikers happy. The Summit is a bomb-proof pant that will keep you rolling on your mountain or fatbike even when the mercury dips well below zero. The pants have a stiff shell which will take some breaking in (at first, they feel like ski pants) but give good protection from wind and are water resistant. The liners are a patented AmFib® softshell and cozy and warm. Thermal panels on the back

Pearl Izumi Summit AmFib

of the knees let the pants breathe and make cycling easier. Since the pants are not overly stretchy, getting a good fit is important and we recommend sizing down, rather than up, so you don’t deal with bags and sags. Velcro straps at the waist also help cinch the pants up. There are three zippered pockets (two just below the waist, which feel a bit stiff when you are hunched over the handlebars) and one on the leg, right where you want it. Zippers on both ankles make it easier to slip the pants on and off. You’ll want a chamois short underneath, and maybe a wicking layer, but overall, these are the Carhartts of winter bike pants, and the ones that will get you through a Vermont winter.

Your First (or Second) Crash Pad

Bouldering is big and getting bigger and if you want to start climbing, you’ll need a crash pad. At $149, the Metolius Session II Crash Pad is a durable medium-sized pad that won’t empty your bank account. It’s the perfect middle-of-the-road option for someone who is new to the sport and wants something that is not quite minimalist but is comfortable to hike with, or to bring as extra padding to a highball or expert session.

The Session II has a new and improved flap, which is easier to load and

Metolius Session II Crash Pad

access and can hold a small daypack, shoes, chalk bag, etc. The new flap can also be reversed to cover the suspension system on the pack’s back, so you don’t have to deal with handles flopping around and getting caught as you reposition your pad. For this model, Metolius added two drag handles on either end of the pad, making it easier to reposition or anchor quickly. They also kept the carpet patch at the center for brushing off your feet, one of the original version’s most popular features.

Overall, this redesign is an improvement. We would recommend more padding if you’re planning to take some tall falls but for a beginner, lowball problems, or an extra pad to add to your highball repertoire, the Session II remains a great option.  And while you’re at it, Metolius is introducing a new version of its popular Competition Chalk Bag, which features a no frills, simple cylindrical shape, a draw string for cinching down your chalkbag on the

Metolius Competition Chalk Bag

approach, full-length pile lining and a waist belt with an easy, side-release clip buckle. Three designs are available, all of which feature popular climbing destinations: Smith Rock, The Tetons and Yosemite Valley. You pay $19.95,  but a portion of all proceeds from these bags will be donated to the Access Fund to help protect American climbing areas. —Abagael Giles 

Hounds, Hops & Home Brews

“Flash is probably the worst hunting dog that ever lived, so we named a beer after him,” says Dale Patterson of the bassett hound that gave his name to Rutland Beer Works seasonal release, Flash’s Hunting Lager. The lager is a Marzen Oktoberfest-style beer, a pale malt fashioned after the traditional Bavarian brews. Patterson opened Rutland Beer Works’ less than a year ago on Granger Street, a few blocks from his popular brew pub, Hop’n Moose. The new 14-barrell brewery’s signature Rutland Red (and three types of Barbarian, an American IPA that comes in pink, green and blue cans) started getting distributed last May by Farrell. The best place to taste new brews is still at the Granger Street brewery or at Hop’n Moose. Be sure to head to Hop’n Moose on October 20 when the brewpub is hosting a home brew contest. The winner will be brewed, labeled and distributed and all proceeds from the event go to the Rutland Humane Society. Flash must be proud.