This Christmas I was the lucky receiver of a North Face Aconcagua Snow Down Vest ($100) — it's now my favorite thing to wear. The 550-fill down interior keeps my torso warm and protected, but I still have full mobility in my arms, great for when I'm biking or climbing. When it's really cold out I use it as a base layer since it's not too bulky. I've worn it underneath my wool jacket, and I'm happy to say that I didn't feel like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. Score!
I think it's the little features of the vest that make it a great investment. The deep fleece lined pockets keep my hands nice and warm, and there's also an interior zippered pocket that I use for stashing my keys and cell phone. The vest zips all the way up to my chin, and it has a cinch cord around the bottom hem so I can wear it snug around my body — it's like having a mini sleeping bag around my core! I also love that the zippers have tabs on them, which make them a lot easier to use, especially if you're in the middle of a run or bike ride.
It's perfect for the city dweller too. The unique quilted pattern and slight sheen of the material give it a stylish twist — I'll often throw it over a shirt or a hoodie on days when I'm just running around doing errands. With all the colors it comes in, there's bound to be one for you.
Whether you're aching to spend those holiday gift cards on something new, or are looking to refresh your electronic repertoire, you've come to the right place. Over the past month, I've been scouting the best gadgets and accessories to add to your collection, and I've found a few essentials that you should consider. What's hot right now? Find out right here.
Not too long ago I told you about the Radiance Jacket by Mountain Hardwear, which comes with a padded heater and a built-in power pack for charging your gadgets, but I wasn't completely in love with it. But this jacket, which is cheaper than the Radiance jacket, lets you control your iPod with an external joystick on the cuff. All you have to do is connect your iPod to the inner pocket and use your sleeve to adjust your tunes. This jacket also comes in black, and there is a men's version as well. Santa can you hear me?
Since we're getting a hint of warm weather, I'm tempted to rip off all my heavy layers and run outside in shorts and a tank top.
Unfortunately we're not quite there yet, so you'll need some thinner layers to keep you warm. That's why I love my North Face Apex Pneumatic Softshell ($99). It's a lightweight jacket that's stretchy so it has a feminine, flattering fit. I wear it for Spring runs, hiking, biking, and to and from the gym. I love that it's soft and fuzzy on the inside, but the outside is smooth so it stays clean and doesn't pill (like fleece jackets tend to). The two pockets are great for keeping my hands warm, or for carrying my keys, cell phone, and iPod. I wouldn't wear this on super cold and windy days, but if it's around 50° F, it's the perfect layer.
I have it in brown, but it comes in tons of other colors too. To see them, click the images below.
I used to hate skiing because whenever I fell in the snow (which was quite often), snow would get up my back and down my pants making me wet and miserable.
All that's in the past now, and I love rolling around in the snow because now I have a bib. A bib is essentially like over-alls, so they go all the way up to your chest and have straps that go over your shoulders. They fit snugly against your body and when you put a jacket over it that has an attachable powder skirt, like the North Face Allure, you can say goodbye to snow getting up in your business.
I'm a huge fan of the Bib made by North Face. For $399, I know it's a little pricey, but if you're big into winter sports, these will make your outings that more comfortable. I've had my pair for almost two years and they still look practically new, so I know they are well made. Since they're made with three layers of waterproof Gore-tex, my legs stay dry and the ankle gaiters keep snow from getting into my boots. They're really warm too, and all I need to wear is a pair of baselayer pants underneath and I can play in the snow for hours. If you're in the market for some new snowpants, I'd definitely consider getting a bib. Your warm and dry body will thank you.
Ahh, Winter is here and many of you may be totally psyched that you can finally snap on you skis or board and hit the snow.
It won't be any fun though if you're cold or wet, so you need a good, solid jacket that'll keep you warm and dry.
Check out this one from the North Face called the Allure Jacket ($249). It's filled with insulating down that'll keep your body heat from escaping, and the outer layer is waterproof, which is rare. Many down coats aren't waterproof, or if it's snowing or you fall a few times, the feathers soak up the water, making the jacket heavy and soggy. Plus you will be wet and therefore freezing. This jacket also has a detachable hood, so you can use it on super-cold days, or just when you're riding the windy chairlift.
There's a pocket on the left forearm for important stuff like tissues or your cell phone, and there's an inside pocket for goggles or sunglasses. I love the core zipper vents on the chest, so you can cool yourself down if you get overheated. Another great thing is that is has an elastic powder skirt attached inside, just below the waist, so you can snap it shut and keep snow from getting up your back. This jacket has a really flattering fit and is slightly longer in the back to keep your bum toasty warm. It is available in black, brownie, cornsilk yellow, icy blue, new taupe, or white. Order it here.
Some runners are ecstatic when the summer heat waves goodbye and the crisp autumn air moves in. It's like free air-conditioning, because you bundle yourself up in lightweight layers for your run, and when you start to warm up, you just peel them off and the fall breeze cools you down.
Trail running is one of my favorite things to do in the fall. Since the air is so cold, you don't have to worry about voracious mosquitoes attacking you (that's why I don't trail run on hot days). You do need to watch the ground carefully though, since leaves may be covering hidden ditches, rocks and twigs. That always adds to the excitement though, and because there's so much to be aware of, there's no time to get bored.
Here are a few pieces of gear to make your fall trail running more enjoyable:
I am always on the lookout for good gear for my outdoor runs. It's hard to find the perfect stuff because too much bulk can really bring you down and too little can mean a very chilly run.
This is why I love the North Face Prodigy Riding Hoodie ($75.00). The two pockets allow you to carry the essentials (iPod, identification and mobile) without bulking the hoodie up with too many pockets. I love the side zipper at the neck, which allows for a great (and snug) fit. Buy it online at TheNorthFace.com.