Winter 2015 Best Of
Behind every product we carry is a buyer who deemed it worthy to be there. Check out what our buyers consider to be the cream of the crop for our customers this season! Fill out your wishlist, check off gifts for friends and family, or just treat yourself (we won't tell).
Senior Buyer Laurie (Apparel) on the Best Values:
How do you approach being a buyer? :"I figuratively have to get into our customers' heads. With apparel, that's hard because every single person's style is uniquely individual. We can't carry everything in every color, so I have to figure out the balance between reliable basics and cool one-offs. One secret: pretty much everyone and everything looks good in black."
What do you like about being a buyer? "Line showings are the best! We basically get a private, exclusive sneak peek at all the awesome stuff our favorite brands have created for upcoming seasons. Related: the worst part is having to wait several months for them to arrive."
Topo strikes the perfect balance with their hybrid trail runners. You get the light weight and flexibility of minimalist shoes with the support and traction of maximalist models. All the runner GearCoopers love Topo!
For the essential fleece, look no further than Patagonia's Better Sweater. It's a warm fleece that feels like a comfy sweater, with nice touches like zippered handwarmers and a wind flap. It's great layered and worn on its own, and can withstand backpacking and climbing just as well as daily wear.
Marmot's cornered the market on staying dry with their proprietary NanoPro breathable waterproof fabric. PreCip jackets and pants withstand downpours without suffocating your skin--and for an amazingly affordable price.
Arc'teryx's Thorium AR is the very definition of a smart investment: it's literally the only puffer you'll ever need. Lightweight enough to be layered, but so warm (thanks to 750 fill goose down) you'll often find yourself wearing it on its own.
Senior Buyer Dan (Hardgoods) on What's New:
How do you approach being a buyer? :"Hardgoods is a wide category--with products ranging from footwear and backpacks to climbing gear and mountaineering equipment--but in the end, it's all about usefulness and practicality."
What do you like about being a buyer? :"I'm a gearhead, so getting to see in advance what my favorite companies are creating for climbers, skiiers, alpinists, and more is always a perk. It gives us angles for the adventures we can promote to our customers."
Edelrid made the bold claim that is the first true women's climbing harness. And they're actually right: the Solaris is the first harness cut specifically to fit the wide variety of women's hip angles, shapes, and sizes. Plus, it's a solidly-made, comfortable, breathable harness with solid construction--a great female version of their Orion men's harness.
Jones makes some of the most responsive snowboards out there. The Ultra Aviator freestyle board is one of their highest performing models yet, reducing weight and increasing edge bevel to give it an unparalleled snap and edge lock.
La Sportiva makes great mountaineering boots, and the Frost GTX brings alpine tech to an affordable hiking boot. The IceTrek sole features tiny glass shards embedded in grippy Vibram rubber for the ultimate traction on snow and ice, and the insulated Gore-Tex lining will keep your feet dry and comfortable in all elements.
High speed downhill skiiers, DPS is your brand. A larger underfoot radius, lower tip and tail profile, and SS dampening are among the features that set the Wailer 112 RPC apart from other skis. The Wailer 112 laughs at hard snow, crud, and powder alike, slicing through them all so your flight remains undisturbed.
5.10's first unlined leather downturned shoe is ideal for newer climbers looking for a middle ground between soft, flat shoes and hyper-aggressive pairs. It's actually 5.10's stiffest downturned model, but is incredibly comfortable and performs well on demanding routes.