Hiking attire worth investment
September 4, 2011
Editor’s note: Occasionally, we run gear reviews in the High Life section. Have something you think we should test? Email High Life Editor Caramie Schnell at email@example.com.I’ve never been one to don special hiking clothes, opting instead to throw on an old pair of shorts and a T-shirt to get the job done. And that’s still fine for a short day hike. But this summer, in honor of my first overnight backpacking trip – a stunning 15-mile round-trip trek in the San Juans near Ridgeway – I decided it might be time to change that thinking. I tested out a pair of pants and a hoody from Outdoor Research. First, the Ferrosi Hoody, which retails for $125. This lightweight, wind-resistant soft shell is about as versatile a jacket as I’ve ever worn. It’s great as an underlayer if it’s cold or to wear alone over a tank top on those crisp fall days that alternate between warm and chilly as fast as, well, an afternoon thunderstorm can swoop into the mountains. The adjustable hood kept me much warmer than I anticipated during a light rain shower. The jacket material is also breathable, so even if the sun does sneak back out, you won’t find yourself sweating immediately. So far, I’ve only worn it hiking and on a recent mushroom hunt atop Tennessee Pass, but I think it’ll be a great jacket for spring skiing, as well, since it is wind resistant. It comes in four colors, but I think the bright turquoise color I own is particularly nice. The Ferrosi Pant, $75 retail, is perfect for high-altitude hikes. The material – 89 percent nylon and 11 percent spandex – makes them quick drying and breathable but still wind resistant. I’ve seen some hiking pants that are downright unattractive, but these look nice on and are quite comfortable. There are two zippered back pockets and a zippered thigh pocket. My only quibble is the drawstring ribbon around the waist – I don’t love the way it looks when it’s on the outside of the pants; I wish they’d either skipped it all together or hidden it on the inside. Other than that, these pants are very useful and have been my go-to hiking pants all summer. I’m sure they’d make excellent climbing pants, as well, but since I have a healthy fear of heights, I’ll probably never know. High LIfe Editor Caramie Schnell can be reached at 970-748-2984 or firstname.lastname@example.org.