At GearJunkie, we test, use, and rely on all manner of gear — for all seasons and conditions. Take a peek at the products we love this month!
Favorite Gear We Tested in February
Tested by Zach Burton, Marketing Projects Director
Garneau’s latest addition to its winter cycling collection, the Klondike M4 is a top-range winter boot made to keep you warm and connected on the bike no matter how nasty the conditions get. I’ve been using these boots for both winter commuting and singletrack riding in Minnesota.
With some days getting down to -15F in everything from sleet to deep snow, I’ve had a chance to really see what the Klondikes can do — and they’ve been everything I needed.
The boots are very light considering their warmth, and they’re made with a CORDURA 1,680-denier upper and 300g synthetic insulation. There are two closures — a BOA Fit lacing system for the main part of the boot that allows for easy adjustment, and a Velcro closure around the top for a snug and comfortable fit.
Best yet, the boots are made with wider feet in mind, so the toebox allows for room to move your toes or add a thicker wool sock — something I wanted on the coldest winter days in Minnesota.
Tested by: Chris Potter, Community Manager
Picture an entire day on the slopes without getting separated from your crew. That’s the promise Aleck 006 Wireless Helmet Audio Communicator was built to deliver. Aleck 006s are wireless audio and walkie-talkie headphones that tuck inconspicuously into a helmet’s earpads.
Listen to music, communicate with your group via push-to-talk comms, and make phone calls — all with the tap of a glove. The headphones pair with Aleck’s app to provide an added opportunity to communicate, as well as track and find friends on the map.
I’ve been testing the Aleck 006s for the past 2 months at multiple resorts and I must say, they’ve improved my on-hill experience. As long as I had a bit of cellphone service, communication with my friend’s Aleck was simple and straightforward.
The tap-to-talk function for comms and playing music was easy from the get-go. The audio quality and wearing comfort are impeccable. And in testing for distance, I was able to reach my ski partner up to 2 miles away.
Being new tech, they take a bit of getting used to. But they’re incredibly low-profile and multifunctional compared to traditional walkie-talkies. And, the battery life is impressive.
If you want to ensure that you and your crew shred together longer, pick up a few pairs of Aleck 006s.
Tested by: Mary Murphy, Editor
Finally, the fan-favorite women’s all-mountain ski Santa Ana has a competitor. The Nordica Wild Belles DC 84 ($600) are Nordica’s second women’s-specific all-mountain ski: it’s a dual-core (DC) ski that caters to advanced skiers (on-piste).
In testing, we loved the weight, feel, and flex of this ski. Maybe that’s because of the ski overall. Or maybe it’s because of the little touches — the placement of the binding plate and the natural, ergonomic design. And while it’s hard to beat the Nordica Santa Ana, this ski does really shine in some places: namely, it’s stable at speed.
This ski is stable, responsive, and boosts your control. Also, it’s a wicked fun ski for fast laps at the resort or ripping down groomers.
We wouldn’t recommend it for powder days (as it’s on the narrower side) or moguls (due to the lack of camber underfoot), but that’s pretty much it — this ski should handle everywhere else on the mountain (hardpack, crud, light powder).
In terms of specs, the Nordica Wild Belles are made with poplar wood core, beechwood stringers, fiberglass layer, ABS sidewalls; come in 144, 150, 156, 162, and 168cm lengths, have an 84mm waist width, and weigh 6.5 pounds (without bindings).
You may notice there are also 74mm and 78mm waist width varieties of the Wild Belle — each of these models actually have a different core construction (tailored more to beginners than intermediate skiers, respectively).
With the Wild Belle, the world could be your all-mountain oyster.
Tested by: Adam Ruggiero, Editor in Chief
Outdoor functionality doesn’t always have to look … “outdoorsy.” Sometimes, it can just look cool. Klaus Obermeyer founded his eponymous brand in the mid-20th century to outfit skiers on Colorado’s glitzy, raw, up-and-coming slopes.
Fast forward to the 21st century and puffies are a dime a dozen (well, $200-300 apiece anyway). Now, style is as much a consideration in winter outerwear as function, and Obermeyer the brand continues to stay on the leading edge. The Condor Corduroy Jacket catches admiring glances with — you guessed it — cotton corduroy construction and Sherpa fleece lining.
Dual tapered stripes complete the retro bomber jacket aesthetic. But this is not mere glitz. The Condor Corduroy Jacket has plenty of warmth for mild to moderate winter days, and every shoulder season around them. I’ve been wearing mine down to below freezing for trips about town when I need reliable defense against dipping mercury and nasty winds.
More than that, though, it’s a coat you will enjoy showing up wearing. There’s a timeless cool to the fleece collar, distinctive corduroy channels, and always-cool racing stripes. Is it a necessity? No. But if you’re in need of a jacket that looks as good as it feels, this one’s a winner.
Tested by: Jake Ferguson, Marketing Director
Peak Design, the Kickstarter darling, launched a new line of products for phones. The Everyday Case features a magnetic slot on the back called SlimLink that attaches to all kinds of handy accessories like a mini tripod, car mount, bike mount, and more.
The phone case is available for a handful of popular Apple and Samsung phones, and there’s also a universal adapter that will work with an existing phone case.
I was fortunate enough to review some prototype units before the Mobile launch and recently got my hands on the final versions for testing. I love that everything is so easy to use — all hail magnets!
My three favorites are the Everyday Case, the Tripod, and the Car Mount. As a bonus, the magnet allows me to mount my phone vertically and horizontally. I just rotate the phone 90 degrees and it clicks in.
I use the Tripod every day and I love it. If I could choose only one phone accessory, this would be it. The Tripod is the thing I never knew I needed.
Before, I would try to prop up my phone against random things around the house to watch videos or balance it on a rock for photos. Now, I have the tiny Mobile Tripod with me all the time, and life is good.
Tested by: Chris Potter, Community Manager
Beyond Clothing is known for its technical, expedition-ready apparel. The Yuba L6 Anorak continues that thread with its ultralight, ultra-packable, waterproof, and durable functionality. Beyond designed this jacket with Pertex shield fabric to create one of the lightest, most waterproof, and windproof 3L shells available today.
I spent all fall and several winter months taking the Yuba L6 Anorak out on hikes, bikes, and ski tours. What I found was an incredibly reliable layer for all kinds of weather conditions. It’s not just its capability that sets it apart from other hard shells — the styling, feel, and breathability are also top-notch.
If versatility is something you desire in a jacket, give the Yuba a look. Clocking in under 8 ounces, the Yuba Anorak is the adventure-ready, go-anywhere shell I’ve been searching for. (And, have now found.)
Tested by Zach Burton, Marketing Projects Director
As I’ve descended further into the ice climbing world, it was clear that my clapped-out mountaineering boots weren’t going to make the cut much longer. Enter the Zamberlan 3030 Eiger Lite GTX with BOA mountaineering boots.
Using the renowned BOA Fit system, the 3030 Eiger Lites combine technical features in a lightweight (and weatherproof) package for mountaineering and ice climbing. These 890g boots represent the latest offering in the Zamberlan collection. The boots are built on the brand’s carbon fiber insole technology, with thermo footbeds for cushioning and an aluminum film for insulation.
Two major things have stood out for me since owning these boots. First, they are comfortable out of the box, and are easy to wear. The BOA Fit system creates a simple and precise experience for adjusting the fit of your boot.
The dial is on the outside of the gaiter, so you can adjust on the fly, even while you’re on the ice. No stopping, no need to remove gloves, or open the gaiter — it is all accessible.
Second, the 3030 Eiger Lites are very warm — keeping me comfortable in temperatures as low as -15F for hours on end. As a bonus, these boots have GORE-TEX insulation for warmth, breathability, and waterproofing from top to bottom.
Tested by: Jenny Hansen, Marketing Manager
For high-impact activities in the cold weather, we need midlayers that help to regulate our body temperature. The slim-fit icebreaker Merino Quantum III Long-Sleeve Zip Hoodie is made of 100% merino wool, designed to be breathable, moisture-wicking, and odor-resistant. Plus, it has a UPF 20 fabric to protect against damaging UV rays.
I’ve been wearing this hoodie on my morning runs this month and have been digging the thoughtful design details. The chest, hand, and internal stash pockets all have a zipper closure to secure my belongings while I run. Plus, I wear a hydration pack while running, and the offset shoulder seams on the hoodie prevent rubbing.
The thumbholes on the icebreaker Quantum III are also useful for keeping my hands warm and holding the sleeves in place. All in all, this is a great hoodie, and an especially great merino run layer, too!