Best Gear In 2014… Outdoor Retailer ‘Best In Show’ Awards (part II)

Mountain Runner Jacket — Some of the top brass at Salomon are world-class mountain runners, as well as a few of the company’s designers. (We know, we ran with the group in the French Pyrenees last summer and had trouble keeping up!) From this crew you get products that reflect from-the-field wants and needs, and the S-Lab Hybrid Jacket is one of them.

The running jacket has a few idiosyncrasies, including a “headband” in its hood. The soft, wide, elastic band holds tight on the head and makes the waterproof hood comfortable on the move.

The jacket body is waterproof and lightweight; it registers at less than 5 ounces on a scale.

More esoteric, the company designed the S-Lab Hybrid Jacket to be “converted into a belt” when no longer needed on the trail. We tried this at OR on the show floor — you slip out of the sleeves while running and then tightly roll up and tuck away the jacket body and arms into an elasticized waist, converting the jacket into a thin ring of fabric.

It then sits on your hips, ready if the rain or the wind comes back again, to protect from the elements in the French Pyrenees and anywhere else. $275; available August 2014

Stephen Regenold

Stephen Regenold is Founder of GearJunkie, which he launched as a nationally-syndicated newspaper column in 2002. As a journalist and writer, Regenold has covered the outdoors industry for two decades, including as a correspondent for the New York Times. A father of five, Regenold and his wife live in Minneapolis.