Gear Closet
The gear addiction is real...
We share our opinion on the things we use to make adventure happen
Mammut Ultra Light Airbag 3.0
 With an amazing powder year, an airbag in the backcountry was a sensible addition to every weekend’s trip. Historically airbags have been heavy and significantly add to the weight of your backpack, especially on multi day trips. Michael found the Mammut Ultra Light as a great solution staying light and fast, yet increasing safety.

What we like
The 20 liter pack is very light and still comfortable given the minimalist design. It still fits quite a bit of gear inside even considering the canister occupies space in the main compartment. What we like most is that it remove the question of “should I wear an airbag,” the answer is yes!

What could be better
The only way to access the bag is from the zipper on the rear side of the bag (the part that sits on the skiers back). This mean you have to take the bag on and off if you need something instead of having a partner access it from the outside.

Click here to check them out on

Photo credit: Outdoor Works

Scarpa Maestrale & Gea Touring Boot
Powder day? You sure aren’t using that light skimo boot to drive your fat ski. We were looking for a stiffer ski boot that would perform in the backcountry and on the resort, yet had great articulation in walk mode and this boot fit the bill.

What we like about it
The Maestrale (men’s) and Gea (women’s) delivers the stiffness and support for charging down the slopes. There are 3 buckles which allows for flexibility in tightness as you work through temperature, terrain and foot swelling while out for a long tour.

What could be better
It’s a pain in the ass to get the liners out, however they certainly need to dry out after a long day of skiing. And while it’s easy to step in and out of them, the tongue needs to be just right to buckle the boots – attention to detail!

Click here to check them out on

Photo credit:

Salomon MTN Explorer Touring Setup
Looking for something light weight yet versitle for the backcountry, Tracy read great reviews about the Salomon MTN Explorer ski and MTN bindings + brake and decided to go for it. Needing the 161 lenght, she had to go with the 88 waist. Michael, later in the season, ended up with the same setup only 177 in lenght and 95 waist, so he could keep up ;)

Why she likes it:
The ski/binding combination is SUPER LIGHT, which made for quicker travel uphill and less weight to carry around while boot packing. Unlike some of the light Dynafit bindings, there is the ability to tour completely flat when needed. The "flip" mechanism from skin to ski is more straightforward then other tech bindings. The 88's also ski extremely well in powder for being such a skinny ski, yet do provide chatter in chunder.

What could be better:
While the flip mechanism from skin to ski is simpler, it's a litte more difficult from ski to skin making it easier to pinch your glove or skin in the switch - ouch!

See to check out the skis and the bindings

Patagonia Snowdrifter 30L Backcountry Pack
After a hut trip to the Alps, Michael and Tracy realized the importance of a thoughtful backcountry pack. The Snowdrifter ended up being a pack that fit all of the essentials without being too big or bulky. Ideal for conditions where an airbag isn't warrented.

Why they like it:
This pack has all the compartments needed to stash beacon, probe, shovel, goggles, extra clothing, water and food. The back panel unzips allowing you to access the entire lenght of the pack, making it easy to get to items stowed in the bottom. The straps adjust to fit both Tracy and Michael's frames, which makes the pack very versital.

What could be better:
It's much more realistic to attach skis to the side of the pack than hang them off the back. Similar to other packs, this reduces the liklihood of kicking them as you boot pack. 

Click here to check it out on Moosejaw's website

Photo credit: Still Stoked

Optic Nerve Neurotoxin 3.0
Who would have thought clear lense glasses would have been so clutch? Both Michael and Tracy wear these Optic Nerve sunglasses while skinning/skiing at night or early morning. These not only keep the cool breeze out of your eyes on the way downhill, but also help keep blowing snow away from your face on the way up.

Why they like these:
The glasses come with three lenses, smoke for bright light, copper for variable/low light and clear for nighttime. This allows the glasses to be extremely versital, not just for nighttime conditions. The lenses are quick and easy to change out!

What could be better:
The frames are quite flexible. This can be a good and a bad thing. Good for stretching to fit over headwear like a winter hat or under a bike helmet; but bad because they can slide around a bit during high impact activities like running. 

Click here to check them out on the Optic Nerve website

Patagonia Thermal Onsie
Because who doesn't love a onsie? This base layer actually started out as a bit of a comical joke, but has become Tracy's go-to for cold weather camping and a base layer for hut trips. 

Why she likes it:
The material is super light, yet warm, and fits easily under other clothing. The hood is really nice for winter camping when a hat might normally slide off at night. Finally, a small, yet seemingly important, feature is the thumb loop holes that ensure the sleeves stays at your wrist when putting on your top layer. 

What could be better:
It's certainly not odor resistant, so after a few days it can get a bit smelly. The rear zipper is great, but can also be a little challenging to unzip with snow pants on (or even when you've just had one too many camp fire beers and are going for a pee in the woods.)

Click here to check it out on the Patgonia website

Patagonia Boot Length Thermal Bottoms
Michael was looking for a light weight pair of long underwear bottoms to wear under his hardshells on cold days that could also under his softshells on frigid days in the backcountry. These turned out to be just the solution.

Why he likes them:
The soft, light weight fabric is warm yet breathable and dries quickly if he sweats. The boot lenght is money so that there is no bunching under the boot or competing with the ski sock.

What could be better:
They are not super snug around the calf area which occasionally causes them to slide up when getting on and off the chairlift.

Click here to check it out on the Patgonia website

Photo credit: Patagonia

Ourdoor Research Uberlayer Hooded Jacket
Layers are the name of the game when it comes to being comfortable on winter adventures. Tracy adores this Outdoor Reserach layer by itself in springtime or tucked under a shell in the heart of winter.

Why she likes it:
Light weight, yet surprisingly warm this coat does well year round. It wicks moisture and dries quickly when sweating during activity. It also fits well over a climbing helmet when needing to keep warm on ridge climbs! Finally, the inside skin pocket it clutch for quick a quick rip and send.

What could be better:
It zips up from the bottom as well, which could seem handy to some, yet she hasn't found useful. Ultimately there is very little bad to say about this coat, it's one of my fave layers!

Click here to check it out on

Video Credit: Michael O'Brien

Hestra Ergo Fit Active Gloves
After burning thru several pair of leather gloves, Michael was after the perfect spring touring glove for ski mountaineering. This glove is just that, dry, yet wind resistant but not overly hot.

Why he likes them:
Extremely nimble fingers enabled by pre-formed ergo molded hands. This allows for quick break in time and helps you grip poles and/or a beer post adventure. The wind stopping material on the upper fore-hand is perfect for windy, high-alpine conditions.

What could be better:
They are pretty pricey for a spring season, light weight glove; that was a bit of a stinger. The white leather also has the potential to get dirty pretty quickly.

Click here to check them out on the Hestra website

Photo credit: Hestra

Dynafit Vulcan Windstopper Pants
Spring skiing can start with chilly mornings but then transition to hot afternoons. Tracy was looking for a lighter ski touring pant that provided some warmth, yet was light enough to stay nimble and not overheat.

Why she likes them:
The fabric is very light, but is reinforced at the quads to provide a bit more warmth when it gets windy up top. The fit is snugger around the ankle than a resort pant, which helps prevent catching excess fabric with a ski crampon. The belt helps keep the pants up when bending down to use an ice axe to climb up steep sections.

What could be better:
The fabric isn't completely water repellent. If you are sitting down to change skis or rest, you still might end up with a wet butt or knees.

Click here to check them out on the Dynafit website

Photo credit: EVO

Kestle TX 167

Photo credit:

Icebreaker Merino Wool Underwear
Having the right undergarments for endurance activities is critical to comfort and success. Tracy and Michael both swear by merino wool base layers including underwear.
What they like about them:
You can wear merino wool for days without it getting stinky, this comes in handy for multi-day backcountry hut trips. The fabric is very soft and the seams do not cause chafing. These skibbies are both breathable and odor resistant.
What could be better:
When washing, it's important to hang dry the underwear to ensure the merino wool retains its properties. They also lose a bit of shape after wearing them for a couple of days in a row.

Click here to check out women's underwear

Click here to check out men's underwear

Photo credit: Icebreaker