Posts Tagged skiwear
Don’t get confused by the names: men and women are set up with nearly the same winter boot this year from Teva, simply with different titles and slightly different design. The Teva Chair 5 for men and the Teva Jordanelle 2 for women both feature Thinsulate insulation, a grippy sole, and lace-up closure. And they’re both adorable.
With waterproof uppers and seam-sealed construction, both boots offer winter weather protection with 250g insulation. Both feature a removable boot liner, which makes getting the boot on and off much easier. Both lace up the front to mid-calf with easy hook-and-loop construction, and open wide so there’s no wiggling and whining while getting your wool-socked foot in (or is that just me?).
My favorite thing about the Jordanelle and Chair, however, is their weight. These boots are incredibly lightweight, considering the traction they offer. I can pack these boots when we travel to ski…even the size 12 Chair 5 my husband is wearing. Teva claims the Chair 5 and Jordanelle are approximately half the weight of comparable winter boots, and I believe them. Plus, both styles are crushable, so feel free to cram them into your suitcase…all will be good. You can literally fold the boot in half.
We took our Teva boots on a whirlwind Thanksgiving weekend in the snow, and while I usually curse my decision to bring winter or snow boots along for a road trip by mid-day of day 1, this time, I never minded. That’s because my Jordanelles were in my duffle, not rattling around the back of the car, to big to fit anywhere else.
The Chair 5 retails for $170 for men at Teva, but you can pick up a pair at Amazon for as low as $78. Colors include black and green. The Jordanelle retails for $180 (hey, no fair!) but can also be found on Amazon for $121. Color options include black, white, and purple. Also available at REI and Backcountry.
Alternate title: OMG, I’ll never carry my ski gear in a shoulder bag ever again. Transpack specializes in backpack-style ski and snowboard boot bags, with several distinct models to choose from. What they all have in common: high quality construction, intelligent design, and comfort.
Transpack calls its design the ‘isosceles storage system’, which reminds me unpleasantly of high school geometry but, unlike my math education, turns out to be something I can actually use in the real world. What an ‘isosceles storage system means: the interior design of most Transpack bags is such that the toes of the boots meet together in the front of the pack, away from your back when you carry the load. The weight of the pack is distributed to the sides, which equals happy shoulders and neck muscles.
Go on the Transpack site, and you’ll be faced with a dizzying array of options. While they only make a few main styles of backpacks, there are several models in each category. To break it down and identify the main differences in styles, my skiing and snowboarding family and I tried out four different Transpacks. (We try to be helpful like that.)
For starters, no matter what your boot bag needs, Transpack has you well taken care of with backpack straps for an impressively comfortable carry. The question you have to ask yourself is: how big a bag do I need, how sturdy does it have to be, and where will it be traveling with me?
Transpack breakdown (clockwise from top left): Compact Pro, Sidekick, XT1, and Edge Jr.
This is the pack you need if you’re an every-weekend, all winter long kind of skier. I tested this out for myself, as I ski at least once per week all season long. The Pro comes in a standard size or a compact size, features the Isosceles Storage System (so it’s triangular shaped), and is made of super tough, treated 1680 ballistic nylon with a water resistant TPU tarpaulin bottom. You get reflective piping on the sides, a roomy central compartment for gear, side zippered pockets for ski or snowboard boots (with drainage), and many internal and external pockets, including a soft fleece-lined goggle pocket. There’s a stabilizing waist strap in addition to the shoulder straps, and a mesh padded back panel that you’d expect to see on a hiking day pack, not a boot bag. I found the compact Pro to be plenty big enough to store my helmet, my boots, gloves, two pairs of goggles, an extra shell, and all the little items that get lost in the bottom of a standard bag: sunscreen, car keys, screwdriver and binding adjustment tool, ski pass, sunglasses, and lip balm. I’d only opt for a standard for men with very large ski boots. The Pro is $119 through Transpack retailers like REI and $109 on Amazon, and comes in a variety of colors.
If you plan to use your pack a little less often (say 2-3 major ski trips per season), you can save some dough downgrading from a Pro to an XT1. The main difference: the XT1 is made of water resistant coated 600 denier polyester instead of the higher grade ballistic nylon. There’s no major difference visibly. You still get the rubberized water resistant TPU tarp bottom, and because the XT1 is one of the more popular styles, it comes in a greater variety of colors and prints. The design is the same as the Pro, including the patented Isosceles Storage System. Our 12-year-old is using the XT1, and he’s been swapping out his ski boots and snowboard boots in the boot pockets, finding that they fit both easily. You get mesh zippered size pockets and a top pocket on the outside, perfect for ski passes, keys, and other small items. Like with the Pro, helmets, gloves, and other larger items fit in the main compartment. The XT1 retails for $90 at Transpack and can be found on Amazon or Sun And Ski Sports for as low as $69. (Your other economical option is the Edge, found on Amazon for under $50.)
For kids under 10, the Edge Jr is a manageable size. We’re big fans of kids carrying their own gear, but our eight-year-old really struggled with a shoulder-strap style bag. It kept slipping off his shoulder or thumping against his legs as he navigated the parking lot. With the Edge Jr, which is pretty much identical to the XT1 but smaller, he can easily carry his bag and his skis and poles. There’s plenty of room for a kid-sized helmet, gloves, boots, and outer layer, though this bag is missing the dedicated goggle pocket. I guess Transpack (correctly) assumes that kids have already scratched their goggles beyond repair anyway. The Edge Jr is $49 at Amazon, a bit less at Paragon Sports, and comes in fun prints, like gray camo.
Transpack Sidekick and Sidekick Pro:
The sidekick is the alternative to the Isosceles Storage System style. This backpack carries boots on the outside of the pack, using a Delta strap boot system with optional, stowaway boot covers to protect boots against the elements. Personally, I prefer for my boots to be zippered into an interior dedicated pocket, but the Sidekick is perfect for my 14-year-old, who wants a more versatile bag.
How is the Sidekick different? In addition to the exterior boot carry, this bag has a traditional backpack design, complete with hydration sleeve, laptop sleeve, and an exterior zippered helmet compartment. Our teen uses his bag to and from school ski trips, so he uses the laptop sleeve to stow homework and books. He also likes that he has the option of the hydration sleeve for use as an on-mountain pack. The Sidekick Pro is made from the same ballistic nylon as the regular Pro, and the regular Sidekick sports the polyester. The pack appears pretty bulky and cumbersome loaded up with ski boots on either side and helmet strapped in the outside pocket, but in fact, my son and I were both amazed by how well the shoulder and waist straps support the weight, and how well that weight is distributed. Like the other bags, you get plenty of interior and exterior pockets to keep your gear organized. The Sidekick Pro retails for $120 through Transpack retailers or as low as $99 on Amazon, in a good variety of solid colors.
Outfitting your entire family in quality boot bags is an investment, but we don’t plan on needing to replace our Transpacks for a long time. I can’t say the same of the cheaper shoulder strap bags we’ve used in the past. A set of Transpacks might make for a great holiday gift to the whole family under the tree this year. Just saying.
Autumn is here, and it will be ski and winter travel season in no time. I’ve already worn my ColdPruf base layers on more than one occasion here in Oregon, and will be packing them when I head north to Alberta, Canada next week.
ColdPruf offers multiple product lines, rating them from cold to extreme cold and low activity to high activity. I appreciate that each line falls somewhere on this scale, so you can easily identify which base layer you’ll need based on what you plan to use it for. I tried out their women’s crew and pant in both their Performance and Eco Pro-Tek lines.
Both are rated for ‘very cold’ (the middle option on the cold scale) and ‘high activity’ (the top option on the activity scale). Both tops are long-sleeved crews, and both pants feature an elastic waist and fitted legs, but the main similarities end there.
Performance women’s crew and pant:
The women’s crew features flat seams, a tag-less back, and hemmed cuffs, all great for high activity. Both the crew and the pant are made of 96% performance polyester and 4% spandex, for a nice stretch when exercising, skiing, hiking, or sitting. You get antimicrobial odor-control and great moisture management and evaporation (in plain language, this means you won’t feel chilled or wet when you sweat). The crew is lightweight and thin, making it an ideal layering piece that won’t add bulk. The performance pant offers the same single-layer engineering and flat seams, and adds a comfort waistband that really is just that. Both are a close fit with plenty of give.
Eco Pro-Tek women’s crew and pant:
The Eco crew offers a more flattering cut, with a lower neckline and nice accents to add some color. Both the crew and pant in this line are made of 100% Repreve recycled performance polyester with a mini waffle weave, and are extremely soft. After wearing a lot of synthetic base layer materials, this one is surprisingly comfortable. However, due to the lack of spandex, there is very little give in the Eco line, especially in the pant. I found that while I prefer them for casual wear or travel, I need a base layer with more flexibility while hiking, snowshoeing, or skiing.
The Eco offerings feature the flat seams that are attractive in the performance line, and are also tag- less. You get the same antimicrobial odor-blocking technology. Also like its Performance cousin, the Pro-Tek is single layer. (By the way, this seems to be the main difference between the performance/casual lines and the extreme performance lines at ColdPruf: single vs double layer.)
Pick up either the Eco Pro-Tek or Performance in both men’s and women’s versions, or outfit youth in ColdPruf’s Base or Enthusiast line. I wish they made the Eco line in youth sizes, because my tween son has taken to wearing my Eco Pro-Tek pants, simply due to their softness. For kids who don’t like ‘scratchy’ base layers, this is the solution.
The price is right: ColdPruf’s Performance crew is only $19.99 on Amazon and the Eco Pro-Tek is only $18.36. Pants are approximately the same cost. ColdPruf layers can also be found on Backcountry and Sunny Sports.
You could fill a suitcase with winter footwear that perform different functions. In this day and age of luggage fees, however, this really isn’t a viable option. The Adidas Yunga Felt Boot is both stylish and functional, appearing to be one boot to meet multiple needs. That said, after using the Yunga happily for a few months (accompanied by many a compliment), I worry that in trying to be an all-purpose boot, it manages to fall just a little bit short in several categories.
What the Yunga does well:
The Yunga is unique, which is what first drew me to it. Inspired by Russian soldier boots, it’s covered in warm, Italian felt wool, which gives the boot a muted, semi-old-fashioned look, even with its Adidas logo and stripes. It reminds me of the boiled wool hat I once bought in a New England Shaker village…in a good way. The Yunga certainly doesn’t look dressy, but it doesn’t look entirely sporty either: I wear mine with everything from jeans to ski pants, and always find myself wondering, “Does this go together?” No matter: as I said, the Yunga usually elicits compliments wherever I go.
The Yunga is also surprisingly water-resistant and warm. The boot is lined with more wool on the inside (though not thickly), and though the sides are thin, they’re well-insulated.The toe and heel are capped in rubber, and there’s a TPU mudguard . The midsole has an aluminum board insert to protect against chill, and the outsole features what Adidas calls High Traxion Rubber with a good grip in snow, ice, and slush. The side-zipper makes getting in and out of the Yunga easy.
What the Yunga lacks:
Because the Yunga isn’t quite dressy enough to pair with leggings or a dress, I do find myself needing to pack a second pair for evenings out during winter travel. I also wish the boot went higher up on the calf (it hits me at mid-calf, and I’d love to have it reach below the knee).
While I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how water resistant the felt outer is, it does show dirt, mud, and water stains easily. This is a shame, because the felt wool is very pretty. The good news is that these stains generally dry well. I wore my boots through some sloppy spring snow mixed with mud, didn’t do a thing to clean them, and came back to find them nearly clean. Thank goodness, because I don’t know how I’d clean them easily if I wanted to. The Yunga boots are only 13 ounces, which makes them a good choice for lightweight packing, but they’re pretty bulky; you’ll save on weight but not on space.
Bottom line: I like my Yunga boots, I really do. They’re my go-to boots for commuting to the ski resort, and they’re interesting and good looking and fun while still keeping my feet dry. I only wish I could reach for them in all winter situations.
These boots are brand new at Adidas, and can be found on the Adidas Outdoor site, at Zappos, Sunny Sports, or Amazon in two colors: chalk (a lovely white color) or light onix (recommended to not show dirt). Either will set you back $130 or less.
And if you need something for the kids, check out the Adidas Adisnow boots in sizes up to 7, for under $75.
This new tech base layer comes from Polarmax’s Comp 4 line, which is the warmest of Polarmax‘s three categories. My family and I have been skiing and snowboarding in Polarmax base layers for a few years now, and this company consistently manages to provide three things: affordability, comfort, and warmth. My kids think they’re cozy, I think I can afford to outfit everyone in them without taking out a loan, and no one complains that they’re cold.
What more could you really want from your base layer?
Well, we want style. Used to be, everyone wore the same navy blue or black long johns under their ski gear and called it a day. Now, each piece is a fashion statement. Polarmax already figured this out a few years ago with their tween Coolmax line (which my 11 and 13 year olds love), and now they’ve added a graphic element to their women’s Comp 4 half zip.
This arm and shoulder floral design is somehow both elegant and trendy, and I’ve gotten quite a few compliments on it. At upscale ski resorts, it’s practical to have one layer that can go from snow to apres ski, and the Comp 4 will take you there. Take off outer layers and lounge by the fireplace in this graphic base layer, or even wear it out with a wintery skirt, tights, and boots.
Any ski clothing item that can pull double-duty is getting priority in my bag. I’ve worn the Comp 4 for a day of skiing straight to the pub or ski village, and more importantly, it’s kept me warm on the slopes. It’s washed well, shows no sign of fading, and has not shank in approximately 10 washes.
The Comp 4 is made with heavy weight stretch fabric (this is the thickest layer Polarmax makes). The inside is brushed fleece, making it cozy against the skin, but it still breathes. You get dry moisture wicking and anti-Microbial/anti-Odor protection, so you don’t need to wash it between your ski day and your dinner out. The half-zip is nice because it allows for some extra breathability without sacrificing on style. It’s also nice to zip it all the way up on the mountain.
How does the Comp 4 compare to Polarmax’s other levels of warmth? I’ve tried items in their ‘warm’ and ‘warmer’ categories, and while comfortable and affordable, I won’t be going back. I now switch out between this new Comp 4 and their Comp 4 crew (without zipper). The thing I can’t live without? The brushed fleece lining.
The Comp 4 is made in the USA, and you can pick it up at Polarmax for $59.95. A variety of the women’s crew versions (in all warmth categories) can be found on Amazon, but you’ll want to order direct for the half zip with graphic.