Stay dry in Black Diamond Liquid Point Shell

Black Diamond Liquid Point Shell

Jackets that keep the elements away can sometimes be restrictive, as well. It’s not always easy to find the right balance of waterproof or water-resistant jacket with one that’ll let you pursue your adventure outdoors.

One of my favorites to pack on my adventurous trips is the Black Diamond Liquid Point Shell. There’s both a women’s version and a men’s version, so everyone is happy. Most recently, I used mine on a rock-climbing trip to Grand Teton National Park. In summer, afternoon thunderstorms are common, and so it wasn’t a surprise that it rained during some of my daily outings.

The Liquid Point Shell is Black Diamond’s lightest (at 356 grams), most versatile, waterproof shell. Constructed with Gore-Tex PacLite, the jacket is highly compactable, making it easy to pack along on those days when the weather forecast can go either way. Cuff tabs provide an easy way to adjust the fit at the wrists.

An adjustable, climbing-helmet-compatible hood lets you dial in the fit when the wind kicks up. Two-way armpit zips let you vent when you’re moving fast, and a concealed dropcord hem manages the fit down below. Two concealed zip hand pockets let you keep your essentials close at hand.

The jacket is designed with a “regular fit,” which leaves space for layering on wet days. Combined with the light weight and waterproof capabilities, this is an ideal jacket for travelers when “just in case” often means leaving something behind when space and weight are issues.

The women’s Black Diamond Liquid Point Shell comes in slate, maroon and captain (blue), and lists for $249 on the Black Diamond site. The men’s version of the jacket is priced the same, but comes in nickel, rust, and black on the Black Diamond site.

Cotopaxi Fuego LT Down Jacket


I have a serious love for Cotopaxi gear. This grand is headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah, one of the epicenters for outdoor recreation and exploration, in my opinion. Their apparel and gear is always extremely well made, fun, and colorful. The most recent item I checked out from Cotopaxi is their Fuego LT down jacket.


A down jacket or sweater layer is essential in any serious traveler’s wardrobe, and in any serious outdoorsman’s backpack. It really is a four-season item, ideal because it’s lightweight, breathable, yet packable and warm. The Fuego is our favorite we’ve tried so far, and trust me, we’ve tried a lot of down jackets. What makes it great? It’s so, so lightweight, you almost forget you have it on. My teen son has been wearing it, and he’s picky about ‘having to wear a jacket’. With the Fuego, he can put it on and still have full movement in his shoulders and arms, and never seems to overheat.

The LT in Fuego LT stands for lightweight, and truly, I can’t emphasize this enough. It’s amazing. And even though it’s so light, you get 20D giant-ripstop nylon material, with DWR finish, and inside, there’s 950-fill of responsibly sourced, water resistant goose down. The lining is 20D mini-ripstop, and under the arms, you get Polartec insulation. There are two interior stash pockets and unlined, zippered hand pockets, and of course, nice elastic binding at the cuffs and hem.

My teen son has worn his Fuego on spring camping trips here in the Northwest, but also took it to Iceland in July, where he wore it just about every day. Since it stuffs so easily into just about any pocket or backpack, it was no big deal to bring on every hike and excursion, to use as needed. It’s not waterproof of course, so you’ll want a light shell to go over the Fuego, but it’s truly the best mid-layer insulation we’ve found.

Pick up the Fuego LT on Cotopaxi for $269 in men’s S-XL in black, or in women’s S-XL in three colors. The women’s colors include an understated but pretty mist-creamsicle, raven (black), or powder (kind of an ice blue/orange). All are gorgeous. If they’re sold out on the official Cotopaxi site, try Amazon, where they’re the same price but have plenty in stock.


Climate Case

If you travel often with your cell phone, it can be easily subjected to varying temperatures and climates. For example, sitting on the beach on a hot, sunny day (especially if it has a black case) can help to heat up the case. The same goes for leaving your phone on a snowy day in your car.

You may have realized it, but cell phones are designed to switch off if they reach a certain temperature (typically below 32 degrees or above 95 degrees) so as to prevent damage to its internal battery.

The clever ClimateCase solves that type of connection issue by protecting the phone from intense temperature swings that can damage it. That makes it a great gift for people on vacation any time of year or those that live in severe climates.

For example, I have left my phone in my car for just an hour on a humid North Carolina afternoon and returned to find it too hot to even touch. No one wants to fry a battery and potentially lose important photos or videos (that you forgot to back up!).

The machine-washable ClimateCase acts as protection from minor falls as well as from temperature swings thanks to a multi-layered insulation crafted from neoprene. If you know you will be in one of those extreme environments, this can come in handy. You can keep it in the refrigerator (just the case, not the phone, too) to cool it and add it to your phone when heading out to warm climes. The same works in reverse. If you are spending time in a cold environment, microwave the case for a minute and then add it to your device before venturing out.

This case can restore a phone to its optimal temperature in less than 60 seconds if it were to stop working although it would be ideal to apply it to your phone before even going out.

It comes in a variety of colors and is designed to fit numerous types of smart phones. It retails for $35 on the ClimateCase website.

Stylish coverage with Arc’teryx Women’s A2B Hardshell Blazer

Arc'teryx Hardshell Blazer

Whether you’re at home or traveling, riding a bike in the rain and wind isn’t necessarily the top of ideal excursions. Weather happens, and if you’re active, you’re out in it regardless. But why not have gear for the elements no matter where you are?

One of the best overall pieces that mixes urban styling and advanced performance is the Arc’teryx Women’s A2B Hardshell Blazer.

My favorite thing about it is that I can take it on a trip to wear while cycling, walking in town, or going out at night. That means I don’t have to bring a jacket for everything, and can pack lighter.

The jacket’s fabric is N30s Gore-Tex, with Gore C-Knit backer technology, which is waterproof and windproof, and is also breathable—allowing moisture vapor to escape, helping regulate your temperature and keeping you comfortable no matter what your adventure.

The streamlined design makes it look stylish in urban settings (or really, anywhere), and the subtle snap closure helps keep you protected from the elements. The two hand pockets have laminated zippers, and the vented back helps prevent overheating. Cuffs and the underside of the collar have integrated, stow-away reflective surfaces, available when you need them. The collar’s lapel snaps closed and keeps water channeled away from the main opening. The multiple positions for the neckline completely transforms the jacket, adding to its utility in a variety of situations.

Take care of the jacket easily: machine wash in warm water and tumble dry on medium heat. No fabric softener or ironing necessary.

The Arc’teryx Women’s A2B Hardshell Blazer comes in black or boxcar (bottle green) and lists for $449 on the Arc’teryx site.