Oh boy, it’s resolution time again, and we are here to help. Here’s the gear that will get you outside more often and maintain your goals all year long.
CEP Hiking 80s Compression Socks
The Resolution: I want to hike more—and focus on recovery.
The Solution: Compression socks improve circulation, especially after intense cardio activity when blood can sink down to the feet and stay there. With a touch of retro style, these socks (available in men’s and women’s) not only put a lift in your step and speed recovery on the trail, they also offer extra support with a tighter knit at the ankle.
Leki – Makalu Lite
The Resolution: I want to hike more.
The Solution: Trekking poles make it easier to hike—assisting with the navigation of rocky terrain and taking a load off your knees. These three-piece adjustable poles weigh just 8.8 ounces each, and the Aergon Air grip features an easy to hold rubber and a slight incline to take stress off your wrist.
Fjällräven – Vidda Pro Ventilated Trousers
The Resolution: I want to hike more—but I need new pants
The Solution: Fjallraven’s famed trekking pants have been perfected in the wilds of Scandinavia to endure miles of abuse on the trail and rambling in the woods. The versatile Vidda Pro is not only water-resistant with easy ventilation options, it’s also made to move with just enough stretch. Like all the brand’s apparel, it’s built from sustainable fabric, and it even has a handy loop made specifically for carrying an ax.
Oros – Immix Jacket and Bib
The Resolution: I want to get outside more this winter—but I get cold.
The Solution: The folks at Oros created an insulative layer for apparel from the same material NASA uses to insulate spacecraft. While the space insulation is too brittle to wear, Oros figured out how to make it work with foam and crafted a super thin and light but extremely insulative layer. The result, called Solarcore, is used in strategic zones in this jacket and bib, giving you a warm piece of apparel that doesn’t make you feel all bulked up.
$480 jacket, $400 bib; orosapparel.com
Arc’teryx – Ralle Insulated Jacket / Gore ePE
The Resolution: I don’t want to ruin the environment with my technical gear.
The Solution: The longstanding inconvenient truth of the outdoor industry is that many fabrics and treatments that keep us comfortable damage the very environment we love. Top among them has been the membranes that make jackets both waterproof and breathable but rely on PFCs which harm the environment. Gore, which produces the best known waterproof/breathable fabrics, has removed harmful PFCs from its products and introduced ePE, a PFC membrane that’s lighter to boot. Gore has partnered with several brands to launch the technology but it shines in Arc’teryx’s Ralle, which provides the same reliable waterproof protection and breathability as PFC-based membranes without the environmental cost.
Kokopelli Packraft – Chasm Light
The Resolution: I want to paddle more—but I hate hauling around my SUP.
The Solution: Inflatable stand-up paddleboards are great—you can fit them in your trunk, pack them in your closet, and haul them to tricky put-ins. But the reality is they are a beast to actually pack in somewhere. No longer. Weighing a scant 12.9 pounds and compressing down to the size of a rolled sleeping bag, this packraft is ready for true deep adventure, with the ability to access lakes and streams in the backcountry (or just store in even less space). The compact package includes a four-piece paddle and pump.
The Resolution: I want to support local brands and supply chains.
The Solution: North Carolina-based Recover Brands does sustainability right. It crafts its performance tees from recycled plastic bottles and its USA-made products rely on a local supply chain that’s within a 250- mile radius of its Charlotte headquarters. It also supports good causes, as this Protect Our Parks shirt champions Great Smoky Mountains National Park and is made of upcycled cotton and post-consumer recycled PET (putting those wasteful water bottles to some good use).
Patagonia – Men’s Hemp Hoody Sweatshirt
The Resolution: I want to support sustainable crops.
The Solution: Patagonia has made hemp the main fabric in its sturdy workwear collection, for good reason. The crop—the fiber used in apparel comes from the stem—requires little water and helps replenish the soil, and Patgaonia has been experimenting with hemp grown in the U.S., though the processing technology here is not yet up to speed to produce fabric stateside. The fabric feels great in this rugged hoody, which is certainly a good choice for the jobsite (or just chilling with a latte).
Baltoro – ImpetroGear
The Resolution: I want to minimize my gear.
The Solution: Is your gear closet stuffed with a pack for every occasion but you hate all the clutter? The modular ImpetroGear system starts with a Base Unit that includes shoulder straps and a ventilated back panel. Zip this on to the Bike pack, Ski pack, or Mountain pack and you have three options in one that ring in at a cost far below three separate packs. You can buy it all in one bundle or mix and match pack options for your personal needs. Built in Austria and featuring durable nylon fabric and breathable mesh, the pack(s) can handle abuse out in the wild.
$220–$140 depending on option, baltoro.com
Econic One – Adventure
The Resolution: I want to bike more.
The Solution: Don’t fear the ebike. Sure it makes it easier to get out there and spin your wheels if you are a casual rider, but it also makes it easier to tackle big, ugly adventures that would be hell on a non-powered bike—and it makes the ride fun. With 29-inch cross-country tires, 10 gears on the rear cassette, and a 100mm air fork, this baby is ready to take on dirt roads and singletrack with the aplomb of any high-end hardtail, but it also gives you 205 watts of power and 80 Nm of torque in a battery that can run up to 60 miles (plan for less if you are riding hard). That opens up a whole new world of adventure for those with open minds.
Küat – Piston Pro X
The Resolution: I want to bike more—but my car is too nice for a janky rack.
The Solution: A bike rack is great on an old beater, but it looks junky or actually damages that vehicle you really care about. There are no excuses with this pneumatic rack that can be operated with one tap and does not contact the bike frame to hold it secure. It’s adaptable for a wide range of bike sizes, includes built-in LED taillights for safety, and Küat specifically worked to keep it wobble-free.
Roark – Chopper Jacket
The Resolution: I want gear designed by women.
The Solution: The women at active apparel brand Roark stepped up and took over the production and design of its new line for women. The result is a tough but classy line of pieces like this Primaloft-insulated jacket, inspired by a trip to New Zealand, that can handle a day shearing sheep, a walk in the woods, or a trip to the store. Light yet warm, it packs away easily for travel.
Merrell – Long Sky 2
The Resolution: Simple and classic—I want to run more.
The Solution: Comfort is key in this techy trail runner that fits your foot perfectly thanks to an internal bootie and stable midsole. But the real selling point is in the sole: Vibram’s MegaGrip is just the ticket for the slippery roots and loose rock you find on Blue Ridge trails. It’s a shoe that gives you confidence—and that’s just what you need to stick to that running resolution.
Albemarle Cannabis Co. – Relief Stick
The Resolution: I want to ease my pain.
The Solution: CBD, the soothing non-psychotropic cannabidiol from the marijuana plant, has flooded the market, and with more and more states legalizing cannabis in all its forms, we will only see more and hear more claims about its uses. Here’s the thing—it works, at least in our experience, rubbing it on after big hikes, rides, and gym sessions. Juiced with 2000mg of hemp-derived CBD, meaning the plant never had significant amounts of THC, and recovery-focused oils, this soothing stick is the perfect antidote to those pains you feel after giving it your all out there.
The Resolution: I want to buy less new crap.
The Solution: In addition to cruising the aisles for the latest in new gear, you can also shop the “UnNew” used gear marketplace, which can save bucks and minimize the carbon footprint of new gear production. If you are looking for preloved outdoor gear, take a gander at geartrade.com, which stocks its virtual shelves with lightly used or repaired gear from everyday consumers, as well as leading brands like Ortovox, Dynafit, and Stio. In addition to finding great deals, you’ll get a warm fuzzy feeling for saving stuff from the fate of more than 85 percent of new apparel (around 25 million pounds), which ends up getting thrown away each year.