It may still feel like winter here in the Blue Ridge, but the trails will be dry before you know it. Fickle weather calls for lightweight, multifunctional gear. These selections will help you hit the ground running – or biking, or hiking – come spring.
1. Spy Optics Cutter
Change with the weather, almost as instantly. The Cutters are built with performance in mind featuring Scoop ventilation for a clear view and Hytrel Rubber on the featherweight frames so they stay in place for the long haul. If the clouds roll in, swapping out for rose- tinted lenses on the go is a breeze. Even with all the tech, these shades are fashion forward enough to pull double duty on the singletrack and at the brewery. $160.
2. Deuter Compact Air EXP 10
You won’t find a more feature-filled, versatile pack than the Compact Air EXP 10. Inside, the EXP comes standard with a pump sleeve, tool pouch, externally accessible bladder compartment, expansion zipper, helmet carry system, and stowaway rain fly. The star of the show, however, is the FlexLite carrying system that utilizes a springy metal frame in combination with mesh lining to not only prevent overheating with three-sided ventilation on the back, but transfers the load seamlessly to the hip straps. $129.
3. Green Guru Clutch Saddle Bag
Green Guru fashions all their bags from upcycled inner tubes and hand builds them in the U.S. Because it is made of rubber, the Clutch will keep your gear dry and the reflective strip will keep you visible. $25
4. Lems Boulder Boot
At a scant 9.9 ounces, the Boulder is one of the lightest boots on the market. Lems built the boot on a minimalist platform with zero drop and minimal arch support, which accounts for the low weight. The upper is water resistant nylon and the sole is 9mm of LemsRubber, making for a boot that is both tough and flexible. How flexible? This boot can be collapsed and rolled up, the perfect accessory to stuff into a backpack or suitcase for travel and camping. $115.
5. Westcomb Focus LT Hoody
To move fast and nimbly in the mountains, you need a jacket that can keep up. The Focus combines Westcomb’s renowned construction quality with eVent DVL technology to produce a shell that keeps the weather out and breathes like a soft shell. The Focus packs down impossibly small and weighs just 203 grams, so you can stuff it in your pack and forget about it until that early spring storm rolls in. $280.
6. TerraLux TT-3 Flashlight
Go deeper and climb higher with the TT-3. This ultra rugged, indestructible LED flashlight can be used underwater for 2.5 hours. It illuminates 300 feet of trail and pumps out a blinding 250 lumens, all powered by two double-A batteries. $90.
7. Vapur Microfilter 1Liter
The 1.1-ounce filter screws into the 1.6 ounce collapsible bladder bottle giving you a ultra-lightweight microbial filter that removes 99.9 percent of everything bad, and all you have to do is suck the water through the top. The filter can also be used on its own as a straw or squeeze filter and is good for up to 500 uses. $70.
8. PROBAR Meal Bars
Organic, 100% plant-based, non-GMO meal-bars are everything you need for a quick meal on the go: nutritionally dense, 350 – 400 calories of mostly raw fruits, seeds, nuts and vegetables. $3.25.
9. FITS Ultra Light Trail Sock
This zero-cushion sock with a high ankle cuff is perfect for keeping snow and debris out of your shoe without sacrificing performance fit for your foot. Perfect for the year-round runner or hiker. $17.
10. Sport Hansa Helle Eggen Knife
Check out any survivalist forum or talk to any experienced outdoorsman and they’ll inevitably brag about Helle knives, which have a long tradition of superior craftsmanship and quality. One of their premier offerings is the Eggen, a triple-laminated stainless steel blade so durable that it stayed sharp through months of rugged outdoor use. The birch handle with its finger guard provided our tester with outstanding control and accuracy. $154.