Winter gift guide 2016: Osprey Kamber, Arcteryx Sentinel and Sabre, and Mountain Hardwear StretchDown jacket
December 1, 2016
Editor's note: This is part one of a two-part gift guide for outdoor junkies. See the Summit Daily on Friday for stocking stuffers and accessories.
True powder days might still be a distant dream, but in the meantime, the holiday season is already here. Stock up now on the stuff your friends and family need to get ready for steep, deep, unforgettable snow with the best new outerwear, backpacks and more. Santa Claus would approve.
Osprey Kamber 32
Capacity: 32 liters
Size: 22 inches high, 12 inches wide, 12 inches deep
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Weight: 3 pounds
Fabric: 420HD Nylon Packcloth (main and bottom), 420D Nylon Mini Check Dobby (accent)
The details: Whether you're bound for the backcountry or toting brats and burgers out to Breckenridge for a day of grilling, a functional pack will help get you there. The Osprey Kamber 32 is one option that crams a lot of bells and whistles into a basic pack, said Arthur Ballew, of Ptarmigan Sports in Edwards.
Upper and lower reinforced carry straps provide secure diagonal ski carry, and dual front-panel hypalon-reinforced straps make it possible to carry a snowboard or snowshoes vertically. Either option still allows easy access to the contents of the pack.
"You take the backpack on and off, and you can actually keep your skis and snowboard on it and get into the pack itself," Ballew said. "A lot of the packs you have to take off your skis or snowboard to get into the pack. This one you don't have to do that; you set the backpack down, and it opens from the back."
The Kamber has dual top load and back panel access to the main storage compartment, as well as a large J-zip around the front panel to get to the avalanche safety pocket with shovel handle and probe sleeves for backcountry excursions.
"That's going to be your wet spot," Ballew said. "In that spot, you can keep your probe, shovel, skins and keep that completely separate from your main compartment, where you have your snacks, extra gloves, jacket, stocking hat and items along that line."
A stow-away helmet carry quickly deploys so you can store your helmet on long ascents, and pockets on the waist belt are a good place to stash easy-access items such as granola bars and Chapstick. The Kamber also comes in a smaller, 22-liter size for shorter jaunts and a beefier 42-liter with additional features. All models feature insulated compartments for a hydration pack.
The Kamber comes in black, red or blue. The women-specific version, the Kresta, has all of the same features, in slightly smaller sizes — 20, 30 and 40 liters — and is built from the same heavy-duty 420HD Nylon Packcloth in powder blue or gray.
Pricing: Kresta 20 and Kamber 22 ($150), Kresta 30 and Kamber 32 ($170), Kresta 40 and Kamber 42 ($190, special order)
Arcteryx Sabre Jacket
Gore-Tex three-layer construction
Helmet compatible StormHood
Hidden Recco rescue signal reflector
The details: There's a reason Arcteryx is occupying a growing spot on ski-shop racks, and it has to do with the way the company makes its products, said Mike Jarvis, product manager for Sun and Ski, a new store in Avon.
"The fabric and all of the construction that they use — making sure they tape every seam, making sure the zippers are all sealed, using good-quality down — they last really well," he said. "I have three years on one outfit and it doesn't get wet (inside)."
At $625, the Arcteryx Sabre Jacket has a pretty steep price tag, but the seemingly simple shell is anything but, starting with a breathable, three-layer Gore-Tex construction with a durable water repellent finish. The jacket uses the company's exclusive WaterTight water-resistant zippers on all of its external closures, from the main front zipper to the pockets to the pit zips, and has a fit suitable for both skiers and riders.
Snow-specific features include a powder skirt with gripper elastic and snap closure, lift-pass loop, snap closures to fasten the ski pants to prevent snow entry and a hidden Recco rescue signal reflector.
"On a shell like that, you want big pockets, pit zips so you can control body temperature — it's got every feature you're looking for," Jarvis said.
Arcteryx makes a range of base and mid-layers to complete the insulating puzzle — Jarvis recommends the Cerium LT Jacket ($349) or Hoodie ($379), made with 850-fill down — as well as a women's version of the jacket, the Sentinel.
The Sabre comes in dark blue, light blue, ocean blue, red and a kind of burnt-orange color called "oak barrel." Sentinel colors are turquoise, white, maroon, purple and orange.
Pricing: Arcteryx Sabre ($625) and Sentinel ($625)
Mountain Hardware StretchDown Jacket
Stretch-bonded channel construction
Water-resistant down 750-fill
The details: The down "puffy" coat has become a staple mid-layer for many skiers and snowboarders, but the rip-stop nylon that most of these quilted jackets are made from leaves a lot to be desired in terms of comfort and maneuverability.
Mountain Hardware has addressed the mobility issues of a traditional puffy with its StretchDown Jacket, featuring stretch-welded channel construction that allows the coat to move more freely with an athlete's body.
"Everyone around town wears puffys all the time, but the fabric on the outside of this is stretchy. It moves with you, it's really comfortable and lightweight," said Lauren Williams, store manager at Outdoor Divas in Lionshead Village. "It's a nice update on the traditional puffy that everybody has."
The insulated jacket is marketed as a mid-layer, but it features water-repellent Q Shield Down 750-fill tech that repels moisture and maintains loft even when wet. Even so, Williams said it's best for walking around town or layering. Having a down insulator adds an exponential amount of warmth to any shell. It also compresses easily, making it very packable, she said, and the fabric has a softer feel than the standard nylon.
"It's a nice piece to have in your collection of gear because you can wear it on its own or you can layer it as a liner with a shell," she said. "There's a lot of different ways to use it, and with the stretchy fabric, it gives it more versatility."
The jacket has two hip pockets and an internal stash pocket. It comes in hooded and non-hooded versions and an array of colors, including black, maroon and navy. Mountain Hardware also makes a men's StretchDown Jacket with all of the same features.
The goods: Mountain Hardware StretchDown Hooded Jacket (women's, $289.95)
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