Winter Gift Guide 2016: Smith I/O goggles, GoPro Hero 5, Sorel Joan of the Arctic and more
Editor’s note: This is part two of a two-part gear guide for outdoor lovers. Read on for part one with Osprey backpacks, Arcteryx hard shells and Mountain Hardware liners.
Holiday toys aren’t just for kids. For the outdoor junkie who has everything, we searched around for accessories, cameras and trinkets made to survive days and days in Colorado’s playground.
Waterproof leather and suede upper
Rubber lower and sole
Removable felt inner lining
13.5 inches tall
Waterproof up to 8 inches
Weighs 31 ounces
The details: Think it’s finally time to replace the winter boots you’ve had for 10 years? We thought so. Introducing the classy (and wonderfully named) Joan of the Arctic boot from Sorel. Like all Sorel boots, function is a high priority, and the 2016 model is one of the best around when it comes to keeping your feet warm, dry and comfy.
The boot combines traditional styling — black rubber lower and sole — with modern touches like a full-grain leather upper and faux fur around the top. It’s tall at 13.5 inches in height, meaning it rides high like going-out-on-the-town boots, minus the frozen fake leather of so many models.
Reviewers with Outdoorgearlab.com say the boot is clunkier than most, but it makes up for that tiny complaint with incredibly warm and waterproof materials. It stays dry in up to 8 inches of water or slush — the total height of some other boots — and is designed for frigid temperatures as low as negative-25 degrees. Ullr Fest after-party, here we come.
Pricing: Sorel Joan of the Arctic ($180)
Full 4K video at 30 frames per second
12 megapixel still capture at 30 FPS
Built-in video stabilization
2-inch color screen
The details: GoPro new Karma drone might be embroiled in controversy, but the latest version of the company’s flagship camera is better than ever. The Hero 5 Black Edition comes with everything GoPro users know and love — simple controls, a fisheye lens, slow-mo capabilities, multiple camera modes, nearly bulletproof construction — and kicks it all up a notch with improved tech and new features.
First up, the tech. The GoPro 5 is the first model to shoot in full 4K at up to 30 frames per second. That’s pro-quality capture from a camera that fits in a teacup. GoPro also improved the low-light capture and added a 12 megapixel still mode, with burst rates up to 30 FPS.
Next up, the package. For the first time ever, the Hero no longer needs a waterproof or shockproof case. The camera itself, complete with the 2-inch color display, is waterproof up to 33 feet. It also comes with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and, in another first, voice-activated controls. As if the single button wasn’t simple enough, the Hero 5 Black listens to commands for video recording and image capture.
Of course, the camera doesn’t come with a micro SD card and the price tag is steep — it’s a given with each new Hero generation — but, given the amount of practically indestructible tech crammed inside the Hero 5 Black, it’s just about worth it.
Pricing: GoPro Hero 5 Black ($399.99), Hero 5 Session ($299.99)
Quick-release lens change system
Spherical carbonic-x lens
5X anti-fog inner lens
Custom strap adjustment system with clip buckle
The details: The I/O has been around for a few years, but Smith gave it an update this year, with a wider field of view, a new frame design and — perhaps most exciting — the addition of the brand’s ChromaPop lenses.
“They’ve had it in their sunglasses, they just haven’t had it in their goggles,” said Dan Mitchell, sales associate with Pepi Sports in Vail, of the ChromaPop technology. “It’s a great addition to the line — the I/O series has been one of the top-selling goggles for years.”
The spherical lenses provide a high level of optical clarity and better fit, which boosts the anti-fog capabilities of the goggles. The lens is also treated with 5X anti-fog, a micro-etched surface that absorbs moisture and disperses it over a wide surface area to prevent fogging.
And that ChromaPop tech? It filters two specific wavelengths of light that cause color confusion, much like polarized lenses. By doing this, the lens delivers greater definition, more natural color and higher clarity, allowing you to see more detail. It does wonders for visual fatigue on the hill.
“This year, they are redesigned with new foam around them, with a deeper nose pocket and a little more peripheral vision out the side,” Mitchell said. “But they will still use the old I/O lenses. The lenses still work from the old ones.”
The new lenses also work with older I/O frames, he said, and the frames still integrate with Smith’s helmet line. Sizing is unisex.
Pricing: Smith I/O (manufacturer’s suggested retail price $210), I/O 7 (MSRP $230) and I/OX (MSRP $210)
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