Get Down



You need a down vest, even if you don’t yet know it. Why? Because they’re one of the outdoor-apparel world’s biggest bangs for your buck — e.g., the OUTDOOR RESEARCH TRANSCENDENT VEST ($120, At 10.4oz, this 650-fill, ripstop-polyester core-cozy weighs about as much as three draws, and packs into one of its zippered hand-warmer pockets, taking little more space than a pair of climbing shoes. It’s good lovin’ for places like the high-altitude crags of Zillertal, Austria, where I tested mine. There, temps and conditions were less stable than Britney Spears, so whenever my long sleeve wasn’t cutting it, I warmed my core with the Transcendent. Plus, a quick unzip left me well-ventilated for the approaches. Ethereal, brody. . . .

—Justin Roth