Feel that chill yet? With heavy snow, bone-chilling winds and freezing temperatures, winter is most definitely here.
Don’t let the subzero weather put a damper on your outdoor fitness regimen, though. These 24 companies produce great gear for any kind of physical activity you’d want to do outside, from running to yoga to sports to anything in between.
Jackson Hole, Wyoming, is a cozy snowy town with world-class skiing. It’s also the home of SubQ Designs, creators of the ski-friendly ABS Avalanche Airbag Jacket. With a built-in AEGIS Antimicrobial harness, the jacket allows you to remove the vest and the airbag system as needed. If you plan on hitting the slopes this season, that extra layer of safety reduces activity risks.
John Bouchard and Marie Meunier, who founded Wild Things, started making garments in 1981 that eventually caught on with mountain fanatics everywhere. The company’s Guide Pack can store your water, jacket, pants, food supply, fuel source, hat and even a small stove. It’s only 28 ounces and won’t falter if you traverse ice or tough rocky terrain. The backpack includes attachments for tools and ice axe loops and has compression straps, a hydration system pocket, a band for your stomach and padded straps.
Minnesota snowboarding company The House specializes in outdoor gear for the active person who embraces the cold instead of shunning it. Its AK BK Down Insulator Vest keeps heat close to your body with insulating technology, a down-filled interior, waterproof ripstop fabric and pockets with fleece inside.
Merino wool comes from the merino sheep, known for its long, circular horns. Susan and Jeff Russell of Ridge Merino in Mammoth Lakes, California, have made garments for years with this wool because of the quality and comfort it offers. See for yourself with the baselayers for men and women. Choose from midweight bottoms and midweight crew shirts. All keep your skin safe with UPF 50+ ratings, prevent unwanted odors, include moisture-wicking materials and are insulated for wintertime activity.
The American Mountain Co.
As the name suggests, the American Mountain Co. specializes in winter gear. “Driven by a desire to make products with fortitude and inspired by our passion for the experiences only found in the mountains, we are determined to make mountain wear reminiscent of a time when climbing was in its purest form and excellence was found in all aspects of a product,” the company explains.
Enter the No. 231 Gentlemen’s Mid-Altitude Mitts. Made with fleece on the outside to trap in heat and a gaiter that prevents cold snow from slipping in, these gloves are windproof and waterproof.
Montana company Duckworth produces natural wool with sturdy fibers and textiles that is meant to handle the temperatures at the top of the Montana Rockies. The unisex WoolCloud snap shirt is insulated, so you can put it on first and start layering your winter gear from there.
Telluride, Colorado is accustomed to snowy winters, and local company Western Rise produces the unisex Bitter Creek Anorak. This is a coat you’ll want to have in your closet on those rainier winter days. It includes core venting, a tall collar meant to keep your neck covered from the elements and advanced waterproof technology.
United By Blue
Above, we mentioned Duckworth’s unisex WoolCloud snap shirt. United By Blue, whose efforts have helped get rid of more than 120 tons of trash across 23 states, has linked up with Duckworth to produce the Woolfill snapshirt jacket. Only available for a limited time, this nylon garment can be worn with your Duckworth shirt for extra layering. Stay toasty with Helle Rambouillet merino wool and inner insulation.
“Goodbye cold, hello comfort” is 45NRTH’s slogan; given that the company is located in Minnesota, its team is quite adept at banishing the cold. The Japanther boots are made “for cool transition season conditions” with rubber that cuts off past the ankle to prevent snow from getting in. A moisture-resistant membrane also keeps you dry.
The founders of Canada’s Give’r spent some time in Jackson Hole, which inspired them to develop the Give’r Gloves, which they claim have 100 different uses. These gloves can keep your fingers from freezing in the winter and can transition to gardening or rock-climbing in the springtime. Waterproof, these are covered in a worn brownish-yellow leather.
Since 2007, Nau in Portland, Oregon, has sought ways to make more and more of its clothing as sustainable as possible. Take the company’s Cocoon Recycled Down Trench, for example. This women’s coat is made of repurposed polyester ripstop. Stuffed with down feathers for insulation, this lengthy outerwear is available in gray, bright teal blue, olive green and maroon.
For men and women, the fleecy outwear from Roscoe Outdoors is plush with Polartec Thermal Pro fabric and Polartec fleece. It includes two front pockets to stuff your hands into, snaps at the front that you can close to stay warm and, to maintain body heat, the sleeves have Spandex binding at the ends.
With mountains on one side and the ocean on the other, the team at Santa Cruz, California’s Giro love spending time outdoors. Although intended for cyclists, the Alpineduro shoes also suffice for other outdoor activities. “At heart, the Alpineduro is a rugged mountain shoe with a gripping Vibram rubber outsole, insulated construction and a clip-in pedal-ready nylon shank that doesn’t sacrifice walking comfort or grip,” the company says. If you’re out in the ice and snow, the microfiber that covers these shows won’t ever soak through to your socks.
Swiftwick produces socks of various thicknesses and fabrics for different activities: VIBE socks are softer and lusher, the ASPIRE socks are for cyclists and athletes, and the PURSUIT ZERO socks are made of merino wool. These compression socks prevent blisters and never lose their shape thanks to Linked-Toe technology.
At the base of the North Shore mountains in North Vancouver is the Arc’teryx headquarters; the company itself is named after a species of dinosaur, the Archaeopteryx lithographica. As “the only hybrid ski boot of its kind,” the Procline Ski Mountaineering Boots could get you through a Vancouver winter or a frosty season anywhere else. Its upper cuff system, made of carbon fiber, can be adjusted both horizontally and vertically depending on your terrain. Of course, the gaiters are snowproof and waterproof. These boots are unisex.
Located near the San Juan Mountains in Colorado, Osprey Packs founder Mike Pfotenhauer and the rest of his team certainly understand rugged outdoor gear. The Pixel bag is meant to store your valuable technology such as laptops, smartphones, tablets and other devices. With a side compartment, slash pockets, a Powerhouse organizer and an attachment for your blinker, this 22-liter bag is covered in durable poly fabric.
Yak wool is a popular choice among those in the Himalayas, according to Kora, which has started using that wool in its garments, including its Shola 230 leggings. Close-fitting, these are perfect to layer beneath snow pants. Made of Hima-Layer Original 230 yak wool fabric, these leggings combat unpleasant smells, promote dryness and keep you warm.
An option for men, the BT1 Base Layer Pants from Bambool are made with the company’s special fabric, which is a blend of merino wool and bamboo. While merino wool is quite beneficial, bamboo can “survive in a variety of climates, is far more water-efficient than cotton, and its intricate root systems form a watershed to prevent soil erosion,” the company explains. These pants include snowsport design for efficiency in the cold.
Although based in Sunnyvale, California, White Sierra knows how to make outdoor gear that keeps you covered in wintertime. The Wooly Bully Zip Jacket is made of a textured fleece and features suede detailing. With deep pockets and welting, this polyester garment for women can be worn on its own on those mild days or layered beneath a thicker, heavier winter coat when it’s freezing outside.
686 founder Michael Akira fell in love with snowboarding when he was younger, and the rest is pretty much history. This California company makes garments for kids and adults. The Smarty Cargo Pants, available in a rainbow of hues, include inner vents with Air-Flow mesh technology and are made of nylon and polyester for waterproofing. These also have leg gaiters that include belt loop pockets, hooks and snap closures.
With headquarters in both Alaska and Colorado, Wiggy’s, best known for its sleeping bags, has kept customers cozy for years. A best-seller, the Kodiak Mittens are made of cold-deflecting nylon taffeta and 3-Ply Supplex nylon with articulated thumbs for mobility. Made for temperatures well below freezing, these gloves dry quickly.
Royal Robbins is proud of the fabrics the company uses. “The ultra-soft Tencel and Modal blends have long been the Royal Robbins answer for clothing that delivers performance without the technical appearance of traditional outdoor wear. We blend Tencel or Modal, both made from the cellulose in renewably-sourced wood pulp, with other fibers to deliver a retained look that moves from active pursuits to more decorous environments with ease.”
The Field jacket is a good example of this, as it includes 2-Tone Poly, Wax Twill and 2-Tone Twill fabrics that keep that winter chill away from your body.
A Canadian company that understands just how cold winter can get, SUGOI also makes garments for triathletes, runners and bicyclists. The Cooler Collection includes the RS Ice Tri Suit. This one-piece garment includes Ice Fil technology, which instantly regulates your body temperature if you begin sweating. With aerodynamic and hydrodynamic pockets, this suit also has panels along the front for even better flexibility.
Since Bill Amos created the company in 2010, NW Alpine in Oregon has become a preferred choice for all kinds of mountaineering activities. The Black Spider Hoody for men and women is made of Power Dry fabric for better insulation and waterproofing. Meant to fit tightly, this garment can easily be layered. The cuffs include thumb holes; you can wear light gloves and still fit your hands through the holes. There’s also a balaclava helmet hood.