I lucked out this Christmas and scored 2 great pieces of versatile gear.  The first is the Northface Varius Guide Rain Jacket.  This jacket would be a great piece for backpacking trips where you’re sure to encounter rain.  It’s made from 2-layer HyVent nylon, it’s waterproof (obviously) and it has pit zips so it’s breathable.  It also has a wind skirt and a fully adjustable hood.  While I can definitely see using this coat on future backpacking trips, right now it’s doubling as a new and warmer ski jacket.  That fully adjustable hood will go over my ski helmet and the wind skirt also helps to keep snow from creeping up my back when (if) I fall.

Here’s the link to it on The North Face site.  The awesome teaberry pink color isn’t showing up there, which is why I included the top link to the REI site.

I also got this great Smartwool Women’s Midweight Zip T.  It’s super comfortable and, by getting the large, I can easily wear another light thermal layer underneath.  This top is long so it can be tucked in for extra warmth or just pulled down to cover your hips.  It’s also form fitted, which I like.  Again, this will be a great piece to add to my backpacking gear next year, but for now it’s working great on the ski slopes as a middle layer.

Finally, I got new Smartwool hiking socks!  I love Smartwool socks.  They are great for backpacking and hiking because they really seem to wick sweat away.  They also are great at diffusing smells, so I can alternate two pair on a backpacking trip for several days without them getting too smelly.

What great new gear did you get?

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