Author: Kevin Glover

Kevin Glover lives, climbs and backpacks out of Spokane, WA. Originally from the Nevada high desert, he moved to the PNW ten years ago and has worked as a glacier and rock guide in the Washington Cascades. When not testing gear, he is a medical student at the University of Washington and will gladly check that rash out for you.

Rain can feel inevitable when hiking in the Pacific Northwest, especially in the early summer months. Like many backcountry travelers, I don’t regard rain as a particular friend of mine when I’m hiking. But, at the same time, it’s what makes the understory in the PNW so lush and green. So, I don a good pair of rain pants and make my peace with it. This summer, those pants have been the Arc’teryx Zeta SL. Arc’teryx Zeta SL Gore-Tex Pants Features: Micro-seam allowance (1.6 mm) reduces bulk and weight 2L Gore-Tex with Paclite® Plus product technology Articulated patterning for unrestricted…

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Of the many ridiculous crazes to sweep over performance outdoor gear, the giant lens-style sunnies with retro colorways might be one of the very best. The Smith Optics Wildcat Performance Sunglasses are one such specimen. Now you too can look like an 80’s Outdoor Magazine cover photo, but with the added performance benefits of modern technology. Smith Wildcat Sunglasses Features: 1 ChromaPop™ bright light lens and 1 interchangeable clear lens Hydroleophobic lens coating Medium fit / XL coverage Hydrophilic megol temple & nose pads for a secure fit Auto-lock hinges 5 base cylindrical lens Microfiber bag and zippered case included…

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Coming off the heels of my review of the Diamondback Sync’r, I was all ready to love another Diamondback bike. My first mountain bike was a Diamondback, and I’ve continued to enjoy the brand for the mix of value and performance they offer. That lineage is continued with the Diamondback Release 29 2. It’s a high-rolling trail bike that comes in underneath $3k and has the features you’re looking for. Diamondback Release 29 2 Features: Level Link Suspension Platform, Hydroformed Tubing, ISCG-05 Tabs, Boost 148x12mm Maxle Drop Out, 1.5″ Tapered Headtube Fox Float DPS EVOL LV, Performance, 3 Position Lever…

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Some things are just better together. This is especially true when you have two pieces of gear that have been engineered to partner perfectly with each other for some specialized purpose, like ski goggles and a helmet. The combo that I’ve been taking out all winter is the Level Snow Helmet with MIPS and I/O MAG Snow Goggles, both from Smith Optics. Let’s jump into it! Smith Level MIPS Helmet Features: Hybrid shell construction Aerocore construction featuring Koroyd Low-profile regulator adjustable climate control with 20 vents VaporFit adjustable fit system Removable Snapfit SL2 ear pads XT2 anti-bacterial performance lining AirEvac ventilation MSRP: $200…

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Welcome to Part 2 of our coverage of the Patagonia Snowdrifter backcountry touring kit! We recently published our review of the Patagonia Snowdrifter Bibs, and today it’s time to cover the jacket. My testing has taken place in the wonderful Pacific Northwest, with all of the challenges that that entails. We’ve had plenty of warm wet days, as well as cold dry ones in Canada, and the Snowdrifters have been with me on both ends of the spectrum. They’ve also been a pretty faithful resort companion, too, so today we’ll dive into how well the Snowdrifter Jacket held up. Patagonia…

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As the winter stretched through November and December here in the Pacific Northwest, backcountry locales and resorts alike struggled to have enough snow to offer any fresh turns to skiers. It was, as they say, a slow year. However, with an epic storm cycle stretching from late December through mid-January, we’ve finally gotten the snow that we need to recharge our aquifers and get some stellar lines. With that in mind, I’ve been having an incredibly good time riding lifts and ripping skins in the Patagonia SnowDrifter Bibs. Patagonia SnowDrifter Bibs Features: Suspenders detach in the front for quick and easy…

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There are durable garments, there are breathable garments, and there are relatively few garments that are both durable and breathable. Part of the difficulty with designing something that meets both of those specifications is just that making things breathable often means making them lighter, and that’s bad for durability. However, with the re-design of their well-known Proton LT Hoody, Arc’teryx is shooting for the ultimate durable, breathable mid layer. This piece really caught me by surprise, so I’m breaking out of my normal product break-down and instead sharing a story about this piece and will follow it with some more…

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The jacket that I have worn the most since 2017 has been the Patagonia Micro Puff Hoody. I reviewed that bad boy and gave it good marks at the time, and it has stood the test in time. So, when Patagonia announced a ‘puffier’ version, the Macro Puff Hoody, I was profoundly interested. While it’s temping to do a direct comparison, this isn’t going to be a Micro Puff versus Macro Puff review because in reality they are very different jackets. Instead, let’s look at what makes the Macro Puff a good tool for the right situation. Patagonia Macro Puff…

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Today I’m reviewing a product that’s unusually close to home: my eyeglasses. If you have poor vision or require corrective lenses at all, then you’re familiar with the struggle of finding good outdoor eyewear. It needs to lightweight, of high optical quality, and ideally durable. I’ve used everything from cheap online prescriptions to boutique mountaineering-specific lens grinders in Colorado, and I can tell you that the quest for the perfect glasses continues. My Fall outdoor eyewear has been dominated  by the Oakley Crossrange frames with lenses courtesy of SportRx. I have had a phenomenal experience, and I’m eager to share…

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My relationship with Sierra Designs goes back to some of my earliest days of doing stuff in the outdoors. As a teenager, I had a tent and sleeping bag from them that I absolutely loved. I still have the tent (a Nitro 2) and, while it’s dirtier and smellier now, it’s still a favorite. So today, when I look at a Sierra Designs product, I have really high expectations for quality because that’s what their customers are looking for, too. With that, this Fall I’ve been rocking the Sierra Designs Whitney Hoodie. Sierra Designs Whitney Hoodie Features: 800 Fill DriDown™…

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If you’re squarely in the world of alpinism or traditional backpacking, you might not recognize the name Triple Aught Design. If you have even an inkling of hunter or anything remotely tactical, though, you definitely have a lot of reverence for the name. Triple Aught Design is a company that makes exceptionally high-quality tactical gear, alongside a whole slew of products that are meant to support and equip active lifestyles. My test piece for this review, the Talisman jacket, is a capable piece that embodies so much of what Triple Aught Design is about. Triple Aught Design Talisman Jacket Features:…

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If there’s one thing that you can expect in the Pacific Northwest every fall, it’s the return of sloppy wet weather. That can pose a challenge for footwear, since it’s easy to ruin shoes in the muck or to opt to just put on my big, clunky hiking boots to make sure my feet stay dry. A stylish, in-between option would be ideal, and so when I saw the word ‘waterproof’ in the name of a new Timberland boot, I was intrigued. Timberland Courma Guy Waterproof Boots Features: Premium leather uppers from a Silver-rated tannery TimberDry™ waterproof membranes Padded collars…

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Every fall, I take a great deal of enjoyment from selecting a handful of lifestyle items to review for our readers. They’re usually something that blends the outdoors lifestyle with casual city aesthetics, and I try to focus on companies that are making strides in the area of sustainability. One of the exciting names that fits this category to a ‘T’ are Toad&Co, purveyors of stylish and sustainable clothing. This fall I’ve been rocking their Jet Cord Jacket. Toad&Co Jet Cord Corduroy Jacket Features: Moisture-wicking fabrics Comfort stretch material Center-front zipper Flannel lined for added warmth Double chest pockets with…

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As the price of mountain bikes seems to keep climbing and climbing, some parts of the industry are pushing back against that. One thing that comes to mind is the genre of the ultra-capable hardtail, a rebuke to the uber-expensive world of carbon full-suspension bikes. One remarkably strong player in this world is the recently introduced Sync’r Carbon Hardtail from Diamondback Bicycles. Diamondback Sync’r Carbon Features: New Sync’r Monocoque Carbon Asymetrical Chainstays Euro Standard Threaded BB, ISCG-05 Tabs Internal Dropper Post Ready 148x12mm Boost Hub Spacing Fox 34 Performance Float, 140mm of Travel, Grip 3 POS, 15mm Thru Axle SRAM…

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I don’t know about your part of the country, but here in the Pacific Northwest things are starting to feel like Fall. The mornings are cooler, the rain has come and, like many of you, my thoughts have naturally started to drift to seasonal concerns – like high-tech, ultralight down insulation. That’s only appropriate, since it will soon be very cold and my wimpy body will be shivering atop the skin track as I desperately pull over a layer on my sweat-soaked torso. What layer will that be for me this year? Why, The North Face’s L3 Down Hoodie, obviously.…

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Prior to this review, I had never worked with NEMO Equipment. Founded in 2002, they’re a relatively young company and maybe that is some of the reason that I hadn’t previously taken any adventures with NEMO gear along. That said, I knew friends who loved their NEMO sleeping bags; when the opportunity arose to test the Kayu 15 Down Mummy Bag, I was seriously interested. All the specs were there: great down, thoughtful baffle design and some cool extra features promised a winner. I had some epic adventures in the Kayu 15, so it’s time to share how it went. NEMO…

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What does it take to make a bib short and call it ‘classic?’ I’ll give you a hint: it’s not classic technology. The Rapha Classic II Bib Shorts are recently updated with high-tech fabric, fit and stitching and they’re trying to become your go-to shorts. Rapha Classic II Bib Shorts Features: 74% polyamide/26% elastane mix Updated chamois pad Size – specific chamois Available in a range of colours with complimentary Rapha logos Highly breathable back Soft grippers and flatlock stitching Rear key pocket MSRP: $235 These are the bibs that you’re looking for There are plenty of dynamics to consider…

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There are plenty of people who want to buy a dedicated backcountry shell. There are also plenty of people who want to buy a shell that can cross boundaries. The Black Diamond Helio is positioned at an interesting place because it is marketed as a lightweight backcountry ski touring jacket, but it totally has the chops to be a great year-round shell. Black Diamond Helio Active Shell Features: Gore-Tex® 3L Active Soft hand Gore-Tex® C-Knit® backer Integrated Cohaesive™ cord management system Harness compatible hand pockets Full-length pit zips 30D Nylon Plain Weave 3L Active, with C-Knit Backer and DWR Finish…

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The best jackets are the ones that you can use for many activities in any different season. That has been my experience with the  Montane Fleet Jacket. It’s tailor-made to be lightweight but strong, making it a perfect combination Montane Fleet Jacket Features: Fully adjustable roll-away hood with three point adjustment and stiffened peak Features Gore-Tex Active Full length YKK AquaGuard® VISLON front zip with internal storm flap YKK AquaGuard® zipped chest pocket Articulated arms with engineered tailoring Two zipped map-sized,mesh lined hand pockets Adjustable hook and loop cuff tabs Adjustable hem with cinchable drawcord MSRP: $340 USD Go light,…

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If you were riding bikes in the late-1990’s, you might remember the introduction of a colorful little frame from California-based Santa Cruz Bicycles called the Chameleon. It’s kind of funny to think that the kids I see on the pump track, hitting way bigger stuff than I feel good about, have never not been alive in a world that didn’t have a Santa Cruz Chameleon for them to shred on. It’s a storied frame with a long, successful history, and the most radical change has been the most recent adaptation of the frame and fork to be able to fit either 29″…

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