If you’ve found your way to this gear review, then it probably comes as no surprise that the crew at Campman loves little more than a well-designed piece of equipment, especially when it comes to ski gear. Since we’re constantly surrounded by the best gear on the market, we thought we’d let you know what we’re wearing this winter so you have the insider’s scoop on what you should be looking at.
- Waterproof Rating: 20,000mm
- Breathability Rating: 20,000 g/m2
- Membrane: 3-layer
- Height: Mid-chest
- Vents: Inner and outer thigh
- Pockets: 2 front hand, 1 thigh, 1 rear, 1 cell phone, and 1 kangaroo
- Reinforced knees and cuffs
It’s no secret that the Flylow Baker Bibs are some of the hardest working, heavy-duty snow pants that money can buy. What you might not know about them is that they are stacked with features to let you comfortably take on everything from storm days at the resort to long days spent tooling around in the backcountry, without ever breaking a sweat.
It’s hard to know where to start when it comes to ski bibs that seem to offer it all, but to keep it brief, we’ll stick to the highlights. First up, we have the storage options.
Here’s what Campman employee Tim Hall has to say on the matter, “The pockets on the Bakers are probably my favorite feature. The chest pocket has three compartments: the top zipper pocket, side zipper pocket, and front beacon pocket. This allows me to keep my phone and wallet in separate places, but the pocket I've bragged about most to my ski buddies is the beacon pocket, and not just because I can put my beacon in there. I carry my keys on a locking carabiner, and this pocket has a clip that is intended for beacons but perfectly fits this carabiner. So whenever I go to pull out my phone, wallet, or keys, I never have to worry about anything else coming out with it.”
Next, comes the ventilation. While some ski pants and bibs stick to outer thigh vents that are so small, you wonder if they actually help you dump any excess heat at all, Flylow added four sizable vents on the Baker Bibs to give you plenty of options when it comes to temperature regulation.
“One of my favorite features is the long zip on one side so that I can easily get into and out of the bibs, which along with the other three thigh vents bring in the cool air when I start to get a bit too warm,” says Campman employee Cavin Smothers. Useful for both warm, spring days spent at the resort and those powder-filled days spent on the skin track, this built-in ventilation is not to be missed.
Finally, and most importantly, comes the construction. Above all else, the Baker Bibs are a beefy design that won’t let you down when it comes to wet weather and harsh conditions. After all, they are named after Mount Baker, which not only sees some of the deepest snow in America but also some of the heaviest.
Rated to 20k for both waterproofing and breathability, these pants are at home in the thick of the storm or while running park laps on a sunny spring afternoon, and the reinforced patches on the cuffs and knees keep you from tearing them up when you take a tumble down the mountain. The fabric itself can feel a little stiff at times, but you’ll be glad that’s it’s so burly when you get two years down the road and discover that they still look and feel brand new, despite putting 50+ days of hard skiing on them.
The only issue that consistently comes up is the sizing. While they tend to fit true to size in the waist and hips, they have a slightly baggy feel overall. Sizing yourself up online can be tough, so we thought we’d offer up some real-life sizing information for the Baker Bibs from the Campman employees who own them:
Size Purchased - L
Height - 5’11”
Weight - 180 lbs
Inseam - 33”
Waist - 32”
Comments - “At 5’ 11”, the size Large fit me well lengthwise but were a bit baggy for my 32” waist. This is less of an issue for bibs because they're bibs, and they aren't going to fall down. If you're not one to go for a loose fit, I'd recommend sizing down.”
Size Purchased - S
Height - 5’9”
Weight - 170 lbs
Inseam - 31”
Waist - 32”
Comments - “I purchased a size Small, and the fit is a teeny bit snug in the waist at 5'9" and 170 lbs, with a little beer belly right now (working on that by the way).”
Size Purchased - XS
Height - 5’10”
Weight - 145 lbs
Inseam - 32”
Waist - 30”
Comments - “The generous fit was something I had to get used to. Above the knee, the bibs widen out and the inseam on the XS is snug, but the length is long for me.”
Want to know more about these snow bibs? Check out our full Flylow Baker Bib gear review on the Campman blog.
- Outer Material: Aniline Cowhide Leather
- Liner: Bemberg Polyester
- Insulation: Fiberfill
- Cuff: Neoprene
- Style: Undercuff
For under-the-cuff winter warmth, you can’t do much better than the Hestra Fall Line Mitt. As far as mittens go, the Fall Line offers plenty of warmth while keeping enough dexterity that you can accomplish basic functions like buckling boots and zipping up jackets. With a durable leather outer and lightweight insulation on the inside, these mittens have proven their worth over the years as a great option for long days spent on the mountain.We sent employee Calvin Smothers out into the Wasatch with just a pair of these to keep his fingers from freezing, and he came back without frostbite, so we think that was a win for the mittens overall.
Here are his initial thoughts, “The Fall Line Mitt is my first go-around with Hestra, and I've gotta say these mittens are the absolute nicest I've ever owned. I paired them with Hestra's slim handcuffs, so they don't fall off when I'm hovering high above the mountain on the ski lift. The handcuff design is really nice, other glove companies use the gauntlet string to attach to your wrist, and I always feel like that string is way long. Not with Hestra's handcuffs though, these are the perfect fit.”
The Fall Line has made a name for itself in the ski community, and there’s little wonder why. Sturdy cowhide leather keeps these waterproof mittens going for seasons on end, especially when paired with Hestra’s Leather Balm, and the neoprene cuff makes them easy to get on and off in a pinch. The low-profile design makes it easy to manipulate zippers, buckles, and binding straps, and the mitten style with built-in Fiberfill insulation offers a surprising amount of warmth. While these shouldn’t be your go to for truly freezing conditions, they will get the job done for most days spent lapping your local mountain. Great for resort skiing and riding, the only thing these ski mittens don’t bring to the table is the hot cocoa, you’ll have to bring that yourself.
If you use the Hestra printable size chart as well as the information from our video How to Size Your Hestra Gloves, it should be easy to get the right fit for your hands on the first try. The Fall Line’s tend to run true to size with most of Hestra’s gloves in that the under-the-cuff styles should match up with this sizing chart and the printable size chart when measuring your hand circumference and length.
- Flex: 125
- Last 101mm
- Lean Angle: 14º - 18º
- Range of Motion: 60º
- Weight 3 lbs 3 oz (½ pair size 27)
- Sole: Vibram Cayman Pro
- Materials: [Shell] - Carbon Grilamid; [Cuff] - Grilamid; [Tongue] - Pebax
If you’ve been involved in the world of backcountry skiing in the last ten years, chances are that you’ve heard of the Scarpa Maestrale ski boot. The Maestrale is one of the most well-known AT boots on the market, and the updated Maestrale RS continues that legacy. With an impressive 60º range of motion in the walk-mode and surprising downhill performance for an alpine touring boot, the Maestrale RS is enough to make you reconsider needing two pairs of boots for in-bounds and out-of-bounds days.
While this boot has plenty of unique features to talk about, perhaps the three most important are the highly effective middle buckle, wave closure system, and the 3-piece design. Starting with the lightweight, ratchet-style middle buckle, the first thing you’ll notice when you head out a tour is how well it keeps your heel in place with minimal reduction in stride. This results in a snug fit that won’t limit your ability to get the most out of the 60º of cuff rotation and won’t end with you finding endless hot spots and blisters after a single tour.
Next up, the wave closure system. At first glance, this system seems to be just an aesthetic piece, but once you strip your skins and tighten down your boots, you’ll notice that the cable connects the whole lower portion of the boot, creating a uniform clamp. This essentially does the work of two-buckles, without the added weight, giving you the downhill performance you want at a weight that’ll make your buddies jealous.
Once you finally drop in and take your first turns, you’ll feel the benefits of the 3-piece design. This offers a stiffness you can count on when things get steep, but also offers a progressive flex. You may find yourself asking, “What’s a progressive flex?” We’re glad you asked. Essentially, the 3-piece design means you’ll flex mostly into the tongue of the boot rather than an overlap of a cuff, giving you a soft flex as you begin to flex your boot that stiffens up as you apply more pressure. This results in a comfortable, yet reliable performance for the ski down.
As a whole, there’s very little about this boot that we have to complain about other than the sub-par stock footbeds, which you’ll find in almost any ski boot and the fact that they haven’t found a way to get the boot to carry you up the hill, instead of the other way around.
As far as length goes, these fit true to size, although the best way to know how they'll fit you is to figure out your current ski boot sole length (BSL) and compare it to the boot sole length of the Maestrale RS. If you don’t know your current BSL, Evo has an amazing Ski Boot Sole Length (BSL) Size Chart that you should check out, especially because Scarpa ski boots break on the ½ size where most other brands do not.
Here’s what Campman employee Dan Goodman has to say about the fit of these boots, “Going from a BSL of 311mm in a Salomon MTN Explore Boot size 27.5, to 316mm in the Scarpa Maestrale RS size 27.5 was perfect for my foot. In terms of the width, the 101mm last is slightly wide for many skiers. Since my Salomon MTN Explore ski boots were not wide enough at a 98mm last, the extra 3mm was a welcome change for my feet, which run ever so slightly wide in the forefoot. For narrow footed skiers, this might not be the best option, but for folks with average to slightly wide feet, the Maestrale RS should be on your list.”
If you want to dig in deeper and learn more about these touring boots, check out the full Scarpa Maestrale RS gear review on our site.
- Weight: 6 lbs 7 oz
- Volume: 25 L
- Airbag Volume: 200 L
- Airbag Type: Fan based, battery-powered
- Battery: Lithium-Ion
Black Diamond redesigned the Jetforce this year not only to accommodate the release of their Jetforce Tour and Jetforce UL Airbag lines but also to drop weight and bulk from their original design. Well-loved by the backcountry skiing community, the Jetforce Pro 25 Avalanche Airbag Pack uses the same fan-based airbag system as before, which offers added safety benefits like puncture recovery and automatic deflation to create an air pocket. While an airbag doesn’t guarantee your safety while backcountry skiing, it can stack the odds in your favor, and the Jetforce backpack finds itself a step ahead of the other airbags on the market.
For those unfamiliar with the Jetforce Airbag Backpack, here’s a quick primer. BD made this airbag to avoid the hassle that comes with canister-based systems. By using a high-powered fan and lithium-ion battery, they created an airbag system that offers much more to the user than standard issue airbag packs of the past.
First, you can deploy the airbag as many times as you want, which is something you’ll want to do at least once a season. The airbag can also deploy up to four times on a single charge, which is perfect for yurt missions or sticky situations in the backcountry. Traveling with this pack is also as easy as disconnecting the battery and dropping your bag with the Skycap, so when you take that heli-ski trip to Alaska that you’ve been dreaming up since you were a kid, your airbag can come along with you. Finally, the Jetforce is designed to run a systems check every time it turns on, showing a green light on the handle when everything is working properly, so you can feel confident that should you need to pull that handle, it will actually work.
Those of you familiar with the pack may be more interested in what’s new for this year, and you’ll be pleased to find out that most of the tweaks that BD made were minor, but useful nonetheless. For instance, you know that leg strap that always caught on stuff around the house or got stuck in the car door? They made it retractable. Remember how hard it was to decide which size to buy, in case you wanted extra space for bigger missions? Black Diamond made a modular pack option so you can swap out the pack size by simply zipping on a larger booster pack for only $69.95. Lastly, for all you southpaws out there, they designed it so the trigger handle can be placed on either side, letting you pull the handle with your dominant hand if the worst should happen.
For most users, the fit will mostly come down to torso sizing, as the waist strap has a wide range of usability. Make sure to measure from the base of your neck to the narrowest part of your waist (C7 vertebrae to the top of the iliac crest) and compare your measurements to the Black Diamond sizing chart, for an accurate fit.
- Material: 44% Rayon from Bamboo, 19% Merino Wool, 35% Nylon, 2% Elastane
- Height: Over The Calf
- Best Use: Backcountry Skiing
- Gender: Unisex
You already know Le Bent for their proprietary blend of bamboo and merino wool fabric that makes for a comfortable, breathable, and durable downhill ski sock, but after teaming up with Cody Townsend, they’ve turned backcountry skiing on its head. Using their same signature blend of materials and some added features from the backcountry legend himself, the Le Send Cody Townsend Sock is enough to make you like skiing uphill.
When you’re touring as much as Cody Townsend, you might find yourself wishing that your ski socks had certain features to make your life easier, which is likely why the Le Send socks have plenty of backcountry specific add-ons to keep you fresh on the uphill.
For starters, Le Bent added a silicone ring on the inside of the sock just below the knee, keeping your socks from falling down during the course of a tour. They put this same silicone on the outside of the heel, helping to lock your foot into place and eliminate heel rub, meaning fewer blisters for you to deal with at home. These ski socks also feature a semi-compression zone in the shin and calf area, which works to aid your recovery after a full day spent skiing 10,000 feet of vert. When combined with the extra cushion in the toe box and highly ventilated materials on the top of the foot, this sock will make a full day spent in your ski boots feel like a walk in the park.
Fortunately, sizing these socks is much easier than finding the right fit for your ski boots. Running true to size, if you follow Le Bent’s sizing chart, you shouldn’t find yourself touring around in ski socks two sizes too big. That being said, the Le Send is a thin ski sock and Le Bent notes that they will shrink a little in time as you use them, providing a more custom fit, an issue that can be made worse if you put them in your dryer instead of letting them hang dry. With all of that in mind, these socks should make for a rather easy fit, all things considered.
Campman owner and CEO Chris Holt has been rocking these socks all season, here’s what he has to say about them, “The Cody Sock works great for touring as it is thin and sheds the excess heat on the up but still keeps you warm enough on the downs. The silicon on the cuff and heel keep these slick socks in place in your boots, and the bamboo feel is buttery soft. If you’re looking for a sock for resort skiing, the Le Bent Le Sock Snow Light is a better alternative, but these are great for the backcountry.”
- Face Size: Medium to Large
- Safety Certifications: CE EN 1077 1042
- Lens Shape: Spherical
Sweet Protection clearly didn’t want to add just another ski goggle to the game. That’s why they designed the Interstellar to not only offer all of the benefits of a high-quality lens but also added impact-resistance to make these goggles more than something you wear to keep snow out of your eyes. As a company that got its start making safety helmets for a variety of sports, it makes sense that they’d want to add their own twist to their snow goggles to make them part of your safety kit, but the goggles themselves also bring a lens quality, field of vision, and level of comfort that’s right up there with brands that have been doing it for years and even decades longer.
The highlights of the Interstellar goggles are mostly focused around the impact resistance of the lenses themselves, retina illumination grading (RIG) lens technology, and collaboration with Gore-Tex for added ventilation.
With plenty of protective products to their name, Sweet Protection knows a thing or two about mountain safety, so it makes sense they’d want to make their goggles to work as an extension of your helmet. In fact, the lens is rated to the same safety certification (EN 1077) as the current European standard for ski helmets, meaning that this lens can take a beating. While you probably don’t want to test how far this lens can go without breaking, it’s comforting to know that your eyes are safe from most tree branches and rocks during a crash.
Sweet Protection also places a lot of emphasis on the lens quality, stressing the grade A optics, which won’t distort your vision, as well as their RIG lens technology, which is supposed to enhance contrast and increase visibility in low and flat light conditions.
Here’s Chris Holt again on the Interstellar goggles, “These are my new favorite goggles. The clarity is unmatched, and the RIG lens is the best storm day lens I've ever used. I can still pick up the mountain contours, even on the flattest light days. The interchange system is as easy as it gets. I don't get fingerprints on the lenses during changeover anymore. Last and best of all, these are really hard to fog up. They vent and breathe better than any other lens I've worn, shedding extra moisture like a boss.”
By all initial reports, the RIG lenses seem to be up to snuff when it comes to visual quality, and the multiple color options mean you have plenty of lens choices to match any light conditions or outfit.
Last, but certainly not least, we have the built-in Gore vents which equalize the pressure between the inner and outer lenses, creating a fog-free ride no matter how hard you’re working. When combined with an anti-fog coating on the inner lens, the Interstellar appears to be one of the top dogs when it comes to clearing your vision on storm days and making sure that condensation build-up won’t ruin your run.
Sizing winter goggles can be touchy. You need something that fits well, offers a wide field of vision, and works hand-in-hand with your helmet to avoid the dreaded gaper gap. Fitting medium to large face sizes, the Interstellar covers a broad spectrum of sizes and helmets well.
Here’s our tester Pete Vordenberg on the fit, “I was with three other people for the day, and we swapped the Interstellar goggles so everyone could try them for a few runs each. The goggles fit some folk’s helmets better than others, but in no case was the fit poor despite the different face shapes and sizes amongst the group. The largest to smallest face looked good in the goggles, and no one had anything but raving reviews of fit and performance.”
While many will enjoy the fit of these goggles, if you’re looking for an extra-large or extra-small design, these might not be the best option for you. Anyone looking for something in the middle will likely love the style and compatibility with a range of ski and snowboard helmets.
While not a comprehensive list, this is some of our favorite ski and snowboard gear for the 2019/2020 winter season. It has helped us stay safe, go deep, and send it big in the mountains, and we hope it will do the same for you. If you’re looking for something that you didn’t see here, check out our website for our full selection of snow gear, handpicked to help you make the most of your ski season.
Campman is an outdoor retail store located in Salt Lake City, Utah that specializes in gear and equipment for camping, skiing, backpacking, climbing, and everything in between. We understand that the difference between a bad memory and the adventure of a lifetime can come down to the gear you take with you when you head outdoors, and we want our customers to have the best experiences possible. When it comes to getting outside, we get it, and we’ll get you the gear you need to get there.
Questions? Feel free to contact us by phone at (801) 999-8117 or by email at email@example.com.