Choosing a lightweight layering system for high-altitude backpacking can be a pain. Weather changes quickly in the mountains, and it's not uncommon, if you're gaining and losing altitude, to encounter sunshine, rain and even snow in the same day. Enter Sierra Designs, with its fully integrated Cloud Layering System. The Windshell (6 oz) serves as a good go-to hiking jacket; add the paper-thin, waterproof, breathable Airshell (4 oz) when the sky opens up; and the DriDown-equipped Puffy (12 oz) keeps you cozy when temps drop and flakes start to fly (it's fairly waterproof in its own right). The whole system packs up very small and weighs in at a diminutive 22 ounces.
$493 complete system ($119 for Windshell; $249 for Puffy; $125 for Airshell); sierra designs.com
Zippers are typically the weakest part of any tent—they're heavy, they jam up, they're noisy (especially when your tentmate is seeking midnight relief) and they break more easily than any other part. So Big Agnes decided to make its Fishhook UL2—fly, mesh, poles and all—completely zipper-free. It uses simple hook closures with a crossover design to seal water—and bugs—outside of the rain fly, and the main door has small magnets placed along its length to create an easy-open-snap-shut seal. (Not clear? See it in action here.) Big A admits that the Fishhook isn't 100% bug-proof, but it's close. Either way, it's an innovative crack at lightweight tent design.
This low-profile canister stove burns in two modes, "efficiency" (aka "regular") and—by simply flipping the fuel canister upside-down—"four-season" for cold or windy conditions. It also takes liquid-gas and, at 6.3 ounces, is one of the lightest stoves on the market.
At just over two pounds, this backpack is ideal for a long day hike, providing ample space for multiple layers, a first aid kit and a day's worth of trail food and water. The full zip around the front gives you easy access to the granola bars you accidentally put at the bottom of your bag.
The Shaman LV is an aggressive shoe designed by professional climber Chris Sharma with the help of Daila Ojeda, Steph Davis, Emily Harrington, Lisa Rands and Ashima Shiraishi. Evolv placed microfiber lining in the forefoot for comfort and durability. Other special features include a "love bump" and "knuckle box" to put your forefoot and toes in a position of power.
It's not a lot to look at from the outside, but Arc'teryx's new Haku Rope Bag is a transformer of the highest utility where craghounds are concerned. A tarp and bag that roll into one, it makes hauling rope from one crag to the next easy with an innovative folding design that eliminates the tangled mess of yesteryear. It's compact and simple, and works like magic. See it in action here.
For climbing in the heat, you need an extra light and durable harness. Cue the Loopo from Edelrid. This harness is ideal for performance-oriented sport, indoor and competition climbing with flexible gear loops, padded leg loops for added comfort and a Slide Rail System® if you need to attach additional gear loops. And did we mention it weighs only half a pound?
Sport and trad climbers have a new lightweight, warm option from The North Face in its Verto Micro Hoodie. With 800-fill down throughout the torso, and unlined Pertex Quantum fabric in the sleeves and hood (with North Face's proprietary FlashDry tech at critical points on the sleeves), it keeps your vitals warm while fending off drafts that a traditional vest would allow. The half-pound layer compresses down to a fraction of its full size (making it easy to add to a climbing kit), and it's part of the four-piece Verto Climb Collection, which weighs in at a diminutive two pounds (total!).
These lightweight glasses have a comfortable fit and grip well to prevent slipping when running, climbing or riding. The shape won't interfere with your helmet, so you won't have to adjust on the go.
Petzl's funky-looking climbing helmet, the Sirocco, is made from a single block of expanded polypropylene (EPP), which means it has excellent impact resistance without going to the trouble of incorporating a hard shell. Fewer parts means less weight—the max is a scant 165 grams (5.8 ounces), making it the lightest helmet available. A magnetic buckle allows for easy, single-handed chinstrap closure.