The Gear Our Editors Loved in April

The Gear Our Editors Loved in April

The Gear Our Editors Loved in April

The coming of the warm season is hard not to love: no matter how frozen a winter soul someone has, we can all— at least in in theory—appreciate having more sun. This year, it feels particularly bright. This is the gear Outside and company used this month to revel in it.

Ripton Women’s Smoke Jorts ($79)

(Photo: Courtesy Ripton)

I have been living in these Ripton jorts this month. I’ve always just worn an old pair of cut-off Levi’s when it’s time for spring resort hot laps, but I’ll never go back after sampling this pair’s stretchy recycled cotton, polyester, and elastane blend. The waist never feels like it’s digging into my midriff in the way rigid denim can, which is key when I’m going hard. I love the worn-in look that the raw hem has, and the cut is super flattering—the 5.5-inch inseam looks way better when I’m on a bike than other mountain bike offerings. And even though they feel super supple and breathable compared to regular denim, they didn’t rip when I took a fall onto my right hip. My only quibble is that the gray color isn’t the best for hiding the inevitable butt sweat. —Kelly Klein, associate editor

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Smith Bobcat Sunglasses ($209)

Smith Bobcat Sunglasses
(Photo: Courtesy Smith)

I have a little head, which is why I was hyped to see Smith come out with a pair of retro sporty shield-style sunglasses with a smaller fit. Usually this kind of shade swallows the entire upper part of my face and looks a little ridiculous, but that’s not the case with the Bobcats. This smaller lens (compared to the OG Wildcats this pair is based on) is actually proportional to my head, so now I can revel in the excellent lightweight coverage on bright days in the backcountry. I’ll be wearing these for many adventures ahead. —K.K.

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DUER Live Lite Pant Slim ($135)

DUER Live Lite Pant Slim
(Photo: Courtesy DUER)

I put five years of daily bike commuting into my last pair of Duer jeans, but breathability was always an issue in the summer months. On a recent, unseasonably warm spring trip to Moab, Utah, I tried out a pair of Duer’s new lightweight pants. They look great, with a slim fit, casual five-pocket design, and classic dark blue color. Most importantly, they breathe like a champ, even when hauling firewood and loaded coolers to a hard-to-reach campground in Utah’s Canyonlands National Park with mid-day temps in the low 80s. The cotton-lyocell-polyester-spandex blend is exceptionally stretchy and soft next to skin, while a gusseted crotch, triple-stitched inseams, and double-layered back pockets held up to scooting across slickrock and squatting over a campfire without drama. —Benjamin Tepler, assistant gear editor

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Women’s Kyrgies Molded Sole—Low Back Slippers ($89)

Women's Kyrgies Molded Sole—Low Back Slippers
(Photo: Courtesy Kyrgies)

Though the weather is warming up, I’m still padding around the house in cozy, simple wool slippers from Kyrgies. While these lightweight slip-ons became a daily staple for me at home, they stand out on ski trips, whether you’re posted up at a lodge or toured into a hut. I like the low back version with the molded sole, which are easy to get on and off and offer just enough grip in slippery conditions. —Abigail Barronian, senior editor

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Hex Laundry Detergent ($12)

Hex Laundry Detergent
(Photo: Courtesy Hex)

Shoulder season is a bittersweet time: putting a storage wax on my skis and packing away my helmet and goggles always makes me a little nostalgic for the laps of winters’ past. But doing right by my gear and storing it properly ensures that it’ll be in top shape when I’m ready to pull it out in six-to-nine months. And yes, that means washing your kit, and not just your base and mid layers. Your bibs and jacket need regular cleaning (and drying) to preserve their performance and waterproofing over time, which requires a performance fabric-specific detergent like this one from Hex. I love it because it leaves my kit smelling fresh and has the added bonus of erasing any beer and blood stains accumulated on closing day. —Maren Larsen, podcast producer

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Wild Rye Lucy Party Shirt ($89)

Wild Rye Lucy Party Shirt
(Photo: Courtesy Wild Rye)

I have a cheap Hawaiian shirt I ride in sometimes, and I have no idea what material it’s made of, but it might be the least breathable stuff on earth. This party shirt made by women-led mountain bike brand Wild Rye is a big upgrade: its polyester-spandex blend is lightweight and quick-wicking so that I can ride in it on warm days. My favorite feature (besides the fun, eye-catching design) is that it ripples in the wind like a superhero cape when I’m going off of jumps. —Gloria Liu, contributing writer

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Adidas Ultraboost 22 Shoes ($190)

Adidas Ultraboost 22 Shoes
(Photo: Courtesy Adidas)

I took a break from running after I completed my first trail ultramarathon in November 2021. Just last month, I started running shorter distances on the road to build strength, prevent injury, focus on form, and get my legs back. The Adidas Ultraboost 22s road kicks provide ample cushioning for pavement workouts. They form-fit my narrow feet, deliver arch support through my entire stride to prevent overpronation, and their soft, sock-like upper makes them comfortable as I work into higher mileage. Road running isn’t my favorite, but this pair helps make it more bearable. —Patty Hodapp, interim digital director

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Patagonia R1 Fleece Pullover Hoody ($129)

(Photo: Courtesy Patagonia)

Before “active insulation” became a buzzword in the outdoor industry, there was the R1. This is the light, thin, grid fleece that inspired an entire genre of lightweight midlayers. But the one I’ve recently been wearing nonstop is not just any R1. It’s the R1 that I’ve had since roughly 2006. At this point, it’s been stretched out from years of abuse and the wicking properties of its synthetic material have been compromised from too many trips through the drier. It’s basically just a technical sweatshirt. But that doesn’t matter for low-key climbing and yard work, or for pulling on after a run. In fact, I prefer it. Sometimes, it’s nice to return to something un-flashy and familiar. Plus: after a few years relegated to a bottom drawer, this old fleece has reminded me of just how long a piece of gear can remain useful. —Ariella Gintzler, associate gear director

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Stages SC2 Stationary Bicycle ($2,246)

Stages SC2 Stationary Bicycle
(Photo: Courtesy Stages)

A common judgement about bike racers is that we look down our noses at indoor cycling classes. In truth, we often rely on indoor cycling for a quick fitness boost when we’re traveling, or when it’s nuking snow outside. Plus, many of us have discovered amid the growing popularity of virtual racing platforms like Zwift that you can actually push your body harder on a stationary bicycle than on an outdoor bike. (Veering off the road due to exhaustion simply cannot happen on a spin bike.) A few years ago I got my hands on a Stages SC2 as a way to stay fit during the winter. This stationary bike is the workhorse of Stages’ line, and you can find them in hundreds of gyms and indoor cycling studios across the country, which is why they’re also frequently for sale for good prices on secondary marketplace sites like Ebay and Craigslist. I love the SC2 because it is bombproof and simple. This bike is wonderfully no-frills—it lacks the “smart’ capabilities of newer bicycles that can be used on Zwift or other virtual racing platforms, but it does have a crank arm-mounted power meter that is similarly reliable and indestructible. There’s something enjoyable about locking in, tuning out, and just blasting away for a short and intense sweat session. —Frederick Dreier, articles editor

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Hoka All Gender Performance Hat ($30)

Hoka All Gender Performance Hat
(Photo: Courtesy Hoka)

My wife and I are training for the same 50K together this summer and it is making our shared custody of a beloved Coal Provo running hat untenable. I switched to this bright hat from Hoka because it marries the style of a five-panel hat with performance features like a highly breathable crown and a fantastically comfortable stretch-cord adjustment. It is now my long run hat of choice due to how quickly it pulls moisture from my noggin. I was scared I couldn’t pull off the color on my first run, but received a compliment on the hat from a young gas-station attendant while I was fueling up on my way home. I have barely taken it off, running or not, since. —Joe Jackson, Gear Guy

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DemerBox DB2 Speaker ($399)

DemerBox DB2 Speaker
(Photo: Courtesy DemerBox)

As a video creator, I practically live out of Pelican cases, which are the versatile and burly waterproof cases that can be customized to protect all sorts of gadgets. I’m also a bit of an audiophile, so when I came across the Demerbox it felt like destiny. It’s basically your trusty Pelican case but with built-in Bluetooth, battery, and speakers that are all sleekly tucked into the lid, while still being bombproof. I highly recommend the DB2 model, which has a larger box cavity for better low note reproduction. And yes, you can play music while it floats! —Jackson Buscher, video producer

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Lightforce Striker LED Driving Light Twin Pack ($475)

Lightforce Striker LED Driving Light Twin Pack
(Photo: Courtesy Lightforce)

My wife and I recently went on an overlanding trip and our first camping spot was nine hours away from home. We ended up driving the last 20 miles on a dirt road in the pitch black, including two miles of fairly technical rock-crawling terrain. My wife was not happy about the bumpy ride, but we were able to navigate just fine because I have four of these Lightforce lights attached to the rack on my Tacoma. All together they produce about 14,000 lumens of light and were able to clearly and spectacularly illuminate the road up to a quarter mile in front of us. All that light made the late-night driving safer and easier, and it also helped us find a bad-ass camping spot. I chose the Strikers instead of the HTX 2s, which Wes Siler prefers, because they fit better on my build. Drivers with smaller cars like Subarus should look at the Strikers as well. —Jakob Schiller, contributing writer

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100% Hypercraft Sunglasses ($155)

100% Hypercraft Sunglasses
(Photo: Courtesy 100%)

April is always windy on the high plains of western Nebraska, but this year was insane. Day after day the wind howled relentlessly over the sandhills, making it impossible to avoid getting blown around if you went outside at all. Eye protection became more essential than usual, and I quickly started looking for sunglasses that offered maximal coverage without adding bulk or heat. The 100% Hypercraft are so light and skeletal they initially felt fragile, but they have held up to a month of steady wear, plus being tossed around my vehicle and occasionally dropped while running, biking and coaching. More importantly, they hold securely, disappear when on, don’t fog or trap heat, and make it possible to keep my eyes open when leaning into 40 mile per hour winds. —Jonathan Beverly, senior running editor

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Oiselle Sport Sandals ($48)

Oiselle Sport Sandals
(Photo: Courtesy Oiselle)

Things warmed up in New Mexico last month, and as sad as I was to see ski season end, it wasn’t at all bittersweet to tuck my cozy aprés boots and fuzzy socks into a storage bin and slip back into my Sport Sandals. They’re as easy to slip on as Crocs but the soft EVA foam is far cushier, and the heel strap combined with the little bumps on the inside of the sole and foot straps keep the shoe snug without rubbing or restricting air flow. They’re a dream for trail-sore feet, and versatile enough to be the only non-athletic shoe I need now that I’ve moved back into my van full-time. Besides being super comfy, the bright color and simple, functional design makes them great backcountry camp shoes and easy to slip on to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night. But they still clean up well enough (just scrub ‘em with soap and a sponge) to wear with a sundress into town and not stand out as the dirtbag that I am. —Miyo McGinn, editorial assistant

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New Balance Impact Run 5-Inch Short ($55)

New Balance Impact Run 5-Inch Short
(Photo: Courtesy New Balance)

I’ve tried a lot of running shorts, and I almost always have something to gripe about in each pair. But not these. It’s like New Balance compiled all my complaints about others—they ride up, there aren’t enough pockets, the waistband is uncomfortable—and made the Impact Run in response. The shorts’ low, stretchy waist hits right below the belly button, helping me avoid any stomach issues mid-run but never falling too low to make me insecure. The five-inch inseam is just long enough to provide full coverage, but never gets caught in my thighs (there are also three and seven-inch inseam options). And the pockets are discrete yet large, big enough to hold both my phone and keys.—Kelsey Lindsey, senior editor

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Yakima StageTwo Tray Hitch Bike Rack ($849)

(Photo: Courtesy Yakima)

I’ve tested a handful of racks while hauling my gravel bikes to trails around New Mexico and New York. They all worked well, but I love the StageTwo’s staggered tray system that allows you to increase the space between each bike—that way, handlebars and other bike components don’t bump up against each other. Trunk access is easy, too: it has a tilt lever that dips the tray down toward the ground, so your hatch can swing open. In terms of security, the StageTwo has a built-in bike lock cable system and spin knob, which secures the whole thing to your hitch and locks/unlocks with a key. I found it easy to assemble, too. It all came together in less than 20 minutes. All in all, I’m really content with this rack. I envision that this will be my main bike hauler for years to come. —Jeremy Rellosa, reviews editor

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REI Co-op Outdoor Blanket ($50)

(Photo: Courtesy REI)

After many a car camping trip sitting on sleeping pads and getting them wet or dusty, I splurged on a dedicated blanket for picnicking. REI’s offering ticks all the boxes: it’s got a polyester bottom that’s water resistant and can take on cactus needles or rocks, and the top layer is a super soft fleece. It now lives in our car camping box and is ready anytime we need to sit or lay down for a meal or nap. —Luke Whelan, senior editor

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The post The Gear Our Editors Loved in April appeared first on Outside Online.

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