The Gear Our Editors Loved in December

December 2020 was an emotional month, a reflection on what was an emotional year. Outside editors limped toward the light of January with a mixture of hope and exhaustion. Here’s the gear that got us over the finish line—and that we’ll keep using in 2021.

Kari Traa Long-Sleeved Base-Layer Top ($75 and Up)

(Photo: Courtesy Kari Traa)

Each time I step out the door this winter, I’ve got on a 100 percent wool undershirt by Kari Traa. These are some of the warmest base layers on the market. They’re also soft, stretchy, and strike a nice balance between sporty and feminine. The tops range from $75 to $120, depending on your preferred style, and you can pick up a pair of leggings to match. If you decide to sleep in them after a long day of snowshoeing and then continue wearing them for the next two days (yes, guilty), no one’s gonna notice, thanks to their odor resistance. —Tasha Zemke, copy editor

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Fitbit Inspire HR Fitness Tracker ($85)

(Photo: Courtesy Fitbit)

Last month I purchased a used, basic fitness tracker after noticing how dismal my average daily steps were throughout the year, based on what my iPhone picked up in the Health app. While I’d been keeping up my goal of moving every day with HIIT workouts, strength training, and weekend hikes, my step average in 2020 was far below my 2019 average. That, coupled with the knowledge that walking is rich with health benefits, led me to start taking more strolls around the block. But then I noticed I’d keep pulling out my phone to see how many steps I’d gotten to, or what time it was, and while I was at it, I might as well check if I had any new email—and on and on. By the time I was done looking at my phone, my lunch break would be over, and I’d feel like I hadn’t actually enjoyed the walk. So despite years of resisting, I finally caved and entered the world of fitness-tracking watches with the Fitbit Inspire HR. And you know what? I freakin’ love it. —Jenny Earnest, audience development director

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Liberty Women’s Duck Bib Overalls ($45)

(Photo: Courtesy Liberty)

It’s weird to say a piece of workwear is flattering, but these overalls are. The straight-cut legs are slim enough to contribute to a feminine silhouette (well, as feminine as non-fashion overalls get), while still allowing you to crouch, kneel, and crawl around on all fours without constriction. A generous inseam and leg openings allow them to fit nicely over chunky work boots, too. The cotton fabric is smooth and not overly stiff, but sturdy enough to feel durable. It also provides decent insulation when worn over leggings or tights in winter weather. A zippered pocket holds a phone and other essentials, while the hip pockets can carry tools and other bits. These are so cute, comfortable, and functional that I use them for my work-from-home uniform as well as for washing bikes, moving heavy things, and camping in cold weather. —Gloria Liu, features editor

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Mate the Label Organic Thermal Boxy Crop Top ($98) and Wide Leg Pant ($138)

(Photo: Courtesy Mate the Label)

In December, I spent more days than I care to admit decked out in head-to-toe cream-colored loungewear from Mate the Label. I have the Organic Thermal Boxy Crop top and the Wide Leg pant, which are both made out of a medium-weight 100 percent organic cotton. Slouchy and comfy but still modern and cute, this set quickly became my I-barely-leave-the-house-anymore winter uniform. I’m not ashamed to admit I’ve paired it with a long coat and a beanie for those rare shelter-in-place errands, too. —Abbie Barronian, associate editor

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Hypervolt Go Massage Gun ($199)

(Photo: Courtesy Hyperice)

The year of quarantine has meant both a lot more sitting (at my desk, on the couch) and also a lot more stress-induced exercise. It’s no surprise that I’ve succumbed to a litany of strange aches and pains as a result. The Hypervolt Go has been a lifesaver. I’ve tested plenty of full-size, mega-powered massage guns over the years, but this miniature tool is the one I reach for most because it’s simple to use, with a single button to turn it on and toggle between three power settings. The flat head is perfect for buffing out angry IT bands, lower-back aches, and sore shoulders alike without accidentally going overboard, which is easy to do with some of the more aggressive attachments from other companies. —Ariella Gintzler, associate editor

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Hurom Celery and Greens Horizontal Slow Juicer ($499)

(Photo: Courtesy Hurom)

With an abundance of hope—and fully aware that it might not happen—I recently signed up for a 50-mile race and committed to a rim-to-rim-to-rim Grand Canyon attempt in 2021. While I’m overwhelmed by the upcoming training regimen, I’m confident about my ability to pack in healthy daily breakfasts, thanks to Hurom ’s Celery and Greens Horizontal Slow juicer. I’ve been using it between four and seven mornings a week since August. It’s so simple to work that I make juices for the whole family every morning at 5 A.M. with my three-year-old daughter. It’s not only supremely capable of getting every last drop out of a stick of celery, but with its minimal pieces and included cleaning brush, upkeep is also super easy. —Joe Jackson, Gear Guy

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Rossignol BC 65 Skis ($275)

(Photo: Courtesy Rossignol)

Is there anything better than new skis? Rossi’s BC line of fully metal-edged, waxless classic cross-country skis has been a favorite of those seeking a little ungroomed kick and glide for years. This season I treated myself to a new pair in the 53-millimeter-underfoot width (they’re 65 at the tip), which are stable enough for the backcountry but skinny enough to use on groomed tracks. They’ve leaned up against a wall in my apartment since September as I impatiently waited for enough snow to christen them, and this month I finally got my chance. My new faves have a smooth glide, good hold on the uphill, solid speed on the downhill, and edges that handle well on narrow trails with mellow turns. Snow-sliding season is back, baby. —Maren Larsen, assistant editor

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Skida Alpine Headband ($22)

(Photo: Courtesy Skida)

In theory, I don’t mind working out indoors, but during the pandemic I’ve found that getting outdoors to sweat improves my mood much more. So every day I venture out to ride my bike or run despite the winter weather. Before I got the Alpine headband, my ears would always hurt. I have 90 percent closure of my ear canals—a result of surfing in frigid water for years—and the piercing air of the high desert rushing past makes them ache. Beanies and hats with ear flaps always ride up, especially under my helmet. Not so with this headband. It’s made of a supersoft microfleece inner and a poly-spandex outer that keeps my sensitive appendages protected. It’s thick enough to warm my head and ears, while dumping unnecessary heat out the top. I wear it every day. —Will Taylor, gear director

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