November usually means the onset of winter, but much of the country is experiencing dry and unseasonably warm weather. Snow flurries have been few and far between. While many of us are looking longingly at our skis and snowboards, it looks like we’ll just have to wait a little longer. Here’s what Outside editors have been using to pass the time.
Ultima Replenisher Electrolyte Hydration Powder ($42)
This month, I’ve been drinking a ton of Ultima Replenisher Electrolyte Hydration Powder. I can never seem to get enough water in the high desert, even though I regularly drink over a gallon a day. So I’ve started adding a scoop or two of Ultima to my daily intake. The raspberry flavor is my favorite, closely followed by lemon. Each scoop has electrolytes, trace minerals, and zero calories. While the research is still mixed on when, why, and whether electrolyte drinks really work, anecdotally, I’ve found them helpful, especially on long bike rides: I can carry less water and still feel adequately hydrated. —Abigail Barronian, associate editor
Nathan Summit Sunglasses ($50)
I’m not great with sunglasses. I drop them, scratch them, bend them, and stuff them into crowded pack pockets without a case. So, all too often, I wind up reaching for the cheapest shades in my drawer, because I don’t feel bad about trashing them. The most recent addition to my affordable-eyewear collection are Nathan’s debut running sunglasses, the Summit. The mid-size, semi-rectangular frames are made from light, durable TR-90 plastic with wide arms that stay put but don’t squeeze—both on my face and when resting on top of my head. (Rubber grip patches help out, too.) Meanwhile, the polarized, gray-tinted lenses offer crisper, more detailed optics than any other pair of shades that I’ve tried at this price point. All month, I’ve been reaching for these sunglasses for runs, hikes, climbing missions, and errands about town. —Ariella Gintzler, senior editor
Cleary Meerkat Five Speed Lightweight 24-Inch Kid’s Bike ($530)
When my kids first learned how to ride bikes I was happy to put them on old, beat-up hand-me-downs; they weren’t going far and didn’t need anything special. But now that I have two eight-year-old girls that can actually ride a couple miles, I wanted something for them that pedaled well and wouldn’t break down. The 24-inch Meerkat is a great option because it’s relatively affordable, with a five-speed internal hub that shifts smoothly and requires almost no maintenance. It also features disc brakes, and at a reasonable 27 pounds, it’s not a beast to pedal uphill. When my girls outgrow their Meerkats I’m sure the bikes will be in good enough shape for my two younger boys to inherit them. —Jakob Schiller, contributing writer
First Lite Klamath Quarter Zip Fleece ($100)
On the Friday after Thanksgiving, a buddy and I decided to hike the entire length of the Sandia Mountains outside Albuquerque. The hike was 22 miles with roughly 6,000 feet of elevation gain—nothing heroic but still a very long day. We started at about 6,000 feet and went up to 10,300, in temps ranging from about 50 degrees down to 25. I wore the Klamath the entire 11 hours, and was happy to have such a versatile layer on. It breathed well during the hotter moments, but was just thick enough to keep me warm when the sun dipped behind the mountains and the temperature dove. The tightly woven face fabric was also great for several miles of bushwacking when my buddy found a game trail he wanted to follow. It’s a layer that will be in my hiking, hunting, and skiing kit for years to come. —J.S.
Arvin Goods No Show Sock ($10)
Many fans of the sitcom Community have seen the now-internet-famous interview between Larry King and Danny Pudi, an actor on the show, where King asks Pudi about a luxury he can’t live without. Private jets? No way. What Pudi likes to indulge in is coffee…and good socks. It’s a conversation that I think about whenever I pull on the No Show Sock. Unlike many lowriders that inevitably end up falling down below the heel, these stay in place thanks to a thick-but-comfortable elastic cuff that holds them up. I’ve worn them with both tennis shoes and clogs for miles-long walks and arduous travel days and have never had to stop for adjustments. Made from recycled cotton and polyester and sporting a $10 price tag that’s lower than many “high-end” socks, they’re a luxury that I’ll continue to indulge in, guiltlessly. —Kelsey Lindsey, senior editor
5.11 Tactec Plate Carrier ($210)
We’re in the the doldrums of my fitness regimen. In southern Oregon, marathon season is over, it’s too chilly for bike riding, and there isn’t enough snow in the mountains to ski. So once or twice a week I’m using the 5.11 Tactec Plate Carrier to channel my restless energy and to get my legs tuned up for ski season. It’s comfortable enough that I have not chafed or experienced any upper body soreness while doing 1,000 weighted step-ups a few weeks ago. And with two Rogue 8.75 pound Vest Plates ($79), I can also smoke my legs with 20 minutes of hill sprints. —Joe Jackson, Gear Guy
Kelty Tru.Comfort Doublewide 20 Sleeping Bag ($210)
I used to be against double bags on principle, because I figured they would be too snug and unable to regulate two people’s temperature effectively. That was, until my wife and I spent our first night in this 20-degree bag a few years ago and both slept great. It has two built-in inner blankets and foot vents that allow each person to separately stay comfortable—which is great if your partner is always cold, but you run hot, like me. The hood fits two full-sized pillows, and thanks to the zip-off top layer it works on warmer nights, too. The bag has become our de facto sleep solution while car camping, and has plenty of room for both of us (no small feat since she’s five-five but I’m six-three). And it’s just a great excuse to cuddle up when it’s cold outside. —Bryan Rogala, contributing writer
Sheertex Classic Sheer Tights ($99)
Did I ever think I’d be recommending a pair of non-athletic tights to Outside’s audience? No. But that was before this pair survived a bike crash without a scratch, pull, or run, firmly planting them in the category of commuter-friendly outdoor gear. These were already an everyday basic in my wardrobe because they’re comfortable, cute, and reputedly indestructible, in theory making them worth the high price tag. Skidding across pavement after I got my bike tire stuck in a train track, I thought, would bust that last claim. But they still look good as new. Better than my skin, in fact—I’ve got the scrapes to prove it. —Maren Larsen, podcast producer
Zippo Rechargeable Candle Lighter ($30)
My two-step strategy for combating seasonal depression this winter is to spend as much time outdoors as possible during daylight hours and to light candles as soon as it gets dark. After burning through far too many matches and narrowly avoiding singed fingertips on several occasions, I decided I need a safer, zero-waste solution. This rechargeable lighter has a flexible stem for reaching the depths of my favorite David Bowie prayer candle, capped by a device that looks like a tiny taser (it’s actually a small plasma arc) and lights a wick in a split second. Bonus: it makes a satisfying zap noise that makes me feel like a supervillain while I cozy up in my secret lair. —M.L.
Free Fly Apparel Bamboo Weekender Hoody ($65)
My hiking clothes were getting super worn out, and I was in the market for a lightweight, sun-blocking, long-sleeve top when I found Free Fly Apparel. I got the Weekender Hoody and it soon became my go-to for long walks and other outdoor activities. It’s made of 70 percent organic, sustainable bamboo, which is buttery soft, and great to wear on its own or under a jacket. And unlike a lot of other base layers on the market, I really like the colors they offer. I pull up the hood when I want to hide from the sun or need a little extra warmth. I like it so much that I now own three of them. —Mary Turner, deputy editor