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Julia Niles

Boulder Based Designs The Mark: Save Your Stuff!

The Mark is so much better than all those initials I used to sketch onto my gear—they always took a detective’s eye to discover, and eventually they’d wear off. The Mark takes only one application, and it stays on, no matter the beating.

La Sportiva Trango Extreme Evo Light: Warmth and Stability

Preparing for an ice climbing trip is like preparing for war. The enemy: screaming barfies, brittle ice and–worst of all–warming your partner’s freezing toes on your stomach. So when packing for a day of climbing in the Canadian Rockies, I was glad to know my feet would be well taken care of in the Trango Extreme Evo Light boots. I have owned the La Sportiva Trango boots, the little sister boot without a toe-bail notch, for a while. They are super comfortable, but a bit soft for long sections of ice. So for the artillery, I chose the Trango Extremes.

Rab Generator Jacket: Lightweight and Brilliantly Designed

For this past summer’s guiding season, I wanted a jacket light enough that I could carry it along, even if there was the possibility I might not need it. I found that this was a common situation in the Tetons–I would start summit days in shorts, convinced that the conditions would prove comfortable, but inevitably the winds would swirl and the temperatures would plummet to below freezing. So while guiding in the Tetons this summer, the lightly insulated Generator Jacket from Rab proved itself to be a brilliantly designed, key lightweight layer.

Therm-a-Rest Prolite 4: You’ll Want to Carry It

I used the cushy Therm-a-Rest Prolite 4 this summer in the Wind River Range of Wyoming, where I was guiding Gannett Peak for Jackson Hole Mountain Guides. I cannot say that this was my first Therm-a-Rest experience; I have owned many over the years. But the Prolite 4, the four-season model in Therm-a-Rest’s Fast and Light Series, is truly a step above. It elegantly blends weight savings with packability and, most importantly, comfort.

Vasque Ice 9000

I put these boots to the test on Denali. They sailed me up and down the mountain attached to snowshoes, skis and crampons. I wore them nonstop for 21 days (when I wasn’t sleeping or lucky enough to be in my down booties) and never got a single blister.

Cloudveil Serendipitiy Jacket

This jacket demonstrates Cloudveil’s ability to create clothing that performs well in the backcountry yet also corners the fashion market for the “post-adventure” night out on the town.

Therm-a-Rest Prolite 3

This is the kind of sleeping pad that should not be allowed near El Cap. It is far too precious to be rubbing up against harsh granite all night long. After all, we must treat this “super-food” of the gear world with the utmost care and respect. This superlight pad keeps your hips happy and consciousness in deep slumber without adding any more weight than necessary.

Arc’teryx NoZone Pack

The Arc’teryx NoZone backpack belies the need for a porter or a weight-carrying boyfriend. The suspension makes lugging a Cassin Ridge load feel like going for an afternoon of sport climbing.