Throughout the year, Gear Institute expert testers field tested and reviewed a huge array of gear. From those, we’ve rounded up the Best in Class in a variety of categories, and here we offer the Best products from some of those categories.
Salomon Q-103 Stella Woman’s Ski
Described by our staff testers as the “perfect quiver of one ski for all-mountain Western skiers,” the Q-103 Stella should truly excel on most slopes and in all conditions. The only gripe–that its stiffness proved lacking on really hard snow at very high speeds–would only ring true for ski races. For the rest of us? A near-perfect rating of 96 outta 100. Read full review here.
NPS 14 Flatwater Coco Mat Stand-Up Paddleboard
It seems that when NSP added 18 inches to their previous flatwater model, it gained a lot more than more than a foot-plus of surface space. The new Coco Mat SUP is fast, with a slightly modified cutting bow nose and a stretched-out profile that feels like the board is adding power to every stroke. But the less experienced may have issues trying to ride waves (even in open water). Read full review here.
Adidas Terrex Swift Mountain Soft-Shell Jacket
Though our tester declares that the Terrex is no running jacket (one of the many ways he tested an array of aerobic soft shells), it ranked tops for warm-weather trekking and climbing, with a superb balance between weather defense and breathability. Hood detailing and the fact that its features are fully accessible while wearing a pack makes on-the-fly adjustment a breeze, essential for mountain summits and longer slogs through the backcountry. Read full review here.