In November 2016, I traveled to Vermont to complete the Long Trail – a trail that has “long” been on my bucket list.  I knew that there might be snow – a few inches at the worst.  What did Robert Burns say about the “best-laid plans”?  Luckily for me I work in a gear shop and was (nearly) fully outfitted for anything that might happen.  Ultimately, my gear saved me from much more than just discomfort.

At what temperature can you catch frost bite you ask?  Trust me I found out this answer the hard way and had the blisters on my  nose to prove it.


In spite of the -11 degree windchill temps on day 4 of my hike, I can tell you I was comfortable because of my gear.  I experienced the most extreme temperatures and snow fall out of any hiking experience to date.  The brand that served me best while on trails was hands down Outdoor Research (OR). (…and no I am not a paid spokeswoman for the brand).

Most of the OR gear I took was new – untested and unused.  I typically have much more experience with my gear but thought that this mild-to-moderate hike would be a great place to test a new brand and new gear.  Luckily for me I was wrong on the skill level and weather for the hike but dead on with the gear I chose.  (Kids…I don’t recommend you try this at home.  Make sure you have experience with your gear and know how it will perform in all different types of environments and conditions.)

Below are a few pieces I particularly enjoyed:

OR Illuminator Gloves

I wanted these gloves for quite some time. They are rated for -15 degrees F and they did their job.  With a waterproof outer and water resistant inner these gloves were unbelievably comfortable and never made my hands sweat.  OR introduced tech sensors to this years version of the Illuminators.  If you plan on taking a cold trip and still want phone selfie technology I highly recommend these gloves.

OR Women’s Helium II Rain Jacket

I literally bought this last minute as an ultralight rain coat.  I wanted something I could pack quickly without the bulk and would dry fast.  I am in LOVE with this jacket.  The Helium II was the perfect match for the snow.  It was the best outer layer for the situation considering I was not looking for a jacket with insulative properties but rather something waterproof, light, and packable.  When combined with my Marmot puffer and Smartwool base layers I didn’t have to look like the Michelin Man in order to stay dry and warm.  It’s 100% Nylon, easy to care for, has an adjustable hood with enough room for a beanie, and the breathable Pertex Shield never let me down.  I highly recommend the Helium II as a summer rain jacket or winter outer layer over your puffer.

OR Women’s Ferrosi Pant

There are so many reasons why I love this pant.  They are wind resistant, water repellent, stretchy, breathable, durable, lightweight and just all-over great!  I had full coverage and felt like a warrior every time I put them on.  They get the job done with NO hassle.

OR Pinball Beanie

This beanie is so pretty.  I LOVE beanies.  Its knit outer makes it look like a normal beanie you can wear anywhere and the micro-fleece inner kept my ears toasty warm.  It features wind proof technology so glorious that I was able to wear nothing underneath of it.

I love all of my Outdoor Research products.  Whether its a jacket or a compression sack, I take this company on all of my trips.