West Coast Winter Gear: Six Items That Will Take You From Sea to Summit (And Back)

On the West Coast, it's the time of year you can do almost anything—from watersports to alpine skiing. You just need the right gear.

We love winter. Especially on the West Coast—where the frigid ocean laps against a rugged shore that rises suddenly through a verdant rainforest all the way to peaks of white. It’s the time of year you can do almost anything—from watersports to alpine skiing.

You just need the right gear.

That’s why we’re hard at work testing and evaluating the latest winter stash to see how each item performs in Western Coast conditions.

These are some of our favourites. Read on, then get outside:

Hurtta Swimmer Vest

($70/$80; hurtta.com)

Your pup doesn’t really want to swim in a full lifejacket. And many water-ready breeds—like Labradors, golden retrievers, setters and similar—won’t always require one. The Hurtta Swimmer Vest is a good compromise, particularly for cold-weather aquatics. Made of neoprene with thick stabilizing floats on each side, this vest will keep your pup warm and visible while adding just enough flotation to offer you peace of mind.

Yeti Rambler 14oz Mug

($35; yeti.com)

Is it a mug? Is it a bowl? Well, it’s kinda both. The 18/8 stainless steel Yeti Rambler 14oz Mug is big, burly and ready for whatever hot stuff you can pour into it. Around the cabin, it’s a good cup to sip coffee—the thick plastic lid with rubber gasket locks in heat. But at 10 centimetres wide, it makes a great camp bowl as well (keep that oatmeal warm!). We love that it’s dishwasher safe, for day-to-day use.

Avventura Sleeping Bag Liner

($39; avventuraoutdoors.com)

If you’re not already using a sleeping bag liner—start with this one. Yes, it’ll increase the temperature-rating of your bag by about five degrees Celsius. Yup, it’s nice to have as a cover in a hot and stuffy cabin or hut. And we even love it for travelling, if your plans lead you to some of the more questionable hostels. But best of all? Regular use means you’ll barely ever have to wash your sleeping bag.

Eddie Bauer Guide Pro Ski Tour Pants

($250; eddiebauer.com)

The Guide Pro Ski Pants sound hardcore—and they are suitable for serious backcountry ski tours, with stretchy and breathable water-repellent soft-shell outer, cargo-pant-worthy storage, fleecy liner and vents on each outer thigh. However, we also found them ideal for more modest pursuits—snowshoeing with the family, light cross-country skiing or even just wintertime walks when temps dip low and white stuff coats the ground.

Blizzard Rustler 11

($800: blizzard.com)

When it’s deep, you need a ski that’s fat and forgiving. Blizzard’s new Rustler 11 meets the mark. At between 112 and 116 millimetres underfoot, these planks absolutely float on powder (164 to 192 centimetres in length); and the light wood core and full sidewall makes your turns look pro. But not just for the backcountry, the rocker tip and camber tail means these skis carve on groomers too.

Tailwind Rebuild Recovery Drink

($3/$16/$40; tailwindnutrition.com)

When the day is done but another epic outing is in the cards tomorrow, glug a cup of Tailwind Rebuild. This vegan recovery drink is non-GMO, gluten-free, dairy-free and soy-free—yet provides a complete protein as well as the nutrients needed to replaced glycogen stores and rebuild broken muscle fibres. Just mix with H2O! It’s handmade in Durango, Colorado—an outdoor mecca—and comes in slim sticks that are easy to pack. Plus, since we know you’re wondering—yeah, it actually tastes good.

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