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Fourteener Fundamentals: Gear that will get you out and up

Fourteener Fundamentals_Lifestyle

The snow has finally melted in the high country, so it’s time to lace up the boots and bag a few (or perhaps a few more) 14,000-foot peaks. But what gear to bring in addition to your 10 essentials (map, water, food, etc.)? We have some recommendations.

The Middle Way

Photo courtesy of Black Diamond Equipment

Start your mental preparation by checking out The Middle Way, a movie about Gold Hill resident Joe Grant’s self-powered, self-supported bike/run Tour de 14er project.

Oboz Sawtooth IIOBOZ_Sawtooth-II-Low-B-DRY

I’m all about fast and light trail runners for quick ascents up Sanitas, but for longer distances and rockier terrain, I’m willing to sacrifice a few ounces in favor of burlier footwear. Enter Oboz Sawtooth II for both men and women. Available in waterproof and non-waterproof, as well as mid and low versions, the Sawtooths feature chunky lugs for excellent purchase over boulder fields and fit perfectly out of the box. $110-$150 |

Mystery Ranch Coulee Packs

Clearly the standout feature on Mystery Ranch’s Coulee pack is the unique 3-zip accessibility, which makes rifling through your pack far less time-consuming. A fully adjustable yoke (i.e., shoulder and hip straps) allows this pack to fit perfectly no matter how many layers you start with or strip off. If you have more to carry and don’t mind a little extra weight, go for the 40-liter option. A 25-liter version is available as well. $169-$229 |

Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Z Trekking Poles


Black Diamond’s line of Z Trekking Poles are my go-to for any hiking expedition that involves carrying a heavy load—typically my toddler. They clock in at about 14-16 ounces (roughly the weight of a football) and fold up quickly and easily. The uber durable, four-season Alpine Carbon Z model features cork grips and 100 percent carbon fiber construction. $190 |

BioLite HeadLamp 330


Most peaks require an early start so you can be below treeline before mid-afternoon storms hit. Pack a headlamp to ensure a sure-footed ascent. Our pick? The rechargeable HeadLamp 330 from BioLite, which boasts a slim-fit, low-profile lamp that doesn’t slip. Its lumen count is, you guessed it, 330. $50 |

Salomon Lightning Race Waterproof Jacket



Feather-weight and waterproof, the Lightning Race Waterproof Jacket is the perfect final layer for wind-whipped summits. Designed for ultra runners avoiding extra bulk, this minimalist shell crushes down small enough to fit in the palm of your hand while still boasting taped seams for full protection. Men: Check out the Lightning’s brother, the Bonatti Race Waterproof Jacket. $150 |

Mammut Broad Peak Light Jacket

The Broad Peak Light jacket for him and her fits the bill for your trusted, puffy mid-layer. Goose down delivers warmth while its exterior Pertex Quantum is lightweight and water-repellent. The two front pockets are backpack- and climbing-harness-compatible so you can use them even when you’re loaded up. $279 |

Fjällräven Keb Wool T-Shirt LS


With its comfort, durability, temperature- and moisture-regulating properties and anti-stink abilities, merino is hard to beat for a next-to-skin layer. Fjällräven’s Keb Wool T-Shirt LS (available for men and women) uses different weights of Merino in different areas to optimize warmth and ventilation. $105 |

Norrøna’s Bitihorn Zip-off Pants

These pants put function first. Made with a patented softshell material, the Bitihorns are stretchy, durable, wind-proof and breathable. A custom-fit waist system keeps them in place. The ability to unzip the side leg in addition to zipping off the leg mid-quad allows the user to remove the lower section without removing their boots. Available in men’s and women’s. $199 |

Optic Nerve Vettron

OPTIC NERVE_VettronWhen the sun comes up, grab a pair of the Vettrons (or its cousin silhouette, the Vesper, if you have a smaller face) from Colorado’s own Optic Nerve. The shades’ easy-to-change lenses allow the user to begin the trek with a low-light-optimizing copper lens and then switch to the smoke lens in less than 30 seconds when the rays get brighter. $65 |

Wigwam Arbor NXT Crew Sock

Long hikes turn into grueling slogs when blisters rear their ugly head. Dodge the pain with Wigwam’s Arbor NXT Crew Sock, which features a proprietary moisture-wicking padding on the sole that helps prevent blisters. $17 |

Patagonia Provisions Organic Savory Seeds

Apples, energy bars and jerky are all tried-and-true go-tos for Fourteener ascent energy. So is the celebratory chocolate bar at the summit. But if you’re looking for something different that still ticks the boxes for taste, easy-carrying and protein content, check out Patagonia Provisions’ line of Organic Savory Seeds. My fave: Mellow Curry. $24-$30 for 12-pack|

Primus Lite+ Stove

PRIMUS_Lite+ Stove

Camping near the trailhead in order to get an early start? Bust out the Primus Lite+ and whip up a quick—as in 2:45 minutes to boiling quick—cup of Joe before hitting the trail.  When not in use, the stove and all accessories fit compactly into the 500 ml aluminum pot. Willing to add 13.8 ounces to your pack? Bring this little number along for a mid-hike caffeine jolt. $115 |

Kavu Takeout Tote

KAVU_Takeout Tote

You’ve just tagged the top, persevered through the descent and dished out a round of heck-yeah high-fives at the car. Now it’s time to enjoy that ice-cold beverage you’ve been dreaming of. Keep your can-of-choice cool with Kavu’s insulated Takeout Tote. $35 |

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