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Early Spring Gear Guide - Transition From Winter Into Spring Seamlessly

We've got you covered with our list of essentials, from nutrition and recovery to layering and outerwear to stepping up your camping game.
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Laura wears the Women's California Cowboy High Sierra Shirt - perfect for après ski or just digging through your vinyl collection on a snowy Sunday

Laura wears the Women's California Cowboy High Sierra Shirt - perfect for après ski or just digging through your vinyl collection on a snowy Sunday

The idea of spring always gets us excited; it's a season that delivers unexpected weather and a mix of recreational activities from late-season snowboarding to camping and the kick-off to the festival season - which actually looks like it's going to happen this year. Can we get a WHOOP?

For this semi-massive gear guide, we've curated a list of items that will help you transition into spring, from essential apparel to camping gear to nutritional things that will keep your going as you emerge from hibernation. Let's go!

Note: Every item was worn, used, ingested, and tested in Denver/Vail Colorado. Only things we love make the cut!


Camping & Outdoorsy Stuff

Spring camping and recreation can be dicey, you might have perfect weather, or you might have to deal with a late-season blizzard or freezing temps. It's always an adventure if you are trying to do stuff outside in a four-season climate, and this gear will help you layer up, warm-up, and stay comfortable no matter what might come your way.

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Exped Versa 4R Sleeping Mat ($129 MSRP)

Exped has delivered a line of mats perfect for any adventure from car camping to festival camping to "camping" camping. The Versa line offers a variety of options from size to seasonal warmth; we tested the 4R, a three-season mat that will be good for most casual to semi-serious campers. The Versa packs down nicely, so it won't take up to much room in your kit and is quite comfortable even in colder temps. What we especially love is the proprietary inflation technology, which is fancy Nancy for it's super easy to blow up and deflate, which is clutch when you need to set up camp fast. The mat's air chambers run head to toe, giving you plenty of support for a good night's sleep.

Pro Tip - If you are a side sleeper, learn how to sleep on your back or your stomach - sorry, that's life in the great outdoors.

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Lifestraw Peak Series Gravity Filters System – 3L (MSRP $59.95)

So if you are a festival camper, van lifer, or weekend adventurer there is always one thing you absolutely need and that's clean water. We have. used Lifestraw products in various forms from the original straw to their waterbottle combos and they are an essential valuable tool in your camping gear arsenal alongside a good first aid kit, and a great cooler. The new Peak Series 3L steps up the capacity and ease of use for a campsite water filtration system. Simply fill it up and suspend it from a tree branch or anything that will allow hanging and you have fresh drinking water at the ready. Yet another plus is that you are getting a complete system that can be used as a hanging unit, a takeaway squeeze water bottle, or even just the straw alone if you are hiking out of camp and want to travel lighter. For every purchase Lifestraw also provides a year of clean drinking water to a child in need. Check out the specs below.

  •  Protects against 99.999999% of bacteria (including E.coli, Salmonella), 99.999% of parasites (including Giardia and Cryptosporidium), 99.999% of microplastics, silt, sand, and cloudiness
  • Enhanced microfilter performance: The re-engineered membrane and custom backwash accessory means better performance against sand and silt, maintaining great flow over the long haul
  • Extreme durability: premium materials make it tougher and ultra leak-proof so you’ll never have to buy another
  • Highly versatile means the gravity system is designed with every occasion in mind. Use as a gravity system, large squeeze bottle, as a straw, or use the filter with a water bottle.
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Pit Command Talons - $169 MSRP

If you are going to drop the coin on a smokeless fire pit like the Solo, then you might as well go all in and get the Pit Command Talons to work that fire pit right. As any good fire stoker knows, you need to move the wood around to keep things going and set up your next log drop (not that kind of log drop, head to the composting toilet for that one, you savage). With molded grips for a steady hand and better control to the sharp talons/tongs for grabbing your burning embers, it doesn't get much more premium than this. So treat your beautiful Solo fire pit right and get these bad boys to keep that fire going right.

Specs:

  • Dimensions: 24" x4"
  • Weight: 1lbs 5oz
  • Carbon steel
  • Custom molded grips
  • High heat powder coat
  • Sharp Talons for grabbing
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Solo Bonfire Smokeless Fire Pit (MSRP $399)

If you've ever built a campfire, then you know there are several caveats that go along with it, such as smoke in your face, fire danger, and just getting a good fire pit set up if there isn't a pre installed fire ring. Solo fire pits have taken the headache out of making campfires with this portable little gem, which can be used in your back yard, at your campsite or even on the beach. Not only is it easy to port around, the result is a fire that dramatically reduces smoke, is far easier to start and control and makes clean up a breeze. So if you are a casual camper that wants a better experience while sitting around the fire, then the Solo Bonfire is a worth every penny. If you are roughing it, dig my own pit, suck the smoke up, kind of person - they just keep on scrolling because you probably already hate this. 

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Voited CLOUDTOUCH™ Indoor/Outdoor Camping Blanket (High Season MSRP $139.90)

There is nothing better than having a cozy blanket on hand when the weather dips into chilly town. How many blankets will you find out there that are built to last, soft as a baby seal, and made from recycled materials? This fuzzy buddy is a win, win, win! The Voited CloudTouch indoor/outdoor blanket is made of plastic bottles, can be machine washed, and features a buttery soft fleece on the inside for a cozy on steroids kind of feeling. This blanket is perfect for just about any type of lounging situation, from sitting on the couch and staring out at the snow to warming up in your tent for those early/late season music festivals and everything in between. The blanket packs down into about the size of a sleeping bag and comes with a stuff bag, although it may take you a few practice runs to roll it up tight enough to fit back in. 

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High Camp Flask Tumblers - Torch Tumbler 2-Pack + Soft Case (MSRP $39)

So the High Camp Flask Torch Tumblers are not something you necessarily need, but they sure do elevate your outdoor drinking steeze. These beautifully machined shot glasses (3oz) are perfect for sake, whiskey, rum, or even a morning espresso. With design nods to the cylinder of a classic six-shooter, these tumblers embody the spirit of the west with an elegant touch fit for elevated shooting. They pack up nicely in their wool-felt carrying case for traveling or to stow at your home bar to break out for special occasions. These little beauties are crafted from stainless steel for a lifetime of use, the perfect addition to any connoisseurs kit. 

Stuff You Can Wear

Ah, it's cold outside, oh wait, it's warm outside, and now it's SNOWING. Do you remember when your mom told you to bring layers? Well, we all know she was right on the money. Spring is notorious for a wide variety of fast-changing weather that must be dealt with by the ancient art of layering. Here is a selection of fantastic gear that will keep you feeling just right as the weather bobs and weaves into summer.

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Voited Outdoor Change Robe / Jacket - (MSRP $149.99)

So this is one of those jackets that we didn't know we needed until we saw it. The outdoor change robe was designed with cold weather water sports in mind, the perfect accessory to change in/out of your wetsuit in colder temps if you are a hardcore type of surfer/SUP'er. However, we see it as so much more than that, a perfect jacket for chilling out around the campfire when you need an extra layer of warmth, a handy cover-up for heading to the outdoor hot tub in the snow, or just warming up post ski/snowboarding sesh while sucking down some beers. The 50D Ripstop fabric is waterproofed on the inside and features a layer of synthetic insulation and a mix of microfleece, and a hit of CloudTouch super softness in the lower back portion. The outside of the jacket is weatherproofed with Teflon EcoElite, and the Ripstop fabric is made entirely from recycled material. The jacket comes with a stuff bag to make it easier to pack for your next adventure. 

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The ARTILECT Sundown 250 Half Zip 

The ARTILECT Sundown 250 Half Zip 

Artilect Sundown Mens / Womens Sundown 250 1/2 Zip Dusk Blue/Black (MSRP $240)

ARTILECT out of Boulder, Colorado, is changing the layering game with their high-tech approach that levels up an already fantastic fabric. Merino wool is hard to beat; its natural temperature regulating, anti-stink, sweat-wicking properties are perfect for recreational garments. The design team at ARTILECT has made merino wool even better with their Nuyarn merino fabric that is warmer, lighter, and more resilient than traditional merino. The Sundown 250 is the thinnest and warmest base layer that we have ever tried, perfect for sports like skiing/boarding, cold weather hiking, and just being outside in colder temps with fewer layers. The fit is true to size, and the athletic cut fits perfectly under a shell or windbreaker for less bulk and superior movability and comfort. The Sundown 250 can also stand on its own and seamlessly drift into the bar for a beer post activity. Some might find this piece a little spendy, but if you are serious about your life outside, it's worth every penny and will provide you with years of wear.

Features

  • Superior bluesign® approved 250GSM Nuyarn merino fabric technology offers extra loft for an unmatched warmth-to-weight ratio, 5x faster drying, and remarkable longterm durability
  • Superfine 18 micron non-mulsed Australian merino Wool for maximum softness and wearability
  • Incredible stretch and recovery
  • Slim Tech Fit for maximum movement
  • Targeted waffle and flat Nuyarn fabric placements for less weight and more warmth
  • No-chafe flatlock seams
  • Gusseted Underarm
  • Hang-Dry Loop
  • YKK Zippers
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A/SYS-1 Boulder Men's / Women's Boulder 125 3/4 Legging (MSRP $90)

The Boulder 125 3/4 legging is perfect for early spring hiking, snowboarding, and skiing. They are the ideal weight for transitioning comfortably into warmer temps but still provide a degree of warmth when temps dip. All the benefits of ARTILECT'S proprietary fabric bring you lightweight, quick-drying and insanely comfortable performance when doing the things you love to do. We like the 3/4 length as it pairs with longer socks without having to bunch things up. You get multiple wears with no stink and you can throw them in the washing machine on delicate no problemo when needed!

Features

  • Superior bluesign® approved 125GSM Nuyarn merino fabric technology offers extra loft for an unmatched warmth-to-weight ratio, 5x faster drying, and remarkable longterm durability
  • Superfine 18 micron non-mulsed Australian merino Wool for maximum softness and wearability
  • Incredible stretch and recovery
  • Above the Boot Cut for seamless layering
  • Easy Fit offers a modern fit with full coverage
  • Targeted eyelet placements for increased breathability
  • No-chafe flatlock seams
  • Gusseted Crotch
  • Machine Washable
  • Hang-Dry Loop 
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California Cowboy - Unisex Après Ski Team Turtleneck (MSRP $118)

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Retro is all the rage in the world of ski/snowboard apparel, and California Cowboy just pulled off a double daffy with this 80s ski flick beauty. Your Après Ski hustle never looked so good, and if you can't get to Aspen, you can slip this on and live vicariously through its awesomeness. The buttery soft fleece will keep you comfy, the badge (of honor) will keep the questions coming, and the piping down the sleeves will make you feel like Dexter Rutecki. So head to eBay to find some California Cooler, maybe whip up a Midori Sour or pour yourself a Moosehead and just revel in your Hot Dogging badass self. Shred the GNAR!

Specs:

  • Raglan Sleeve with Retro Ski Trick Trim
  • California Cowboy Après Ski Team Chest Patch
  • Custom Trim Locker Loop to hang
  • Conversation Card Pocket
  • Vintage Feeling Fabric
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Women’s High Sierra Shirt In Golden Hour Plaid (MSRP $148)

Sporting all the great features of the Men's version, the designers at California Cowboy cut up some cloth and tailored a more flattering female cut for their ultimate Après ski shirt. Perfect for hanging in the lodge or by the strategically placed resort fire pit, the High Sierra blends the perfect weight and warmth for your post session adventures. If snowsports aren't your thing, not to worry. This shirt works at the spring music festival, on the trail, camping with friends, or just hanging out doing the cozy time at home. The soft flanel will have your significant other nuzzling up to you like a puppy. 

Specs:

  • Super Soft, Portuguese Flannel
  • Lined with cotton-poly thermal
  • Reinforced bottle pocket with hidden slim seltzer can pocket
  • Water resistant hunting inspired dry pocket for safe tech storage (We encourage extreme analog Après-Ski activity)
  • Sunglass secure loop
  • Interior Hidden Glove Loop
  • Secret Pen Pocket
  • Specially designed bottle opener & pocket
  • All High Sierra flannel shirts include: Beer Koozie, Bottle Opener, & Stack of Conversation Stopper Cards
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Nathan Dash Tee (Grey) - MSRP $45.00

This tee from Nathan is the perfect hybrid for just about any activity you can throw at it. Its silky-soft feel and light stretch are perfect for hardcore hikes, long days at the music festival, or a base layer under your favorite sweater. It might be one of the most comfortable tees we have ever tested. This shirt can be athleisure casual or shift into high gear for a run, and it even sports reflective tape hits to keep you visible as the day fades away. The Dash Tee is so versatile that we recommend buying a few of them because one is not enough. 

Laura warms up in the Ibex Journey Long Sleeve Crew in Soft Moss

Laura warms up in the Ibex Journey Long Sleeve Crew in Soft Moss

Ibex Women's Journey Long Sleeve Crew (MSRP $98.00)

We first got hip to Ibex for their amazing merino base layers, which we use regularly on our ski/boarding trips, cold weather hikes and even at Red Rocks when the weather dips. We took the Journey Long Sleeve crew for a test run at Vail, where we crushed runs, aprés ski, and went right from the slopes to the restaurant. The Journey fits perfectly under an insulated jacket or shell, and looks stylish enough to hang at the bar (even in snooty ski towns). If you are more of a casual camper or music festival fan, this is a great layer to slip under a light jacket, sweater or hoodie. Once you go merino, you never go back. 

Specs:

  • Natural moisture wicking, odor-resistant material
  • Breathable for optimal layering
  • Nylon Core for Durability
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Ibex Mens Shak Jacket (MSRP $260)

The Shak (not that Shaq) Jacket is one of our favorite new pieces this season. The perfect weight to take on both a base layer and outer layer duties as the temps fluxuate. The merino wool manages the heat and cold perfectly and the jacket is tailored with a slim athletic fit that is super stylish and works dressed up or down. The Shak is especially great for traveling, when you need a comfortable layer for long stints in crampt conditions it doesn't get much better than this. In fact it's so well tailored that you could easily slide into a dinner meeting right off the plane and still look fresh. We also tested this as a mid layer during a recent trip to the mountains for a ski trip and it performed extremely well from comfort to warmth to flexibility. The Ibex team just gets it right on everything they do. The price may feel a bit steep, but you are investing in a garment that will last for years and never go out of style. 

What we love:

  • Reliable warmth in a professional package
  • Dense merino offers high performance and natural stretch
  • Full front zip, chest pocket, and zippered hand pockets
  • MERINO PONTI - Part mid layer, part outer layer, Ibex's Ponti is 100% merino wool, double-knit for incredible insulation. The interlocking structure monopolizes on merino's natural elasticity, allowing it to move with you while skinning up the north side of the mountain or reaching for that final arête. Merino Ponti is Ibex's fabric of choice for the Shak collection, named for the iconic Antarctic explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton. It's ready for any and every expedition you find yourself on.
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Tifosi Rail (MSRP 79.95)

So you've probably noticed that the 90s and dashes of the 80s have come roaring back, whether it's old Nike ACG gear or big bold sports glasses, the retro vibes be flowing. Tifosi, makers of many many many sunglass styles have dropped the Rail model. These shades are perfect for going retro at music festivals or for more serious adventures such as ebiking to the brewery or mountain biking down some smooth single tracks. The glasses feature multiple lenses to dial in your mood or light situation, from clear to yellow to tinted, you are well equipped and ready for anything with these shades. The Rails are also incredibly light, comfortable and come with a nice carrying case. 

  • Made of Grilamid TR-90, a homopolyamide nylon characterized by an extremely high alternative bending strength, low density and high resistance to chemical and UV damage
  • Polycarbonate lenses are scratch resistant and shatterproof, providing 100% UVA/UVB protection to shield your eyes from harmful rays
  • Fototec lens color features photochromic lenses that automatically adjust tint according to light conditions; lenses darken in bright light and lighten in dim conditions
  • Other lens color options include interchangeable lenses so you can choose the best one for the conditions
  • Optically decentered to eliminate distortion
  • Glare guard lens coating helps reduce eye strain
  • Tifosi Glide allows the frames to slide on comfortably and provides an anti-bounce fit for all activities
  • Adjustable hydrophilic rubber ear and nose pieces ensure your shades won't slip
  • Integrated hinges allow for a snug and comfortable fit
  • Includes a microfiber cleaning bag
  • Tifosi offers a lifetime warranty against manufacturer defects
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Tifosi Swank XL Brown Fade (Polarized) (MSRP $54.95)

If you are not quite ready for the full retro explosion of the Tifosi Rail, then you might consider the Swank XL with polarized lenses. A more classic oversized style that works for just about any occasion and brings the performance of 100% UVA/UVB protected polycarbonate lenses at a fantastic price. The polarized lenses are perfect for snowsports, SUPing, or just chilling on the beach to reduce that nasty glare. Festival shades? Check! The Swank XL is stylish enough to rock at the festival and the price is low enough that you won't feel too bad if you lose them while chugging overpriced cocktails.

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Swiftwick Flite XT Trail Sock (MSRP $23.00)

Ok, so these are some serious performance socks! Swiftwick has been in our sock stable for about a year or so now and they are are go to for running, biking, hiking and anything active. The new XT sock takes things up a notch for more fast paced and endurance activities. The AnkleLock™ Technology gives you extra support and the GripDry™ Fiber helps to keep your feet in place inside your shoe with tiny nanofibers that grip to your footbed. Great for running, long hikes, and any activity where you need some extra support and stability. If you plan on running around Coachella, Burning Man or any other high mileage festival this Spring/Summer, then you absolutely should snag a few pairs of these. 

Specs:

  • The most technologically advanced sock for stability, ideal for a variety of activities.
  • Targeted ankle and heel support protects ankles during quick movement.
  • GripDry™ Fiber in the heel and forefoot keeps you stable in your shoes.
  • 68% Nylon / 19% Olefin / 9% Polyester / 4% Spandex

Nutrition & Recovery - Early Spring conditions can be challenging, from mud to colder temps, so it's essential to keep your body in prime condition from hydrating to patch jobs. Coming of winter for some of us means that our bodies are moving more than they have in the colder months, so ease into it, won't you? Here are some goods that we love on our outdoor activities and road to recovery from too much Netflixxing and couching it. 

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Kane Revive Recovery Footwear (MSRP $70)

If a Croc has an affair with a running shoe, the Revive is what you would get. After a long day of crushing trails or Coachella, this is the perfect sneaker to slip on to give your footsies a break. Peel off those socks and slide on in; the footbed is lined with tiny nodes to stimulate blood floor, the perforated exterior lets your feet breathe, and the cushioning feels exceptional while walking to the beer fridge. Other great ways to utilize the Revive? Try them poolside on vacation? The beach? Or anywhere you want a super comfortable shoe that is low maintenance and will treat your feet like a masseuse. Oh, and did we mention you can wash them, they dry quickly and are made sustainably!

  • Includes 3 swappable hang loops
  • Made in Brazil from sugarcane-based EVA foam
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Super Skin Blister Strips (MSRP $14.95)

Blisters are the worst, and they especially suck when you are trying to walk a music festival or hike with friends. Super Skin Blister Strips provide just about the best solution for coping with blisters that we have ever experienced. Where bandaids fail, Blister Strips succeed with their with their 4-way stretch and long lasting application. If start to experience even a hint of a blister, rip off a strip and apply it. The tape will last for up t 8 days to keep any blister at bay to keep you comfortable and mobile.

• Thin, pre-cut pieces with rounded edges means less snags

• Natural, comfortable feel with 4-way stretch; you'll forget it's there

• Long-lasting adhesive - up to 8 days

• Latex-free

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Floyds of Leadville Recovery Protein w/ CBD $39.00

A unique mix of protein and CBD that will help you recover after long days at the festival or any strenuous activity. The Floyds Recovery powder offers 27g of protein per serving and 250mg of CBD per package. We blended ours with a banana and some almond milk for the perfect recovery shake. The powder comes in both vanilla and chocolate and tastes pretty damn good for a protein powder. 

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Farver Farms Lentil Crunchers

Farver Farms has done something truly amazing with the lentil, and no it's not a soup! This little legume has been transformed into a snack that rivals kettle chips, with a line up of addictive savory flavors that will keep you coming back for more. The Lentil Cruncher is exactly what it sounds like, a bag full of crunch-tastic lentils doused in flavor and a texture that would make a Pringle blush with envy. We truly can't decide which flavor we like the best, as they are all equally good. The flavor offering is Dill Pickle, Hickory Smoke, Salt, and Chipotle Ranch, all fantastic on their own or as a topping for baked potatoes, salads, or just about anything that needs a little flavor and texture. The lentil is filled with protein and fiber, so it's a perfect snack to keep you fueled up and satisfied. One warning however, these little beans can be addictive and it's almost guaranteed that you will go back for 2-3 servings before you get yourself under control - you have been warned. 

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