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Review: 8 outdoor clothing and accessories to check out

POSTED: May 13, 2017 8:51 a.m.
Grant Olsen/

This will be an amazing summer season for outdoor adventures.

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THE GREAT OUTDOORS — As spring shakes out its final batch of storms, there are clear skies and warmer weather on the horizon. Not to mention that fact that many of Utah’s lakes and reservoirs will be filled to the highest levels in years.

Yes, this will be an amazing summer season for outdoor adventures. Here is a handful of outdoor products you may want to check out.

BUFF Original Multifunctional Headwear

PRICE: $19

GRADE: A

Sometimes it’s the simplest products that are most effective, and the BUFF Original definitely fits into this category. It’s basically just a hollow cylinder made from seamless microfiber fabric. Most people wear it as a headband, but it can also be used in about a dozen different ways (face mask, hair tie, balaclava, etc).

Sound familiar? If you watch “Survivor,” then you’re probably familiar with BUFF products. The contestants wear them each season on the show.

You can easily stash a BUFF in your pack, then bust it out if you need it. They are wind resistant and also come in versions that provide protection from 95 percent of UV rays and deter mosquitoes, ticks, ants, flies, chiggers and no-see-ums. The one thing to note is that while BUFF products are marketed as “one-size-fits-all,” they might be a little too snug if you’ve got an extra-large noggin.

OluKai Moloa Shoes

PRICE: $120

GRADE: A-

OluKai shoes are made specifically for those who spend a lot of time around water. They’re comfortable, but also highly functional. For example, the Moloa looks like a velvety leather shoe that you wouldn’t necessarily feel confident wearing on rough terrain. But the outsole is actually quite rugged, with all-weather grip that make the shoes much more versatile than you might think.

One of the coolest features on the Moloa is the “Drop-In Heel,” which means the back can fold down so the shoe works as a slider. This makes them super convenient for times when you’re going to be in and out of the water.

The Moloa’s footbed has a Dri-Lex microfiber cover, giving it comfort and durability. You can also remove the footbed for a quick wash from time to time.

Smith Wolcott Sunglasses

PRICE: $169

GRADE: B+

These sunglasses from Smith Optics look fairly nondescript, but they boast some great features. The megol pads on the nose and temples make for nice touchpoints that keep them snugly in place even during intense activity. And the stainless-steel spring hinges and eight-base lens curvature give you a solid, yet comfortable, fit.

There are multiple lens options for the Wolcotts, including Smith’s ChromaPop technology. They’re pretty impressive, delivering enhanced color and extremely sharp clarity. Also, all the lens options have anti-reflective and hydroleophobic lens coatings.

The Wolcotts are made with a durable frame material that can definitely take a beating. As long as you don’t sit on them or slam them in the door, they’ll hold strong. These sunglasses have a medium fit, so they’ll comfortably fit most face sizes.

L.L. Bean Vista Camp Pants

PRICE: $69

GRADE: A

These rugged pants from L.L. Bean are the perfect combination of lightweight and functional. They’re made with ripstop fabric (93 percent nylon and 7 percent spandex) that wicks moisture and dries quickly.

The Vista Camp Pants are hardy enough for a hike through scrub oak but are comfy enough for relaxing around the fire later. They’re made to be flexible, with a knit waist and just the right amount of give in the fabric.

Versatility is always appreciated in outdoor clothing, and the Vista Camp Pants have adjustable hems so you can rig them according to the weather or whatever activity you happen to be doing. They also have button-closure side pockets for securely stashing your belongings.

Costa Cook Sunglasses

PRICE: $219

GRADE: A

Most people buy Costa sunglasses for the lenses, which have 100 percent UV light blockage and eliminate reflected glare so effectively that it saves your eyes a lot of strain. It should also be noted that they provide crisp vision that helps you see into the water and discern depth. Any advantage you can have while fishing is good, making Costas a top choice for many guides.

With Costa’s Cook sunglasses, however, the frames actually rise to the occasion and rival the lenses for wow factor. They’re unbelievably lightweight and comfy, with added flexibility near the temples. This description may make the frames sound a little flimsy, but they’re still built tough. And there’s Hydrolite material on the temples to give them tackiness, so they won’t slip off your face when wet.

Thanks to the unique frames on these aviators, they’re easily one of the best entries in Costa’s long line products.

Teva's Arrowood WP Shoes

PRICE: $120

GRADE: A-

Teva products have come a long way from their birthplace in the Grand Canyon. Back in 1984, a river guide who was sick of losing his flip flops in the current used some Velcro watchbands to secure them to his feet. Lo and behold, it worked.

Now, the company offers a wide range of shoe and sandals (including an Original sandal that looks an awful lot like that watchband contraption from 1984). The Arrowood WP is one of the standouts from Teva’s sneaker line. This is an exceptionally comfy shoe that’s also super light because it’s made with FloatLite foam.

Like all Tevas, these trail shoes are made to coexist with water. You probably won’t want to wear them for immersive activities, but if you encounter rain or puddles on your hike, the waterproof leather upper will keep your feet nice and dry.

Mountain Khakis Cruiser II Pants

PRICE: $94

GRADE: A

These all-purpose pants from Mountain Khakis are perfect for hiking, fishing and all manner of outdoor activities. They’re made with quick-dry fabric (91 percent nylon and 9 percent spandex) that is also easy to care for.

Designed specifically for life in the Western states, they actually provide UPF 40+ protection (with 97 percent UV coverage). They have articulated knees for improved range of motion, so you could rock climb in them in you wanted to, as well as roll tabs to convert them to capri length.

Despite their dainty feel, the Cruiser II pants are plenty strong enough to withstand the rigors of your favorite activities.

686 Men's GLCR GORE-TEX PACLITE Multi Shell Jacket

PRICE: $300

GRADE: A-

This time of year can be tricky… the weather is often hot, but you’ve still got snow in the higher elevations. And temperatures can drop in a hurry. Bring a jacket and you may be wishing you’d left it home, but leave your jacket home and you’ll inevitably find yourself longing for it in a snowstorm.

A great solution is a three-season ski/snowboard jacket, like the new GLCR GORE-TEX PACLITE Multi Shell Jacket from 686. It’s more rugged than a lot of other multi-season shells on the market, boasting a two-layer GORE-TEX Paclite fabric with DWR coating and fully taped seams. It’s lightweight, packable and breathable. You can easily fold it up and fit it in the included carry pouch.

The most unique feature of this jacket is the internal backpack straps. When the weather heats up, simply take the jacket off and wear it as a backpack. You can quickly put it back on when you need to. The straps are removable, so you can easily customize the jacket to fit your needs.

What are your favorite outdoor products? Let us know in the comments.
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