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Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night...

10 Best Rain Jackets of 2014

When the season changes from twenty degrees and snow to forty degrees and rain, it’s time to update the outerwear. Sometimes you need a coat that’s lightweight and waterproof, while also being paradoxically windproof and breathable. These are the best.

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A Jacket of All Trades

Tested: Aether Alto Jacket

When we stopped by the Aether office and showroom to take a look at the second version of the Alto ($395) jacket, their crew handed us a sample and sent us on to their on-site testing facility — an industrial walk-in freezer — where we got a preview of how it would perform in the wild. Our adventures with the Alto would take us from chilly nights in Los Angeles to face-mashing wind in Detroit to a short stint inside New York’s polar vortex. And Vegas. That set of varying destinations is where the Alto, a true multipurpose jacket, is meant to shine.

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Tested by sheep

Tested: Icebreaker Sierra Long Sleeve Zip

We’ve been wearing Icebreaker’s Sierra Long Sleeve Zip jacket ($180) all summer and fall for mountain hiking — and though merino sheep have a few more centuries of wear-testing on their coats than we ever will, we’ve managed to form some opinions of our own.

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Neither rain nor sleet nor snow...

All-Weather Endurance: 5 Best Running Jackets

If we had it our way, every run would start and finish in perfect weather. But Mother Nature’s idea of perfect isn’t always a picturesque sunset or a sunny beach. For those of us not living in a running commercial, sometimes the long-mileage day may start with a thunderstorm or a few inches of snow. Whether you’re just heading around the block a few times, working on your interval training or putting in a marathon, we’ve found the best running jackets for soldiering through the tough stuff.

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Arc’teryx Veilance Blazer LT

The time to stow your wool blazers is getting closer everyday — but that doesn’t mean a life of cutoffs awaits. The Arc’teryx Veilance Blazer LT ($500) is sleek and versatile piece of outerwear for Spring 2013 that wears like a fitted shirt, complete with articulated elbows and gusseted underarms, but is fully equipped to handle the rains to come. A rainproof stretch woven fabric that beads water away from the surface, taped seams and Schoeller reinforced laminated cuffs and hem round out this piece’s resume on the durability front, while internal wallet and passport pockets keep valuables safe and secure. If the chic vegas Pit Boss look of the burgundy version above isn’t your thing, the black and grey options should do the trick.

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Encapsulated

Patagonia Encapsil Down Belay Parka

When an outdoor titan like Patagonia states they’ve invented the highest-performing down technology available anywhere and stuffed it into “the finest down parka ever made” — you should pay attention.

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Down With It

5 Best Lightweight Down Jackets

Depending on your activities of preference, winter is either your joyous playground or whitewashed personal hell. No matter what, staying warm is critical. Down jackets have been a preferred winter option for many years, and for good reason — they’re super warm (when dry), wick moisture away from your body, are packable down to small sizes for travel and have yet to be matched by any synthetic fibers. Here are our five favorite goose-based options to beat the winter freeze.

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Alpha Industries ✕ Ace Hotel Fishtail Parka

The M-65 waterproof fishtail parka was first used by the U.S. Army in the Korean War as a lightweight shell to keep soldiers dry. The design allowed soldiers to wrap the back of the coat around their upper legs for ease of movement and more waterproof surface. Recently the “hope I’m cool enough to stay here” Ace Hotel teamed up with Alpha Industries — known for military-inspired casual wear — to revive the storied coat. Retaining the classic M-65 style while updating it with a washed nylon shell, stay-dry seams and modern lines means you can throw this on and hike through unknown forest and muddy embankments before strolling directly into the board room, unscathed. Don’t whine to us if the muddy boots give you away, though.

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Todd Snyder Fox Fur Marschcoat

Former J. Crew creative director Todd Snyder has used his synonymous line to push into a luxurious realm few other American men’s fashion brands dare to enter. But it’s not simply about throwing a higher price tag on the clothes you already own. Case in point, the Todd Snyder Fox Fur Marschcoat ($1,350) is crafted from top-of-the-line materials like 100% Italian Wool and features a removable contrast 100% Japanese quilted nylon lining along with a genuine Finnish Silver-Fox Fur Lined Hood (and we’re not talking about good-looking retirees.) In short, it’s in a different Parka league compared to the three figure look-a-likes crowding the department store racks. If the blaze orange isn’t your color, there’s also an option with navy blue lining.

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Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow

Aether Altitude Jacket

Doing battle with black diamonds this winter means swapping your corporate suit for some waterproof armor. The Aether Altitude ($675) has the technical features to protect you from the slings and arrows of an outrageous fall line, September through May. The jacket’s three-layer Schoeller C_change fabric dynamically adjusts water vapor permeability as the temperature changes,…

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Full Mettle Jacket

Eddie Bauer BC MicroTherm Down Jacket 2.0

Superior foul weather gear should provide warmth, shelter your skin from precipitation and be breathable to boot. The Eddie Bauer BC MicroTherm Down Jacket 2.0 does just that thanks to a double layered shell that’s waterproof while venting perspiration (and not losing warmth). Additionally, its micro-channel compartments, stuffed with 800-fill premium goose down, minimize weight…

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Keep warm, look cool

Victorinox Leiden Insulated Blazer

Packing light in the colder months often comes down to a tradeoff of outerwear. Do you pack the bulky coat for warmth, the blazer for appearances, or in the worst case, both? Victorinox’s new Leiden Insulated Blazer takes the uncertainty out of the equation. It’s close enough to the cut of a standard blazer to…

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Style Pick: Read Wall Wilson Wax Jacket

Read Wall is a new made-in-America brand that brings a preppy edge to a field dominated by ubiquitous workwear. The entire line of polos, chinos, and shirts are worth a look, but the Wilson Wax Jacket stands out in particular as a versatile shell for variable weather. The 6.25oz wax cotton outerwear features an Oxford…

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Reuse, Reuse, Reuse

A Jacket for Life

There’s an ancient proverb that says “Man fears Time, but Time fears the Pyramids.” Based on the video A Jacket for Life, Time can’t be too fond of Barbour jackets either. This documentary showcases the 30-year love affairs that several Barbour owners have with their jackets — showing us why those relationships last longer than…

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Riding in style

Search and State All Road Apparel

Sure, you could argue the obnoxious styles of most biking apparel lines makes you more noticeable to vehicles on the road, but who cares about safety if you’re riding in clothes you wouldn’t be caught dead in? A new brand Search and State is challenging the notion of what cycling gear should look like with…

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Style Pick: Nigel Cabourn SS12 Aircraft Jacket

Few brands blend vintage fashion and historical significance the way Nigel Cabourn does. The eponymous English fashion house is well renowned for offering what can only be described as archival pieces or, in other words, garments with a history. The SS12 Aircraft Jacket Desert Wax Poplin Khaki ($710) is part of the Nigel Cabourn Authentic…

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Don't leave for the Poles without it

UVU Cold Race Jacket 01

Two questions. First: have you ever run a marathon at the North Pole? Second: have you ever spent nearly $2,000 on a running jacket? If you answered “yes” to either question, then read on. Taking extreme technical wear to, well, the extreme the UVU Cold Race Jacket 01 (£1,200) is built from the ground-up for…

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Leather & Race

Lotus Originals Heritage Leather Jacket

Auto racing apparel just doesn’t carry the same panache anymore. Case in point, NASCAR shirts. All you have to do to get the good stuff is time travel. The Lotus Originals Heritage Leather Jacket is so classic, it’s about all the fashion racing cred you’ll need. The jacket commemorates the 1948 founding of the Lotus…

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Dos Caminos

Nau Dose Jacket

The right, lightweight, technical jacket can solve a lot of needs for a cyclist. Combine construction from sustainable materials and a sharply tailored sihouette and you’ve got all the trappings of a perfect storm-fighter. The Nau Dose ($275) may not star George Clooney as its model, but this Spring cycling essential hits pretty close to…

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Style Pick: Cantarelli Quilted Down Jacket

There’s new jacket style trickling into the men’s fashion circuit that combines the traditional outdoor look of puffy down with the tailored cut of a blazer. For the most part, only high-end brands like Moncler have started to introduce the concept for astronomical price points. Italian brand Cantarelli definitely falls into the same category, but…

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Clothes that keep up

Nonetheless Garments

Nonetheless Garments is a new Chicago clothing brand dedicated to creating stylish menswear that can also withstand the fluctuating weather conditions of commuting. The magic all starts with using advanced materials like Polartec NeoShell, which has twice the airflow of comparable waterproof materials, without looking like it was shorn from a Paratrooper. Like any good…

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On holiday, off grid

Gift Guide 2011 | 10 Must-Haves for the Adventurer

No matter the destination or pursuit, there’s one unpredictable constant that entwines throughout the spirit of adventure — the ever-changing natural elements. Rather than limiting your lifestyle or altering your approach, we’ve compiled this list of 10 critical items that belong in your outdoor gear arsenal. Some you may be familiar with, some you may…

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Style Pick: Alpha Industries Slim Fit N-3B Parka

Staying warm doesn’t always have to add 50 pounds to your figure. The Slim Fit N-3B Parka by classic military supplier Alpha Industries features a 100% nylon shell, polyfill, and synthetic fur to keep you warm without blowing your gifting budget. Sold in a variety of color options, we recommend the modern look of replica…

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Style Pick: D.S. Dundee Blue Island Tweed Jacket

The D.S. Dundee blue island tweed jacket is an inspired alternative to the standard navy or earth tone tweed blazers you’re sure to see bobbing around this year’s stretch of holiday shindigs. Made from 100% wool, the fit is highly tailored and should match your proper jacket size right off the rack. Other notable details…

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Sta-Puft

Patagonia Ultralight Down Jacket

Light is good. Light, warm and water-repellent are just that much better, especially when it comes to outerwear. No doubt this fall will bring the kind of weather where you want to be prepared yet mobile and versatile. The new Patagonia Ultralight Down Jacket ($279) will allow you to do just that with its lightweight…

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System of a Down

Nau Down Load

Totally waterproof and completely tailored, the Nau Down Load ($440) packs a one-two style/utlity punch. Just in time for your dashing fall wardrobe. The weather-resistant shell features premium touches including taped seams, mini-storm skirt, removable hood, ribbed wool cuffs, breathable laminate exterior, and a warm yet breathable interior comprised of bulk-free 650-fill down. A bounty…

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Watersheep Down

Icebreaker Sierra Hood

Fleece has a tendency to be clammy against the skin when it gets wet, but wool’s natural properties prevent that not-so-pleasant feeling by keeping moisture away from your skin. If you’re searching for a full zip secondary layer that’s both protective and comfortable, look no further than the Icebreaker Sierra Hood ($200), which we had…

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Style Pick: Steven Alan Seaside Slicker

Endure the changing of the seasons with class in this all weather jacket from Steve Alan. Featuring an exterior woolen shell, detachable hood and a drawstring waist, it’s a worthy alternative to the mob of Barbours that are boud to hit the streets in the coming weeks. Shown in a olive/brown glen check. $350 |…

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Style Pick: Vince Nylon Puffer Peacoat

A sporty and modern twist on a classic men’s jacket. Made from 100% nylon and featuring slanted side pockets and oversized nautical buttons, it’ll fit in at the game or out on the town. $395 | Vince.com

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And the thunder rolls

Marmot Thunder Road Component Jacket

Lighter and tighter, trimmer and thinner, the Marmot Thunder Road Component Jacket ($425) proves winter technical gear doesn’t mean you have to look like you’re about to embark on an Andes excursion. The two piece setup is comprised of an inner velour fleece liner for cozy warmth and a two-layer MemBrain shell, which features technology…