Gear review: Items to cozy up to this November
Let’s face it: No one moves to this valley for its amazing Novembers. Perhaps Aspen’s most drab time of year, the leaves have gone, the trails aren’t really accessible, and winter is still in its infancy. Even though shoulder season makes for a strange time when it comes to making plans for getting outside, this time of transition is full of potential for the lesser applauded aspects of mountain living. Things like digging out winter coats, re-organizing the ever-evolving gear closet, or simply resting up for the upcoming chaos of the holidays can turn November into a sacred rite of passage. As I sink into the opportunity of this time, here are some things I’m cozying up to this month during the calm before the storm.
1. tentree Atlas/Bamone Sweatpant
The beginning of a new season is a time to replace the basics, and comfy sweatpants should be at the top of the list. These organic cotton joggers from tentree are breathable, soft, and durable. They are tailored enough to run errands in but comfy enough to lounge around the house. I recently wore these on a cold and windy camping trip, and they were the equivalent of comfort food when I crawled into my sleeping bag. The Atlas is the men’s version; the Bamone is the women’s. $68, tentree.com. tentree products are also sold at Bristlecone Mountain Sports in Willits.
2. Barebones Enamel Teapot
I love enamelware for its versatility indoors and out, as well as the retro feel it brings. I recently came across an incredible line of enamelware from Barebones that is so beautiful, I bring it in the house to use, as well. This teapot has especially been a favorite this fall for classy pour-overs and for testing out backpacking meals (review on those to come). A hand-finished, baked stainless steel trim creates a bronze-like patina appearance, and a steel core is overlaid with a speckled finish. I appreciate how the handle and lid knob is made of smooth walnut rather than the typical enamel finish, which can be a bit abrasive on the hands. Available in four colors. $50, barebonesliving.com
3. Patagonia Melton Wool Overshirt Jacket
The shirt-jacket trend is going strong, and this new offering from Patagonia is a quite a looker. Made of 100%-recycled wool and Fair Trade Certified sewn, the material is naturally water-resistant and extremely warm. It’s great for throwing on to walk the dog, meeting a friend for a beer, or sitting around the campfire. The price is a little salty, but it will be a staple for years to come. The fit runs really big, so I would recommend sizing down. Available in men’s and women’s colors and sizes. $329, patagonia.com. Patagonia products are also available at the Ute Mountaineer in Aspen.
4. Puffin Drinkwear Coozies
I remember first discovering Puffin coozies when I was at Outdoor Retailer last year. Everyone was walking around with these tiny puffy jackets on their beers, and I knew I had to have one. Available in a multitude of different sizes and colors, these little jackets, sweaters, and sleeping bags are such a fun conversation piece and always seem to generate a chuckle. I love giving them as gifts. One friend commented that the Lumberjack one I gave her makes her feel like she’s drinking her beer out of a toddler sippy cup since the arms act like handles. They recently upgraded their bases to a hard surface, so they’re more stable to set down. My current favorite is the ski sweater. $18-25, puffindrinkwear.com
Meg Simon is an Aspen-based freelance writer, graphic designer, and founder of Simon Finch Creative. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Next up for Oyer is taking over the kitchen at the refreshed on mountain fine dining establishment Alpin Room on Snowmass, which is set to reopen on Tuesday, December 12.