Gear review: Summer favorites

Meg Simom
Reversible Cotopaxi Teca jacket
Courtesy of Cotopaxi

Mountain weather is anything but predictable, so it’s key to have the right gear on hand to combat whatever may come. Below are some of my new favorites for the summer season.  

1. North Face Dryzzle FutureLight Rain Jacket

North Face Dryzzle
Courtesy of North Face

Designed with North Face’s premium breathable waterproof technology, the Dryzzle is the burly rain protection you’re looking for. With three zippered pockets, an adjustable hood, adjustable cuffs and a hem cinch, this is a great jacket to have on hand for when the weather turns gnarly. It’s also great for windy 14er summits. I love how with all these features it still packs into a little internal stash pocket, so it doesn’t take up too much space in your pack. Available in women’s and men’s sizes and colors. $230. Check out the North Face store on the mall in Aspen.

2. Outdoor Research Helium Wind Hoodie

Outdoor Research Helium Wind Shell
Courtesy Outdoor Research

This little jacket has been winning top spots on backpacker lists everywhere. It’s a great companion for windy runs, climbs and bike rides. Outdoor Research uses its super strong Diamond Fuse exterior to make it much more durable than it looks, and the women’s version includes a stretchy woven fabric on the lower portion to ensure the jacket stays put. There’s also full circumference venting, so you don’t overheat. Available in women’s and men’s colors and sizes. $119. Outdoor Research products are available at Bristlecone Mountain Sports in Willits.

3. Cotopaxi Teca Cálido Jacket

Reversible Cotopaxi Teca jacket
Courtesy of Cotopaxi
Reversible Cotopaxi Teca jacket
Courtesy of Cotopaxi

Summer wouldn’t be complete without a Cotopaxi purchase, and the Teca Cálido is my new favorite insulator for chilly nights camping or even a Thursday night concert in Snowmass. It’s not quite as burly as a winter down jacket, but with its 100% recycled polyester filling, it performs well in a variety of temps. Available in a variety of Cotopaxi’s signature bright colors, it’s reversible, depending on which color combo you’re feeling. It easily packs into its own chest pocket for easy transport. Available in women’s and men’s colors and sizes. $140. Independence Run and Hike in Carbondale carry Cotopaxi products.

4. Mammut Aconcagua Light Jacket

Mammut Aconcagua
Courtesy of Mammut

I rarely head into the backcountry without a midlayer, and the Aconcagua from Mammut is my new go-to for summer. It’s cozy without being too bulky, and it’s light enough to throw into a pack for a long day at the crag. It’s designed with two backpack- and climbing-harness-compatible zippered pockets, and its tight-fitting hood can even be worn underneath a helmet. $149. Mammut products are available at Ute Mountaineer in Aspen.

5. California Cowboy La Sirena and El Garibaldi Robe

California Cowboy La Sirena Robe
Courtesy of California Cowboy

OK, so this isn’t technically a jacket, but it’s one of my favorite things to throw on after paddleboarding, a jump in the river or chilling at a hot spring. It includes a dry pocket for storing your phone, a sunglasses loop, super-soft cotton-modal terry cloth lining and even a pocket to hold a bottle of bubbly. It’s available in a variety of colors and patterns in women’s and men’s sizes, but my favorite is the fish pattern celebrating California’s official State Marine Fish, the garibaldi. $148.

Meg Simon is an Aspen-based freelance writer, graphic designer and founder of Simon Finch Creative. She can be reached at