1. Salomon Speedcross 2
As my favorite winterized trail-running shoes from 2008, the insulated Speedcross 2 shoes (www.salomon-sports.com, $110) let me pound out miles on the worst of days. Underfoot, a unique "Winter Contagrip" tread has dozens of V-shape lugs made of a soft rubber, creating a pliable grip that gives traction by staying supple no matter the outside temp.
2. Light & Motion Seca 700 Race bike light
Sharp, high-contrast light flows from the Seca 700 Race (www.bikelights.com), a top-end bike light that breaks a mold by bringing L.E.D. into a category previously dominated by old-school HID bulb lights. At $550, this light doesn't come cheap. But what you get is a 100-foot window of virtual daylight burning ahead to ride aggressive single-track trails in the dead of night.
3. Jetboil Helios
Dubbed a "high-performance cook system," the $150 Helios is an all-in-one kit--pot, stove and fuel pack together--perfect for campers in need of convenience and high heat output. The rocket-engine burner (www.jetboil.com) in my tests produced a dancing blue genie of a flame that boiled a cold liter of water in 2.5 minutes flat.
4. Duofold Varitherm Base Layers
Fine and non-itchy wool is my preferred material for base-layer clothing. But most companies' sheep fuzz offerings hover at $80 or more. The Varitherm line (www.duofold.com) is inexpensive, starting at $39, and it performs with a wool-based wicking fabric that's topped with a treatment called Dri-Release to further move moisture during activity in the outdoors.
5. CamelBak Better Bottle
BPA is dead. That's short for bisphenol A, a now well-known controversial compound found in polycarbonate water bottles that some studies have shown mimics the hormone estrogen. CamelBak's $8 Better Bottle (www.camelbak.com)--made of a non-BPA polycarbonate alternative called copolyester--was an industry bellwether to eliminating BPA from the outdoors-hydration category.