Trial Run - November 2001

Outfitter
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Outfitter
L.L. Bean Bootpack

L.L. BEAN BOOT SHUTTLE BACKPACK

We've all done that precarious car-to-base-lodge juggle, grasping skis, poles, boots, etc., invariably dropping something in the parking lot mud. The sleek-looking Boot Shuttle Backpack from L.L. Bean solved the dilemma for me -- for the price of a lift ticket. Made of heavy-duty cloth, the pack has external straps to tote ski boots, as well as a roomy interior with front vertical zip -- lay the pack flat and you can access all your gear at once. A bungee strap on the front fastens via minibuckles, a nifty design detail. The pack carries well enough that I could use it for skiing, too. --Cindy Hirschfeld

$59/L.L. BEAN/800-809-7057/llbean.com

EAGLE CREEK PACK-IT COMPRESSOR BAGS

Other than converting foreign currency, the most challenging part of ski travel for me is packing. See, I like to wear fresh layers every day, and that usually means hauling a duffel bag so big a show dog couldn't jump over it. Now with Eagle Creek's Pack-It Compressors, I zip my skivvies into the bag, roll it up to squeeze out the excess air, and my towering clothing pile is reduced to a compact wad less than half its original size. With long johns, T-shirts, and fleece neatly shrink-wrapped, my days of grossly oversized luggage are behind me. --Bevin Wallace

$20, TWO-PACK/EAGLE CREEK/800-874-1048/eaglecreek.com

RIVERS WEST STORMY POINT II JACKET

What, no shell? With Rivers West's new H2P system fleece, I didn't need one. H2P sandwiches a membrane of impermeable microfilm between two layers of ultrathin fleece. The result: a cozy jacket that's both waterproof and windproof. On the slopes, I appreciated the Stormy Point II's warmth and streamlined styling (there are just enough pockets for lip balm and cash). But there are a few drawbacks: No backing behind the zipper made for a cold belly button at high speeds. The fabric feels a bit stiff, and the H2P system doesn't wick much. However, snazzy-looking stretch panels along the sides and under the arms did increase breathability while adding vintage-racing-sweater appeal. --Katherine Cole

$180/RIVERS WEST/800-683-0887/riverswest.com