Mark’s Favorite Gear
Written By Mark L
I own countless baselayers and this one ends up on my body most frequently. The open grid pattern of the fabric lets in so much air I haven’t worn a short sleeve shirt for hiking or running the past spring or summer. At 3.5 oz/99g I hardly notice it’s on and with a 35-UPF sun protection I jettison the need, weight, and hassle of sunscreen. Features include a soft fabric behind the neck, full underarm gussets for mobility, offset shoulder and side seams to lie smoothly beneath pack straps, and thumb loops at the cuffs for easy on/off and covering hands in sun or cold.
When I wear this hat my friends call me Jar-Jar. As much as I dislike that Star Wars Character I happily bear the shame to keep this hat on my head. 50+ UPF rating means that unless you have a long nose like me, you’ll probably never have to apply sunscreen to your noggin, face, or neck ever again! The removable neck coverage keeps mosquitoes at bay during camp chores and helps keep me warm during cold mornings and evenings. Features include a hurricane strap to secure it in high winds, breathable mesh on sides of hat, four sizes as well as adjustable Velcro at the back.
I’ve worked in the outdoor footwear industry for ten years and have owned, tested, destroyed, and sold nearly every sock brand on the market, and then some. Aside from the lifetime guarantee, the finest grade wool on the market, the comfort, perfect fit, and homegrown U.S. of A. quality, I buy, use, and recommend Darn Tough for one reason: more stitches per inch than any other wool sock on the market. More stitches per inch means that there are more loops of wool against your skin, resulting in better blister protection, and better wicking. Not worth the extra coin, you say? Take your current hiking sox to a Darn Tough hiking sock retailer and turn both sox inside out. I can assure you that Darn Tough has a lot more darn loops than yours. I recommend the low cut because they’re lighter and I typically wear trail running shoes when I backpack. Make sure that whatever sock you buy rests comfortably above the top of your shoe/boot to prevent chaffing.