The Snowshoe Experience : Get Out and Do It
Read this book by Claire Walter, one of our reviewers, to find out how to get started in snowshoeing...more...


Sierra Designs TS31 Jacket : Let it Rain, Let it Pour

When it’s 38 degrees, sorta snowing, sorta raining, and I’m working up a sweat with a brisk pace on the trail, the last thing I want is an outer layer jacket that gets as wet on the inside as on the outside. After a hike this fall wearing a nylon stretch shell with the armpit zips wide open and still getting wet inside from my sweat, I decided it was time to step up to a performance jacket that’s truly as breathable as it is water-repellent.

Over the years I’ve found that Sierra Designs products are consistently well-made and well-designed, so I decided to try the TS 31 jacket. This stretch shell is made of Sierra Design’s Torrent 3L stretch fabric that’s not only breathable but lightweight and waterproof. I first wore it during a fast walk on a hilly three-mile trail at a park near my house. What a relief to end up back at my car still dry inside.

From my recent experiences walking, hiking, and skiing here in the soggy Northwest, I can say that the TS 31 really performs. On a cross-country skiing trip, I layered it over a thick soft shell jacket and wool turtleneck. I stayed comfortable and dry despite the intermitent snow showers and prolonged lunch break (with a 3-year-old in tow, breaks just aren’t quick).

Our weather has conveniently obliged my attempts to test the water-resistance of this jacket. A few times I got excited when there were monsoon-like downpours so I could throw on my TS 31 jacket and run around outside for a while. My feet and legs didn’t stay so dry, but from my bum upwards I found this jacket completely waterproof. Sierra Designs uses an especially narrow tape to seal the seams, which also contributes to its lightweight but substantial feel.

Of course, this jacket has lots of nice features, like well-concealed exterior and interior zip pockets, an interior pocket with a clear plastic window, an adjustable drawcord waist (I can adjust it with one hand), zippered vents on the arm for extra breathability (I haven’t had to use those yet). I really appreciate the adjustability of the hood, too, which I can roll into the collar if I want to be hood-free.

A friend of mine was so taken with the color of my parka (paprika) that she borrowed it for a trip to a paint store, where they mixed some paint match the shade. I’ll literally blend into the décor next time I’m over at her house wearing my TS 31 jacket. It's also available in: Twilight, Feather (pictured), Blueberry, Asphalt, and Artichoke. The men's version is comes in Wheat, Navy, Deep Red, Asphalt, and Aluminum.

Bottom Line: A true performance jacket that keeps me dry in and out for almost all of my cool/cold weather outdoors adventures.--J.I. (Jan 06)

Price: $280

Manufacturer's Site:

BUY ONLINE : Moosejaw Mountaineering

The first flashlight was invented in 1898. Joshua Lionel Cohen, original owner of the Eveready company developed the concept of using a battery to run a light bulb, which he shared with an Eveready salesman, Conrad Hubert. Hubert then turned the idea into a flashlight.

Source: "Invention of the Flashlight," by Mary Bellis, posted on