Field Notes

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Get fresh picks from our testers.

stretchy women’s pants Helly Hansen Hild QD

Our tester loved the Hild QD’s mo­bil­ity dur­ing a week of trekking in Colom­bia. Light­weight, stretch­wo­ven ny­lon and a gus­seted crotch aided dy­namic moves on the trail, and our tester re­ports that she “hur­dled logs, jumped creeks, and climbed rocky ravines” with­out any re­stric­tion. She also praised the yoga-style waist, which kept the Hild QD firmly in place. “Lean­ing over with a pack on but no belt usu­ally re­sults in plumber’s crack,” she says, “but the four-way stretch knit hugged my hips and never slipped.” Dura­bil­ity is im­pres­sive: Her pair sur­vived climb­ing the coarse sand­stone of Jor­dan’s Wadi Rum with only a mi­nor abra­sion. $85; 8 oz. (size M); w’s XS-XL; helly­hansen.com

light­weight load mon­ster KUIU Ul­tra 6000

This pack was made with hun­ters in mind, but you don’t have be track­ing game to ap­pre­ci­ate how light it is: The Ul­tra 6000 holds 98 liters at less than 4 pounds. A car­bon-fiber frame and a feather-weightyet-durable ny­lon pack body save ounces, and the stream­lined de­sign lacks ex­cess pock­ets and zip­pers. “It never felt flimsy de­spite the low weight. And the wide hip­belt is cushy,” says our tester, who used the Ul­tra 6000 over 100 miles in Idaho and Wy­oming. He also lauded its per­for­mance with 80 pounds aboard, prais­ing the sta­bil­ity. “It felt like part of my

body,” he says. Ding: The brain tended to flop around and get in our tester’s way when it was empty. Bonus: KUIU’s mod­u­lar sys­tem lets you at­tach any of their pack­bags to the frame, which is sold sep­a­rately. $425 (in­clud­ing frame, sus­pen­sion, and pack­bag); 3 lbs. 13 oz.; kuiu .com

ROKA Vendee Ul­tra

Pick up these sub1-ounce way­far­ers, and you might dis­miss them as gas sta­tion cheap­ies. But af­ter a sea­son of trail run­ning and ski tour­ing in the Front Range, we’re believers. ROKA uses feath­erlight Zeiss ny­lon lenses, which we couldn’t fog, even on a steamy run in sunny, mid-30s weather. Credit a frame that sits higher on your nose than usual to al­low air­flow un­der­neath. Ribbed grips on the tem­ples and nosepad keep the glasses in place with­out head­squeez­ing pres­sure. Note: The anti-scratch and hy­dropho­bic coatings are ef­fec­tive, but our fin­gers smudged the in­ner lenses. $180; 0.9 oz.; roka .com

ul­tra­light san­dal Xero Z-Trail

Yes, reg­u­lar flip-flops will suf­fice as sum­mer camp shoes. But if you want some­thing that works for hikes and rocky river cross­ings as well, beach sandals won’t do. En­ter the Z-Trail, which is ul­tra­light thanks to a 10mm-thick, ze­ro­drop sole, but se­cure enough for hik­ing (and plenty durable; the sole has a 5,000mile war­ranty). A thin layer of foam makes the Z-Trail sur­pris­ingly com­fort­able for such a min­i­mal­ist de­sign. “It’s like go­ing bare­foot, but with enough pro­tec­tion for all but the rock­i­est trails,” says a tester. We also liked the Z-Trek ($60), which has a thin­ner, foam­less sole for even bet­ter ground feel. Tip: Use Xero’s on­line siz­ing guide. $80; 10.6 oz. (pair m’s 9); m’s 6-14, w’s 5-10; xe­roshoes.com

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