Best Jacket - The North Face Gotham III - $299A stylish parka that won’t break the bank, the Gotham III features 550-fill power down that kept me toasty in 10 degree temperatures with only a t-shirt on underneath. The shell is both waterproof and windproof, and the faux fur ruff on the hood is fully removable, for easy washing.
The North Face Gotham III
This jacket is almost too warm. Almost. During my hour-long commute I kept the thermostat at 64 degrees compared to my normal 68, though as soon as I opened the door on a 10 degree morning I was glad I had it on.
The bad news: The Gotham III version for women is lacking when it comes to combatting wind and water, so if you plan on encountering these (which in the winter is probable) I’d look elsewhere.
Best Hoody - Patagonia Performance Better Sweater Hoody - $159For the winter days that aren’t quite so cold, or as a mid layer on a drive through the mountains, the Patagonia Performance Better Sweater Hoody is the most comfortable hoody I’ve tested.
Patagonia Performance Better Sweater HoodyFair Trade Certified, the Performance Better Sweater is made of knitted fleece, with a stretchable spandex jersey material on the side, which allows you to move without it feeling constricting.
Patagonia Performance Better Sweater Hoody
$159 for a hoody is a premium price to pay, but as of publishing, you could find them on sale for $79.
Best Sunglasses - Oakley Holbrook - $123There are few things worse than squinting for an entire commute home, which is why I never get in the car without some having kind of sunglasses nearby. These polarized versions from Oakley are lightweight and plastic, meaning that after a night sitting in your car, they won’t be painfully cold to the touch.
Best Boots - L.L. Bean Duck Boot - $229.00These were the boots that started it all for L.L.Bean, who sold these out of his brother’s basement to hunters in 1912.
L.L. Bean Duck BootThe upper of these boots is made with leather and lined with shearling, while the bottom is lined with 200-gram Thinsulate and has an outer made of rubber.
L.L. Bean Duck Boot
L.L.Bean says these boots will keep your feet warm and dry in some extreme conditions, down to -20 degrees if you’re doing moderate activity. I wouldn’t trust them to keep my feet warm while out on a weekend long hunting excursion in Maine, but they handled an hour long hike and some time shoveling the snow out of my driveway magnificently.
Best Luggage Rack - Thule Canyon XT Cargo Basket - $299When it comes to gearing up for an extended ski-weekend, there are a few options for keeping your luggage and skis on your roof instead of taking up space inside your car, the most versatile of which is the cargo basket. With a bungee net or ratchet straps you can strap luggage and equipment to the top of your car with ease and don’t have to worry about closing a lid.
Thule Canyon XT Cargo Basket
At 50 inches long it can handle a fair amount of gear, though if you find you need more room, you can buy a 20 inch extender, which makes the cargo area of the basket nearly six feet in length. The stretch cargo net and ratchet straps are sold separately, but I just opted for generic brands rather than the overpriced Thule branded options, and they have worked out just fine.
As with every roof rack I’ve tried, there is wind noise at highway speeds. And with the sturdiness does come weight, which sits at around 30 pounds. With my current crossbar setup rated to 150 pounds, that means that 20% of my max load is taken up just by the basket itself. Thankfully, a couple of duffels full of skin equipment and two pairs of skis aren’t nearly enough to make up the difference, though if you are planning on carrying heavier loads, I’d look elsewhere.
Rooftop Duffel - Patagonia Stormfront Wet/Dry Duffel 65L - $249With a cargo basket like the Thule, a water sealed bag to protect your clothes from the rain, sleet, and snow winter can offer up is a must. That’s where the Patagonia Storefront duffel comes in. Originally made to house wet gear after a days worth of fly fishing, this bag will keep your clothes dry after a trip to the ski hill or on a crosscountry road trip.
Patagonia Stormfront Wet/Dry Duffel 65L
This is a simple duffel with one main pocket and another area on the bottom where you can keep your snow-crusted ski pants so that everything else stays dry.
The bad: while this bag is great for carrying clothing, any hard or sharp object inside might be its undoing. On my latest trip to shoot the new Jeep Wrangler in Arizona, a tripod tore a small hole in the side. That being said, this bag, and everything Patagonia makes, has a lifetime warranty – I just would’ve preferred to not use it so soon.
Camera Gear - DJI Phantom 4, Panasonic GH5, LowePro Whistler BP 450
What’s the point in having an awesome car if you don’t shoot awesome photos of it? We are gear heads here at Autoblog and that doesn’t stop with cars. When it comes to getting sweet shots of whatever whip we have in a given week, this is what we prefer.
My first drone was a DJI Phantom and since then more and more companies have tried their hand at quadcopters, some more successfully than others. The Phantom 4 is lightyears ahead of my original Phantom with an incredible built in camera and gimble system which allows silky smooth shots on even the windiest of days.
I was skeptical when I first went from a full frame camera to the Panasonic GH4, and with the new GH5, my qualms are almost completely gone. This camera can shoot magnificent 4K video and up to 7.5x slow motion in full HD. That, and it is a machine when it comes to photography. Sure it has a smaller sensor making it more difficult to get a super shallow depth of field, but with the plethora of lenses that are being made for micro 4/3 cameras, you’ll definitely find one that will create beautiful images.
Of course, traveling all over the world shooting cars means you need a solid bag to store all of your gear. That’s where the LowePro Whistler BP 450 comes in. It can easily hold two camera bodies and four lenses, not to mention all of the audio equipment we use as a video team. It also holds my 15-inch MacBook Pro and all of my charging cables and extra batteries with plenty of room to spare. All of that while still fitting in the overhead compartment of a commuter jet when necessary.