If you could see my office… There are mounds, heaps, small mountains even, of outdoor clothing that I have either tested or need to test. And once these things are exposed to my personal funk, the companies naturally don’t want them back, so things pile up.

As I say in the video, despite all these options, what I wear day in and day out always boils down to just handful of garments that I really, really like. It’s the surest proof of what truly stands out.

One of these days I’ll post a complete list of my favorites, but for now I will tell you that I am practically never without Rocky’s Athletic Mobility Midweight Vest. Made with PrimaLoft insulation, its warmth-to-weight ratio, softness, and compressibility is off the charts. You’ve probably noticed that pretty much all of the high-performance outdoor-clothing manufacturers now offer a similar midweight top, but Rocky’s was the one I first tested, several years ago, and I still wear it a ton. When I’m not wearing it, it’s usually in my pack, stuffed into a small side-pouch where it takes up very little room.

Anyway, at the ATA show, I saw that Rocky now offers an improved, long-sleeve, full-zip version, with a new tougher two-ply outer material. I can’t say for sure just yet. I need to let the natural progression of pulling an article from a heap, testing, and seeing if it makes it into the everyday rotation unfold. But I suspect this will be another go-to garment. (The crazy thing is that we planned for the live mannequin to shoot me in the head with the Nerf gun at the end of this video–and yet it still caught me by surprise.)