When you want to buy active gear, there are lots of options to sift through. You can go to your local sporting retail shop or look around online, but the problem is the same: no way to tell how an item is going to perform when you’re out in the elements. No way to separate the great from the mediocre.
A good way to deal with this situation is to ask people you know what works for them and why. For example, if you’re out running with your buddy and he’s wearing a men’s North Face hoodie and looking pretty comfortable for the duration, ask him about it. If you are looking for hiking shoes or swimwear, look around at what people are wearing.
It’s not rocket science-and apologies if the suggestions here are a little too obvious. Just pointing out the issue: scouting out the right active wear without being able to test it first. You can also look at blogs and consumer review sites to see what people are saying about favorites and disappointments.
For example, if you search-let’s take that men’s North Face hoodie again-and spot a review, especially one written by someone who’s actually worn and tested a number of options, you’re in luck. The best reviews are detailed and include images. A review of that hoodie might mention, for example:
Weight – While you wouldn’t think this would be a big deal, lighter is better, even when we’re talking the difference of a few ounces. Getting the benefit of warmth without the drag and bulk of extra weight is a plus.
Protection – Is it treated for wind resistance and will it repel water? Most sportswear hoodies, whether from The North Face or Patagonia, will offer high-tech solutions that keep you protected when you’re miles from home and vulnerable to the elements.
Hood, Pockets – If you’re hoodie’s hood is compatible with the activities you’re into, all the better. Smart hoods will cinch in an unobtrusive way and will protect as needed, of course. You’ll want pockets to store essentials safely. A good review will describe or show images of the pockets and other smart details.
Packability – Being able to adjust to the temperature-both internal and external-is a big deal outdoors. So, if a certain men’s North Face hoodie can be compressed to take up a small amount of space, that’s good.
To help you shop for the right active wear:
- Go to the source for details and images. So if you’re shopping for a men’s North Face hoodie or women’s Patagonia jacket, visit the manufacturer’s website to get as much information as you can.
- Once you have an idea of what’s out there, shop where the prices are more competitive and/or where someone has already done the testing for you. Some local retail shops and online stores (you’ll find some retail stores that also sell on the Web) take reviews seriously because they know that their customers would rather just get a hoodie that works from the start.