We’ve been aware of German brand Ortovox for a few years now, as they make some of the best avalanche safety equipment on the market. However, last year at the Outdoor Retailer Show, we were introduced to their apparel line for the first time. After spending a few months in their Piz Palu hybrid hoody, we’re back for more, and have a few pieces that should be in every adrenaline junky’s closet.
Ortovox got their start in 1980, when Gerald Kampel and Jürgen Wegner invented the very first dual frequency avalanche beacon, revolutionizing the industry. With their roots in German and Swiss mountaineering and ski touring, they began a long relationship with athletes and designers. Ortovox product development has long been focused on bringing excellent safety gear and mountain packs to market, so introducing a serious mountain apparel line (they’ve been in Europe for a quarter century, but just recently brought their wool line to North America). Using a combination of Swiss wool, merino, and modern synthetics, Ortovox built a line of vertically inspired technical apparel that harnesses the wicking, anti-microbial, and durability of wool at every layer. Whether you’re looking for a soft all-year base layer, or serious technical climbing pants, we’re continually impressed at performance.
This dual layer hoody is merino on the inside – for comfort, warmth, and stink protection – and polyester on the outside. This combo provides excellent durabilty for hard use all year, and really shines as a mid layer for stop and high altitude activities. The deep front zipper aids in dumping excess heat, and hand pockets store necessities close to your body (perfect for keeping the phone or GoPro battery from dying in the cold). The cut and color blocking make this hoody as at home in the lodge for some apres ski beers as it is in a white out at twelve thousand feet.
Named for Piz Bacun, a peak in the Bregalia Range of the Alps, these are consummate backcountry softshell pants. Like the Hoody, merino wool is layered inside next-to-skin comfort (they are sized to fit a base layer under with ease in extreme cold). However, a tightly woven nylon shell and DWR treatment make them much more suited to keeping the cold and snow out. With adjustable inner gaiters, they can handle ski boots in the winter and mountaineering boots in the summer, making them truly versatile mountain wear.
Straddling the line between ultralight and fully featured, this 20 liter mountain pack is perfect for skiers looking to exit the resort for a quick side-country trip. Color coded zippers signal where your avalanche gear is in the event an emergency. With both A-frame and diagonal ski carry, slots for an ice axe, and multiple points of access to the main compartment, this is one versatile little ski pack.
Photos Courtesy of Ortovox/Hansi Heckmair