It's not uncommon that as a new year rolls around so does a whole new category of people hitting the gym or trying a new trail. Despite the eye rolls that inhabit the faces of many folks that already frequent these places the new year can be an awesome time to reevaluate your training and practices.

These are the top picks for gear and resources that will help you chase your goals. There are three categories: Frontcountry, Sidecountry, and Backcountry. Like the terrain they are named after, each category requires a little more commitment however the payoffs will be there.

Frontcountry / $

Salomon Active Handheld - $30

Hydration matters, the Active Handheld makes it easier than ever to stay hydrated on the run or on the approach. Plus it works with the XA Filter Cap.

Active Handheld and Coros Vertix on the nightly run.

Training for the Uphill Athlete / Training for the New Alpinism - $35 each

Steve House and Scott Johnston are the masterminds over at Uphill Athlete and they literally wrote the book about training for mountain sports. Their approach takes traditional periodization and training techniques and applies them to the mountains. These books are amazing and they have changed the way I approach the sports I love so much.

Wahoo TICKR X HR Monitor strap (HR Monitor Strap) - $79.99

You feel like you're going hard but... are you really? With the Wahoo TICKR X Heart Rate Monitor chest strap you can really quantify your effort. Heart Rate isn't everything but for many, it's a great place to start. I've found this one from wahoo to be one of the best in terms of accuracy and ease of use.

Sidecountry // $$

Patagonia Airshed Pro Pullover - $129.99

It isn't often that a piece of gear comes into your life that completely changes how you look at something. Recently this happened to me thanks to the Airshed Pro Pullover for Patagonia. This pullover has completely changed how I layer for aerobic outdoor activities due to its versatility. The mix of wicking material on the sleeves and wind-blocking everywhere else makes this a winner. In-depth review of the entire High Endurance Kit from Patagonia coming soon...

Patagonia Slope Runner Endurance Vest - $149.99

A good vest can make or break a scramble, workout or big day out. Recently I've been reaching for the Slope Runner Endurance vest for Patagonia more often than not. It fits more like a garment and a pack and I'm excited to put it through the wringer throughout 2021. In-depth review of the entire High Endurance Kit from Patagonia coming soon...

Rocking the Airshed Pro Pullover and Slope Runner Endurance Vest. Photo courtesy of

La Sportiva TC Pro (new climbing shoes) - $190

If you are anything like me you tend to climb in your shoes until they fall apart or completely lose their edge. Maybe you do this because you can't afford new ones or you absolutely love how your current shoes fit. Fear not! Enter, the TC Pro. This shoe isn't friendly on the wallet when compared to other offerings however, this shoe is bombproof and stupid comfortable. It's a little stiff for the gym however, for many this is a sick daily driver that will take you from boulder problems to big walls.

Backcountry /// $$$

Training Peaks Subscription - $200

Most people who spend time in the mountains don't give themselves enough credit for the athletes that they are. The first step is the heart rate monitor mentioned above but, what are you going to do with all of that new data. Put it in Training Peaks! Training peaks is a software that allows you to track your various activities and workouts. What makes Training Peaks different from strava or an excel sheet is that it analyzes your data and assigns each dataset a value representing the intensity of the activity. It then shows you how the different intensities build your fitness and affect your level of fatigue as well as a value that shows the balance between the two. I know, it sounds complicated but this is one of the most crucial steps you can take to step up your training.

Coros Vertix GPS Watch (high-quality GPS watch) - $599

A high-quality GPS watch, like the Coros Vertix GPS Adventure Watch, is essential for tracking distance, elevation gain, Heart Rate, and a whole host of other data. The Vertix is an awesome watch for everything from running to cycling to climbing to open water swimming. Full review coming soon...

Reynolds Blacklabel 309/289r XC wheelset (carbon wheelset) - $1849.99

Carbon wheels are one of the bigger upgrades you can make to your bike. They improve efficiency, acceleration handling and I happen to think they look pretty cool. The Blacklabel 309/289r wheelset is pretty awesome for the price and you get a killer warranty.

The Reynolds aboard the Esker Hayduke in "go fast mode"

Keep the Conversation Going:

What have you discovered that has changed the way you train and tackle mountain missions?