I am not well versed in cold. I’ve lived in Houston, Texas almost my entire life, so chilly winds weren’t something I’d had to prepare or dress for—until Eddie Bauer invited me to Alaska in January. Before the trip (and my recent move to New York), the most layers I’d had on me at one time was in bed, wearing pajamas with a top sheet and comforter on top.
During my week in Girdwood, I tested all the brand's winter gear in my proverbial Polar Plunge (which I'll never actually do) and learned, for the very first time, how to be cold. You might think of Eddie Bauer as casual wear because of its trendy quilted jackets, but the brand actually designed the first patented down jacket in 1936, outfitted the first American's ascent of Mt. Everest, and continues to keep its finger on the pulse of outdoor gear innovation through the Guide Built Process program. Through the Guide Built Process, the design team works with professional guides in various fields—think alpine climbers, skiers and snowboarders, fisherman, kayakers, and adventure travelers—to discover what's missing from gear, all the way to putting the final touches on products before they're sold.
I tested a range of Eddie Bauer's winter gear—and not just to go on a cold morning walk. Between snowmobiling, hiking around, and snowshoeing in snowy, icy Alaska, Eddie Bauer's line-up kept me warm, dry, and made me forget completely that I knew nothing about how to dress for the cold. Here are the products that made it happen.