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Cold Out? Think Wool!

Want to be warm yet fashionable this winter? Nick Heil, senior editor of "Outside" magazine, says it is possible.

The two biggest trends in the outdoor apparel year are the widespread use of "stretch-wovens"- durable nylon or polyester constructed to be highly wind and water resistant, yet extremely breathable. The industry has dubbed these "soft-shells,' because they generally have a soft hand, and a more relaxed style.

The second big story is the return of wool. Garment companies are utilizing very soft merino wool and technical wool blends in sweaters, shirts, and jackets with great success. This new wool is itch-free because of its fine threads, and offers great temperature range (cool when it's hot, warm and cozy when it's not).

Also new this year, outdoor gear designers are taking their cues from fashion houses when styling garments. The result is highly technical and durable outdoor wear that won't leave you looking like you just got back from an Everest expedition. Thus, perfect for snowy slopes as well as city streets.

The following items will be featured on The Saturday Early Show:

Gravis Beanie
Look inside Gravis' wool cap and you'll find a fleece liner around the forehead and ears to add an extra measure of warmth and protection from the wind. $24,

Salomon STL pants
Made from Schoeller, these stretch-woven slacks are mixed with bombproof Cordura. The slim fitting pants are lined with fleece to keep you warm. Off-center zipper on the back ensures a great fit. $240,

Blurr Focus Hoodie
From the hottest little company in Canada, Blurr's polyester lightweight fleece is woven to look like your favorite sweater on the outside but it's soft and warm on the inside. $92,

Isis Niobe Down Jacket
Designed by women for women, this down jacket from Isis delivers the value and beautiful colors that Isis is known for. $88,

Merrel Duet Scale boots
Water and stain resistant suede boot with sticky rubber tread and air-cushioned sole. $80,

Atlas Electra 8 Series Women's Snowshoes
These snowshoes are designed around a women's boot fit, not a guy's. Atlas also shaved off the clearance on the inside of the foot so women can now walk more naturally. $170,

Blur Specter Jacket
This jacket from the tiny Vancouver, Canada, company, Blurr, uses Polartec PowerShield, a stretchy fabric with that features a fleece lining on the inside and a water-resistant/wind resistant woven look on the outside. Zippers are waterproof to keep the wet out. $270,

Icebreaker Rip Zip Shirt
You can wear this fine Merino wool shirt under a jacket as a light sweater, or simply around town as a shirt. It's machine washable, so wear it as often as you like. Thumb holes on the cuff keep your wrists protected when you slide on some gloves. $120,

Ibex Alpstar Pant
This small Vermont company has been doing wonders with wool. Here, they've mated a toasty warm Merino wool fleece on the inside with a tough, yet stretchy nylon on the outside. The pants are good for a multitude of winter activities, and best of all, they're machine washable. $185,

Gravis Cirque boots
The Cirques are the perfect mountain/town boots. The water-resistant suede boots slip on and off - no fussing with laces when your hands are frozen. $95,

K2 Parka snowboard
Built for the halfpipe and freestyle parks cropping up at every ski hill, this Parka lets you ride "switch." That means it's dialed to let you ride in control either backwards or forwards. $650 (includes K2 V9 Plasma bindings),

Nike Sphere ACG jacket
Sphere's a totally new fabric technology from Nike that uses egg-carton shaped construction on the inside to create air pockets to trap your body heat and keep you warm. A snug, lightweight fit makes it easy to wear under a rain/snow shell or by itself for a multitude of activities. $115,

Ibex Neve Jacket
Ibex uses a fine Merino wool fleece on the inside of this all-purpose jacket to keep you warm and to wick away sweat, On the outside is an abrasion resistant Cordura/nylon blend that make this a jacket that'll last and last. $260,

Salomon Bonded Wool Pants
By marrying wool felt with a tough nylon mesh, Salomon made these supremely warm slope pants exceptionally tough. $150,

REI One jacket
If you want value, it's hard to beat REI. And thanks to their new apparel designer from the GAP, you get a little style with that function. This softshell piece features a water-resistant, yet breathable fabric that stretches with your body. A year ago, this jacket like this would've cost you over $300. This year. the price dropped by $100. $198,

Arc'Teryx Stinger Hoodie
Arc'Teryx is a Vancouver, Canada, company renowned for innovation and style. The Stinger hoodie uses a high-performance Schoeller Dryskin fabric that stays warm, yet breathes so you don't get clammy. $200,

Cloudveil Koven Jacket
This small company based in Jackson Hole, Wyo., is run by a group of outdoor enthusiasts who really know what works in the elements. They've ended up creating top-notch gear like this "hardshell", which is built for the most severe conditions, but looks great as an everyday coat. Utilizes a proprietary stretch fabric, which is highly weatherproof and breathable. $365;

Marmot Tallac Jacket
This ski parka utilizes the new "Airvantage" system from Gore, the folks who brought you Gore-Tex. Inflate the built-in air chamber and you increase the jacket's insulation. Let the air out for less bulk and less warmth. $350;

Marmot Adamant Jacket
Marmot asked Canadian heli-ski guides to design their ultimate jacket, and this is what they came up with. It's a wool blend, with Polartec Powershield panels. Very warm and durable, yet casual enough that the guides could wear it fulltime and not look like their about to hop on the helicopter. $250;

Patagonia Core Skin jacket
This stretch woven shell is engineered for activities as extreme as serious ice climbing, but styled for everyday use. Patgonia weds a durable stretch woven nylon exterior to their proprietary Regulator insulation. Very warm and functional, with a fit like your old denim jacket. $249;

Patagonia Down Jacket
Simply put, goose down has the best warmth-to-weight ratio of any insulation out there. Patagonia uses only the best goose down for superior loft, even after it's been packed into its stuff sack on a long trip. Simple, elegant and a great value at $199.

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