Welcome to another installment of Staff Picks from our Outdoors and Fitness team. Every other week, we select our favorite pieces out of the gear we’re testing, mainstays in our kits, as well as items on our wish lists. It’s like a sneak peek at the gear we’re testing and what we’re stoked on. Have something you think we should check out? Or just want to say hi? Drop us a line at outdoor@gearpatrol.com.

Patagonia Ascensionist 45L Pack

When the Ascensionist first launched a few years ago, it was Patagonia’s first technical pack in a long time. While the bag is designed for alpine pursuits like mountaineering and climbing, it’s equally well-suited to shorter overnight backpacking trips and other general outdoor pursuits. It’s also a suitable commuter bag if you need extra space to transport a change of clothes. — AJ Powell, Assistant Editor

Patagonia Worn Wear Critical Mass Bag

As a recent convert to the bike-commuting life, I’m now on the hunt for the perfect bike bag. I will typically let my fingers go numb trying to carry in all of my grocery bags at once, so you can imagine how much I try to stuff into bags that fit on a bike. This sturdy bag made from recycled polyester is sure to last me longer than my last one did (that was less than 30 days). The olive color is back in style, and will hold up to any dirt, dust and bike grease that are bound to speckle the bag. — Meg Lappe, Staff Writer

The North Face Ventrix Jacket

Announced last year, Ventrix is The North Face’s first foray into active insulation. The jacket is filled with breathable polyester insulation similar to other puffy synthetic jackets, but unlike other fills, Ventrix insulation is outfitted with special perforations that open and close with motion. It works — we ranked it one of our favorites of the year — and the company plans on expanding the tech into new styles for the coming fall and winter seasons. I’d happily pay a little less for a used one. — Tanner Bowden, Associate Staff Writer

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