Tag Archives: backpacking gear reviews

November 19, 2014 Trekking in the Dolomite Mountains, Italy.

Gift Guide: My Top 25 Picks In New Outdoor Gear and Apparel

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By Michael Lanza

It’s that time of year again, when you’re shopping for the right something for a special someone… or you want to give a special someone the right suggestions for a gift for you. Either way, check out my annual list of top 25 favorite new pieces of outdoor gear and apparel, with links to my original reviews of these jackets, packs, boots, tents, and other gear. Continue reading →

November 6, 2014 Trekkers above Olavsbu Hut in Norway's Jotunheimen National Park.

Ask Me: Which Big Backpack Do You Recommend?

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Michael,

I purchased a Mountainsmith Apex 80 before I knew anything about buying packs. I love the pack, but I recently ended up carrying 45 lbs. for the first time, and the pack refused to stay on my hips. I took it into my local REI and it turns out the pack is too large for me. My torso is 17 inches and the pack starts at 18 inches. I have read through every backpack review on your site (they were very informative) and have narrowed down my replacements, and would like your advice. The three on my list are: Gregory Baltoro 75, Osprey Aether 70/85 (the Xenith only fits torsos starting at 18), and the Deuter Act 75+10. I need the larger pack as the scout troop my son is with does multi-day trips, and we end up carrying all the stuff the boy’s parents over-packed (plus I’m not experienced enough yet to be able to pack myself perfectly). Continue reading →

Gear Review: Sea to Summit Escapist Tarp

September 30, 2014  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment
Sea to Summit Escapist Tarp

Sea to Summit Escapist Tarp

Ultralight Tarp
Sea to Summit Escapist Tarp
$199, 12 oz. (large)
Sizes: Large 10 ft. x 10 ft./3x3m, medium 6 ft. 6 ins.x8 ft. 6 ins./2×2.6m ($169, 9.5 oz.)
seatosummit.com

When rain began falling while a friend and I were sleeping under the stars in Yosemite National Park’s Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne River, we grabbed our gear, pitched this tarp in just a few minutes, and had dry shelter for the night. Besides using the Escapist Tarp on that four-day, 85-mile, backpacking trip, I camped under it with my son in Idaho’s City of Rocks National Reserve, where the tarp held up well throughout a windy night. For late-summer and fall trips where I won’t encounter bugs, there’s no need to carry the weight and bulk of a tent. The Escapist tarp provides a sturdy, spacious, and durable ultralight shelter from rain, acts as a wind break, and on calm nights will keep you a little warmer than you’d be sleeping under the stars because it traps some warmth. Continue reading →

Gear Review: Osprey Exos 58 Backpack

September 18, 2014  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment
Osprey Exos 58

Osprey Exos 58

Backpack
Osprey Exos 58
$220, 55L/3,356 c.i., 2 lbs. 8 oz. (small, fits torsos 16-19 ins.)
Sizes: unisex S-L (M 58L/3,539 c.i., fits torsos 18-21 ins., L 61L/3,722 c.i., fits torsos 21-23 ins.)
ospreypacks.com

When Osprey introduced the Exos pack series in 2008, it immediately became a leader—and helped redefine how we think about backpacking. It showed us that a backpack weighing under three pounds can serve the needs of everyone from weekenders to longer-distance backpackers and thru-hikers, and it gave ultralighters an option to the minimalist rucksacks that fill that category (which are “minimalist” both in weight and comfort). As a fan of the original Exos packs, I took the new Exos 58 out on recent four-day, 86-mile backpacking trip in northern Yosemite National Park, and a seven-day, hut-to-hut trek on the Alta Via 2 through Italy’s Dolomites in July, and concluded that Osprey has taken something that was very good and made it lighter and better. Continue reading →

Gear Review: Vasque Breeze 2.0 Kids Boots

September 8, 2014  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment
Vasque Breeze 2.0 for kids

Vasque Breeze 2.0 for kids

Kids Boots
Vasque Breeze 2.0
$80, 1 lb. 10 oz. (youth 6)
Sizes: kids 10-13, youth 1-6
vasque.com

Finding boots for kids that not only look like adult boots, but are also really built like high-quality adults boots, can be like looking for an honest man in our nation’s capitol. So I was especially pleased with how well the kids’ Breeze 2.0 performed when my 13-year-old son wore them for more than a week of trekking hut to hut through Italy’s rugged Dolomite Mountains, encountering a full range of conditions: rain, mud, puddles, and snow. Continue reading →

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