Tag Archives: backpacking gear reviews

Best New Gear of the Year: My Top 10 Favorites

June 21, 2015  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment
MRS FlyLite

MRS FlyLite

By Michael Lanza

I’ve tested an untold number of new backpacks, boots, tents, jackets, and other outdoor gear and apparel over the past two decades, and I’ve seen the good, bad, ugly (the fishnet long underwear probably took first place in that category)—and the best of the best. So just as I posted not long ago a list of the 10 most-read gear reviews at The Big Outside by you, my readers, now I present my personal picks for my 10 favorite, new pieces of outdoor gear and apparel this spring and summer—the most innovative, top-performing, best-value stuff that’s worth spending your hard-earned dollars on. Continue reading →

June 16, 2015 Trail 785 to Image Lake, Glacier Peak Wilderness, Washington.

Ask Me: Can You Suggest a Backpacking Gear Checklist?

In Ask Me, Backpacking, Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment

Hi Michael,

Can you provide a good, basic gear list for three-season backpacking? Thanks.

Cibolo, TX Continue reading →

My 10 Most-Read Gear Reviews

June 7, 2015  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   2 Comments
Osprey Atmos AG 65

Osprey Atmos AG 65

By Michael Lanza

Other than my home page, the link clicked most often at The Big Outside is my Gear Reviews category—and individual gear reviews consistently rank among the most-viewed pages at my blog. So I like to periodically post a list of my reviews of outdoor gear and apparel that are the most popular with you, The Big Outside’s readers. Sifting through my blog’s analytics data, I produced this top 10 list of the most-read gear reviews at this blog, with a link to my original review of each item. As you’re shopping for specific outdoor gear or clothing, check this out to see what’s popular with your fellow outdoor enthusiasts and fans of The Big Outside.

  Continue reading →

Gear Review: Exped SynMat Hyperlite Air Mattress

June 3, 2015  |  In Uncategorized   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment
Exped SynMat Hyperlite with Schnozzel Pumpbag UL.

Exped SynMat Hyperlite with Schnozzel Pumpbag UL.

Insulated Air Mattress
Exped SynMat Hyperlite
$169, 14 oz. (medium, including stuff sack)
Medium (72×20.5×2.8 ins., packed size 3.5×7.5 ins.)
Medium wide ($179, 72×25.6×2.8 ins., packed size 4×7.5 ins.)
Long wide ($189, 77.6×25.6×2.8 ins., packed size 4×8 ins.)

How light and compact can an air mattress get and still deliver a comfortable night’s sleep on the ground? Under a pound for a full-length, insulated air mat, I discovered after using the SynMat Hyperlite on a 34-mile backpacking trip on the Royal Arch Loop in the Grand Canyon in mid-May, while backpacking the 41-mile Timberline Trail around Mount Hood in August, and a weekend of camping at Idaho’s City of Rocks National Reserve. Continue reading →

Gear Review: Gregory Stout 45 and Amber 44 Backpacks

May 29, 2015  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , ,   |   Leave a comment
Gregory Stout 45

Gregory Stout 45

Gregory Stout 45 and Amber 44
$169, 3 lbs. 9 oz. (medium)

Men’s Stout 45 sizes: S-L
M 45L/2,746 c.i., fits torsos 46-51cm/18-20 ins.
L 48L/2,929 c.i., fits torsos 51-56cm/20-22 ins.

Women’s Amber 44 sizes: S-M
S 44L/2,685 c.i., fits torsos 41-46cm/16-18 ins.
M 46L/2,807 c.i., fits torsos 46-51cm/18-20 ins.

A weekend backpack that costs just $169—and is made by Gregory? How could I not put it to the test? Backpacking the Grand Canyon’s remote and very rugged, 34-mile Royal Arch Route—considered the hardest established, multi-day route on the canyon’s South Rim—we hiked many miles off-trail, scrambled over and around boulders and up and down sketchy, exposed ledges, made one big descent and a monster uphill slog in brutal desert heat, carried up to seven liters of water each, and even lowered our packs over a 20-foot cliff (that we had to rappel). Through all of that, I have to say, the Stout 45 carried comfortably and stably and tolerated a lot of abuse with no damage. Continue reading →

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