Tag Archives: backpacking gear reviews
Collapsible Cook Set
Sea to Summit X-Pot Set 31
$100, 1 lb. 6 oz.
Set includes a 2.8L X-Pot with lid, two X-Bowls, two X-Mugs, all collapsible
At Helmet Falls camp on the first night of a four-day, 34-mile, family backpacking trip on the Rockwall Trail in Kootenay National Park in the Canadian Rockies, a group of backpackers cooking near us looked at my X-Pot set and one asked, “What is that and who makes it?” When I answered him, he responded, “I gotta get one of those. Or I’m going to watch which bear locker you put your food and cooking gear in later and take it.” I was pretty sure he was kidding—but not entirely certain. The collapsible X-Pot cooking set is sure to change the way we think about cooking systems for backpacking, and many backpackers will covet it. Continue reading →
By Michael Lanza
Wonder why I’m smiling in the above photo? Well, sure, two friends and I were hiking the incredibly scenic Besseggen Ridge in Norway’s Jotunheimen National Park; that had something to do with it. But the other big factor was that I was comfortable—and how well my pack carried had a lot to do with that. And how I loaded it greatly affected how well it carried on my back. In this four-minute video, I’ll show you how to properly load a backpack to make your trail miles much more enjoyable. Continue reading →
Sierra Designs Tensegrity 2 FL
$390, 2 lbs. 10 oz. (without the included stuff sack and nine sturdy stakes, which are needed to pitch the tent)
When I first saw this tent displayed at the Outdoor Retailer trade show a year ago, I wanted to test it in the backcountry. The whole concept behind SD’s new Tensegrity line intriguingly throws out the playbook on what backpacking tents are supposed to look like: Gone are the inward sloping walls, traditional vestibules, and poles, all with the goal of making a shelter that’s not just lighter but more functional. I took the Tensegrity 2 FL on a six-day rafting trip down Idaho’s Middle Fork of the Salmon River—and mostly liked what I saw in this unusual shelter. Continue reading →
Ultralight Point-and-Shoot Camera
$100, 2 oz.
Anyone who’s lamented the weight and bulk of photography equipment in the backcountry—but wants to bring pictures back from every trip—can’t help but be curious about a point-and-shoot camera that weighs two ounces, is the size of an ultralight headlamp, cost just 100 bucks, and shoots 6-megapixel photos and high-definition 1080p video. That it comes from Polaroid, the company that changed consumer photography with instant cameras, only heightens the interest. So I picked up a Polaroid Cube for a six-day rafting trip down Idaho’s Middle Fork of the Salmon River to see what kind of pictures and video it could produce. Continue reading →
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 →