Tag Archives: camping gear reviews
Sierra Designs Flash 3
$400, 4 lbs. 15 oz. (tent and poles only)
Backpacking with my kids amplifies a challenge any backpacker faces: finding a tent that provides good living space and stability without being a burdensome weight or filling your backpack. My kids are young enough that they carry just personal gear (bag, pad, clothes, snacks, water). So on a recent overnight trip with my kids in the Needles District of Utah’s Canyonlands National Park, without my wife or another adult to share the family food and gear load, I took the Flash 3 for a test drive and was blown away by the amount of space it has for a sub-five-pound, freestanding shelter. Continue reading →
By Michael Lanza
Looking for a gift idea for a hiker, backpacker, climber, skier… or maybe something special to suggest to someone shopping for you? I test a lot of adult and children’s outdoor gear and apparel every year for Backpacker Magazine and to review in this blog, and friends and readers ask me regularly for advice on buying gear.
So here’s my annual list of my top 25 favorite new pieces of outdoor gear and apparel—with links to my original reviews of these packs, boots, tents, jackets, and other gear—plus a new backcountry food my entire family loves, and a terrific book for traveling families. If you’re dreaming of big adventures in 2014, get busy prepping your gear for it.
Princeton Tec Vizz
$50, 3 oz. (including three AAA batteries)
Max burn time: 160 hours (dimmable white LEDs), 150 hours (red LEDs), 110 hours (brightest mode)
With backcountry headlamps getting lighter yet brighter, choosing among the sub-4-oz. options out there gets a little overwhelming. The Vizz stands out for hiking, backpacking, trail running, and climbing not just for its low weight and impressive brightness, but for versatility and remarkable ease of use: You don’t need a Ph.D. in electronics to operate the Vizz. I used it numerous days this summer on backpacking trips in Sequoia National Park, Washington’s Glacier Peak Wilderness, and Idaho’s White Clouds Mountains—including hours of hiking in the dark—a hut trip in New Hampshire’s White Mountains, a pre-dawn start on a dayhike in Mount Rainier National Park, and camping at Idaho’s City of Rocks. Continue reading →
Rechargeable Ultralight Headlamp
$70, 2 oz. (including rechargeable battery)
Max burn time: 65 hours at low power, six hours at high power
With an increasing number of headlamps weighing in under four ounces without compromising brightness, the name of the game these days is versatility and convenience. The Bosavi sets itself apart not just because it’s rechargeable (like some others), but with a design that makes it ideal for hiking or backpacking, trail running, climbing, skiing, bike commuting, and just about any activity you’ll do outside in the dark that doesn’t require a super bright light (and a massive, heavy battery pack). Plus, an ounce or two may seem like splitting hairs to some, but ultralight backpackers and hikers, climbers, and trail runners will appreciate that the Bosavi is lighter and more compact than most competitors. Continue reading →
There are a lot of tents out there. How do you choose between them? Backpackers come in different sizes and have different needs and preferences in a tent. In testing scores of backcountry tents over the past two decades, for reviews in Backpacker Magazine and this blog, I’ve seen the best and the worst—and gotten a sense of what to look for in a tent and how to help people pick out one they like. Here are my five simple tips for finding the tent that you’ll love. Continue reading →