Tag Archives: camping gear reviews
By Michael Lanza
It’s that time of year again, when you’re looking for the right gift for a special person—or maybe you want to give a special someone the right suggestions for a gift for you. Either way, check out my annual list of 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 →
By Michael Lanza
How do you choose which headlamp to buy for hiking, backpacking, climbing, trail running, and other outdoor activities? Price? Design and range of lighting modes? Go with a brand you know and trust? Having tested dozens of headlamps, I favor models that meet five simple criteria:
• Lightweight (no hiker, runner, or climber needs a heavy, bulky light).
• Versatile and bright enough for everything from reading in the tent and managing camp chores to hiking rugged trail or route-finding off-trail in complete darkness.
• Intuitive and easy to use, so I don’t have to consult instructions more than once, take of my gloves to operate it, or use a tool to change batteries.
• Projects a beam that’s focused and even, not blotchy and uneven.
• Preferably rechargeable so I’m not throwing away batteries.
With the exception of being rechargeable—which costs more, and I review headlamps at a range of price points—I generally apply those standards when choosing which headlamps I’ll review at The Big Outside. So to help you find the right model for yourself or someone else, I’ve put together this list of the five best headlamps I’ve reviewed at this blog, listed in order of cost, along with a comparison chart. Continue reading →
Three-Season Sleeping Bag
Marmot Scandium (20° F)
$199, 2 lbs. 14 oz. (regular)
Sizes: regular and long ($219)
A backpacking truth: You can say what you want about the details of a bag’s construction, but the real measure of its value comes on nights when you need it to accomplish just one function—keep you warm. Beside Quiet Lake at over 9,200 feet in Idaho’s White Cloud Mountains in early October, I awoke to find frost coating much of our gear that we’d left outside the tent; the overnight low had dropped nearly to freezing. And I had not even noticed the cold, snoozing comfortably all night in the Scandium. Continue reading →
$50, 3 oz. (with 3 AAA batteries, included)
On dark nights and early mornings from New Hampshire’s Presidential Range to Idaho’s Boise Mountains and New Zealand’s Kepler and Dusky tracks, and other trips, I needed a headlamp that was very light, reliable, versatile, and above all, bright. Vitchelo’s V800 met all of those standards, plus proved itself to be reliable and distinctly simple to use. Continue reading →
Princeton Tec Sync
$30, 3 oz. (including three AAA batteries)
Hiking down the steep, rocky, frequently slippery trails of Mount Washington in the dark for the final 90 minutes of a 17-mile, 6,000-vertical-foot dayhike over the four summits of New Hampshire’s Northern Presidential Range, the last thing I needed was a headlamp that wasn’t bright enough or lost power. With the Sync, those issues weren’t a problem. In fact, its brightest setting threw a broad beam that illuminated the lower Tuckerman Ravine Trail well enough that two teenagers in our party who had forgotten their headlamps could see. Considering also that the Sync is one of the lightest, cheapest, and simplest headlamps on the market today, and it’s hard to find fault with it. Continue reading →