Tag Archives: hiking gear reviews

January 7, 2016 Dana Glacier from White Rock Lakes area, Ptarmigan Traverse, Glacier Peak Wilderness.

A Preview of This Year’s Best New Gear, Part 2

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By Michael Lanza

Thinking about buying a new tent, boots, or a shell jacket or insulation for the outdoors? Last August, I spent a couple of days exploring the Outdoor Retailer Show, checking out the best of the new products for hiking, backpacking, climbing, and other outdoor activities that will hit the market this winter and spring. In this story, I cover some of the most interesting new apparel, shoes, and boots, plus a sleeping bag and pad for this spring, many of which I’ll test and review later at The Big Outside. Continue reading →

January 6, 2016 Bailey Range and Mount Olympus, Olympic National Park.

A Preview of This Year’s Best New Gear, Part 1

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By Michael Lanza

Thinking about buying a new backpack, daypack, tent, or other outdoor gear? Last August, I spent a couple of days wandering the floor of The Salt Palace in Salt Lake City—a convention center you could fit a few Wal-Marts inside—at the Outdoor Retailer Show, ogling the best of the new products for hiking, backpacking, climbing, and other outdoor activities that will hit the market this winter and spring. Continue reading →

December 16, 2015 Backpackers on the High Sierra Trail in Sequoia National Park.

Why and When to Spend More on Gear, Part 2: Rain Jackets, Boots, and Sleeping Bags

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By Michael Lanza

You need a new rain jacket, or a pair of boots, or a sleeping bag—or more than one of those major outdoor gear expenditures. You’ve read some reviews. You’ve winnowed your short list to a handful of possible choices—with a significant difference in prices. That’s when you struggle with the question that pushes the frugality button in all of us: Why should I spend more?

As I wrote in the first story in this two-part series, over the course of two decades of testing and reviewing gear, I’ve learned what qualities separate the expensive from the moderately priced from the cheap—and when it’s worth spending more, and when it’s not (and the answer depends on what type of gear or apparel you’re buying). Before you spend another dime, read on. Continue reading →

December 15, 2015 Backpacking the Gunsight Pass Trail, Glacier National Park.

Why and When to Spend More on Gear, Part 1: Packs and Tents

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By Michael Lanza

You need a new backpack or backpacking tent. You’ve read some reviews. You’ve winnowed your short list to a handful of possible choices—and are looking at a significant range of prices. That’s when you struggle with the question any consumer would consider: Why should I spend more?

Over the course of two decades of testing and reviewing gear, I’ve learned what qualities separate the expensive from the moderately priced from the cheap—and when it’s worth spending more, and when it’s not (and the answer depends on what type of gear or apparel you’re buying). Before you spend another dime, read on. Continue reading →

December 13, 2015 On the Kepler Track above Lake Te Anau, Fiordland National Park, New Zealand.

Like The Big Outside? Please Support My Work

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By Michael Lanza

More than five years ago, I launched this blog and website with a simple goal: to offer stories, photos, and expert trip-planning advice on America’s and the world’s best outdoor adventures—including many that are great for families—based on my on-the-ground, first-hand knowledge from having done all of the trips myself. Since then, it has grown into a popular online source for stories about hiking, backpacking, paddling, and other adventures, as well as my gear reviews and my tips on outdoor skills. Most gratifyingly for me, The Big Outside has inspired families and others to get outdoors.

Will you help me continue publishing this blog? It’s easy. Here’s how. Continue reading →

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