Tag Archives: hiking gear reviews

Ask Me: What Do You Suggest for Heavy-Duty Backpacking Boots?

March 18, 2014  |  In Ask Me, Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , , , , ,   |   2 Comments
La Sportiva Hyper Mid GTX

La Sportiva Hyper Mid GTX

(Via Twitter from @Keeping_Secrets, aka Grant, St. Louis, MO)

@Keeping_Secrets: Hey Mike! I’m looking at new hiking boots. We pack heavy. Looking at Vasque Breeze 2.0. Thoughts? Recommendations? Continue reading →

Gear Review: Outdoor Research Lodestar Gloves and Ibex Point 62 Gloves

January 13, 2014  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment
Outdoor Research Lodestar Gloves

Outdoor Research Lodestar Gloves

Winter Gloves
Outdoor Research Lodestar Gloves
$89, 5 oz. (men’s large)
Sizes: men’s XS-XL
outdoorresearch.com

Ibex Point 62 Gloves
$85, 4 oz. (medium)
Sizes: unisex S-XL
shop.ibex.com

What’s your winter activity? Nordic skiing? Snowshoeing? Hiking? Running? Whatever you do, you can bet there are gloves made specifically for it. Both of these models have become go-to handwear for me in moderate temperatures (20s and 30s) this winter, but for different activities. Continue reading →

Gear Review: The North Face Radium Hi-Loft Jacket

January 6, 2014  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment
The North Face Radium Hi-Loft Jacket

The North Face Radium Hi-Loft Jacket

Fleece Jacket
The North Face Radium Hi-Loft Jacket
$170, 15 oz. (men’s medium)
Sizes: men’s S-XXL, women’s XS-XL
thenorthface.com

Given all the modern choices in outdoor apparel for the backcountry, is the classic fleece jacket obsolete? Not hardly. An insulating layer that’s highly breathable remains indispensable when you’re active in cold temperatures; I always have some kind of fleece layer when out backcountry skiing, cross-country ski touring, hiking, or snowshoeing in winter or any time of year in temps in the 30s or colder. The good news is that advancements in fabrics have transformed your father’s fleece into a more versatile outer or middle layer—like The North Face Radium Hi-Loft Jacket. Wearing it quite a lot while cross-country skiing on a four-day, December yurt trip in Idaho’s Boise Mountains, and as a middle layer while resort skiing as well as around town, I found it impressively warm, comfortable, and functional. Continue reading →

Gift Guide: Top 25 Picks in Outdoor Gear & Apparel

November 21, 2013  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment
Gregory Contour 70

Gregory Contour 70

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.

Continue reading →

Gear Review: Black Diamond Coefficient Jacket

October 21, 2013  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment
Black Diamond Coefficient Jacket

Black Diamond Coefficient Jacket

Fleece Jacket
Black Diamond Coefficient Jacket
$139, 11 oz. (men’s medium)
Sizes: men’s S-XL
blackdiamondequipment.com

Keeping your body from overheating or getting cold while active is a challenge in shoulder seasons, or anytime you encounter fast-changing weather and temperatures from the 20s to the 50s Fahrenheit. The key is clothing that provides just enough warmth without making you perspire too much, and that moves moisture out quickly when sweating becomes unavoidable. On numerous spring and fall days of hiking and rock climbing in Idaho’s City of Rocks National Reserve and Castle Rocks State Park, and dayhiking in July in Mount Rainier National Park, the Coefficient Jacket hit that ideal balance that kept me from cycling between hot and chilled. Continue reading →

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