Tag Archives: sleeping bag reviews

November 25, 2015 Backpacking The Narrows, Zion National Park.

Buying Gear? Read This First

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By Michael Lanza

Are you in the market for a new pack or boots for hiking or backpacking, or a new tent or sleeping bag? How do you find something that’s just right for you? What should you be looking for? How much should you spend? These are questions I’ve heard from many friends and readers over the years as they’ve waded through the myriad choices that are out there. Here are my five top tips for buying gear that’s right for you, gleaned from lessons I’ve learned from two decades of testing and reviewing gear and helping people find gear they love. Continue reading →

November 21, 2015 Death Canyon Shelf, Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming.

Looking For Reviews of the Best Gear? Look Here

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By Michael Lanza

I take a bit of a different approach to testing and reviewing outdoor gear at The Big Outside. I don’t try to blanket my readers with reviews of every new piece of gear hitting the market—I can’t do it, but frankly, a lot of it is mediocre and not worth recommending. Instead, I find the best backpacks and daypacks, backcountry tents and footwear, bags, outdoor apparel, and other gear that I actually want to use and would recommend to friends. After two decades of testing and reviewing gear, including many years as a field editor and lead gear reviewer for Backpacker magazine, I think I have a pretty good eye for what outdoor gear and apparel performs well and what’s not worth your money.

That’s what you’ll find at my Gear Reviews page—only reviews of products I would recommend to my closest friends. Continue reading →

November 16, 2015 Hiking Thompson Peak, Sawtooth Mountains, Idaho.

Gift Guide: My Top 25 Picks In New Outdoor Gear and Apparel

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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 →

Gear Review: Marmot Scandium Sleeping Bag

October 14, 2015  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment
Marmot Scandium sleeping bag.

Marmot Scandium

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 →

September 10, 2015 Spring Canyon campsite, Capitol Reef National Park, Utah.

10 Pro Tips: Staying Warm in a Sleeping Bag

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By Michael Lanza

Head into the mountains in summer, or almost anywhere in fall or spring, and you can encounter nighttime and morning temperatures anywhere from the 40s Fahrenheit to below freezing. I’ve spent enough frosty nights outside over the past few decades to learn a few things about how to stay warm. (My coldest night was -30° F, in winter in New Hampshire’s White Mountains; I don’t recommend it.) Here are my 10 tips for making your camping experience more comfortable. Continue reading →

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