Tag Archives: ultralight backpacking gear reviews

Gear Review: Exped Mira II Hyperlite Tent

October 7, 2015  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment
Exped Mira II Hyperlite

Exped Mira II Hyperlite.

Ultralight Tent
Exped Mira II Hyperlite
$379, 2 lbs. 14 oz. (without the included stuff sack and eight sturdy stakes, at least six of which are needed to pitch the tent)

On the first of two nights backpacking with my 15-year-old son in Idaho’s White Cloud Mountains, I got an immediate sense of what I liked about Exped’s sub-three-pound Mira II Hyperlite (besides its low weight): With darkness and rain rapidly approaching, we pitched the tent easily in a couple of minutes. We lived and slept comfortably inside, thanks to a design that maximizes space while minimizing weight. And when it rained through the night, we stayed dry despite keeping one vestibule door wide open to help ventilate the interior. Continue reading →

Gear Review: Vitchelo V800 Headlamp

October 2, 2015  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment
Vitchelo V800 headlamp

Vitchelo V800 headlamp

Ultralight Headlamp
Vitchelo V800
$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 →

Gear Review: Asolo Magix Hiking-Approach Shoes

September 16, 2015  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment
Asolo Magix

Asolo Magix

Hiking/Approach Shoes
Asolo Magix
$210, 2 lbs. (men’s Euro 42/US 9)
Sizes: men’s Euro 41-47/US 8-12, 13, 14, women’s Euro 36-41/US 6-10.5

In their early days, approach-style shoes were basically rock-climbing shoes for easy routes that you could walk short distances in with marginal comfort. They have since evolved greatly into something designed more for hiking comfort and performance than for climbing. Much as I like climbing, that’s a smart evolution, in my opinion, because that turns them into all-mountain shoes ideal for hiking and scrambling long days in difficult, off-trail terrain—a task for which lightweight, low-cut hiking shoes can get trashed, and burlier boots are often too heavy and hot. (For skilled climbers, some approach models are also sticky and nimble enough for easy fifth-class routes.) But there’s still a tension between conflicting objectives with approach shoes: balancing walking comfort against design elements that protect your feet better, but can also make shoes heavier and hotter. With the low-cut Magix, Asolo seemed to take a shot at achieving that delicate balance, so I took them on several hikes, including a 12-hour, roughly 14-mile and 5,000-foot, mostly off-trail dayhike in Idaho’s Sawtooth Mountains, to test whether they could deliver. Continue reading →

Gear Review: Leki Micro Vario Carbon Trekking Poles

September 11, 2015  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , , ,   |   2 Comments
Leki Micro Vario Carbon trekking poles

Leki Micro Vario Carbon trekking poles.

Trekking Poles
Leki Micro Vario Carbon Trekking Poles
$200, 1 lb./pair (without storage sack)

From a four-day trip backpacking the Rockwall Trail in Canada’s Kootenay National Park, and a seven-mile, 2,300-foot dayhike on the Iceline Trail in Yoho National Park, to a rocky and often steep, 17-mile, 6,800-vertical-foot dayhike over the four summits of the Northern Presidential Range in New Hampshire, and an approximately 27-mile dayhike on Idaho’s Middle Fork of the Salmon River Trail (and other dayhikes of up to 10 miles during a six-day rafting trip on the Middle Fork), the Leki Micro Vario Carbon Trekking Poles repeatedly demonstrated their usefulness and versatility. Continue reading →

September 9, 2015 Campsite at Precipice Lake in Sequoia National Park.

Looking For Reviews of the Best Gear? Look Here

In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment

By Michael Lanza

Readers like my gear reviews. Other than my home page, the Gear Reviews link in the main menu bar at the top of every page at The Big Outside gets more clicks than anything else at this website and blog. So I’ve created a new page, linked from the Gear Reviews button in the main menu, that organizes all of my reviews by category, so that you can quickly find what you’re looking for among the hundreds of reviews at The Big Outside. Continue reading →

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