Michael Lanza

A backpacker at Maze Overlook in the Maze District, Canyonlands National Park.

A Good Time to Buy Hiking and Backpacking Gear? Right Now

By Michael Lanza

If you’ve been thinking you need—or want—a new backpack, tent, boots, sleeping bag, rain shell, down jacket, or some other piece of hiking or backpacking gear or apparel, right now is one of the two or three best times of year to grab excellent deals. Most brick-and-mortar and online retailers are holding major sales, offering deeply discounted prices on new and recently new gear, and some of those sales end soon. If you want to save yourself serious cash (and who doesn’t?), read on for my recommendations for favorite models of packs, tents, jackets, and other gear, and links to the best sales taking place right now.

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Backpackers camped in the backcountry of Wyoming's Wind River Range.

The 10 Best Backpacking Tents of 2022

By Michael Lanza

A good backpacking tent not only makes your trips more comfortable by keeping you warm and dry in foul weather—it’s critical safety gear and one of the heaviest and most expensive items you’ll carry. Those facts alone are motivation enough to find the right tent for your style of backpacking. But how do you choose from the many models out there, which come in a huge range of designs, weights, and prices? Whether you’re shopping for your first backpacking shelter or looking to replace an old one, this article will help make that choice easy for you.

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A backpacker at Evolution Lake on the John Muir Trail in Evolution Basin, Kings Canyon National Park.

The Best Backpacking Gear of 2022

By Michael Lanza

The Wind River Range. The Maze District of Canyonlands National Park. Iceland. The John Muir Trail, Wonderland Trail, and Teton Crest Trail. Yosemite. The Grand Canyon. Glacier National Park. Yellowstone. The North Cascades and Pasayten Wilderness. Idaho’s Sawtooth Mountains. The High Uintas Wilderness. The Tour du Mont Blanc. These are just some of the numerous places where I’ve tested the backpacking gear and apparel reviewed at The Big Outside—so that I can give you honest and thorough, field-tested opinions that help you find the best gear for your adventures.

And that’s exactly how I came up with these picks for today’s best backpacking gear.

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Backpackers hiking the Titcomb Basin Trail, Wind River Range, Wyoming.

The Best Trekking Poles of 2022

By Michael Lanza

One of the most immutable truisms about hiking is this: Backpackers, dayhikers, climbers, mountain runners, and others who start using trekking poles almost never hit the trail without them again. No matter how much weight you’re carrying—from an ultralight daypack to a godawful heavy monster backpack—using poles will lessen your chances of an accidental fall and your leg muscles and joints, feet, back, and body will all feel better, thanks to the reduced strain, fatigue, and impact on them.

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A backpacker in the Ten Lakes Basin, Yosemite National Park.

The 10 Best Backpacking Packs of 2022

By Michael Lanza

Backpacks come in many sizes and designs for a reason: so do backpackers. Some of us need a pack for moderate loads, others for heavy loads, and still others for lightweight or ultralight backpacking. Some prefer a minimalist pack, others a range of features and access. Everyone wants the best possible fit and comfort, and almost everyone has a budget. But no matter which type of backpacker you are, this review covers the best packs in each of those categories.

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