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.