Gear Reviews

The Six Moon Designs Lunar Solo ultralight backpacking tent in Bechler Canyon, Yellowstone National Park.

Review: Six Moon Designs Lunar Solo Ultralight Backpacking Tent

Ultralight Backpacking Tent
Six Moon Designs Lunar Solo
$250 ($35 extra for seam sealing), 1 lb. 9 oz. (without the optional, 2-oz. carbon pole)
Sizes: men’s S-XL, women’s XS-XL
sixmoondesigns.com

At around 7,000 feet in Yellowstone in September, the season can turn on a dime—and the last 24 hours of an otherwise beautiful, five-day backpacking trip on Yellowstone’s Bechler River Trail demonstrated that, delivering steady rain and wind all night and on our last day of hiking (which featured a bone-chilling river ford). The trip’s range of weather put a spotlight on the strengths of the classic, ultralight Six Moon Designs Lunar Solo tent, as well as its one major weakness.

Read on

Salomon ADV Skin 12 running hydration vest.

The Best Running Hydration Vests of 2021

By Michael Lanza Some ideas are so obviously better than everything that came before that the new thing just takes off: Many serious runners now recognize that the smartest way to carry water on a run—plus clothing layers and food on longer trail runs—is in a lightweight, streamlined, torso-hugging hydration vest. This review spotlights the best vests for trail running—how …

Read on

A backpacker hiking to Spider Gap in Washington's Glacier Peak Wilderness.

An Essentials-Only Backpacking Gear Checklist

By Michael Lanza

What do you need to pack for a three-season backpacking trip? While the specific items depend in part on factors like the precise time of year, your companions and backpacking style, and the trip’s length and weather forecast, this story provides a core checklist of essential gear to help you organize and efficiently pack—and avoid overpacking—for virtually any backpacking trip.

Read on

Danner Trail 2650 Mesh hiking shoes.

Review: Danner Trail 2650 Hiking Shoes

Hiking Shoes
Danner Trail 2650 Mesh
$150, 1 lb. 7.5 oz. (US men’s 9)
Sizes: men’s S-XL, women’s XS-XL
backcountry.com

Want one pair of hiking shoes that do it all? Join the club. And maybe also check out Danner’s Trail 2650. Having knocked off some trail miles in the mesh version of these very light hikers, including in brutal desert heat (which can do terrible things to feet), I’m convinced that many dayhikers and lightweight backpackers would find quite a lot to admire about these shoes.

Read on

Princeton Tec Vizz headlamp

Review: Princeton Tec Vizz Headlamp

Ultralight Headlamp
Princeton Tec Vizz
$50, 3.2 oz. (with three AAA batteries, included)
outdoorplay.com

As headlamps for the backcountry have continuously improved in terms of brightness, versatility, and low weight, some have acquired a level of complexity that demands spending a little time learning how to use it. Not so with the latest version of this longtime top-performer. Still among the brightest ultralight headlamps, Princeton Tec’s Vizz 420 stands out for many reasons that others do—plus simplicity: You don’t need a degree in electrical engineering to operate it—almost anyone who’s ever used a headlamp will intuitively understand how to use it. But many will most appreciate not having to study a user manual.

Read on