Gear Reviews

Feathered Friends Eos Down Jacket.

The 12 Best Down Jackets of 2024

By Michael Lanza

Whatever you need an insulated jacket for, there’s a down or synthetic puffy for your needs, within your budget. And whether you want a puffy jacket for outdoor activities like backpacking, camping, skiing, climbing, and hut treks, or just to keep you warm around town or at outdoor sporting events, this review will help you figure out how to choose the right jacket for your purposes, and it spotlights the best down and synthetic insulated jackets available today.

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The Best Base Layers, Shorts and Socks for Hiking and Running

By Michael Lanza

Let’s admit it: We don’t always take our base layers as seriously and we do our outerwear and insulation—or packs, tents, boots and other gear, for that matter. But this under-appreciated first stage in a layering system for the outdoors really sets the table for how comfortable you’ll be. Base layers that don’t perform well probably won’t kill you, but misery isn’t a good companion. This is what we wear against our skin. It matters.

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The Mystery Ranch Coulee 30.

The 10 Best Hiking Daypacks of 2024

By Michael Lanza

Choosing a daypack for hiking can seem overwhelming when you see the dozens of choices available today, which range all over the map in terms of volume, weight, carrying capacity, features, and cost—as well as fit and comfort. Look no further. This freshly updated review spotlights the best daypacks for hiking and offers expert buying tips that explain the subtle differences between packs to help you find the right one for your own adventures.

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The Black Diamond Pursuit 15 daypack.

Review: Black Diamond Pursuit 15 Daypack

Daypack
Black Diamond Pursuit 15
$150, 15L/915 c.i., 1 lb. 7 oz./652g (men’s medium)
Sizes: men’s and women’s S-L
blackdiamondequipment.com

From dayhikes up to 16 miles with spurts of running on trails in my local foothills to dayhiking the 13-mile, 3,500-foot Burgess Pass Loop in Yoho National Park, in the Canadian Rockies—cranking up a steep 3,000 vertical feet in 4.5 miles to Burgess Pass and then trotting a fast-paced descent on the rocky and wet Yoho Pass Trail—the Pursuit 15 struck an unusually effective balance between traditional hiking daypacks and running vests that’s most useful to avid dayhikers and mountain scramblers moving fast and light.

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

The Best Trekking Poles of 2024

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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