Gear Reviews

A backpacker descending toward Granite Creek on the Wonderland Trail in Mount Rainier 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 outdoor apparel, right now is one of the two or three best times of year to grab good deals. Most brick-and-mortar and online retailers are holding major sales, …

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A backpacker on the Tonto Trail in the Grand Canyon.

The Best Backpacking Gear of 2020

By Michael Lanza The Wonderland Trail. The Teton Crest Trail. Yosemite. The Grand Canyon. Glacier National Park. The Ruby Crest Trail. Yellowstone. The Wind River Range. The North Cascades. Idaho’s Sawtooth Mountains. The High Uintas Wilderness. The Tour du Mont Blanc and Spain’s Picos de Europa Mountains. These are just some of the numerous places where I’ve tested the backpacking …

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A backpacker on the Fisher Creek Trail in North Cascades National Park.

Review: 22 Essential Backpacking Gear Accessories of 2020

By Michael Lanza Sure, your backpack, boots, tent, sleeping bag, air mattress, and other backpacking gear matter a lot, and you should put serious thought into your choices when buying any of them. But little things matter, too. Various necessary accessories, convenience items, and small comforts accompany me on backcountry trips. A quarter-century of field-testing gear—as the lead gear reviewer …

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

The Best Trekking Poles of 2020

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—you will lessen your chances of an accidental fall and your leg …

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