Gear Reviews

The Sierra Designs Cloud 800 35-Degree sleeping bag.

Review: Sierra Designs Cloud 800 35-Degree Sleeping Bag

Ultralight Sleeping Bag Sierra Designs Cloud 800 35-Degree $300, 1 lb. 7 oz. (men’s regular) Sizes: men’s regular and long (35- and 20-degree), women’s available in 20-degree version backcountry.com Mummy-style sleeping bags deliver high efficiency for their weight because they trap heat so well—but can sometimes feel like they’re trapping you inside, too. Backpacking quilts mimic the feeling of sleeping …

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A backpacker on the John Muir Trail in the Ansel Adams Wilderness.

Expert Tips For Buying the Right Hiking Boots

By Michael Lanza

Boots are the most important piece of hiking or backpacking gear you will buy. You can live with a mediocre pack or a cheap tent (as many of us have), but poorly fitting boots are often a trip killer. Trouble is, boots are also the most difficult piece of gear to get right. (First tip: Don’t settle for a mediocre fit—if they don’t feel good, they aren’t good.) This article will go beyond the usual boots-buying tips you’ll find at countless sources to help you figure out how to find the right hiking footwear for you.

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Backpackers in upper Titcomb Basin, Wind River Range, Wyoming.

The Best Ultralight Backpacks of 2021

By Michael Lanza Do you need an ultralight backpack? Many backpackers might answer “no” when their answer should logically be “yes.” These packs aren’t just for thru-hikers. Typically weighing roughly between under two pounds and three pounds empty, ultralight packs have support for carrying 25 to 35 pounds—making them ideal for more than just ultralight backpacking. For many backpackers, that …

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Feathered Friends Eos Down Jacket.

The 10 Best Down Jackets of 2021

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, and climbing, or just to keep you warm around town or at outdoor sporting events, this review will help you figure out how to choose …

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Backpackers on the South Kaibab Trail in the Grand Canyon.

The Best Backpacking Gear of 2021

By Michael Lanza

The Maze District of Canyonlands National Park. 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. These are just some of the numerous places where I’ve tested the backpacking gear you see reviewed at The Big Outside. I treat gear roughly in places that are hard on outdoor gear and apparel so that I can give you brutally honest and thorough, field-tested opinions that help you make the best gear choices for your adventures.

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

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