Welcome to The Big Outside’s Hiking and Backpacking Gear Reviews page
I tested and reviewed gear for Backpacker magazine for 20 years. At The Big Outside, I review only what I consider the best outdoor gear and apparel—which helps you spend your money more smartly.
Scroll down to find links to all of my reviews of backpacking, hiking, and other gear, organized by categories, as well as lists of my top picks. You will also find links to my expert tips on how to buy the best gear for your needs.
My policy on reviewing gear is simple: I request gear from companies when I have a sense it will perform well; I’ve been doing this for more than 25 years, so I have a good eye. Gear companies send me product without any promise of what I’ll write in a review. I put it through rigorous field testing on many trips; some of it doesn’t make the cut. I strive to point out strengths and weaknesses of gear in my reviews. I don’t bother reviewing gear that I wouldn’t recommend—I won’t waste my time or my readers’ time.
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Best in Class Hiking and Backpacking Outdoor Gear
Don’t have time to read through multiple reviews? It’s okay, I’ve done the hard work for you. See my reviews of the best backpacking packs and tents, jackets, and other gear.
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How Much Should You Spend on Hiking and Backpacking Gear?
Many of us have to live within a budget. All of us want to get the best value. Experience has taught me when to find gear at the lowest prices and when it makes sense to spend less or spend more on gear. Read these three articles for insights that will save you money and make you happy about what you buy.
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Reviews by Hiking and Backpacking Gear Category
The numerous links below will give you menus of my reviews in each category, listed in order of the most-recently posted.
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How to Buy Hiking and Backpacking Gear
How do you choose the right pack, tent, boots, sleeping bag, and other gear for your needs? That depends on the type of hiking and backpacking you do. The stories linked below will help you make the best choices when buying gear.