My 10 Most-Read Gear Reviews
By Michael Lanza
Other than my home page, the link clicked most often at The Big Outside is my Gear Reviews category—and individual gear reviews consistently rank among the most-viewed stories at my blog. So I like to periodically post a list of my reviews of outdoor gear and apparel that are the most popular with you, The Big Outside’s readers. Sifting through my blog’s analytics data, I produced this top 10 list of the most-read gear reviews at this blog, with a link to my original review of each item. As you’re shopping for specific outdoor gear or clothing, check this out to see what’s popular with your fellow outdoor enthusiasts and fans of The Big Outside.
Click on the name or photo of any product below to read my complete review of it.
#10 The updated Gregory Baltoro 75 for men and Deva 70 for women backpacks have a well-deserved reputation as two of the best packs on the market for hauling a heavy load, a judgment I affirmed after carrying well over 50 pounds on a family backpacking trip down Paria Canyon on the Utah-Arizona border.
BUY IT NOW You can support my work on this blog by clicking this link to buy an Gregory Baltoro 75 or Deva 70 at backcountry.com.
#9 If there’s one shoe that can do just about everything, from dayhiking to serious off-trail scrambling and lightweight backpacking, the Arc’teryx Acrux2 FL GTX and non-waterproof Acrux FL shoes come about as close as I’ve seen, I decided after backpacking the Grand Canyon’s remote and very rugged, 34-mile Royal Arch Route wearing the Acrux2 FL GTX, and taking a tough, 17-mile dayhike in New Hampshire’s Presidential Range in the Acrux FL.
BUY IT NOW You can support my work on this blog by clicking this link to buy an Arc’teryx Acrux2 FL GTX or Acrux FL shoes at backcountry.com.
#8 Weighing just a couple hairs over a pound-and-a-half, the MSR FlyLite tent has good space for two people (but no vestibule, only an awning), ventilates pretty well for a single-wall shelter, and is respectably sturdy for a shelter that pitches using two trekking poles.
BUY IT NOW You can support my work on this blog by clicking this link to buy an MSR FlyLite tent at backcountry.com.
#7 The Salewa Firetail EVO Gore-Tex shoes have ranked among the most-read reviews at my blog since I posted this review a year ago, no doubt because they deliver a rare combination of super durability, low weight, a sticky outsole, and comfort for hiking many miles (as I found on a 20-mile, 5,000-vertical-foot dayhike on steep, rugged terrain in the Columbia Gorge).
BUY IT NOW You can support my work on this blog by clicking this link to buy the Salewa Firetail EVO GTX shoes at backcountry.com.
#6 Although weighing in at a mere two-and-a-half pounds, the new version of Osprey’s classic Exos 58 backpack carries 25 to 30 pounds comfortably, making it a great backpack for ultralighters, thru-hikers, and any backpacker who has modern, lightweight gear and prefers a pack that’s more comfortable than many ultra-Spartan, ultralight backpacks.
BUY IT NOW You can support my work on this blog by clicking this link to buy an Osprey Exos 58 backpack at backcountry.com.
#5 Enticed by the idea of a weekend/ultralighter’s backpack from Gregory that costs just $169, I took the Gregory Stout 45, loaded with up to 35 pounds of gear, food, and extra water, out backpacking the Grand Canyon’s Royal Arch Route—and it performed superbly for me while hiking many miles off-trail and scrambling over and around boulders and up and down sketchy, exposed ledges. The men’s Stout 45 and women’s Amber 44 are two of the year’s best values in new gear.
BUY IT NOW You can support my work on this blog by clicking this link to buy a Gregory Stout or Amber backpack at backcountry.com.
#4 From backpacking in Idaho’s Sawtooth Mountains to a very rugged, 20-mile dayhike the length of the Wildcat-Carter-Moriah Range in New Hampshire’s White Mountains, I found the La Sportiva Core High GTX boots great for hiking with a light pack and super breathable, thanks to new Gore-Tex Surround technology. Readers apparently agree: Enough have been searching for reviews of these boots to rank them number four on this list.
BUY IT NOW You can support my work on this blog by clicking this link to buy the La Sportiva Core High GTX boots at backcountry.com.
#3 I can’t get these boots off this list: Ever since I posted my review of the Salomon Conquest GTX boots way back in September 2013, they have consistently ranked among my most popular gear reviews. With a firm heel cup, good cushioning under the heel, an above-the-ankle cut, and superior torsional rigidity, these boots deliver solid performance while weighing just two-and-a-half pounds.
BUY IT NOW You can support my work on this blog by clicking this link to buy the Salomon Conquest GTX boots at campsaver.com.
#2 I like to get a good night’s sleep on the ground, and the Sea to Summit Comfort Light Insulated Air Mattress raises the bar for plush backcountry beds—it felt delightful after backpacking long days on an 86-mile hike in northern Yosemite National Park and other trips. And yet it’s no heavier or bulkier than most air mats made for backpacking.
BUY IT NOW You can support my work on this blog by clicking this link to buy the Sea to Summit Comfort Light Insulated Air Mattress at backcountry.com.
#1 Topping my top 10 most-read gear reviews list, as it has since shortly after I posted this review last April, is the new Osprey Atmos AG 65 for men and Aura AG 65 for women backpacks. Very unique and cutting edge, with a harness that feels like the pack is hugging your hips and torso, these packs (which come in a 50-liter version) have been widely praised in the outdoor media and became instant big-sellers for Osprey when they were introduced this spring.
BUY IT NOW You can support my work on this blog by clicking this link to buy an Osprey Atmos AG 65 or Aura AG 65 at backcountry.com.
Several other gear-related stories at The Big Outside get numerous views from my readers. Those include:
NOTE: I’ve been testing gear for Backpacker Magazine for 20 years. At The Big Outside, I review only what I consider the best outdoor gear and apparel. See all of my reviews by clicking on the Gear Reviews category at left or in the main menu.
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