Shopping For Gear? Here Are the Best Deals on the Web Right Now
By Michael Lanza
Readers often ask me for suggestions on good-quality gear for hiking and backpacking that’s affordable. They want to get outdoors, and they’re on a budget, but they don’t want gear or clothing that will fall apart on their second day using it. Right now’s your chance to score great deals, because many online retailers are holding holiday sales, with some of the best backpacks, tents, jackets, sleeping bags, boots, and other gear (much of which I’ve reviewed) available at big savings. Frankly, it’s arguably the best time of year to buy quality gear that rarely goes on sale. You’d be crazy not to take advantage of it.
I’ve scoured the websites I like and assembled below links to my recommendations for the gear I’d buy and suggest to friends. My advice: Grab it now, while it’s available at these prices.
Click on any of the links below to go directly to that website or product. I’ve focused on sites that carry a huge range of products from brands I use and review at The Big Outside. You can support my work on this blog by making a purchase through any of the links in this blog post (and thanks for doing that).
Best Sales Right Now
Backcountry.com has up to 50% off from Black Friday through Nov. 30 on numerous pieces of gear and apparel, with many discounts listed at the home page.
Moosejaw.com has up to 30% off products from top brands like The North Face, Patagonia, Marmot, Mountain Hardwear, and others.
Rei.com is also offering up to 50% off everything from jackets and other apparel to gear like boots, electronics, car racks and boxes, and travel bags.
The Osprey men’s Atmos AG 65 (photo at top of story) and women’s Aura AG 65 feature an innovative, supremely comfortable harness system, as well as backpacking-friendly features, and are available at 25% off right now. Get the women’s Aura 65 or the men’s Atmos AG 65 at backcountry.com.
Gregory’s men’s Baltoro 75 and women’s Deva 70 are unquestionably among the very few best big-load packs out there, and you can score either of them now at 25% off. Get a Baltoro 75 for $239 at backcountry.com or a Deva 70 for $240 at backcountry.com. The Baltoro 65 is also 25% at backcountry.com. Read my review of the Gregory men’s Baltoro 65 and women’s Deva 70.
Two other packs that deliver a lot of quality in terms of features, durability, and comfort for the price, the Gregory men’s Stout 45 and women’s Amber 44 (and larger Stout and Amber sizes), are also 25% off, for $127. Get the Stout 45 at backcountry.com or the Amber 44 at backcountry.com. Read my review of the men’s Gregory Stout 45 and women’s Amber 44.
The North Face Banchee 65 carries 40 pounds or more comfortably while weighing under four pounds, and is well organized. And it’s on sale at 30% off, for a bargain-basement price of $167 for such a quality pack, at backcountry.com. Read my review of the Banchee 65.
For trail running or biking, ultralight dayhikes, or bike commuting, the Gregory Miwok and Maya series has long been a personal favorite, and you can grab the smallest in the series, the men’s Miwok 6, for 43% off, at an incredible $39, right now at moosejaw.com. The women’s Maya 5 is 30% off, at $48, at moosejaw.com. Read my review of the Gregory Miwok 18 and Maya 16.
The Black Diamond Nitro 22 delivers all you need for lightweight dayhikes or bagging summits, including a zipper to access the main compartment, hipbelt pockets, and attachments for trekking poles and ice axes. Grab one now for just $83 (30% off the usual $130 cost), at moosejaw.com.
Whether for technical canyoneering, river adventures, or bike commuting, the waterproof Exped Torrent 30 will keep your stuff dry. It’s 20% off at $111 now at moosejaw.com.
See my “Gear Review: 5 Favorite Daypacks.”
Anyone looking for an excellent rain jacket for the backcountry should look no farther than one of the best new shells of the year (and one of my five favorite rain jackets), the Outdoor Research Realm Jacket, now 30% off, at $195, at backcountry.com. Read my review of the Realm Jacket.
Already one of the best values in a waterproof-breathable rain jacket, the Marmot PreCip Jacket is marked down 25% to just $75 right now at backcountry.com.
The North Face ThermoBall Full-Zip Insulated Jacket, filled with PrimaLoft ThermoBall synthetic insulation that delivers a lot of warmth for the jacket’s 12 ounces, is 30% off at $139 (from $199), in the men’s version at backcountry.com, while the women’s Stretch ThermoBall Jacket is also 30% off, at $154, at backcountry.com.
For winter activities where you’re on the move and generating heat in sub-freezing temperatures, you need insulation for your body core, but also clothing that let’s you release heat. That’s why I think the design of the Marmot Alpha Pro Jacket is brilliant, because the Polartec Alpha Pro insulation in the front and back provides warmth and breathes, while the Polartec Power Stretch sleeves and Power Dry side panels deliver maximum breathability. It’s marked down 40% to $134 now at moosejaw.com.
One of the lightest puffy jackets on the market, and one of the warmest pre ounce, the 7-ounce Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer Down Jacket, is available in a hooded version for 40% off, at $210, in the men’s version and women’s version now at backcountry.com. Read my review of the Ghost Whisperer Down Jacket.
The high-loft, warm, women’s The North Face Osito 2 Fleece Jacket, a versatile outer or middle layer for almost any activity in cool to cold temperatures because of its high breathability, is marked down 30%, to $69 (from $119), at backcountry.com.
Breathable, water-resistant, highly compressible Polartec Alpha Active synthetic insulation makes the warm Outdoor Research Uberlayer Hooded Jacket an insulation piece you could legitimately use in every month of the year, from the campsite in the mountains in summer to on-the-move winter activities like backcountry skiing and snowshoeing. It’s 30% off, at $209 (from $299), at backcountry.com. Read my review.
Do you like The Big Outside? I’m Michael Lanza, the creator of The Big Outside, recognized as a top outdoors blog by a USA Today Readers Choice poll and others. Get email updates about new stories and free gear giveaways by entering your email address in the box at the bottom of this story, at the top of the left sidebar, or on my About page, and follow my adventures on Facebook and Twitter.
The Sierra Designs Flash 2 FL marries the benefits of single- and double-wall tents by integrating the interior tent canopy with the rainfly. It goes up fast and its living space, ventilation, and sturdiness in wind are exceptional, and it’s barely over three-and-a-half pounds. You can score one for $300 right now, which is 25% off, at backcountry.com. Read my review.
Lights in a tent? Way cool. My whole family likes the Big Agnes Rattlesnake SL2 mtnGLO for its built-in LED lights, and I like the fact that it’s sturdy and weighs only three-and-a-half pounds. You can grab one now at 25% off, for $262 (instead of $350), at backcountry.com. Read my review of the Rattlesnake SL2 mtnGLO.
Pitching with trekking poles, the MSR FlyLite delivers an incredible space-to-weight ratio that renders it big enough for two people and light enough to use solo. Right now it’s available for $260, which is 26% off its $350 price tag, at backcountry.com. Read my review.
The Exped Mira II Hyperlite has a partly freestanding design that finds a sweet spot for weight and convenience: staying under three pounds while maintaining a two-door design that’s sturdy and easy and intuitive to pitch quickly. It’s 20% off, at $303 (instead of $379), right now at moosejaw.com. Read my review.
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Shoes and Boots
The Scarpa Kailash GTX has a comfortable fit and solid support for logging full days on the trail with a backpack, yet feels like a lighter boot. Grab it now for 20%, at $175, for the men’s and women’s versions at moosejaw.com.
At $160, or 30% off its usual $200 price tag, the Vasque St. Elias GTX is the best value I found in a leather backpacking boot. Get the men’s or women’s St. Elias GTX now at moosejaw.com. Read my review.
The Lowa Renegade GTX Mid has long been a top-selling backpacking boot for its superb comfort, construction, and durability. Normally $230, the men’s and women’s versions are available now for $184 at moosejaw.com.
The Scarpa R-evolution GTX boot bridges the divide between lightweight, nimble shoes and heavier boots that have traditionally delivered more support and protection. Its Sock Fit Technology replaces a traditional tongue of synthetic fabric, leather, or suede with a single piece of stretchy, Schoeller soft-shell fabric, which fits and breathes better. The women’s model is now on sale for $191, which is 20% of the usual $239, at moosejaw.com. Read my review of the R-evolution GTX.
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Sleeping Bags & Pads
Water-resistant down keeps you warm even if it gets wet, but you usually pay a premium for it. Right now, the Sierra Designs Zissou Plus 700 bag is on sale for $165, or 25% off its usual $240, at backcountry.com. Read my review.
With a water-resistant shell and down, and under two pounds, the 25-degree Sea to Summit Latitude Lt 1 is a high-quality bag worth its usual sticker price of $389. But right now it’s available for 20% off, at $295, at backcountry.com.
Need an inexpensive but warm sleeping bag for car-camping? The North Face Dolomite 20 even unzips completely to use as a blanket, and you can score one for a mere $87 (that’s 20% off) now at backcountry.com.
At under a pound, the Exped SynMat Hyperlite is one of the lightest and most compact air mattresses I’ve ever slept soundly on. Right now, you can grab one for $135, or 20% off its usual $189, at backcountry.com. Read my review of the SynMat Hyperlite.
The Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Xtherm air mattress has enough insulation for sleeping on frozen ground and 2.5 inches of cushion, in a package as light and compact as some of the lightest three-season air mats. And it’s on sale right now at a killer price of $150 at backcountry.com. Read my full review of the NeoAir XTherm.
NOTE: I tested 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 Gear Reviews at The Big Outside.
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