Tag Archives: backpack reviews

Gear Review: Osprey Stratos 50 and Sirrus 50 Backpacks

April 12, 2017  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , ,   |   Leave a comment
Osprey Stratos 50 in Death Valley National Park.

Osprey Stratos 50 in Death Valley National Park.

Backpack
Osprey Stratos 50 and Sirrus 50
$190, 47L/2,868 c.i., 3 lbs. 9 oz. (men’s S/M)
Sizes: men’s Stratos S/M and M/L, women’s Sirrus XS/X and S/M
backcountry.com

How much do you have to spend to get a “good” backpack? If only I had a buck for every time I’ve been asked that question. Of course, finding a pack you’re happy with is a very personalized choice (my “5 Tips For Buying the Right Backpack” can help you figure that out). Still, like virtually every category of gear, packs come in a range of prices that reflect both the pack’s size as well as its technology, features, materials, and quality of construction—so, yes, price does correlate pretty closely with quality. In search of a pack that delivers good performance without sticker shock, I took the Stratos 50, newly updated for 2017, on a three-day backpacking trip in the Panamint Range of California’s Death Valley National Park. Continue reading →

April 9, 2017 5 Tips For Buying the Right Backpack

5 Tips For Buying the Right Backpack

In Backpacking, Gear Reviews, Hiking, Skills   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment

By Michael Lanza

If you’re super fit and strong, young, hike with a pack of any weight 50 or 100 days a year, and have never known any sort of injury or ache in your body, then don’t bother reading this article. But for everyone else, knowing how to find the right backpack for your activities and your body will make a world of difference in your enjoyment when carrying that pack for hours a day on a trail or up and down a mountain. The following tips reflect what I’ve learned about finding the right pack from hundreds of days testing all manner of daypacks, backpacks, climbing packs, and ski packs for more than two decades. Continue reading →

April 5, 2017 Osprey Aura AG 65

Gear Review: The 10 Best Packs For Backpacking

In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   12 Comments

By Michael Lanza

Backpacks come in many sizes and flavors for a reason: so do backpackers. Some of us need a pack for moderate loads, others for heavy loads, while still others want a pack designed for lightweight or ultralight backpacking. Some prefer a minimalist design, others a range of features and access. Everyone wants the best fit and comfort they can find, and almost everyone has a budget.

I looked at all the backpacks intended primarily (if not exclusively) for backpacking that I’ve tested and reviewed at The Big Outside, and selected for this article 10 top performers that stand out for reasons that make each appeal uniquely to a certain type of backpacker, including kids of all ages. I think one of them will be perfect for you—possibly even more than one if, like me, you prefer different packs for different kinds of trips. Continue reading →

April 4, 2017 Timberline Trail, Mount Hood, Oregon.

Are You Still Wasting Money on Outdoor Gear?

In Gear Reviews, Skills   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment

By Michael Lanza

We all love getting out dayhiking, backpacking, climbing, trail running, paddling and doing other favorite activities. We need the right gear and apparel for it. That stuff costs money. So we have to make choices over what we need, what’s the best product among myriad models available, which of them are a good value, and what we can afford. In this blog post, I’m going to share with you what I’ve learned about making those choices over more than two decades as a professional gear tester and reviewer, and explain why now is an ideal time to be gear shopping. Continue reading →

Gear Review: Arc’teryx Bora AR Backpacks

March 7, 2017  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment
Arc'teryx Bora AR 50 backpack.

Arc’teryx Bora AR 50 backpack.

Backpack
Arc’teryx Bora AR 50
$499, 50L/3,050 c.i., 4 lbs. 13 oz. (men’s regular)
Sizes: men’s and women’s regular and tall
backcountry.com

The 9.6 miles and 3,000 vertical feet from Junction Camp to Park Creek Pass in North Cascades National Park seemed endless and relentlessly steep at times, when a friend and I hiked it on the second morning of a five-day, 80-mile backpacking trip in late September. The thunderous waterfalls, views of glaciers and jagged peaks, and golden fall color in the larch trees validated the harshness of that ascent. But for me, that climb and that trip’s long days were softened mostly by the carrying comfort of the new Bora AR 50 backpack—which, not surprisingly, given the brand, deploys some cutting-edge technologies to justify a stout sticker price. Continue reading →

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