Tag Archives: backpack reviews

May 23, 2017 Backpacking to Burro Pass above Matterhorn Canyon, Yosemite National Park.

5 Things to Know Before Buying Backpacking Gear

In Backpacking, Gear Reviews, Skills   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , ,   |   2 Comments

By Michael Lanza

Are you in the market for a new backpack, boots, tent, sleeping bag or other backpacking gear? How do you find something that’s just right for you? What should you be looking for? How much should you spend? These are questions I’ve heard from many friends and readers over the years as they’ve waded through the myriad choices out there. Here are my five top tips for buying gear that’s right for you—the insights I’ve learned over two decades of testing and reviewing gear and helping people find gear they love. Continue reading →

May 9, 2017 Backpacking the Gunsight Pass Trail, Glacier National Park.

Why and When to Spend More on Hiking and Backpacking Gear

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

By Michael Lanza

You need a new backpack, backpacking tent, rain jacket, boots, or a sleeping bag. You’ve read some reviews. You’ve winnowed your short list to a handful of possible choices—with a significant difference in prices. That’s when you struggle with the question that pushes the frugality button in all of us: Why should I spend more?

Over the course of more than two decades testing and reviewing gear for this blog and Backpacker magazine, I’ve learned what qualities separate the expensive from the moderately priced from the cheap—and when it’s worth spending more, and when it’s not. Before you spend (or waste) another dime, read on. Continue reading →

Gear Review: Osprey Stratos 50 and Sirrus 50 Backpacks

April 12, 2017  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , ,   |   3 Comments
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

Top 5 Tips For Buying the Right Backpacking Pack

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 Backpacking Packs

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 →

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Grand Canyon Hiker