backpacking gear reviews

A backcountry skier in Idaho's Boise Mountains.

The Best Clothing Layers for Winter in the Backcountry

By Michael Lanza

There’s one certainty about the clothing layers we use in winter: We get our money’s worth out of them. While a rain shell or puffy jacket may rarely (or even never) come out of our pack on a summer hike or climb, we almost invariably wear every article of clothing we carry when backcountry, Nordic, or downhill skiing, snowshoeing, snowboarding, climbing, or trail running in winter. That’s money spent wisely to make us more comfortable and safer.

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A backpacker on the Fisher Creek Trail in North Cascades National Park.

25 Essential Backpacking Gear Accessories of 2022

By Michael Lanza

Sure, your backpack, boots, tent, sleeping bag, air mattress, and other backpacking gear matter a lot, and you should put serious thought into your choices when buying any of them. But little things matter, too. Various necessary accessories, convenience items, and small comforts accompany me on backcountry trips. Nearly three decades of field-testing gear—including the 10 years I spent as the lead gear reviewer for Backpacker magazine and even longer running this blog—has refined my sense of what I like on certain types of trips and what I will not do without anytime.

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Feathered Friends Eos Down Jacket.

The 10 Best Down Jackets of 2022

By Michael Lanza

Whatever you need an insulated jacket for, there’s a down or synthetic puffy for your needs, within your budget. And whether you want a puffy jacket for outdoor activities like backpacking, camping, skiing, climbing, and hut treks, or just to keep you warm around town or at outdoor sporting events, this review will help you figure out how to choose the right jacket for your needs, and it spotlights the best down and synthetic insulated jackets available today.

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A backpacker at Maze Overlook in the Maze District, Canyonlands National Park.

A Good Time to Buy Hiking and Backpacking Gear? Right Now

By Michael Lanza

If you’ve been thinking you need—or want—a new backpack, tent, boots, sleeping bag, rain shell, down jacket, or some other piece of hiking or backpacking gear or apparel, right now is one of the two or three best times of year to grab excellent deals. Most brick-and-mortar and online retailers are holding major sales, offering deeply discounted prices on new and recently new gear, and some of those sales end soon. If you want to save yourself serious cash (and who doesn’t?), read on for my recommendations for favorite models of packs, tents, jackets, and other gear, and links to the best sales taking place right now.

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Backpackers camped in the backcountry of Wyoming's Wind River Range.

The 10 Best Backpacking Tents of 2022

By Michael Lanza

A good backpacking tent not only makes your trips more comfortable by keeping you warm and dry in foul weather—it’s critical safety gear and one of the heaviest and most expensive items you’ll carry. Those facts alone are motivation enough to find the right tent for your style of backpacking. But how do you choose from the many models out there, which come in a huge range of designs, weights, and prices? Whether you’re shopping for your first backpacking shelter or looking to replace an old one, this article will help make that choice easy for you.

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