Tag Archives: backpacking gear reviews

Gear Review: Jansport Tahoma 75 Backpack

August 10, 2016  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment
My son, Nate, hiking to our high camp below California's Mount Whitney.

My son, Nate, hiking to our high camp below California’s Mount Whitney.

Backpack
Jansport Tahoma 75
$310, 70L/4,270 c.i., 4 lbs. 11 oz.
One size, adjustable
jansport.com

After carrying this pack on a four-day climb of the Mountaineers Route on California’s Mount Whitney in April, my 15-year-old son made the most persuasive demonstration of his opinion of it several weeks later: The next time he was carrying a backpack, this kid with an unusually large quiver of packs for his age (and many backcountry trips under his belt) chose the Tahoma 75 again. The reasons, I think, are simple: As a pack for both multi-day mountaineering and backpacking, it’s comfortable, tough, and nicely featured. Continue reading →

Gear Review: Big Agnes Insulated Air Core Ultra Air Mattress

August 3, 2016  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , , , , ,   |   2 Comments
Big Agnes Insulated Air Core Ultra air mattress.

Big Agnes Insulated Air Core Ultra air mattress.

Insulated Air Mattress
Big Agnes Insulated Air Core Ultra
$100, 1 lb. 6 oz. (regular, with stuff sack)
Sizes: petite ($90, 66x20x3.5 ins.), regular (72x20x3.5 ins.), long ($110, 78x20x3.5 ins.), wide regular ($130, 72x25x3.5 ins.)
rei.com

The ultimate measure of an air mattress comes at the moment when my family discovers it—and when my wife and kids saw the new Big Agnes Insulated Air Core Ultra, they all wanted to sleep on it. I used this air mat for two nights backpacking in the Panamint Range of Death Valley National Park in May, and I (reluctantly) shared it with my family while camping at Idaho’s City of Rocks National Reserve and on a mid-July rafting and kayaking trip on the Green River through Lodore Canyon in Dinosaur National Monument, and I haven’t found an air mat for backpacking that’s more comfortable and this compact. Continue reading →

Need New Gear? Best Deals on the Web Right Now

August 2, 2016  |  In Backpacking, Family Adventures, Gear Reviews, Hiking   |   Tagged , ,   |   Leave a comment
Arc'teryx Velaro 24

Click on the photo for a great deal on an Arc’teryx Velaro daypack.

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, but they’re on a budget, and they don’t want gear that will fall apart on their second day using it. Now’s your chance to score great deals, because many online retailers are marking down their prices to move inventory before they switch over to fall products—just in time for your late-summer adventures. I’ve scoured the websites I like and assembled below links to my recommendations for the backpacks, daypacks, tents, footwear, bags and other gear I’d buy and suggest to friends.

My advice: Grab it while it’s available at these prices. Continue reading →

Gear Review: The Best Gear Duffles

July 24, 2016  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment
The North Face, Patagonia, and Marmot gear duffels.

The North Face, Patagonia, and Marmot gear duffels.

By Michael Lanza

Whatever your outdoor sport—backpacking, climbing, whitewater rafting or kayaking, backcountry skiing, etc.—a sturdy duffle for organizing, hauling, and protecting your gear and clothing is invaluable. Not only does it eliminate the risk of damaging an expensive backpack by using it as your luggage, a good duffle has more capacity and is built to suffer the indignities of getting tossed into jet, train, and bus baggage compartments, being strapped onto a roof rack, sled, snowmobile, or pack animal, and exposed to rain and snow.

I subjected the six duffles and two convertible pieces of luggage reviewed here to perils ranging from cross-country and intercontinental flights to the environmental hazards of multi-day whitewater river trips and numerous long-distance car trips. Besides passing the durability test, all of them demonstrated unique strengths for different styles of adventure travel. Continue reading →

Gear Review: Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite MAX SV Air Mattress

July 20, 2016  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment
Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite MAX SV air mattress.

Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite MAX SV air mattress.

Insulated Air Mattress
Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite MAX SV
$180, 1 lb. (regular, with stuff sack)
Sizes: regular (72x20x2.5 ins.) and large ($210, 77x25x2.5 ins.)
rei.com

Who enjoys blowing up an air mattress? At the end of a full day of backpacking, it always seems to take more breaths than you have left in reserve. Therm-a-Rest solves this problem with its SpeedValve, a large, fabric tunnel that draws in surrounding air when you blow into it, making the inflation process significantly faster and easier. After using the lightweight and compact Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite MAX SV on family backpacking trips in Utah’s Dirty Devil River canyon and while car-camping in southern Utah in late March, backpacking in Idaho’s Sawtooth Mountains in August, and my 15-year-old son sleeping on it for three nights on a mid-July rafting and kayaking trip through Lodore Canyon in Dinosaur National Monument, I give it high scores for comfort and convenience. Continue reading →

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