Tag Archives: camping gear reviews
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. Many years of field-testing gear have refined my sense of what I like on certain types of trips and what I will not do without anytime.
Here’s my freshly updated list of essential backpacking accessories, ranging from basics like my favorite stuff sacks, camp kitchen gear, water filters, and bear canister, to great values in a headlamp and knife, and what I sit on in camp and lay my head down on every night I sleep on the ground. You’ll find many of them available at discounted prices right now. Continue reading →
By Michael Lanza
How do you choose which headlamp to buy for hiking, backpacking, climbing, trail running, and other outdoor activities? Price? Brightness? Design and range of lighting modes? Go with a brand you know and trust? I’ve tested dozens of headlamps over the years. Here are my freshly updated picks for the five best models of 2018. Continue reading →
Princeton Tec Vizz
$50, 3.2 oz. (including three AAA batteries)
Long a favorite headlamp of mine for backpacking or climbs or dayhikes that somehow stretched into the wee hours, the Vizz received an update in 2018 that made it the brightest three-ounce headlamp I’ve reviewed (three ounces being the standard in ultralight headlamps these days). The new Vizz still stands out for versatility and ease of use: You don’t need a Ph.D. in electronics to operate it. I’ve used it on numerous trips from Sequoia National Park, Washington’s Glacier Peak Wilderness, and Idaho’s White Clouds Mountains to, most recently, Glacier National Park with the 2018 version of the Vizz, and still consider it one of the best. Here’s why.
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Ultralight Rechargeable Headlamp
$60, 1.2 oz./35g
To get a backcountry headlamp that’s crazy ultralight, you have to ditch all superfluous parts, stripping it down to only what’s essential—the light and housing. With the rechargeable Bindi, Petzl created a super-ultralight headlamp by shrinking the housing and dropping two elements that comprise much of the weight of many three-ounce headlamps on the market today: the batteries and head strap (the latter replaced with an adjustable, stretch cord). The result is an uber minimalist light that weighs barely more than an ounce and fits in a closed fist, but proved very functional on predawn mornings and dark evenings in camp on a six-day backpacking trip in Glacier National Park in September. Continue reading →
Black Diamond Storm
$50, 3.9 oz. (with 4 AAA batteries, included)
As darkness and light rain both fell on a partner and I for the last couple of miles of a 27-mile dayhike the length of western Maine’s brutally rugged Mahoosuc Range, I slipped the Storm onto my head—which helped prevent my shuffling and occasional staggering from turning into falling. I also used this ultralight headlamp in campsites from Idaho’s City of Rocks National Reserve and Yosemite National Park to backpacking the Grand Canyon’s Thunder River-Deer Creek Loop. Through all that field testing, the Storm proved itself one of the best high-performance headlamps on the market today. Here’s why. Continue reading →