Tag Archives: camping gear reviews

August 8, 2018 Black Diamond Storm headlamp

Gear Review: Black Diamond Storm Headlamp

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

Headlamp
Black Diamond Storm
$50, 3.9 oz. (with 4 AAA batteries, included)
moosejaw.com

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 →

July 25, 2018 Big Agnes Picket SL 30 sleeping bag.

Gear Review: Big Agnes Picket SL 30 Sleeping Bag

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

Three-Season Sleeping Bag
Big Agnes Picket SL 30
$260, 2 lbs. 4 oz. (men’s regular)
Sizes: regular and long
moosejaw.com

I know I’m not the easiest person to share a tent with: I flop from side to side during the night. A side sleeper, I curl up with knees bent and extend my arms almost fully. I’ve always preferred mummy-style sleeping bags for their efficiency at trapping heat—but some feel a bit too much like a coffin. On numerous nights of backpacking and camping from the Grand Canyon’s Thunder River-Deer Creek Loop in May to Idaho’s City of Rocks in June and Yosemite’s Tuolumne Meadows area in July, I found that the stretch panels of the Big Agnes Picket SL 30 gave me an experience closer to sleeping in my bed at home. Continue reading →

June 26, 2018 Backpacking the Fisher Creek Trail, North Cascades National Park.

Review: 22 Essential Backpacking Gear Accessories of 2018

In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   4 Comments

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 →

June 20, 2018 Big Agnes Insulated AXL Air Mattress

Gear Review: Big Agnes Insulated AXL Air Mattress

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

Insulated Air Mattress
Big Agnes Insulated AXL Air Mattress
$180, 20×72 inches rectangular, 13 oz. (including its stuff sack)
Sizes: 20×66, 20×72, 25×72, and 25×78 inches rectangular and 20×72 mummy
moosejaw.com

As air mattresses have continued getting lighter, more compact, and more comfortable, one would think a limit has been reached on how small they can get before sacrificing real comfort. But Big Agnes has raised that bar again—or lowered it, if you will—with the AXL Air. For four nights backpacking the Thunder River-Deer Creek Loop off the Grand Canyon’s North Rim in May, and several spring nights camping at Idaho’s City of Rocks National Reserve, I slept like a baby on this plush air mattress, while it all but disappeared inside my pack on the trail. I’ve tested and own many air mats, and I don’t think there’s another I’d now carry instead for three-season backpacking. Here’s why. Continue reading →

May 31, 2018 The Sierra Designs Nitro 800 20-degree sleeping bag.

Gear Review: Sierra Designs Nitro 800 20-Degree Sleeping Bag

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

Three-Season Sleeping Bag
Sierra Designs Nitro 800 20-Degree
$330, 1 lb. 13 oz. (regular)
Sizes: men’s regular and long, women’s regular
Moosejaw.com

Choosing between sleeping bags can sometimes feel like getting the names of identical twins right—they look an awful lot alike. With bags, you can compare certain key specs: temperature rating, type and amount of insulation (or fill), total weight, and, of course, the price. Using those metrics, the new Sierra Designs Nitro bags look like a pretty good value, so I slept in the 20-degree Nitro 800 while camping on some cool and windy May nights at Idaho’s City of Rocks National Reserve, and on a three-night, 39-mile backpacking trip in Wyoming’s Wind River Range in mid-September, to see if its performance matches its impressive numbers. Continue reading →

← Older posts

Like This Story? Get My Free Email Newsletter!

Enter your email for updates about new stories, expert tips, and gear reviews.


Grand Canyon Hiker