Camping Gear Reviews

Backpackers at night with headlamps in a campsite in the Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne River, Yosemite National Park.

The Best Headlamps of 2024

By Michael Lanza

A headlamp is unquestionably essential gear for hiking, backpacking, climbing, trail running, ultra-running and ultra-hiking and other backcountry activities that sometimes push into darkness (whether intentionally or not). But with so many to pick from, how do you choose which one to buy? Price? Brightness? Weight? Design and range of lighting modes? Go with a brand you know and trust? This review cuts through the information overload to help you pick the right headlamp for your adventures.

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A backpacker hiking the Highline Trail past Elbow Lake in Wyoming's Wind River Range.

25 Essential Backpacking Gear Accessories of 2024

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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Nemo Riff 30 Endless Promise sleeping bag.

Review: Nemo Riff 30 Endless Promise Sleeping Bag

Sleeping Bag
Nemo Riff 30 Endless Promise
$360, 1 lb. 15 oz./879g (men’s regular)
Sizes: men’s and women’s regular and long
nemoequipment.com

Nemo’s Riff down sleeping bags have long carved out a unique space among high-end backpacking bags with their spoon shape and comfortable dimensions, as well as the zippered “thermo gills” on the chest area for adjusting the bag’s degree of warmth to vent on mild nights or batten down the hatches on chilly nights. Spending eight nights in the 2024 update, the Riff 30 Endless Promise, in Glacier National Park in September and in southern Utah in early October, I found that Nemo maintained or improved on the Riff’s exclusive features—while making the bags fully recyclable.

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A campsite at night by the Colorado River at Hance Rapids in the Grand Canyon.

Ultralight Backpacking Tents: How to Choose One

By Michael Lanza

Switching from a standard backpacking tent to an ultralight tent can shave pounds from your total pack weight—which for many backpackers will be the biggest step they can take toward a lighter pack. But it can be confusing to sort through the various ultralight tents out there, and the specs on them can look like a big pot of numeral soup, leaving you wondering: How are they different? And ultimately, which one is best for you?

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A campsite at Precipice Lake in Sequoia National Park.

5 Expert Tips For Buying a Backpacking Tent

By Michael Lanza

The choices in tents for backpacking seem to get better every year, with lightweight models continually getting lighter and other advances that make tents sturdier and more livable without adding weight. But with all the options out there, how do you choose? The answer is simpler than you might think: It comes down to understanding the key differences that distinguish tents from one another—which will help you understand what you need.

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