camping gear reviews

The Sea to Summit Ether Light Extreme Insulated Air Mattress.

Review: Sea to Summit Ether Light XT Extreme Insulated Air Mattress

Insulated Air Mattress
Sea to Summit Ether Light XT Extreme Insulated Air Mattress
$199, 1 lb. 9 oz. (unisex regular)
Sizes: four unisex and two women’s sizes
backcountry.com

For the three nights in early winter, as temperatures slipped into the teens and single digits Fahrenheit outside my tent on the snow in Idaho’s Boise Mountains, I zipped up snugly inside my sleeping bag and lay on this fat, well-insulated air mattress, briefly considering that I might feel cold before morning. And every morning, I awoke after sleeping longer and later than I normally do in my bed at home, feeling incredibly well rested and realizing my bag and air mat could have handled even colder temps.

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A campsite on the Dome Glacier., on the Ptarmigan Traverse in Washington's Glacier Peak Wilderness.

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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Mountain Hardwear Phantom 0 sleeping bag.

Review: Mountain Hardwear Phantom 0 Sleeping Bag

Winter Sleeping Bag
Mountain Hardwear Phantom 0
$650, 2 lbs. 9 oz. (regular, 72-inch)
Sizes: short, regular, long
backcountry.com

The forecast made me sit up and wonder: Will my bag be warm enough? For the three nights in late December that I planned to spend in a tent in Idaho’s Boise Mountains, lows would drop into the teens and single digits Fahrenheit—slipping below the “comfort” rating and approaching the “limit” rating of my Mountain Hardwear Phantom 0. And this on my maiden voyage with the bag; I had not used it yet. As it turned out, I had nothing to worry about with this extraordinarily warm and packable, ultralight winter sleeping bag.

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Nemo Riff 30 sleeping bag.

Review: Nemo Riff 30 Sleeping Bag

Sleeping Bag
Nemo Riff 30
$350, 2 lbs. 1 oz. (men’s regular)
Sizes: men’s and women’s regular and long
backcountry.com

Let’s face it: Sleeping in a lightweight or ultralight mummy bag isn’t so deliciously comfy that you’d do it on your bed at home—we generally reserve that elusive pleasure for the more obvious rewards of backpacking through wilderness. But the space and features of Nemo’s Riff, available in models rated to 30 and 15 degrees, just might brighten your opinion of the comfort of bags designed for the backcountry.

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Sea to Summit Ether Light XT Insulated Air Mattress

Review: Sea to Summit Ether Light XT Insulated Air Mattress

Insulated Air Mattress Sea to Summit Ether Light XT Insulated Air Mattress $180, 17.3 oz. (regular) Sizes: five unisex and two women’s-specific sizes backcountry.com What makes us sleep so well in the backcountry? I contemplated that question after numerous, very peaceful nights of deep slumber on a river trip and three backpacking trips. Certainly, the deep quiet and being outdoors …

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