Tag Archives: climbing gear reviews

Gear Review: The 5 Best Backpacking Tents

April 19, 2017  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment
The Exped Mira II Hyperlite tent in Idaho's White Cloud Mountains.

The Exped Mira II Hyperlite tent in Idaho’s White Cloud Mountains.

By Michael Lanza

The best backpacking tents on the market today only superficially resemble the tents most of us pitched in the backcountry just five or 10 years ago. Designers have thrown out ingrained notions of what a backpacking tent is, thinking outside the box to make shelters that are more livable, lighter, stronger, and include features like (of all things) built-in lights. Tents continue evolving and improving because the goal of making gear lighter long ago crossed a threshold from “the new thing” to how everyone thinks. That attitude has transformed the world of backcountry gear, especially tents.

You’ll see that trend in each of the five singularly outstanding tents reviewed below. Continue reading →

February 16, 2017 Boise Mountains, Idaho.

Review: The Best Gloves For Winter

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

By Michael Lanza

I love getting outdoors in winter, especially skiing in all of its varieties—climbing up and sliding down mountains in the backcountry, skate skiing, resort skiing with my family, and touring on gentler terrain in the forest. Problem is, I have the worst fingers for being outside in sub-freezing temperatures: My Raynaud’s disease is so bad that my fingers turn white and numb even when I’m chopping vegetables that are still cold from the fridge. That’s made me picky about gloves. I’ve tested many over the years, and I use different models depending on the activity and temperature. Here are the best gloves I’ve found for winter. Continue reading →

Gear Review: Scarpa Mont Blanc GTX Mountaineering Boots

January 19, 2017  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment
Scarpa Mont Blanc GTX

Scarpa Mont Blanc GTX mountaineering boots.

Mountaineering Boots
Scarpa Mont Blanc GTX
$480, 4 lbs. 1 oz. (mondo 25/men’s US 6.5/Euro 39)
Sizes: men’s US 6-13/Euro 39-46, women’s US 6-12/Euro 37-43
backcountry.com

For my 15-year-old son’s first technical mountain climb, a four-day, April ascent of the Mountaineers Route on California’s Mount Whitney—where we’d face conditions ranging from hot alpine sun to frigid winds, and be walking in snow with crampons for nearly the entire four days—I wanted to put him in a pair of all-around mountaineering boots that would feel comfortable for miles of hiking, handle the “technical” terrain of a moderately steep snow gully, hold a crampon reliably, and keep his feet warm. I decided on a proven performer that would serve virtually any climbing adventures on glaciers, snow, or ice: the Mont Blanc GTX. Continue reading →

Gear Review: Big Agnes Battle Mountain 2 Mountaineering Tent

December 28, 2016  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   2 Comments
First campsite at 10,300 feet below California's Mount Whitney.

First campsite at 10,300 feet below California’s Mount Whitney.

Mountaineering Tent
Big Agnes Battle Mountain 2
$700, 7 lbs.
moosejaw.com

On a four-day, April climb of the Mountaineers Route on California’s Mount Whitney, strong winds raked our campsites—especially for two nights at our high camp at 12,000 feet, below Whitney’s dramatic East Face. But my teenage son and I hardly noticed the wind, sleeping like babies. On a trip where we needed a sturdy tent, but didn’t want to haul something heavy and bulky, the Battle Mountain 2 gave us a very livable shelter that’s significantly lighter and more compact than many competitors. Continue reading →

Gear Review: La Sportiva Trango Cube GTX Mountaineering Boots

December 21, 2016  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment
La Sportiva Trango Cube GTX mountaineering boots.

La Sportiva Trango Cube GTX mountaineering boots.

Mountaineering Boots
La Sportiva Trango Cube GTX
$390, 3 lbs. 3 oz. (men’s Euro 42/US 9)
Sizes: men’s Euro 37-48/US 5-14
backcountry.com

Traditional mountaineering boots are heavy, and we’ve all heard the maxim that every pound of weight on your feet is like five pounds on your back. That’s taxing when you’re climbing a big mountain—and that’s why I picked the Trango Cube GTX for a four-day, April snow climb of the Mountaineers Route on California’s Mount Whitney. On it, and other classic mountaineering routes in the western U.S. and elsewhere, you hike more than you “climb”—meaning that you’re striding normally (albeit often on snow) more than you’re employing French technique or kicking steps for ascending steeper snow in crampons. Due to their heft and stiffness, many mountaineering boots aren’t all that comfortable to walk in. But that’s exactly the kind of adventure where this boot shines. Continue reading →

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