climbing gear reviews

Backpackers camped in the backcountry of Wyoming's Wind River Range.

The 10 Best Backpacking Tents of 2022

By Michael Lanza

A good backpacking tent not only makes your trips more comfortable by keeping you warm and dry in foul weather—it’s critical safety gear and one of the heaviest and most expensive items you’ll carry. Those facts alone are motivation enough to find the right tent for your style of backpacking. But how do you choose from the many models out there, which come in a huge range of designs, weights, and prices? Whether you’re shopping for your first backpacking shelter or looking to replace an old one, this article will help make that choice easy for you.

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The Biolite Headlamp 325.

Review: BioLite Headlamp 325

Rechargeable Ultralight Headlamp
BioLite Headlamp 325
$40, 1.8 oz.
bioliteenergy.com

Look for an ultralight headlamp built for backcountry use that’s under two ounces and $40 or less and you’ll find very few choices—with the BioLite Headlamp 325 arguably the best among them. Then consider that it sports a basic but functional set of lighting modes, cranks out enough brightness and lasts long enough on a full charge for backpackers, dayhikers, trail runners, and other backcountry users, and this slim light will look pretty good to many people who log significant hours on the trail.

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A backcountry skier in Idaho's Boise Mountains.

The Best Gloves For Winter 2022

By Michael Lanza

Looking for winter gloves that keep your hands warm and dry and are made to last for years? As a professional gear reviewer who gets cold hands easily and spends many days outside in winter, from downhill, backcountry, and Nordic skiing to trail running, biking around town, and working outside, I’ve used many types of gloves and learned a lot over the years about how to select the right gloves for a variety of uses.

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Knog Bandicoot 250 ultralight headlamp.

Review: Knog Bandicoot 250 Ultralight Headlamp

Rechargeable Ultralight Headlamp
Knog Bandicoot 250
$45, 2.1 oz.
knog.com

When I reviewed this headlamp’s predecessor, the Bandicoot, I thought it was the kind of new product that had the potential to upend an entire category. After using the more powerful and comfortable Knog Bandicoot 250 on a nine-day hike of nearly 130 miles through the High Sierra in August, mostly on the John Muir Trail, I still think this technology is a game changer.

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The Black Diamond Spot 400.

Review: Black Diamond Spot 400 Headlamp

Ultralight Headlamp
Black Diamond Spot 400
$50, 2.5 oz.
backcountry.com

How do you choose a headlamp for the backcountry? If you’re looking for a range of modes that’s both basic and versatile, good brightness and dimming capability, and smart features that make it more useful while maintaining a design simplicity that doesn’t require an advanced science degree to operate it, Black Diamond’s Spot 400 is hard to beat. On evenings in camp on a five-day, late-summer hike in the Wind River Range, I found this latest update sustains and improves on the legacy of BD’s popular Spot line as an excellent value in an ultralight headlamp.

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