Tag Archives: Exped product reviews

Gear Review: The 5 Best Backpacking Tents

April 19, 2017  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   1 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 →

Gear Review: Exped DreamWalker 450 Sleeping Bag

June 29, 2016  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment
Exped DreamWalker 450

Exped DreamWalker 450

Sleeping Bag
Exped DreamWalker 450
$349, 2 lbs. 1 oz. (medium)
Sizes: medium (fits up to 5 feet, 11 ins.), large (fits up to 6 feet, 5 ins.)
backcountry.com

On a cool, early morning at Numa Creek camp on the Rockwall Trail in Canada’s Kootenay National Park, I told my wife I was heading for the camp’s cooking area to fire up our stove for breakfast. She responded in her way of letting me know she wasn’t getting up yet: “It’s cold out there.” I said, “That’s why I’m staying in my bag.” And I was: Within seconds, I converted my DreamWalker 450 bag into a long down parka and proceeded to wear it walking and sitting around in camp. Continue reading →

January 14, 2016 Campsite, Squaw Canyon, Needles District, Canyonlands National Park.

Ask Me: What Are the Best Tents For Backpacking With Kids?

In Ask Me, Backpacking, Family Adventures, Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment

Michael,

Thanks for the great stories and tips for family trips. I came across your blog as I was scoping out a family backpacking trip in the Sierra for this summer. We are taking another family out backpacking that has done a number of dayhikes, but has not been backpacking before, along with a 20-year-old, foreign-exchange student who, while fit, has also not been backpacking. The boys on the trip will both be eight—they will carry no more than eight to 10 pounds in a decent daypack (our son has an Osprey Jet that has worked well for the past couple of years). Bottom line is that I expect that I will carry some extra weight. Our tent is a Black Diamond Vista—a great tent but heavy for the Sierra in August. Any thoughts on three-person, three-season tents that are relatively durable and lighter than the Vista? I was looking at the Big Agnes Copper Spur as a potential option but figured I would ask you, with all of your experience. Continue reading →

January 7, 2016 Dana Glacier from White Rock Lakes area, Ptarmigan Traverse, Glacier Peak Wilderness.

A Preview of This Year’s Best New Gear, Part 2

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

By Michael Lanza

Thinking about buying a new tent, boots, or a shell jacket or insulation for the outdoors? Last August, I spent a couple of days exploring the Outdoor Retailer Show, checking out the best of the new products for hiking, backpacking, climbing, and other outdoor activities that will hit the market this winter and spring. In this story, I cover some of the most interesting new apparel, shoes, and boots, plus a sleeping bag and pad for this spring, many of which I’ll test and review later at The Big Outside. Continue reading →

Gear Review: Exped Thunder 50 Backpack

November 17, 2015  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment
Exped Thunder 50

Exped Thunder 50

Backpack
Exped Thunder 50
$249, 50L/3,051 c.i., 3 lbs. 4 oz.
One size, adjustable
Men’s torso range 17.5-22.5 ins./ 44.5-57cm
Women’s torso range 16.5-20 ins./ 42-51cm
moosejaw.com

The idea of downsizing your backpack and other gear is always enticing (and a smart goal; see my tips on that). But unless you have pockets deep enough to finance a quiver of packs, you probably need one that can handle whatever kind of trip you take, and you may be leery of buying one that’s too small or specialized or lacks convenient features. The Thunder 50 struck me at first glance as a pack that may offer exceptional versatility while hewing to a minimalist ethic that keeps weight low, so I took it out on a mostly off-trail backpacking trip with my son in Idaho’s White Cloud Mountains to test my theory. Continue reading →

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Grand Canyon Hiker