Tag Archives: hiking gear reviews

Gear Review: The North Face Ultra Gore-Tex Surround Mid Hiking Boots

June 21, 2017  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   2 Comments
The North Face Ultra Gore-Tex Surround Mid boots.

The North Face Ultra Gore-Tex Surround Mid boots.

Hiking Boots
The North Face Ultra Gore-Tex Surround Mid
$190, 2 lbs. (US men’s 9)
Sizes: men’s 7-14, women’s 5-11
backcountry.com

The heat and humidity fell onto us like a wet blanket; I broke into a sweat just lacing up my boots for the dayhike of 3,740-foot Cerro Chato, a dormant volcano with close-up views of its larger and more-famous neighbor, Arenal Volcano, in Costa Rica’s tropical Northern Lowlands. And yet, I wanted waterproof-breathable boots for Costa Rican trails notorious for slick mud. The crazy-steep path up Cerro Chato would not only challenge us physically, it would challenge the breathability of The North Face Gore-Tex Surround Mid boots. It would also help me assess whether these very lightweight mid-cuts are the answer to chronically wet hikes in persistently hot, humid conditions—which you don’t have to go to Central America to find, as any hiker in the Eastern U.S. can confirm. Continue reading →

Gear Review: 6 Favorite Hiking Daypacks

June 14, 2017  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   1 Comment
Hikers testing the Osprey Tempest 20 on Telescope Peak, Death Valley National Park.

Hikers testing the Osprey Tempest 20 on Telescope Peak, Death Valley National Park.

By Michael Lanza

What do you need a daypack for? That’s really the critical question to consider when choosing from the dozens of widely varying choices out there today, which range all over the map in terms of volume, weight, carrying capacity, features—and cost. Some are very specialized, others built as all-purpose dayhiking sacks, but still designed with an eye toward making them stand out from a crowded field.

I’ve picked out six favorite daypacks I’ve tested and reviewed at The Big Outside—all different enough from one another to offer you clear choices. Continue reading →

Gear Review: Black Diamond ReVolt Headlamp

June 6, 2017  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   2 Comments
Black Diamond ReVolt

Black Diamond ReVolt

Rechargeable Headlamp
Black Diamond ReVolt
$60, 3.5 oz. (with 3 AAA batteries, included)
backcountry.com

Newly updated for 2017, Black Diamond’s ReVolt rechargeable headlamp quickly became the one I grabbed from a drawer full of headlamps, for trips ranging from backpacking 40 miles in May through Utah’s Dark Canyon Wilderness, to backcountry skiing for four days in Idaho’s Sawtooth Mountains and camping in Idaho’s Sawtooth Valley. Beyond the convenience of running on either its USB-rechargeable NiMH batteries or standard AAA alkaline batteries, it offers a variety of modes and features not found in other headlamps—including BD’s PowerTap technology to instantly cycle between brightness settings, plus being waterproof—at a competitive price. Continue reading →

Ask Me: The Best Hiking Shoes For Zion’s Angels Landing

June 1, 2017  |  In Ask Me, Gear Reviews, National Park Adventures   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment
Hikers on Angels Landing in Zion National Park.

Hikers on Angels Landing in Zion National Park.

Hi Michael,

My wife and I really enjoy your website and excellent gear reviews. Thank you! We are headed to Zion National Park in September and looking for footwear for the Angels Landing hike. Can you recommend approach/hiking shoes that won’t wear our feet out on the way up and provide great traction for that last half-mile up the narrow spine to the summit? I would consider a mid-cut for ankle support if they were light enough, otherwise low-cut is fine. Continue reading →

May 27, 2017 Royal Arch Loop, Grand Canyon National Park.

Review: 19 Essential Backpacking Gear Accessories

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

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. Many years of field-testing gear have refined my sense of what I like on certain types of trips and what I will not do without anytime.

Here’s my list of essential backpacking accessories, ranging from basics like my favorite stuff sacks and water filters, to great values in a headlamp and knife, and what I lay my head down on every night I sleep on the ground. You’ll find many of them available at sale prices right now. Continue reading →

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Grand Canyon Hiker