hiking gear reviews

A backpacker on the Fisher Creek Trail in North Cascades National Park.

Review: 22 Essential Backpacking Gear Accessories of 2020

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. A quarter-century of field-testing gear—as the lead gear reviewer …

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Backpackers hiking the Titcomb Basin Trail, Wind River Range, Wyoming.

The Best Trekking Poles of 2020

By Michael Lanza One of the most immutable truisms about hiking is this: Backpackers, dayhikers, climbers, mountain runners, and others who start using trekking poles almost never hit the trail without them again. No matter how much weight you’re carrying—from an ultralight daypack to a godawful heavy monster backpack—you will lessen your chances of an accidental fall and your leg …

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A backcountry skier in Idaho's Boise Mountains.

The Best Gloves For Winter 2020

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 bike commuting, trail running, and working outside, I’ve used many types of gloves and learned …

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The Outdoor Research Helium II Jacket.

Review: Outdoor Research Helium II Jacket

Ultralight Rain Jacket Outdoor Research Helium II Jacket $159, 6 oz. (men’s medium) Sizes: men’s XS-XXL, women’s XS-XL backcountry.com When the cool mist got heavy enough that I needed more than a base layer on the first morning of a five-day backpacking trip on the Wonderland Trail in Mount Rainier National Park, I pulled on my Helium II Jacket and …

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Backpackers using headlamps at a campsite in the Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne River, Yosemite National Park.

The 5 Best Headlamps of 2020

By Michael Lanza A headlamp is unquestionably essential gear for hiking, backpacking, climbing, trail running, ultra-running and ultra-hiking and other backcountry activities. But with the many choices out there, how do you choose which one to buy? Price? Brightness? Design and range of lighting modes? Go with a brand you know and trust? This review cuts through the information overload …

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