Tag Archives: hiking gear reviews

Need New Gear? Best Deals on the Web Right Now

July 1, 2016  |  In Backpacking, Family Adventures, Gear Reviews, Hiking   |   Tagged , ,   |   Leave a comment
Osprey women's Aura AG 65 backpack.

Click photo for a great deal on the Osprey women’s Aura AG 65 backpack.

By Michael Lanza

Readers often ask me for suggestions on good-quality gear for hiking and backpacking that’s affordable. They want to get outdoors, but they’re on a budget, and they don’t want gear that will fall apart on their second day using it. I get it. Now’s your chance to score great deals, because many online retailers offer their best sales over this long holiday weekend. I’ve scoured the websites I like and assembled below links to my recommendations for the backpacks, daypacks, tents, footwear, bags and other gear I’d buy and suggest to friends.

My advice: Grab it while it’s available at these prices. Continue reading →

Gear Review: 5 Favorite Daypacks

June 30, 2016  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   1 Comment
Osprey Manta AG 20

Osprey Manta AG 20

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 five 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: Aku Mio Surround GTX Hiking Shoes

June 22, 2016  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment
Aku Mio Surround GTX hiking shoes.

Aku Mio Surround GTX

Hiking/Trail Running Shoes
Aku Mio Surround GTX
$200, 1 lb. 14 oz. (US men’s 9)
Sizes: US men’s 7-13

The pivotal question you might ask yourself before buying trail footwear is: How much do I need? You’re probably thinking along the lines of how much support you need in a shoe or boot. But that question could also refer to the delicate balance between how much protection you need from wetness on the outside getting inside, versus breathability so moisture on the inside gets released. The new Gore-Tex Surround technology alters that equation, and Aku’s Mio Surround GTX leaps feet first into this debate as a lightweight, low-cut shoe that could serve the needs of a wide range of dayhikers and backpackers. Continue reading →

Gear Review: Oboz Scapegoat Mid Boots

June 15, 2016  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment
Oboz Scapegoat Mid

Oboz Scapegoat Mid

Lightweight Boots
Oboz Scapegoat Mid
$145, 2 lbs. 2 oz. (US men’s 9)
Sizes: men’s 8-14

Like all categories of outdoor gear, footwear has grown increasingly specialized, with models designed to fill just about every imaginable user niche—except perhaps one. While there are plenty of options in non-waterproof, low-cut hiking and scrambling shoes built to maximize breathability, when you move up the continuum of mid-cut boots into models with the support for backpacking, most have some kind of waterproof-breathable membrane. With the Scapegoat Mid, Oboz is treading into somewhat unexplored terrain by offering a non-waterproof, lightweight boot designed for multi-day hikes. Because I like the concept behind this approach, I took the Scapegoat Mid on a three-day, entirely off-trail backpacking trip in the Panamint Range of Death Valley National Park to see how they perform. Continue reading →

Gear Review: Osprey Manta AG 20 Daypack

June 8, 2016  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment
Osprey Manta AG 20

Osprey Manta AG 20

Osprey Manta AG 20
$155, 20L/1,220 c.i., 2 lbs. 11 oz.
One size

How much stuff goes into your daypack? If you routinely carry upwards of 15 pounds or more (including the pack’s empty weight) on dayhikes, unless you possess a spine of steel, it really makes sense to get a pack designed for comfort with that kind of payload. When Osprey brought its groundbreaking Anti-Gravity suspension to the men’s Manta and women’s Mira daypacks this year, I decided to take the Manta AG 20 out for some trail mileage, including a 14-mile, 3,000-foot dayhike of 11,049-foot Telescope Peak in California’s Death Valley National Park to see how it measures up. Continue reading →

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