Tag Archives: hiking gear reviews

Gear Review: The 5 Best Headlamps

October 5, 2017  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   2 Comments
Clockwise from bottom: Petzl Actik Core, Black Diamond ReVolt, Princeton Tec Sync, Black Diamond Spot, Princeton Tec Vizz.

Clockwise from bottom: Petzl Actik Core, Black Diamond ReVolt, Princeton Tec Sync, Black Diamond Spot, Princeton Tec Vizz.

By Michael Lanza

How do you choose which headlamp to buy for hiking, backpacking, climbing, trail running, and other outdoor activities? Price? Design and range of lighting modes? Go with a brand you know and trust? I’ve tested dozens of headlamps over the years. Here are, in my opinion, the five best models on the market today. Continue reading →

Review: Arc’teryx Cerium LT Hoody

September 27, 2017  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   1 Comment
Arc’teryx Cerium LT Hoody in the Wind River Range.

Arc’teryx Cerium LT Hoody in the Wind River Range.

Hybrid Insulated Jacket
Arc’teryx Cerium LT Hoody
$379, 11 oz. (men’s medium)
Sizes: men’s XS-XXL, women’s XS-XL
backcountry.com

In the evening shade of a windblown campsite at around 10,500 feet in Titcomb Basin, an alpine valley in Wyoming’s Wind River Range, I pulled this jacket on and instantly felt warmth infuse my torso and arms. Popping the hood up mimicked the sensation of wearing the top half of a sleeping bag—if the bag had a hood that seemed designed around a sculpture of my head. Throughout that 39-mile, mid-September backpacking trip in the Winds, wearing this puffy jacket over just a couple light base layers kept me warm in evening and morning temperatures in the 40s Fahrenheit, while fitting like a glove. I had to keep reminding myself it weighs just a few ounces over a half-pound. Continue reading →

Gear Review: Petzl Actik Core Headlamp

September 20, 2017  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   3 Comments
Petzl Actik Core headlamp.

Petzl Actik Core headlamp.

Rechargeable Headlamp
Petzl Actik Core
$60, 3 oz. (with Core rechargeable battery)
backcountry.com

If you agree that a rechargeable headlamp is the way to go—and I’d recommend one to any backpacker, dayhiker, climber, or trail runner willing to foot the added up-front cost, because it eventually pays for itself through what you save not buying (and throwing away) batteries—then the question boils down to which rechargeable headlamp is the best for most backcountry recreationists. Taking Petzl’s compact, rechargeable Actik Core on a three-night, mid-September backpacking trip in Wyoming’s Wind River Range convinced me that there’s an argument for this one. Continue reading →

September 14, 2017 Boston Charlies Camp on the Catwalk, Olympic National Park.

10 Smarter Ways to Think About Your Layering System

In Backpacking, Gear Reviews, Hiking, National Park Adventures, Skills   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   5 Comments

By Michael Lanza

Think of your layering system of clothing for outdoor activities as a musical instrument. When you’re first learning how to play, you practice one chord or note at a time. But you only begin to produce music once you can link chords in a way that sounds good—because they work together. Similarly, we tend to acquire the parts of a layering system piecemeal, regardless of how well they work together. In this article, I’ll give you 10 specific tips for thinking about your layering system in ways that make it work better for you—and ultimately help you spend your money more wisely. Continue reading →

Gear Review: La Sportiva Akyra Trail Running and Hiking Shoes

September 6, 2017  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment
La Sportiva Akyra

La Sportiva Akyra

Hiking/Trail Running Shoes
La Sportiva Akyra
$140, 1 lb. 11 oz. (US men’s 9.5)
Sizes: men’s Euro 38-47.5/US 6-14, women’s Euro 36-43/US 5-12
backcountry.com

Build a shoe for running and hiking mountain trails, and it’s hard to keep that footwear from putting on weight—shoes intended for that level of hard use simply need more support and stability under the hood than your average, wafer-light shoes for running asphalt, or no-drop shoes with minimal underfoot cushion and support. So when I saw Sportiva’s Akyra weighing in lighter than many models in this category—and having owned and liked previous Sportiva mountain-running shoes that crossed over smoothly between running and dayhiking—I pounded the Akyra on a variety of trails, discovering much to like about them and one minor complaint. Continue reading →

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