Tag Archives: hiking shoes reviews

Best New Gear of the Year: My Top 10 Favorites

December 8, 2016  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment
The North Face Fovero 70

The North Face Fovero 70 backpack in Idaho’s Sawtooth Mountains.

By Michael Lanza

Every year, I field test and review at this blog dozens of pieces of new outdoor gear and clothing—backpacks, shoes and boots, tents, shell and insulated jackets, sleeping bags and pads, daypacks, headlamps, trekking poles, water filters, backcountry cooking gear, and various other stuff that help us get out and enjoy wild spaces. (It’s a fun gig.) I only review what I’d strongly recommend and want to use myself, and 20 years of doing that has helped me develop a pretty good eye for identifying the best, most innovative and functional gear.

I give you here my picks for the 10 best of the best new products I’ve reviewed this year, a list that includes a backpack, two tents, a rain jacket, two daypacks, a sleeping bag, shoes, one high-performance and affordable headlamp, an air mattress, and a very cool water bottle with a built-in filter. Each capsule review below links to my full review of that product. I guarantee your dollars will be well spent on any of them. Continue reading →

Shopping For Gear? Here Are the Best Deals on the Web Right Now

November 27, 2016  |  In Backpacking, Family Adventures, Gear Reviews, Hiking   |   Tagged , , , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment
Osprey Atmos AG 65

Click on this photo for a great price now on the Osprey Atmos 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, and they’re on a budget, but they don’t want gear or clothing that will fall apart on their second day using it. Right now’s your chance to score great deals, because many online retailers are holding holiday sales, with some of the best backpacks, tents, jackets, sleeping bags, boots, and other gear (much of which I’ve reviewed) available at big savings. Frankly, it’s arguably the best time of year to buy quality gear that rarely goes on sale. You’d be crazy not to take advantage of it.

I’ve scoured the websites I like and assembled below links to my recommendations for the gear I’d buy and suggest to friends. My advice: Grab it now, while it’s available at these prices. Continue reading →

Gear Review: Keen Aphlex Mid WP Boots

November 3, 2016  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , , ,   |   2 Comments
Keen Aphlex Mid WP boots, Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Keen Aphlex Mid WP boots, Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Lightweight Boots
Keen Aphlex Mid WP
$160, 2 lbs. 3 oz. (US men’s 9)
Sizes: men’s 6-15, women’s 6-11
backcountry.com

Lightweight, mid-cut boots at this price make up a competitive category of hiking footwear, and quality varies significantly. Many models are, frankly, made for first-time boot buyers and bargain shoppers who make a choice based on a couple of simple criteria: Whether the boots feel good (often achieved with plenty of foam padding, which doesn’t necessarily translate to good performance) and have any kind of waterproof-breathable membrane (a high-demand feature for hikers). To see whether Keen’s Aphlex Mid WP rose above all that mediocre chatter, I wore them on a two-day, 34-mile backpacking trip in Great Smoky Mountains National Park in mid-October, hiking long days with plenty of elevation gain and loss. Continue reading →

September 29, 2016 Sahale Arm, North Cascades National Park, Washington.

Ask Me: How Do I Stop Getting Battered Toes When Hiking?

In Ask Me, Backpacking, Hiking, Skills   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , ,   |   10 Comments

Mike,

I know this is a really random question, but when descending mountain trails my big toes suffer immensely. Besides tying the laces up really tight, is there a trick to protecting them without losing a toenail or having them feel beat up?

Geoff
Rexburg, ID Continue reading →

Gear Review: Five Ten Access Hiking Shoes

September 27, 2016  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , ,   |   2 Comments
Five Ten Access

Five Ten Access

Hiking/Approach Shoes
Five Ten Access
$140, 1 lb. 10 oz. (US men’s 9)
Sizes: US men’s 4-14
moosejaw.com

Five Ten bills the Access as a go-anywhere, do-anything shoe, so I thought I’d test the authenticity of that claim on an 8.5-hour, 20-mile, 4,500-foot, mid-September trail run-hike of the Alice Lake-Toxaway Lake Loop in Idaho’s Sawtooth Mountains—including, midway through our day, a 1,400-foot, third-class scramble up 10,651-foot Snowyside Peak. I was honestly a little nervous about committing my feet to these shoes for such a long day, mostly out of concern that they’re not really designed primarily as a trail-running shoe. As it turned out, my feet were as comfortable as they’ve ever been on an ultra-hike or long trail run. Here’s why. Continue reading →

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