Hyperlite Mountain Gear product reviews

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

Review: 24 Essential Backpacking Gear Accessories of 2021

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—including the 10 years I …

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Backpackers on the South Kaibab Trail in the Grand Canyon.

The Best Backpacking Gear of 2021

By Michael Lanza

The Maze District of Canyonlands National Park. The Wonderland Trail. The Teton Crest Trail. Yosemite. The Grand Canyon. Glacier National Park. The Ruby Crest Trail. The Pasayten Wilderness. Yellowstone. The Wind River Range. The North Cascades. Idaho’s Sawtooth Mountains. The High Uintas Wilderness. The Tour du Mont Blanc. These are just some of the numerous places where I’ve tested the backpacking gear you see reviewed at The Big Outside. I treat gear roughly in places that are hard on outdoor gear and apparel so that I can give you brutally honest and thorough, field-tested opinions that help you make the best gear choices for your adventures.

And that’s exactly how I came up with these picks for today’s best backpacking gear.

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The 10 Best Backpacking Packs

The 10 Best Backpacking Packs of 2021

By Michael Lanza Backpacks come in many sizes and designs for a reason: so do backpackers. Some of us need a pack for moderate loads, others for heavy loads, and still others for lightweight or ultralight backpacking. Some prefer a minimalist pack, others a range of features and access. Everyone wants the best possible fit and comfort, and almost everyone …

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Hyperlite Mountain Gear Ultamid 2 ultralight pyramid tent with Ultamid 2 Insert.

Review: Hyperlite Mountain Gear Ultamid 2 Ultralight Pyramid Tent

Ultralight Backpacking Tent
Hyperlite Mountain Gear Ultamid 2
$735, 1 lb. 2 oz.
backcountry.com

Hyperlite Mountain Gear Ultamid 2 Insert with DCF11 Floor
$405, 1 lb. 4.5 oz. (men’s medium)
backcountry.com

I’ve encountered every form of mountain weather over more than three decades of backpacking, but rarely conditions like my son and I faced over three days in August in the Wind River Range: hours of daytime hiking through cold rain and wind and long nights of sheltering from that weather. Besides our invaluable time together in the wilderness—and even occasional glimpses of the mountains through a veil of air impersonating gumbo—the trip provided the redeeming benefit of seeing how impressively the Hyperlite Mountain Gear Ultamid 2 performed, keeping us comfortable and dry.

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Backpackers in upper Titcomb Basin, Wind River Range, Wyoming.

The Best Ultralight Backpacks of 2021

By Michael Lanza Do you need an ultralight backpack? Many backpackers might answer “no” when their answer should logically be “yes.” These packs aren’t just for thru-hikers. Typically weighing roughly between under two pounds and three pounds empty, ultralight packs have support for carrying 25 to 35 pounds—making them ideal for more than just ultralight backpacking. For many backpackers, that …

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