Tag Archives: MSR gear reviews

July 3, 2018 A campsite in Titcomb Basin, in Wyoming's Wind River Range.

Gear Review: The 5 Best Backpacking Tents of 2018

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By Michael Lanza

Time for a new backpacking tent? There’s hardly been a better time to get one. Whether you prioritize weight, living space, performance in foul weather, or unique features, tents for backpacking have seen great innovation and variety. In the competitive outdoor industry, designers keep making shelters that are lighter, stronger, and in many ways more livable.

For this article, I’ve picked out the five top-performing backpacking tents I’ve field tested and reviewed at this blog. I think you’ll find at least one that’s perfect for you—plus you’ll find some at great sale prices now (and links to those online retailers below). Continue reading →

June 26, 2018 Backpacking the Fisher Creek Trail, North Cascades National Park.

Review: 22 Essential Backpacking Gear Accessories of 2018

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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. Many years of field-testing gear have refined my sense of what I like on certain types of trips and what I will not do without anytime.

Here’s my freshly updated list of essential backpacking accessories, ranging from basics like my favorite stuff sacks, camp kitchen gear, water filters, and bear canister, to great values in a headlamp and knife, and what I sit on in camp and lay my head down on every night I sleep on the ground. You’ll find many of them available at discounted prices right now. Continue reading →

April 8, 2018 A backpacker and a rainbow in Wyoming's Wind River Range.

The Best Backpacking Gear of 2018

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By Michael Lanza

Yosemite. The Grand Canyon. The Tetons. Idaho’s Sawtooth Mountains. New Zealand’s Fiordland National Park. The Wind River Range. The North Cascades. The Tour du Mont Blanc. New Hampshire’s White Mountains. The Canadian Rockies. Paria Canyon. 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 mountains and canyons that are notoriously hard on outdoor gear and apparel so that I can give you 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 select picks for today’s best backpacking gear. Continue reading →

Gear Review: MSR Lightning Explore 22-inch Snowshoes

December 20, 2017  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment
MSR Lightning Explore Snowshoes 22-inch.

MSR Lightning Explore Snowshoes 22-inch.

Snowshoes
MSR Lightning Explore 22-inch
$280, 3 lbs. 15 oz. (men’s), 3 lbs. 11 oz. (women’s)
Sizes: men’s and women’s 22-inch and 25-inch, men’s only 30-inch
backcountry.com

Here’s the thing about snowshoes: This isn’t rocket science. In fact, it’s not even bicycle science. The basic concept of the snowshoe has been around for at least 4,000 years. But while today’s models essentially resemble the footwear worn by ancient Eurasian hunters and others who were trying to mimic the oversized feet of snowshoe hares, they employ modern materials and designs, and they differ in purpose and details that affect performance noticeably in the backcountry. And that’s exactly where the Lightning Explore 22-inch snowshoes, um, float above the competition. Continue reading →

Gear Review: MSR PocketRocket 2 Backpacking Stove

May 24, 2017  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , , , , ,   |   5 Comments
MSR Pocketrocket 2 backpacking stove.

MSR Pocketrocket 2 backpacking stove.

Backpacking Stove
MSR PocketRocket 2 stove
$45, 3 oz. (4 oz. with plastic case, included)
moosejaw.com

On three-season backpacking trips of two days to a week, with one or two companions—especially when you’re oriented toward cooking simple, one-pot meals—a single-burner canister stove offers efficiency and versatility in a very lightweight, compact, affordable, and durable package. On various trips, including an 80-mile, five-day backpacking trip with a friend in the North Cascades National Park Complex, and a three-day, 40-mile hike in Utah’s Dark Canyon Wilderness, the MSR Pocketrocket 2 demonstrated to me why it’s a leading choice in this category of ultralight stoves, on top of representing an improvement over its predecessor. Continue reading →

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