Tag Archives: MSR gear reviews

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 →

November 30, 2017 Backpacking the Fisher Creek Trail, North Cascades National Park.

Review: 21 Essential Backpacking Gear Accessories of 2018

In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   4 Comments

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

Gear Review: The 5 Best Backpacking Tents of 2018

November 21, 2017  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   5 Comments
The Marmot Tungsten UL 2P in Titcomb Basin, Wind River Range, Wyoming.

The Marmot Tungsten UL 2P in Titcomb Basin, Wind River Range, Wyoming.

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. Designers have thrown out ingrained notions of what a backpacking tent is, making shelters that keep getting 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; try them all, prices will vary throughout this season). 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)
backcountry.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 →

Gear Review: MSR Freelite 2 Ultralight Tent

October 27, 2016  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment

 

MSR Freelite 2

MSR Freelite 2

Ultralight Backpacking Tent
MSR Freelite 2
$440, 2 lbs. 7 oz. (not including stuff sacks and stakes)
backcountry.com

How important is low gear weight to you—and what are you willing to sacrifice to hike with a light pack? Your choice of backcountry shelter can achieve the most significant weight savings and entail the greatest compromises. As someone who generally chooses lightweight gear, with its pros and cons, I took MSR’s lightest freestanding tent on a pair of backcountry trips for which tents like this seem well suited: I shared it with my wife on a mid-July rafting and kayaking trip on the Green River through Lodore Canyon in Dinosaur National Monument; and used it by myself for two nights on a mid-August backpacking trip in Idaho’s Sawtooth Mountains. I found the Freelite 2 has distinct advantages for a tent so light, while making relatively small compromises on space and strength. Continue reading →

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