Oboz boots reviews

A backpacker at Evolution Lake on the John Muir Trail in Evolution Basin, Kings Canyon National Park.

The Best Backpacking Gear of 2022

By Michael Lanza

The Wind River Range. The Maze District of Canyonlands National Park. Iceland. The John Muir Trail, Wonderland Trail, and Teton Crest Trail. Yosemite. The Grand Canyon. Glacier National Park. Yellowstone. The North Cascades and Pasayten Wilderness. 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 and apparel reviewed at The Big Outside—so that I can give you honest and thorough, field-tested opinions that help you find the best gear for your adventures.

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

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A backpacker on the John Muir Trail overlooking the Cathedral Range in Yosemite National Park.

The Best Backpacking Gear for the John Muir Trail

By Michael Lanza

So you’re planning to thru-hike the John Muir Trail and making all of the necessary preparations, and now you’re wondering: What’s the best gear for a JMT hike? Having thru-hiked the JMT as well as taken numerous other backpacking trips all over the High Sierra—mostly between late August and late September, which I consider that the best time to walk the Sierra, to avoid snow and the voracious mosquitoes and blazing hot afternoons of mid-summer—I offer the following picks for the best lightweight backpacking gear and apparel for a JMT thru-hike.

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Oboz Sawtooth X Mid Waterproof boots.

Review: Oboz Sawtooth X Mid Waterproof Boots

Hiking and Backpacking Boots
Oboz Sawtooth X Mid Waterproof
$165, 2 lbs. 7 oz. (US men’s size 9)
Sizes: men’s 7-15, women’s 5-12
moosejaw.com

Between the days of backpacking 11 to 12 miles with up to about 7,000 feet of cumulative elevation gain and loss, the seven miles of steep and loose off-trail hiking, the need to carry eight pounds or more of water weight at times, and of course, the heat, one might speculate that our six-day backpacking trip to Utah Flats and Clear Creek in the Grand Canyon was no more than an elaborate ruse to put hiking boots to a severe test. (Some of my companions went so far as to suggest a plot to inflict physical suffering on them. Yea, whatever.) But after all was said and done, the Oboz Sawtooth X Mid Waterproof shined through all the canyon (and I) hurled at them. Here’s why.

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Oboz Bridger Mid Waterproof boots

Review: Oboz Bridger Mid and Low Waterproof Boots and Shoes

Hiking and Backpacking Boots Oboz Bridger Mid Waterproof $180, 2 lbs. 6 oz. (men’s size 9) Sizes: men’s 7-15, women’s 6-11 backcountry.com Hiking and Backpacking Shoes Oboz Bridger Low Waterproof $140, 2 lbs. 3 oz. (men’s size 9) Sizes: men’s 8-14, women’s 6-11 backcountry.com As someone who makes his living walking on- and off-trail a lot, I’m very selective about …

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Oboz Sawtooth II Low Waterproof hiking shoes.

Gear Review: Oboz Sawtooth II Low Waterproof Hiking Shoes

Hiking Shoes
Oboz Sawtooth II Low Waterproof
$140, 2 lbs. 4 oz. (men’s size 9)
Sizes: men’s 8-14, women’s 6-11
backcountry.com

All through the second day of a five-day trek in northern Spain’s Picos de Europa Mountains, we hiked through steady rain and, higher up, wet snow that accumulated several inches deep on the ground. It felt more like Scotland’s Northern Highlands than mountains in the north of Spain. Throughout that day and the entire trip, these shoes mostly delivered the kind of support and performance I expect from much pricier boots—but did have a couple of minor shortcomings. 

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