Tag Archives: Outdoor Research Realm Jacket review

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 →

The 5 Best Rain Jackets for Hiking and Backpacking

March 27, 2018  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment
Patagonia Pluma Jacket.

Wearing the Patagonia Pluma Jacket on the Tour du Mont Blanc.

By Michael Lanza

Shop for a rain jacket for dayhiking, backpacking, or climbing in the backcountry and you’ll see shells for adults ranging from under $100 to over $600, and from less than half a pound to over a pound—with just as huge and confusing a range of opinions on them from reviewers and consumers. I’m going to make the choice easy for you.

I’ve tested dozens of rain shells while hiking through soaking rains all over the world over the past two decades, writing reviews for this blog and previously for Backpacker magazine; I’ve learned how to distinguish the mediocre from the excellent. Here are my picks for the five best rain jackets for backcountry adventures that you can buy today. Continue reading →

December 12, 2017 Trekking the Tour du Mont Blanc.

Holiday Gift Guide 2017: 35 Great Outdoors Gifts

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By Michael Lanza

If you’re shopping for a gift for someone who loves the outdoors—or even for yourself—look no further. This list covers the top-performing products and best values I’ve found among the outdoor gear and apparel I’ve field tested over the past 12 months, including jackets, backpacks, a tent, a sleeping bag and air mattress, headlamps, trekking poles, climbing harnesses, and a pile of other stuff in a wide range of prices. Plus, many of them are available at deeply discounted sale prices right now, and you’ll find links to those sales below.

You just may finish all of your holiday shopping right here. Continue reading →

Review: Outdoor Research Realm Jacket

October 5, 2016  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment
Outdoor Research Realm Jacket

Outdoor Research Realm Jacket

Rain Jacket
Outdoor Research Realm Jacket
$279, 10.5 oz. (men’s medium)
Sizes: men’s XS-XXL
moosejaw.com

Carrying a heavy pack in intermittent, strong gusts of cold wind and hot sun—that’s actually one of the best tests of a rain shell, because you’ll discover how breathable it is, which dictates whether you can stay dry (read: not sweating up a personal storm inside it) and comfortable while exerting hard. On a four-day, spring ascent of The Mountaineers Route on California’s Mount Whitney, I wore the Realm Jacket while lugging a pack weighing over 40 pounds to our high camp at 12,000 feet—as the alpine sun created a solar oven with the snow-covered ground, and a biting wind ripped through every few minutes. Going repeatedly from freezer to broiler, I stayed completely dry. That’s just one of several reasons to like the Realm Jacket. Continue reading →

May 26, 2016 Near high base camp below Mount Whitney's East Face.

Review: Gear For Climbing Mount Whitney

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By Michael Lanza

For our spring ascent of the Mountaineers Route on California’s 14,505-foot Mount Whitney—highest peak in the Lower 48—my 15-year-old son (in lead photo, above, approaching our high camp below Whitney’s East Face) and I used technical gear that you would use on many classic snow and glacier routes up peaks from Cascade Range volcanoes like Shasta, Hood, and Rainier to Mount Olympus, the Tetons, and the Alps. Here are my from-the-mountain observations about the gear that got us up and down Whitney, including backpacks, a mountaineering tent and boots, climbing hardware, super warm sleeping systems, and technical apparel. Continue reading →