Tag Archives: Patagonia gear reviews
By Michael Lanza
Whatever your outdoor sport—backpacking, climbing, whitewater rafting or kayaking, backcountry skiing, etc.—a sturdy duffle for organizing, hauling, and protecting your gear and clothing pays for itself many times over. Not only does it eliminate the risk of damaging an expensive backpack by using it as your luggage, a good duffle has more capacity and is built to suffer the indignities of getting tossed into jet, train, and bus baggage compartments, being strapped onto a roof rack, sled, snowmobile, or pack animal, and exposed to rain, snow, mud and other natural indignities. Continue reading →
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 →
Ultralight Insulated Jacket
Patagonia Micro Puff Hoody
$299, 9 oz. (men’s medium)
Sizes: men’s XS-XXL, women’s XXS-XL
The wind blew at a steady 30 mph or better and gusted over 40 mph—creating a wind chill around 40° F—on yet another Memorial Day weekend of “mixed” weather at Idaho’s City of Rocks. I zipped into my Micro Puffy Hoody, pulled the hood up under my helmet, and readied to belay for what would stretch into an hour as my partner led a long trad rock-climbing pitch. Fortunately, this featherweight insulated jacket kept me warm while standing idle for that long in those conditions. It did the same in similar temps and light rain later that weekend at the City, and in cool, strong wind while camping at the Grand Canyon’s North Rim and on the Esplanade during a four-day backpacking trip. One of the lightest insulated jackets on the market at a mere nine ounces, the Micro Puff is surprisingly warm. Here’s why. Continue reading →
By Michael Lanza
Choosing a daypack for hiking can seem simple—until you see the dozens of choices out there today, which range all over the map in terms of volume, weight, carrying capacity, features, and cost. Before buying, consider what you need a daypack for. How much stuff will you carry? That partly depends on where, when, and how far you hike. What kind of pack design suits your dayhiking style: low- or high-capacity? Lightweight and minimalist, or with an assortment of pockets and features? Built for hard abuse, or mostly for cruising good trails?
The seven daypacks in this freshly updated review stand out as the best available today—and this review describes the subtle differences between them to help you find the right pack for your dayhiking adventures.
Plus, right now, you’ll find some of them at sharply reduced sale prices.
Patagonia Nine Trails 20L
$129, 20L/1,220 c.i., 1 lb. 11 oz. (S/M)
Sizes: S/M and L/XL
What’s an ideal daypack for three-season hikes? When you’re only carrying food, water, extra clothing, and perhaps some incidentals like camera gear (as I do), a daypack of 15 to 20 liters is ideal for most dayhikers in three-season conditions: They’re light on your back but offer all the space and features you need. Sometimes the story behind a piece of gear will appear sparse, precisely because it dispenses with the superfluous in service to functionality. On various dayhikes from Zion National Park to a 27-mile, 16-hour traverse of western Maine’s Mahoosuc Range, I found the Nine Trails 20L hits a sweet spot for supremely easy access, low weight, capacity, and comfort. Continue reading →