Tag Archives: ultralight backpacking gear reviews

Review: The Best T-shirts, Tops, and Shorts For Hiking, Trail Running, and Training

July 6, 2016  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   2 Comments
Patagonia Merino Air Crew

Patagonia Merino Air Crew

By Michael Lanza

Let’s admit it: We don’t always take our base layers as seriously and we do our outerwear and insulation—or boots and other gear, for that matter. But this under-appreciated first stage in a layering system for the outdoors really sets the table for how comfortable you’ll be; base layers that don’t perform well probably won’t kill you, but misery isn’t a good companion. And in warm weather, your base layers are all there is between you and nature’s whim. This is what we wear against our skin. It matters. Continue reading →

Gear Review: Aku Mio Surround GTX Hiking Shoes

June 22, 2016  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment
Aku Mio Surround GTX hiking shoes.

Aku Mio Surround GTX

Hiking/Trail Running Shoes
Aku Mio Surround GTX
$200, 1 lb. 14 oz. (US men’s 9)
Sizes: US men’s 7-13

The pivotal question you might ask yourself before buying trail footwear is: How much do I need? You’re probably thinking along the lines of how much support you need in a shoe or boot. But that question could also refer to the delicate balance between how much protection you need from wetness on the outside getting inside, versus breathability so moisture on the inside gets released. The new Gore-Tex Surround technology alters that equation, and Aku’s Mio Surround GTX leaps feet first into this debate as a lightweight, low-cut shoe that could serve the needs of a wide range of dayhikers and backpackers. Continue reading →

June 12, 2016 Trail to Spider Gap, Glacier Peak Wilderness, Washington.

Ask Me: Can You Suggest a Backpacking Gear Checklist?

In Ask Me, Backpacking, Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment

Hi Michael,

Can you provide a good, basic gear list for three-season backpacking? Thanks.

Jody
Cibolo, TX Continue reading →

Gear Review: Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL2 mtnGLO and Fly Creek HV UL3 Ultralight Tents

June 1, 2016  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment
Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL3 in Panamint Range, Death Valley National Park.

Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL3 in the Panamint Range, Death Valley National Park.

Ultralight Backpacking Tents
Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL2 mtnGLO
$440, 2 lbs. 1 oz.
Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL3
$450, 2 lbs. 15 oz.

As we searched for a campsite while backpacking in the canyon of Utah’s Dirty Devil River in late March, the wind picked up. Then the rain started. My wife and daughter pitched the new Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL2 mtnGLO in minutes without having even looked at it before—a testament to its simplicity. Once darkness fell a little while later, they turned on the lights—the tent’s built-in LED lights, that is—and I think they promptly forgot there was a storm just outside their nylon walls. Continue reading →

Gear Review: Black Diamond Spot and Cosmo Headlamps

May 25, 2016  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   3 Comments
Black Diamond Spot and Cosmo headlamps.

Black Diamond Spot and Cosmo headlamps.

Ultralight Headlamps
Black Diamond Spot
$40, 3 oz. (with 3 AAA batteries, included)
Black Diamond Cosmo
$30, 3 oz. (with 3 AAA batteries, included)
backcountry.com

A headlamp doesn’t have to take a big bite out of your gear budget—in fact, as these two models demonstrate, you can score a multi-featured backcountry lamp for as little as 30 bucks, and a high-performance model for less than you’ll probably spend on food and gas for a weekend trip. From backpacking trips in Idaho’s White Cloud Mountains last October, Utah’s Dirty Devil River canyon in late March, and the Panamint Range of Death Valley National Park in May, to a four-day climb of the Mountaineers Route on California’s 14,505-foot Mount Whitney in mid-April and dayhiking the 32-mile, 10,000-vertical-foot Pemi Loop in New Hampshire’s White Mountains in August, I put the Cosmo and Spot through many hours of use. Both shined at the usual tasks, like lighting the way when pitching a tent or hiking off-trail in the dark, but my testing also spotlighted their differences.

Continue reading →

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