Tag Archives: ultralight backpacking gear reviews

September 14, 2017 Boston Charlies Camp on the Catwalk, Olympic National Park.

10 Smarter Ways to Think About Your Layering System

In Backpacking, Gear Reviews, Hiking, National Park Adventures, Skills   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   2 Comments

By Michael Lanza

Think of your layering system of clothing for outdoor activities as a musical instrument. When you’re first learning how to play, you practice one chord or note at a time. But you only begin to produce music once you can link chords in a way that sounds good—because they work together. Similarly, we tend to acquire the parts of a layering system piecemeal, regardless of how well they work together. In this article, I’ll give you 10 specific tips for thinking about your layering system in ways that make it work better for you—and ultimately help you spend your money more wisely. Continue reading →

Gear Review: La Sportiva Akyra Trail Running and Hiking Shoes

September 6, 2017  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment
La Sportiva Akyra

La Sportiva Akyra

Hiking/Trail Running Shoes
La Sportiva Akyra
$140, 1 lb. 11 oz. (US men’s 9.5)
Sizes: men’s Euro 38-47.5/US 6-14, women’s Euro 36-43/US 5-12
backcountry.com

Build a shoe for running and hiking mountain trails, and it’s hard to keep that footwear from putting on weight—shoes intended for that level of hard use simply need more support and stability under the hood than your average, wafer-light shoes for running asphalt, or no-drop shoes with minimal underfoot cushion and support. So when I saw Sportiva’s Akyra weighing in lighter than many models in this category—and having owned and liked previous Sportiva mountain-running shoes that crossed over smoothly between running and dayhiking—I pounded the Akyra on a variety of trails, discovering much to like about them and one minor complaint. Continue reading →

August 31, 2017 Nevada Fall, Half Dome, and Liberty Cap from the John Muir Trail, Yosemite National Park.

Ask Me: What Gear Do You Suggest For Thru-Hiking the John Muir Trail?

In Ask Me, Backpacking, National Park Adventures   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment

Hello Michael,

I read your article about ultra-backpacking and how you did the John Muir Trail in seven days. I am planning on doing it, but would like to know, for an ultralight backpacker, what items did you use for tent, sleeping bag, etc.? And any feedback or thoughts that you have that would be beneficial for me would be much appreciated.

Thank you.

Joei
Covina, CA Continue reading →

Gear Review: Sierra Designs Flex Capacitor 40-60 Backpack

August 3, 2017  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment
Sierra Designs Flex Capacitor 40-60 backpack.

Sierra Designs Flex Capacitor 40-60 backpack.

Backpack
Sierra Designs Flex Capacitor 40-60
$200, 2 lbs. 9 oz. (men’s S/M pack with S/M hipbelt)
Sizes: men’s S/M (fits torsos 16-19 inches) and M/L (fits torsos 18-21 inches), plus four hipbelt sizes (XS/S to L/XL)
moosejaw.com

Many avid backpackers eventually find themselves facing an expensive quandary: the need for a second or even third pack to better handle the range of trips they take. Sierra Designs confronts that challenge with the Flex Capacitor, which changes size to cover a range of trips from weekends to a week or even a thru-hike. Curious about how it performs, I took it on a trip where a pack with that capacity range would come in handy: on a nine-day hike of the 105-mile Tour du Mont Blanc, where on some days I’d be carrying two people’s stuff, and on other days only my own (when that second person didn’t hike). Continue reading →

Gear Review: Oboz Crest Low BDry Hiking Shoes

July 19, 2017  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment
Oboz Crest Low BDry.

Oboz Crest Low BDry.

Hiking Shoes
Oboz Crest Low BDry
$150, 2 lbs. 5 oz. (US men’s 9)
Sizes: men’s US 8-14
backcountry.com

Finding one ideal shoe or boot to cover your feet for dayhikes in any conditions, and crossover to light backpacking, poses a real challenge. Finding one that achieves those lofty objectives at a relatively affordable price can feel like winning a lottery. Encouraged by its design and price—and having plenty of experience with other Oboz models—I wore the new Crest Low BDry on outings ranging from dayhikes in humid, hot Costa Rican rainforest to a three-day, 40-mile backpacking trip in May in Utah’s Dark Canyon Wilderness. I found much to recommend them and a couple of minor nitpicks. Continue reading →

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