Tag Archives: ultralight backpacking gear reviews

Gear Review: Five Ten Access Hiking Shoes

September 27, 2016  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , ,   |   Leave a comment
Five Ten Access

Five Ten Access

Hiking/Approach Shoes
Five Ten Access
$140, 1 lb. 10 oz. (US men’s 9)
Sizes: US men’s 4-14
moosejaw.com

Five Ten bills the Access as a go-anywhere, do-anything shoe, so I thought I’d test the authenticity of that claim on an 8.5-hour, 20-mile, 4,500-foot, mid-September trail run-hike of the Alice Lake-Toxaway Lake Loop in Idaho’s Sawtooth Mountains—including, midway through our day, a 1,400-foot, third-class scramble up 10,651-foot Snowyside Peak. I was honestly a little nervous about committing my feet to these shoes for such a long day, mostly out of concern that they’re not really designed primarily as a trail-running shoe. As it turned out, my feet were as comfortable as they’ve ever been on an ultra-hike or long trail run. Here’s why. Continue reading →

Gear Review: Leki Micro Vario Carbon Antishock Folding Trekking Poles

September 14, 2016  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment
Leki Micro Vario Carbon Antishock Trekking Poles

Leki Micro Vario Carbon Antishock Trekking Poles

Trekking Poles
Leki Micro Vario Carbon Antishock Folding Trekking Poles
$220, 1 lb. 1 oz. (110-130 cm).
Sizes: regular/unisex 110-130 cm, Lady 100-120cm
backcountry.com

How much does a good pair of trekking poles matter? I used these three-section, folding poles on a dayhike in August that I wasn’t certain I could finish: the 32-mile, 10,000-vertical-foot, nine-summit Pemi Loop in New Hampshire’s White Mountains. For the last few miles, the poles may have been the only thing holding me up. Whether or not you intend to take absurdly long hikes, this one did help me identify the many strengths of Leki’s Micro Vario Carbon Antishock Folding Trekking Poles, and evaluate the usefulness of the antishock mechanism. Continue reading →

Gear Review: La Sportiva TX3 Hiking Shoes

September 13, 2016  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , ,   |   2 Comments
La Sportiva TX3

La Sportiva TX3

Hiking/Approach Shoes
La Sportiva TX3
$130, 1 lb. 9 oz. (men’s Euro42/US 9)
Sizes: Euro men’s 38-47.5, women’s 36-43
backcountry.com

If a shoe manufacturer asked me to design my ideal, low-cut hiking shoe, I’d say it should be lightweight, with good flex yet enough cushion and support for rugged dayhikes and ultralight backpacking. I’d want it supremely breathable, reasonably armored against abusive terrain, and to have an outsole that grips any surface. I’m still waiting for a shoe manufacturer to ask me. But La Sportiva seems to have read my mind with the TX3. That shoe jumped to the top of my list after several dayhikes, including a 16-hour, August ultra-hike of the 32-mile, 10,000-vertical-foot, nine-summit Pemi Loop in New Hampshire’s rocky and wet White Mountains. Continue reading →

Gear Review: The 5 Best Headlamps

September 7, 2016  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment
Clockwise from top: Black Diamond ReVolt, NiteRider Adventure Pro 180, Princeton Tec Sync, Princeton Tec Vizz, and Black Diamond Spot.

Clockwise from top: Black Diamond ReVolt, NiteRider Adventure Pro 180, Princeton Tec Sync, Princeton Tec Vizz, and Black Diamond Spot.

By Michael Lanza

How do you choose which headlamp to buy for hiking, backpacking, climbing, trail running, and other outdoor activities? Price? Design and range of lighting modes? Go with a brand you know and trust? Having tested dozens of headlamps, I favor models that meet five simple criteria:

•    Lightweight (no hiker, runner, or climber needs a heavy, bulky light).
•    Versatile and bright enough for everything from reading in the tent and managing camp chores to hiking rugged trail or route-finding off-trail in complete darkness.
•    Intuitive and easy to use, so I don’t have to consult instructions more than once, take of my gloves to operate it, or use a tool to change batteries.
•    Projects a beam that’s focused and even, not blotchy and uneven.
•    Preferably rechargeable so I’m not throwing away batteries.

With the exception of being rechargeable—which costs more, and I review headlamps at a range of price points—I generally apply those standards when choosing which headlamps I’ll review at The Big Outside. So to help you find the right model for yourself or someone else, I’ve put together this list of the five best headlamps I’ve reviewed at this blog, listed in order of cost, along with a comparison chart. Continue reading →

July 19, 2016 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 →

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