ultralight backpacking gear reviews

The Black Diamond Spot 400.

Review: Black Diamond Spot 400 Headlamp

Ultralight Headlamp
Black Diamond Spot 400
$50, 2.5 oz.
backcountry.com

How do you choose a headlamp for the backcountry? If you’re looking for a range of modes that’s both basic and versatile, good brightness and dimming capability, and smart features that make it more useful while maintaining a design simplicity that doesn’t require an advanced science degree to operate it, Black Diamond’s Spot 400 is hard to beat. On evenings in camp on a five-day, late-summer hike in the Wind River Range, I found this latest update sustains and improves on the legacy of BD’s popular Spot line as an excellent value in an ultralight headlamp.

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Feathered Friends Eos Down Jacket.

The 10 Best Down Jackets of 2022

By Michael Lanza

Whatever you need an insulated jacket for, there’s a down or synthetic puffy for your needs, within your budget. And whether you want a puffy jacket for outdoor activities like backpacking, camping, and climbing, or just to keep you warm around town or at outdoor sporting events, this review will help you figure out how to choose the right jacket for your needs, and it spotlights the best down and synthetic puffy jackets available today.

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Featured Friends Eos Down Jacket.

Review: Feathered Friends Eos Down Jacket

Down Jacket
Feathered Friends Eos Down Jacket
$389, 11 oz. (men’s medium)
Sizes: men’s XS-XXL, women’s XS-XL
featheredfriends.com

When you have something that works, the worst thing you can do is change it much. Feathered Friends stuck with a winning formula when updating its popular Eos Down Jacket, making just two minor improvements. Testing the updated Eos on adventures ranging from a windy and chilly June camping and climbing trip in Idaho’s City of Rocks National Reserve to nine days backpacking through the High Sierra in August, I found it just as warm and comfortable as I have found the previous iteration of this poofy puffy in the backcountry of Idaho’s Sawtooth Mountains, Glacier National Park, and countless other wild places.

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Black Diamond Spot 400-R headlamp.

Review: Black Diamond Spot 400-R Headlamp

Rechargeable Ultralight Headlamp
Black Diamond Spot 400-R
$65, 2.6 oz.
backcountry.com

Using Black Diamond’s Spot 400-R on nights in camp on a nine-day hike of nearly 130 miles through the High Sierra in August, mostly on the John Muir Trail, I found this latest update continues the legacy of functionality and versatility that has made BD’s long-popular Spot line arguably the best value in an ultralight headlamp—while also demonstrating the strong value proposition of choosing this rechargeable model over a battery-powered headlamp.

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Backpackers at night with headlamps in a campsite in the Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne River, Yosemite National Park.

The 7 Best Headlamps of 2022

By Michael Lanza

A headlamp is unquestionably essential gear for hiking, backpacking, climbing, trail running, ultra-running and ultra-hiking and other backcountry activities that sometimes push into darkness (whether intentionally or not). But with so many to pick from, how do you choose which one to buy? Price? Brightness? Weight? Design and range of lighting modes? Go with a brand you know and trust? This review cuts through the information overload to help you pick the right headlamp for your adventures.

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