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ARTICLES Gear State of the Market Reports
Lightweight Mid-Height Trail Shoes: Montrail
by Roger Caffin and Will Rietveld
Mini-reviews of the Montrail Sabino Trail Mid GTX, Mountain Masochist Mid GTX and AT Plus Shoes Read More...
ARTICLES Gear State of the Market Reports
Lightweight Mid-Height Trail Shoes: Salomon
by Roger Caffin and Will Rietveld
Mini-Review of the Salomon 3D Fastpacker Mid GTX and Salomon XA Pro 3D GTX Ultra Shoes Read More...
ARTICLES Gear State of the Market Reports
Members Only Lightweight Mid-Height Trail Shoes State of the Market Report 2011
by Roger Caffin with Will Rietveld
Do they have any advantages over simple trail runners? And who makes lightweight W-I-D-E shoes for hikers with duck feet? Read More...
ARTICLES Gear State of the Market Reports
Lightweight Mid-Height Trail Shoes: Treksta
by Roger Caffin and Will Rietveld
Mini-Review of the Treksta Evolution Mid GTX Read More...
ARTICLES Gear State of the Market Reports
Lightweight Mid-Height Trail Shoes: GoLite
by Roger Caffin with Will Rietveld
Mini-Reviews of the GoLite Timber Lite, Surge Lite, and Carbo Lite Shoes Read More...
ARTICLES Gear State of the Market Reports
Mammut Light Pump Mat
by Roger Caffin with Will Rietveld
Mini-review for the 2011 Lightweight Inflatable Sleeping Pads State of the Market Report Read More...
ARTICLES Gear State of the Market Reports
Members Only Lightweight Inflatable Sleeping Mats - State of the Market Report 2011 Part 2: Test Results and Mini-Reviews
by Roger Caffin and Will Rietveld
Why use an airmat instead of a slab of foam? Two reasons: an airmat is thicker and more comfortable, and an airmat has a higher insulation rating or R-value, to protect you from the cold underneath. But you don't want excess weight, so this survey is restricted to airmats weighing less than 400 g (14 oz) for summer use and 800 g (28 oz) for winter use. In Part 1 we looked at the sort of properties we might want in an airmat; in this Part 2 we look at actual airmats. Read More...
ARTICLES Gear State of the Market Reports
POE Ether Elite 2/3 and POE Peak Oyl Elite Mats
by Roger Caffin and Will Rietveld
Mini-review for the Lightweight Inflatable Sleeping Mats State of the Market Report 2011 Read More...
ARTICLES Gear State of the Market Reports
Therm-a-Rest NeoAir, Therm-a-Rest ProLite, and Therm-a-Rest Deluxe LE Mats
by Roger Caffin and Will Rietveld
Mini-review for the 2011 Lightweight Inflatable Sleeping Pads State of the Market Report Read More...
ARTICLES Gear State of the Market Reports
MontBell UL 90 and MontBell UL 120 Mats
by Roger Caffin and Will Rietveld
Mini-review for the Lightweight Inflatable Sleeping Mats State of the Market Report 2011 Read More...
ARTICLES Gear State of the Market Reports
Exped DownMat Pump 7, Exped SynMat UL 7 S Mats
by Roger Caffin with Will Rietveld
Mini-review for the Lightweight Inflatable Sleeping Mats State of the Market Report 2011 Read More...
ARTICLES Gear State of the Market Reports
Klymit X Frame Mat
by Roger Caffin with Will Rietveld
Mini-review for the 2011 Lightweight Inflatable Sleeping Pads State of the Market Report Read More...
ARTICLES Gear State of the Market Reports
Big Agnes Insulated Air Core and Big Agnes Clearview Mats
by Roger Caffin and Will Rietveld
Mini-review for the 2011 Lightweight Inflatable Sleeping Pads State of the Market Report Read More...
ARTICLES Gear State of the Market Reports
Kooka Bay GoosePad, Kooka Bay Synthetic Insulated and Kooka Bay TaperLite Mats
by Roger Caffin and Will Rietveld
Mini-review for the Lightweight Inflatable Sleeping Mats State of the Market Report 2011 Read More...
ARTICLES Gear State of the Market Reports
Nemo Zor Short and Nemo Zor Regular
by Roger Caffin with Will Rietveld
Mini-review for the Lightweight Inflatable Sleeping Mats State of the Market Report 2011 Read More...
ARTICLES Gear State of the Market Reports
Vaude Norrsken Insulated Mat
by Roger Caffin and Will Rietveld
Mini-review for the 2011 Lightweight Inflatable Sleeping Pads State of the Market Report Read More...
ARTICLES Gear State of the Market Reports
Gossamer Gear Thinlight Foam Mat and Generic EVA30 Foam Mat
by Roger Caffin and Will Rietveld
Mini-review for the 2011 Lightweight Inflatable Sleeping Pads State of the Market Report Read More...
ARTICLES Gear State of the Market Reports
Stephensons Warmlite Down Air Mat
by Roger Caffin and Will Rietveld
Mini-review for the 2011 Lightweight Inflatable Sleeping Pads State of the Market Report Read More...
ARTICLES Gear State of the Market Reports
Lightweight Inflatable Sleeping Airmats - State of the Market 2011
Part 1: Important Factors When Choosing an Airmat

by Roger Caffin and Will Rietveld
Why use an airmat instead of a closed-cell foam pad? Lightweight airmats that rival a closed-cell foam pad in weight now exist, so you don't need to carry extra weight to get good comfort anymore. This survey is restricted to airmats weighing less than 400 g (14 oz) for summer use and 800 g (28 oz) for winter use. Read More...
ARTICLES Gear Reviews
Hennessy Hyperlite Asym Zip Hammock Review
by Brad Groves
Can a lighter, easier hammock hang convert this avowed tent user? Read More...
ARTICLES Gear State of the Market Reports
Members Only Minimalist Footwear for Fall/Spring Backpacking
by Damien and Renee Tougas
The second in a series exploring the use of minimalist footwear for backpacking, Damien explores what works when summer is gone. Keeping your feet warm in barely-there shoes is no mean - ahem - feat. Read More...
ARTICLES Gear Reviews
Fizan Compact Trekking Poles Review
by Danny Milks
Straightforward, reliable and lightweight adjustable, collapsible aluminum trekking poles. Read More...
ARTICLES Gear Reviews
Granite Gear Virga Backpack Review
by Will Rietveld
An old stalwart among frameless backpacks, the Virga has remarkable fit and comfort, but it has a few quirks as well. Read More...
ARTICLES Gear State of the Market Reports
Members Only Lightweight Frameless Backpacks State of the Market Report 2011: Part 4 – Packs for Lightweight Backpacking and Load Hauling
by Will Rietveld
For lightweight backpacking, how does a larger volume frameless backpack compare with a lightweight internal frame backpack? We address that question, provide specifications and ratings, and identify the standouts among 10 larger volume frameless packs. Plus we pick the best packs for "Sherpa duty." Read More...
ARTICLES Gear Reviews
Equinox ARAS Eagle Backpack Review
by Will Rietveld and Janet Reichl
The Eagle is the Platypus of frameless backpacks: it has some unique design features, loads of comfort and convenience features, and it's a great value, but is it the right pack for you? Read More...
ARTICLES Gear Reviews
New Balance MT814OD Review
by Roger Caffin
Just slightly heavier than the 740s, do the 814s finally hit all Roger's sweet spots despite their weight? Read More...
ARTICLES Gear Reviews
ZPacks Dyneema X 26 Backpack Review
by Will Rietveld
ZPacks offers a range of pack sizes, fabrics, and innovative pack options that minimize weight. You end up with a really lightweight custom pack. How does the tested ZPacks Dyneema X 26 compare to other lightweight frameless packs for ultralight backpacking? Read More...
ARTICLES Gear State of the Market Reports
Members Only Lightweight Frameless Backpacks State of the Market Report 2011: Part 3 – Packs for UltraLight Backpacking
by Will Rietveld
Ultralight backpacking is by far the most popular use of frameless backpacks. We provide specifications and ratings, and identify the standouts among 23 packs currently available. Overall, the majority of these packs really rock, but some meet user’s specific needs better than others. Read More...
ARTICLES Gear Reviews
Vasque Mindbender Trail Shoe Review
by Brad Groves
Created to eat up miles without eating up your feet, but is Brad suitably impressed? Read More...
ARTICLES Gear Reviews
Elemental Horizons Aquilo Backpack Review
by Will Rietveld
The Aquilo is the mouse that roared. I expected it to be a smaller frameless backpack based on its specifications, but it jumped into the high volume pack category, then it came out on top in that group. Read More...
ARTICLES Gear State of the Market Reports
Members Only Lightweight Frameless Backpacks State of the Market Report 2011
Part 2B – Technical Evaluation – Measurement of Pack Load Carrying Capacity

by Will Rietveld and Janet Reichl
We “lab” test thirteen frameless backpacks to compare their performance in terms of load carrying capability. We also address the debate of whether a coiled or folded sleeping pad is better for creating a “virtual frame” for weight transfer to the hips. And we compare frameless backpacks with stays inserted to lightweight internal frame backpacks. Our data reveal some distinct differences among the packs and a few surprises. Read More...
ARTICLES Gear Reviews
Eddie Bauer First Ascent Expedition Weight Baselayers Review
by Will Rietveld
These lightweight synthetic baselayers are remarkably warm for their weight and highly versatile. Read More...
ARTICLES Gear Reviews
New Balance MR740TR Review
by Roger Caffin
Another fine member of the lightweight low-cut New Balance jogger family. Read More...
ARTICLES Gear State of the Market Reports
Members Only Lightweight Wood-Burning Camp Stoves - State of the Market Report 2011
by Chris Murphy
We put eleven different wood-burning models to the test. Check out which performed best, and which stove had catastrophic failure during testing. But don't worry: no forests were harmed in the making of this SOTM! Read More...
ARTICLES Gear Reviews
Terra Nova Laser Ultra 1 Tent Review
by Will Rietveld
Terra Nova maintains their reputation with the latest “lightest double-wall shelter in the world,” weighing just over 1 pound. This one has a Cuben Fiber canopy and floor. Read More...
ARTICLES Gear State of the Market Reports
Members Only Lightweight Frameless Backpacks State of the Market Report 2011
Part 2A – Technical Evaluation – Measurement of Pack Volume and Volume Reduction Capability

by Will Rietveld and Janet Reichl
We “lab’ test thirteen frameless backpacks to measure their actual volume and compare their volume reduction capability, which are important factors when choosing a frameless pack. Our data reveal a few surprises! Read More...
ARTICLES Gear Reviews
GoLite Tumalo Storm Jacket & Pants Review
by Ray Estrella
The Tumalo line is GoLite's most affordable WPB rain gear, yet only gives up a little weight on their top-of-the-line offerings. How does it perform? Read More...
ARTICLES Gear Reviews
LAUFBURSCHE huckePACK Review
by Hendrik Morkel
German innovation hits the frameless backpacking market: water resistant with a volume that manages to work well for overnighters and week-long expeditions. Is it too good to be true? Read More...
ARTICLES Gear Reviews
Hyperlite Mountain Gear Windrider Backpack Review
by Will Rietveld
A lower volume frameless pack constructed of a Cuben fiber/ripstop nylon laminate that’s cutting edge and raises the bar for frameless backpack elegance. Read More...
ARTICLES Gear State of the Market Reports
Lightweight Frameless Backpacks State of the Market Report 2011: Part 1 – Choosing and Using a Frameless Pack
by Will Rietveld
One of the most important items in an ultralight gear kit is a frameless backpack, and it’s important to do your research and choose wisely. This five-part manifesto on frameless backpacks (including those with removable stays) is based on two years of field testing and weeks of lab testing. We compile data on all of the packs currently available and evaluate them in groups according to their appropriate use. Part 1 focuses on the intricacies of selecting and using a frameless backpack and provides a master list of frameless backpacks that meet our selection criteria. Read More...
ARTICLES Gear Reviews
Ultralight Adventure Equipment (ULA) CDT Backpack Review
by Will Rietveld
The CDT is a really nice frameless backpack that would be even better with a few revisions. And there is one thing you really need to know… Read More...
ARTICLES Gear Gear Lists
Members Only The Global Test III: Trekking in Russia
by Danny Milks & Kristin Tennessen
From the Gulag Archipelago to the Pearl of Siberia: between gear choice mistakes, gear failure, corrupt officials, and aggressive cows, at what point does backpacking cease to be fun? Read More...
ARTICLES Gear Reviews
Big Sky International Evolution 2P Tent Review
by Ray Estrella
Creation vs Evolution: one of the thorniest questions ever and one I prefer to stay away from most of the time. But Bob Molen’s latest creation is the ever-evolving Evolution 2P, and one I feel comfortable tackling. It is almost divine... Read More...
ARTICLES Gear SpotLite Reviews
Primus Eta Solo Stove Review
by Roger Caffin
A heat exchanger stove in the now fairly standard upright format. Does the Primus Eta Solo outperform the competition? Read More...
ARTICLES Gear Gear Lists
Members Only The Global Test Part II: Evaluating System Efficiency for a Round-the-World Journey
by Danny Milks & Kristin Tennessen
In Part 1, we answered the question "What should you pack?" Mid-way through our global trek, we now visit the question "How's that working out for you?" Read More...
ARTICLES Gear Gear Lists
24-Hour Gear Lists
by the BackpackingLight.com Readership
See the winners of our recent contest and download a zip file of all the submissions. Use your favorite to plan YOUR next trip! Read More...
ARTICLES Gear Reviews
MSR Carbon Reflex 3 Tent Review
by Ray Estrella
Dropping two full pounds from my current tent weight to use a sub-five-pound three-person double-wall tent all summer sounded too good to be true. How did MSR's lightest 3P shelter work for the Estrella family? Read More...
ARTICLES Gear Reviews
Integral Designs eVent Pullover Review
by Brad Groves
Does the strong appeal, on paper, of the Integral Designs eVent Pullover materialize in real-world use? Read More...
ARTICLES Gear State of the Market Reports
Members Only Minimalist Footwear for Summer Backpacking
by Damien and Renee Tougas
Unlike more traditional running shoes, there is no set pattern established and accepted as to what characteristics make a good minimalist shoe. We scan the currently available products and test some out to see how applicable these designs are for ultralight backpacking. Read More...
ARTICLES Gear Reviews
Kelty Cosmic Down 20 Sleeping Bag Review
by Brad Groves
It's a $100 DOWN bag. Too good to be true? You may be surprised... Read More...

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