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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
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 Places Notes from the Field
A Marriage Proposal on Walden Pond
by Ron Strickland
Can a backpacker more comfy on the trail find love with a lady for whom three stars is roughing it? An excerpt from Ron's recently published memoir, Pathfinder: Blazing a New Wilderness Trail in Modern America . 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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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 Trends Outdoor Retailer News
Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2011 – Part 3: Lightweight Apparel and Hiking Footwear
by Will Rietveld and Janet Reichl
We sorted through tons of apparel and footwear to find the lightweight standouts suitable for hiking and backpacking. Read More...
ARTICLES Trends Outdoor Retailer News
Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2011 – Part 1: Lightweight Shelters and Sleep Gear
by Will Rietveld and Janet Reichl
We found lots of new lightweight shelters and sleep gear this time. We present them together in this article so you can compare them more easily. Doing so brings out some realizations regarding weight, roominess, and cost. Read More...
ARTICLES Trends Outdoor Retailer News
Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2011 – Part 2: Lightweight Backpacks, Stoves, and Accessories
by Will Rietveld and Janet Reichl
OR delivers a fresh crop of lightweight, innovative, and useful gear. Read More...
ARTICLES Trends Outdoor Retailer News
Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2011 – Part 4: Technical Watches, Minimalist Footwear, and Family Gear
by Damien and Renee Tougas
For those who like less on their feet, OR didn't disappoint. For those who like more on their wrist, OR didn't disappoint in that area either. And for those who venture in the outdoors as a family, there were a few nuggets worth noting. 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 Techniques Techniques & Best Practices
Members Only Smartphone Navigation
by Ken Knight
Use the ubiquitous smartphone to get where you're going, with details on four apps that support maps for more places (not just the States). All you need do is supply the adventure. 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 Techniques Techniques & Best Practices
Members Only Enjoying Backpacking with Kids: Part 2
by Luke Schmidt
The kid-sized kit: Gear should not become an end in itself. The point is to get out and enjoy the woods with kids. Ultralight gear is exciting because it enables kids to do things they could not otherwise do! 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 People Profiles
We're Going to Disneyland!
by Eric Gjonnes
Investing in both daughters, preparing for the hike, and executing the first 700 miles has kept Eric busy. Sunshine's no slouch either! Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Techniques & Best Practices
Members Only Enjoying Backpacking with Kids: Part 1
by Luke Schmidt
Everything boils down to a few simple rules that can encompass a surprising range of scenarios! 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 Places Expeditions
Members Only Across Iceland by Packraft
by Alastair Humphreys
Encountering waterfalls, glaciers, mountains, rivers, volcanoes, and boiling hot springs during a difficult but delightful Icelandic summer. Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Make Your Own Gear
Members Only MYOG: Backpack Design
by Luke Schmidt
Tips and tricks expand upon previously published articles: check out Luke's six iterations and glean ideas for perfecting YOUR custom-made pack! 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...

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