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ARTICLES Gear State of the Market Reports
Members Only Tenkara for Backpackers: State of the Market Report - Part 2
by Chris Stewart
Part 1 helped you choose the rod. After reading part 2 you'll be all set with the tackle needed to fish tenkara in the backcountry. Read More...
ARTICLES Gear State of the Market Reports
Tenkara for Backpackers: State of the Market Report - Part 1
by Chris Stewart
A look at the best rods to bring into the Backcountry. It may not be what you think. Sometimes the best combination takes into account both the weight and the reach of the rod. Read More...
ARTICLES Gear State of the Market Reports
Members Only Ultralight Gaiters: State of the Market Report 2013
by Will Rietveld
Balancing weight and durability, ultralight gaiters are crucial to keeping your feet dry and free from debris. Read More...
ARTICLES Gear State of the Market Reports
Members Only SOTMR: Two-way Satellite Communications for Backpacking: Part 3: Satellite Texting
by Rex Sanders
Part 3 in our series on satellite communications focuses on the currently available two-way texting devices suitable for lightweight backpacking. Read More...
ARTICLES Gear State of the Market Reports
Members Only SOTMR: Two-way Satellite Communications for Backpacking: Part 2 - Satellite Phones
by Rex Sanders
Part 2 in our 3 part series on satellite communications focuses on the currently available sat phones suitable for lightweight backpacking. Read More...
ARTICLES Gear State of the Market Reports
SOTMR: Two-way Satellite Communications for Backpacking: Part 1 - Introduction
by Rex Sanders
Part 1 in our 3 part series on two-way satellite communications for lightweight backpacking. Read More...
ARTICLES Gear State of the Market Reports
Members Only How Packs Work
by David Chenault
The evolution of the frameless backpack and an analysis of current technology and features of four lightweight packs: the Golite Jam, Mountain Hardwear Thruway, Black Diamond Demon, and the authors MYOG Black and White pack. Read More...
ARTICLES Gear State of the Market Reports
Members Only Windshirts: 2012 State of the Market Report - Part 2: The Present and Future of Windshirts
by Dave Chenault, Photos by Meredith Chenault and the author
Weatherproof, lightweight, breathable. Might the windshirt be the ultimate tool in the lightweight backpacker's arsenal? Read More...
ARTICLES Gear State of the Market Reports
Members Only Windshirts: 2012 State of the Market Report - Part 1: What is a Windshirt?
by David Chenault
Weatherproof, lightweight, breathable. Might the windshirt be the ultimate tool in the lighwieght backpacker's arsenal? Read More...
ARTICLES Gear State of the Market Reports
Members Only Rain Pants State of the Market Report
by Brad Groves
A critical look at seven lightweight rain pants to keep you dry this spring. Read More...
ARTICLES Gear State of the Market Reports
Members Only Light and Fast Packs for Bikepacking
by David Chenault
In Part 2 of our exploration of Lightweight Bikepacking, Dave reviews some notable packs and examines their utility for bikepacking. Read More...
ARTICLES Gear State of the Market Reports
Members Only Tunnel Tents Tutorial and State of the Market Report - Part 3: The Mini-Reviews
by Roger Caffin
Part 3 of this tutorial gives the details on the seven tunnel tents included in this report. Read More...
ARTICLES Gear State of the Market Reports
Members Only Tunnel Tents Tutorial and State of the Market Report - Part 2: Details and Commercial Models
by Roger Caffin
Part 2 of this tutorial examines the specifics of tunnel tent design and functionality and lists the commercially available tents. Read More...
ARTICLES Gear State of the Market Reports
Members Only Tunnel Tents Tutorial and State of the Market Report - Part 1: Definition and Pitching
by Roger Caffin
How tunnel tents work, why they can handle extreme weather, and how to pitch them under extreme conditions. Read More...
ARTICLES Gear State of the Market Reports
Members Only Ultralight Waterproof Breathable Jackets: 2012 State of the Market Report
by David Chenault
Part 2: Details on the ten jackets in the report. Read More...
ARTICLES Gear State of the Market Reports
Ultralight Waterproof-Breathable Jackets: 2012 State of the Market Report
by David Chenault
Part 1: Why should you buy a WPB rain jacket? And why would you buy one that weighs more than 8 ounces (227 g)? Read More...
ARTICLES Gear State of the Market Reports
Members Only Deep Freeze: A Cold, Hard Look at Winter Stoves
by Brad Groves
Investigating the lightest-weight options on the market and assessing ease-of-use, reliability, fuel efficiency, and time to boil. Read More...
ARTICLES Gear State of the Market Reports
Members Only Lightweight Alternative Rainwear: State of the Market Report - Part 2: Overview of Individual Products
by David Chenault
Further discussion on the four individual categories, a review of the products tested within the context of each category, and a brief conclusion of ways in which various alternative rainwear products can be combined, both with each other and with WPB garments, to suit various hiking environments and conditions. Read More...
ARTICLES Gear State of the Market Reports
Members Only Lightweight Alternative Rainwear: State of the Market Report - Part 1: Introducing and Defining Alternative Rainwear
by David Chenault
An unruly, heterogenous group, Dave divided it into four categories: simple poncho-tarp, complex poncho-tarp, alternative upper-body wear, and alternative legwear. Read More...
ARTICLES Gear State of the Market Reports
Members Only Lightweight Integrated Canister Fuel Stoves State of the Market Report 2011: Part 3 – Wrap Up and Reviews of Individual Stoves
by Will Rietveld and Janet Reichl
This part assembles the information from our testing and evaluations of integrated canister fuel stoves and provides a review of each stove. Read More...
ARTICLES Gear State of the Market Reports
Members Only State of the Market Report: Family/Group Backpacking Tents
by Damien and Renee Tougas
Tired of solo trips? Ditch the tiny tarp for one of these multi-person shelters and share the weight with your friends and family. You may even save a few ounces! Read More...
ARTICLES Gear State of the Market Reports
Members Only Lightweight Integrated Canister Fuel Cooking Systems State of the Market Report 2011: Part 2 – Trends, Stove Ratings, and Selections
by Will Rietveld
Integrated canister fuel cooking systems have advanced substantially in every way – they’re lighter, faster, more efficient, and have more cooking capacity and versatility. In this part we highlight this evolution, explore how these stoves can be very weight-efficient, and identify the top performing stoves for different situations and needs. Read More...
ARTICLES Gear State of the Market Reports
Members Only Lightweight Integrated Canister Fuel Cooking Systems State of the Market Report 2011: Part 1 – Overview and Performance Evaluation
by Will Rietveld and Janet Reichl
The Jetboil Personal Cooking System was a major innovation back in 2004. We reviewed it in-depth and reported on its strengths and drawbacks. It’s wonderfully fuel-efficient and wind-resistant, but heavy, a bit slow, and low in cooking capacity. Fast forward to 2011; now we have eight backpackable integrated canister fuel stoves. They are fast, fuel-efficient, wind-resistant, some are cold-resistant, they have a much higher cooking capacity, and some are truly lightweight and can be pared down to as little as 7.5 ounces (213 g). Got your attention? 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: 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
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: 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: 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
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
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
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 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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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...

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