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ARTICLES Gear State of the Market Reports
2001 Raingear Roundup Review Summary
by the Product Review Staff
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ARTICLES Gear State of the Market Reports
Members Only 2005 High Loft Synthetic (Belay) Jackets REVIEW SUMMARY and GEAR GUIDE OVERVIEW
by Don Wilson
Comprehensive review of high loft synthetic insulated jackets (belay type) used for backpacking. Read More...
ARTICLES Gear State of the Market Reports
Members Only 2005 Lightweight Down Jackets Review Summary and Gear Guide Overview
by Don Wilson
We rate and compare the lightest down jackets on the market based on our measurements and their performance in the field. Read More...
ARTICLES Gear State of the Market Reports
Members Only 2005 Lightweight Rainwear Review Summary and Gear Guide Overview
by Don Wilson
Woven waterproof/breathable rainwear weights are dropping as technology improves. Read More...
ARTICLES Gear State of the Market Reports
2006 Unconventional Sleep Systems Manifesto
by Ryan Jordan (Author) and Mike Clelland! (Illustrator)
A Comprehensive Primer and Market Analysis of Top Bags, Quilts, and Wearable Systems Read More...
ARTICLES Gear State of the Market Reports
Members Only Alcohol Stoves REVIEW SUMMARY and GEAR GUIDE OVERVIEW
by Will Rietveld
Comprehensive review of lightweight alcohol stoves used for backpacking. 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
Members Only Bomber Tents REVIEW SUMMARY and GEAR GUIDE OVERVIEW
by Doug Johnson
Field performance and features comparison of four lightweight mountaineering tents designed to handle the toughest weather. Read More...
ARTICLES Gear State of the Market Reports
Members Only Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles Review Summary and Gear Guide Overview
by Doug Johnson
Carbon fiber construction has made its way into the trekking pole industry in a big way. The result is a bunch of really light poles. Which are better? We put twelve all-carbon and carbon/aluminum hybrid trekking poles through some seriously tough testing and rate their performance and features. 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 Double Wall Tents Review Summary and Gear Guide Overview
by Doug Johnson
Comparison of, and performance ratings for, lightweight double wall backpacking tents. 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
First Annual Energy Bar Test
by Carol Crooker and Alison Simon
Backpacking Light staff members rate six "natural" energy bars on taste and nutrition. Read More...
ARTICLES Gear State of the Market Reports
Frameless Pack Review Summary
by Jay Ham
Summary review of frameless backpacks for the 2004 season. Read More...
ARTICLES Gear State of the Market Reports
Members Only Gear Guide: Packrafts
by Ryan Jordan
Review the current offerings in the packraft market and find out which boats are most appropriate for a variety of purposes including alpine lake fishing, incidental river crossings, flatwater boating, expedition packrafting, and whitewater paddling. Read More...
ARTICLES Gear State of the Market Reports
Gear Guide: Ultralight Inflatable Pillows
by Ryan Jordan
Neck problems? Back problems? An ultralight inflatable pillow may be an ideal solution, but don't dive in head first. Read this first to see which ultralight pillows are the best. 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
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
Internal Frame Backpack Review Summary
by Jay Ham
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
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
LED Headlamp REVIEW SUMMARY 2003: Petzl, Princeton Tec, Black Diamond, and Photon
by the Product Review Staff
A comprehensive review of sub-6-ounce LED headlamps from Princeton Tec, Black Diamond, Petzl, and Photon. 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 Light Packs for Heavy Loads: State of the Market Report
by Chris Townsend
Chris Townsend reviews the options in lightweight packs for heavy loads. 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 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 Canister Stoves REVIEW SUMMARY and GEAR GUIDE OVERVIEW
by Will Rietveld
Comprehensive review of lightweight and ultralight canister stoves used for backpacking. 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
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
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 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 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
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 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
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
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 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 Lightweight Internal Frame Packs: a State of the Market Report - Part 1A: Testing Overview and List of Packs Tested
by Roger Caffin
We survey light-weight internal frame packs with a maximum weight of 1.6 kg (3.5 lb) and a volume generally in the range 50 L to 75 L. Read More...
ARTICLES Gear State of the Market Reports
Members Only Lightweight Internal Frame Packs: a State of the Market Report - Part 1B: Theory and Technology
by Roger Caffin
We survey lightweight internal frame packs with a maximum weight of 1.6 kg (3.5 lb) and a volume generally in the range 50 L to 75 L. Read More...
ARTICLES Gear State of the Market Reports
Members Only Lightweight Internal Frame Packs: a State of the Market Report - Part 1C: Main Bag & Comfort
by Roger Caffin
We survey lightweight internal frame packs with a maximum weight of 1.6 kg (3.5 lb) and a volume generally in the range 50 L to 75 L. Read More...
ARTICLES Gear State of the Market Reports
Members Only Lightweight Internal Frame Packs: a State of the Market Report - Part 2: The Packs
by Roger Caffin
A rundown of all the packs tested in the 2010 Lightweight Internal Frame Pack SOTM. Read More...
ARTICLES Gear State of the Market Reports
Members Only Lightweight Metal Frame Snowshoes Review Summary and Gear Guide Overview
by Will Rietveld and Jay Ham
Backpacking Light staff apply lightweight principles to rate eleven snowshoes based on field testing and lab measurements. 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
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
Members Only Lightweight Synthetic High Loft Insulating Jackets/Pullovers and Vests: REVIEW SUMMARY and GEAR GUIDE OVERVIEW
by Don Wilson
Read More...
ARTICLES Gear State of the Market Reports
Members Only Lightweight Trekking Poles REVIEW SUMMARY and GEAR GUIDE OVERVIEW
by Doug Johnson
Comprehensive review of lightweight and ultralight trekking poles used for backpacking. 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...

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