Time spent in the field offers invaluable insights into the performance and reliability of outdoor gear. At Switchback Travel, we take pride in our in-depth reviews. Whether it’s backpacking, climbing, skiing, or any of the other activities that we all love, these articles showcase our experiences—the good and the bad—with thorough write-ups focused on product quality, performance, and value. By constantly trying new products and pitting them head-to-head against our established favorites, we aim to make your buying decision easier.

We frequently test gear here in the mountains of the Pacific Northwest, and send it out to remote locations from the Sierra Nevada to Patagonia. If you would like to support our site after reading a review, please use our handy price comparison tool at the bottom of the page or visit our support us page.

Oboz Sawtooth II Mid Waterproof Review

Recently updated with a new collar design and increased ventilation, Oboz’s Sawtooth II Mid is a stable and tough boot meant to handle the rigors of backpacking. We put the women’s...

Osprey Aura AG 65 Review

Osprey’s proven lineup of backpacking packs runs the gamut from simple entry-level haulers and ultralight builds to premium, feature-rich models. The Aura AG—and its men’s counterpart, the Atmos AG—falls right in the middle...

La Sportiva Bushido II (2019) Review

The La Sportiva Bushido has been at the top of our trail-running shoe rankings for years for its excellent traction and stability, performance on highly technical terrain, and snug fit...

Patagonia Stretch Rainshadow Review

There’s no shortage of high-performance rain jackets that will keep you dry when the weather turns, but the Patagonia Stretch Rainshadow stands apart from the competition in one crucial way: stretch...

REI Co-op Flash 55 (2019) Review

With the 2019 Flash 55, REI Co-op enters the world of ultralight backpacking in a big way. For a reasonable $199, REI pulled out all the stops: ample storage, removable features including a top lid and...

Salsa Timberjack (2019) Review

Of all the bike brands on the market today, Minnesota-based Salsa Cycles conjures up the most thoughts of adventure and getting off the beaten path. I spent the last few months aboard...

MSR Hubba Hubba NX (2019) Review

Discerning backpackers look for a high-quality, lightweight, and durable tent. And from our experience with the latest 2019 MSR Hubba Hubba NX, it checks all those boxes...

Arc’teryx Beta LT Review

Sliding in just below Arc’teryx’s popular Beta AR in their hardshell lineup is the light but tough Beta LT. Featuring a compelling mix of 3-layer Gore-Tex Pro waterproofing and 12.2-ounce weight, we tested the jacket on everything...

Arc'teryx Proton FL Hoody Review

Made to move with you during high-output activities, active insulation jackets—like those in Arc’teryx’s Proton collection—merge warmth and weather resistance with class-leading breathability...

Oboz Sawtooth II Mid Waterproof Review

Recently updated with a new collar design and increased ventilation, Oboz’s Sawtooth II Mid is a stable and tough boot meant to handle the rigors of backpacking. We put the women’s...

La Sportiva TX4 Review

La Sportiva’s popular TX lineup runs the gamut from the minimalist TX2 approach shoe to the mid-height TX5 hiking boot. Over the past few seasons, I’ve enjoyed my middle-of-the-pack TX3...

Salomon Odyssey Triple Crown Review

Drawing heavily from their since-discontinued Odyssey Pro hiking shoe, Salomon’s recent addition to their lineup, the Odyssey Triple Crown, is aimed at long-distance backpackers looking to cut weight...

Vasque Breeze LT Mid GTX Review

Recently updated with improved traction, a running shoe-inspired design, and significant weight savings, Vasque’s Breeze LT Mid is aimed squarely at the lightweight hiking and backpacking...

Adidas Terrex Swift R2 GTX Review

Adidas has come on strong in the world of hiking footwear, and its Terrex Swift series is a notable standout among the competition. The R2 GTX is a low-cut hiking shoe that comes in at just 1 pound 11.8 ounces for the pair. After taking it out...

Salomon Quest 4D 3 GTX Review

Salomon’s Quest 4D boot has headlined their backpacking lineup for years. Updated last year, they fine-tuned the design with a grippier outsole and reworked platform that offers a little more flexibility and cushioning compared to past models. I put...

Merrell MQM Flex Review

The growing popularity of wearing trail-running shoes for hiking has pushed the market towards lighter and nimbler designs. Merrell’s latest offering in this category is their hybrid MQM Flex, which aims to combine a hiking...

Salomon X Ultra 3 Review

Salomon’s X Ultra line of hiking footwear is one of our long-time favorites for all types of uses from day hikes to lightweight backpacking trips. We’ve tested the latest low-top shoe version through everything from early winter conditions in the...

The North Face Ultra 110 GTX Review

The North Face has been making a strong push in the hiking market, and one of our favorite products has been their Ultra GTX shoe. We put the latest 110 version through three...

Lowa Renegade GTX Mid Review

Nearly every major hiking boot brand has its signature model, and for Lowa, it’s the Renegade GTX. We took the popular mid-height boot out backpacking and day hiking...

Salomon OUTline Review

Salomon’s OUTline mirrors the modern trends: it’s essentially a trail runner up top with hiking shoe tread on the bottom. At 1 pound 8.6 ounces for the pair, the shoe is lighter than the popular X Ultra 3 and has a sleeker look that can be readily worn...

Review: Asolo Falcon GV

In many ways, the Asolo Falcon GV represents where we think hiking footwear is headed: a little less weight and support than a traditional heavyweight boot, but with the technical chops to get the job done both on and off trail. We brought...

Keen Targhee III WP Mid Review

Keen’s Targhee line has been a powerhouse in the day-hiking world for years. Released at the end of 2017, the Targhee III retains similar levels of comfort and build quality that people love, but hones in fit for slightly more of a performance feel...

Review: La Sportiva Trango TRK GTX

With a serious alpine pedigree, La Sportiva has been manufacturing highly regarded climbing and skiing gear for almost 90 years. Therefore it’s no surprise that their Trango...

Review: The North Face Endurus Hike Mid GTX

Every year, trends in hiking footwear are shifting more toward fast and light. Many people now opt for lightweight hiking shoes over traditional boots, and thru-hikers are even reaching for trail runners...

La Sportiva TX3 Review

As an alpine rock climber and climbing guide, my feet frequent a great deal of trail, rocks, and snow—especially during the summer months. I took on the La Sportiva TX3 as my faithful companion throughout a season of testing, from high-mileage link-up...

Review: Scarpa Zodiac Plus GTX

Scarpa’s Zodiac Plus GTX is a fully supportive yet exceptionally lightweight boot ideal for handling high mileage days with a heavy load. This midweight hiker is designed to shine in...

Review: Salomon Odyssey Pro

Salomon aims to shake up the hiking shoe market with the unapologetically lightweight Odyssey Pro. Taking a number of cues from a cushioned trail-running model, the shoe is a great choice for non-technical day hikes or ultralight...

Review: Vasque Grand Traverse

The Vasque Grand Traverse isn’t your Swiss Army Knife outdoor shoe, but it is one of the most fun pairs we’ve tested this year. With a lightweight and flexible build that is great for desert scrambling, this hybrid hiking and approach shoe is about as...

Merrell Moab 2 Review

Merrell’s original Moab reached legendary status, and the current “2” carries on the tradition. To cut right to the chase, after taking the Moab 2 Vent to Utah’s Canyon Country and subsequent testing in Washington’s Cascade Mountains, the shoe...

Review: Salewa Firetail 3 GTX

Salewa isn’t yet a household name, but the company has a serious following among the climbing community and those who like to get into the alpine. Their Firetail 3 GTX is an approach shoe that is robust, functional...

Review: Arc’teryx Bora2 Mid GTX

Arc’teryx made the jump into footwear for 2015, and to little surprise, mimicked no one in the process. The Bora2 Mid GTX hiking boots combine the protection and grip...

Review: Scarpa R-Evolution GTX

Lightweight backpacking boots are a big ticket item these days, as hikers of all kinds appreciate the benefits of cutting a pound or two off their leaden feet. Scarpa’s entry into this category is the boldly...

Review: Keen Durand Mid WP

With a compelling mix of ankle support, light weight and durability, the Keen Durand Mid WP boots take aim at the popular light hiker category. To see how they compared...

Review: Lowa Innox GTX Mid

The Lowa Innox GTX is at the forefront of the hiking footwear movement: it’s a lightweight boot that’s comfortable, nimble, and has a Gore-Tex waterproof liner. And despite weighing 2 pounds for the pair, ankle support is plenty sufficient for hauling...

Review: Salomon X Ultra 2

New for 2016, the X Ultra 2 continues Salomon’s popular line of trail shoes that are lighter and lower cut than hiking boots. We put the X Ultra 2s to the test on steep, technical terrain and came away...

Review: Vasque Inhaler Low

The Vasque Inhaler Low hiking shoes are in many ways representative of the modern hiking shoe: stiff and supportive enough to tackle rocky trails, yet light and breathable....

Review: Salomon Quest 4D 2 GTX

Appreciated for its light and nimble feel, the original Salomon Quest 4D GTX quickly became a go-to hiking boot for serious day-hikers and fast moving backpackers. The 2nd generation...

Best Hiking Boots of 2019

Hiking boots are critical to your comfort and performance on the trail, but this no longer means a stiff and burly model that will weigh you down. The trend is toward lighter materials that still offer decent support, and waterproof boots...

Best Lightweight Hiking Shoes of 2019

The momentum in hiking footwear is moving away from bulky boots toward lightweight shoes and even trail runners that are faster and more comfortable. You do lose some ankle support when carrying...

Best Approach Shoes of 2019

I knew I was officially a climber when I bought my first pair of approach shoes. A climbing-specific style of footwear, approach shoes offer a unique combination of hiking shoes, climbing slippers, and sometimes even mountaineering boots...

Patagonia Stretch Rainshadow Review

There’s no shortage of high-performance rain jackets that will keep you dry when the weather turns, but the Patagonia Stretch Rainshadow stands apart from the competition in one crucial way: stretch...

Arc’teryx Beta LT Review

Sliding in just below Arc’teryx’s popular Beta AR in their hardshell lineup is the light but tough Beta LT. Featuring a compelling mix of 3-layer Gore-Tex Pro waterproofing and 12.2-ounce weight, we tested the jacket on everything...

REI Co-op XeroDry GTX Review

REI Co-op has made major strides over the past few years, assembling an impressive in-house lineup of high-quality gear and clothing that doesn’t break the bank. And the XeroDry GTX rain...

Patagonia Galvanized Review

Alpine pursuits demand a balance of weather protection, breathability, and mobility that few jackets are able to achieve. Enter the Patagonia Galvanized. Combining the waterproofing of a hardshell with...

Arc’teryx Norvan Jacket Review

Arc’teryx continues to push the boundaries of weight and weatherproofing with its varied lineup of jackets, and at just 7.6 ounces, the Norvan is one of the lightest hardshells...

Patagonia Pluma Review

For a company with a rich history in alpine exploring, Patagonia has a surprisingly modest hardshell collection. That said, their top-end Pluma is a formidable, lightweight offering. Updated about a year ago, the jacket has excellent weatherproofing...

REI Co-op Drypoint GTX Review

Backed by a Gore license, REI Co-op now has top-of-the-line waterproofing technology to replace their old eVent line. Combine this with REI’s increased focus on design and performance of their in-house products, and you have some very competitive...

Marmot PreCip Review

Being from Seattle, we get asked for rain jacket recommendations a lot, and often steer people to the Marmot PreCip. The reasons for this are fairly simple: the jacket punches well above its $100 price with quality waterproofing, a versatile...

Arc'teryx Alpha SL Review

Alpha or Beta, SL, FL, or LT—no matter the combination of letters, Arc’teryx jackets are highly tailored for their intended use. The Alpha SL is their lightest and most packable hardshell and Arc’teryx’s answer to emergency...

Arc'teryx Beta AR Review

From Arc’teryx’s formidable hardshell lineup, the Beta AR slots in as the all-around workhorse. The jacket has been a flagship piece since its release back in 2000, and it remains a favorite thanks to a premium...

Marmot Minimalist Review

Marmot’s Minimalist jacket isn’t new, but its combination of price and performance keeps it among our favorite rain shells year after year. With proven Gore-Tex waterproofing, a thoughtful feature set, and premium build quality, the...

Arc'teryx Alpha FL Review

Arc’teryx's Alpha series is designed for top-notch climbing and alpine performance, and their “FL” represents fast and light. True to its name, the Alpha FL jacket is minimalist and lightweight, yet meticulously designed and highly protective...

Arc'teryx Alpha SV Review

Arc’teryx is no stranger to hardshell jackets and long has been a go-to option for protection from harsh weather. At the very top of their lineup is the Alpha SV (severe weather), designed for use in the most serious of conditions. Frigid winds and...

Review: La Sportiva Storm Fighter 2.0 GTX

The La Sportiva Storm Fighter 2.0 GTX is a minimalist hardshell jacket made to withstand severe weather on your fast and light missions. With Gore-Tex Active and a tailored fit, we found that it performs best...

Outdoor Research Skyward Review

This winter came with a bang and provided some of the best backcountry skiing the Rockies have seen in recent years. Given the heavy storms (we found ourselves breaking trail on many ski tours with...

Review: Montane Alpine Pro

UK-based gear companies like Montane and Rab are relative newcomers to the North American market, but arrive with decades of research, development, and field testing in Europe’s rugged mountains. Montane recently took a big leap forward...

Arc'teryx Norvan SL Hoody Review

In February of 2016, Arc’teryx introduced two new minimalist jackets: the Norvan Jacket and Norvan SL Hoody. In the latter, the “SL” stands for super light and the jacket is marketed as the lightest...

Patagonia Torrentshell Review

Patagonia’s Torrentshell is a common sight on the streets and muddy trails of the Pacific Northwest. Its reliable weather protection, lightweight materials, and good looks make it an everyday staple. The jacket isn’t a standout in terms...

Review: Montane Minimus 777

UK-based outdoor gear maker Montane hits the mark with its Minimus 777 Pull-On Jacket (also made as a full-zip jacket). What immediately stands out is its 4.7-ounce weight and incredibly compact size, but we were also impressed...

Review: Arc'teryx Zeta LT

The Arc’teryx Zeta LT manages an impressive balance that few rain jackets are able to achieve: design and performance that nearly match an alpine hardshell with the comfort and weight of a packable rain jacket. Retailing for over $400, the Zeta LT...

Review: Outdoor Research Foray

As fellow Seattleites, Outdoor Research has had ample opportunities to test out rain jacket designs, and we love what they've come up with in the Foray: a do-it-all rain jacket that's lightweight enough for hiking...

Review: Outdoor Research Realm

An epic fat biking and packrafting adventure through the wet and rugged coast of Southeast Alaska served as ideal proving grounds for the Outdoor Research Realm. This new lightweight...

Review: Patagonia Alpine Houdini

Nearly ten years ago, Patagonia released their lightweight wind shell, the Houdini jacket. For mountain athletes, this layer has been a game changer like none other. It is incredibly lightweight...

Review: Arc'teryx Tenquille Hoody

Encroaching on territory that typically favors a waterproof rain jacket, the Arc’teryx Tenquille is a wind- and water-resistant softshell...

The North Face Venture Fastpack Review

The North Face recently made the jump into the ultralight shell category with the Venture Fastpack, a trimmed down version of their popular Venture rain jacket. It’s a thin piece...

Best Rain Jackets of 2019

Here in the Pacific Northwest, we know a thing or two about rain. From months of daily drizzle to heavy downpour in the mountains, we’re acutely aware of the benefits of a quality waterproof and breathable jacket. The rain jackets for men and women...

Best Hardshell Jackets of 2019

Hardshell jackets are designed for the alpine: they’re highly windproof, waterproof, breathable, and durable. This is the outer layer you turn to for ultimate protection while backcountry and resort...

MSR Hubba Hubba NX (2019) Review

Discerning backpackers look for a high-quality, lightweight, and durable tent. And from our experience with the latest 2019 MSR Hubba Hubba NX, it checks all those boxes...

Nemo Dagger 2P (2019) Review

Nemo has come on very strong in the tent market with a number of quality offerings for backpackers. We took the updated 2019 two-person version of their high-end Dagger for an early-season trip into...

Big Agnes Tiger Wall UL2 Review

Big Agnes’ Tiger Wall blends two of their best backpacking designs—the popular Copper Spur and Fly Creek—into one intriguing ultralight package. We took the UL2 model backpacking in Utah’s Canyon...

Review: Tarptent Double Rainbow

The backpacking tent cottage industry is alive and well, and California-based Tarptent is one of the best. Their leading two-person model is the Double Rainbow, which hits a competitive...

REI Co-op Half Dome 2 Plus Review

Beloved by backpackers for years, REI Co-op’s Half Dome boasts many of the features we love in a tent at a very reasonable price point. Updated last year, the Half Dome line is now exclusively offered in “Plus” models, which are among the roomiest and...

Review: Big Agnes Copper Spur 3 Platinum

The Copper Spur line has been revered for years, and for those who want to cut even more weight, Big Agnes launched high-end Platinum versions. We took the three-person model on a bikepacking adventure...

MSR Remote 2 Review

The ideal 4-season tent is a delicate balance of roominess and comfort, ventilation, and extremely durable stormproof construction, all in a package that doesn’t weigh you down too much. With a short weekend on...

REI Co-op Kingdom 4 Review

Standing at the top of REI Co-op’s expansive camping tent lineup is the aptly named Kingdom series. Offered in 4, 6, and 8-person capacities, its familiar tunnel-like shape is a common sight at national parks...

Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2 Review

First introduced in 2008, the Copper Spur series by Big Agnes has been a consistent front-runner in the ultralight tent category. We tested the HV (high-volume) model of the two-person Copper Spur UL in conditions ranging from the hot and sunny Utah...

REI Co-op Quarter Dome 2 Review

In years past, REI’s Quarter Dome was on the cusp of breaking through in the lightweight tent market. It was a fantastic value for the weight, but the build quality was a step down from the competition...

MSR Access 3 Review

Tent manufacturers constantly are pushing the limits of weight and weather protection, and 4-season tents designed to withstand harsh conditions tend to fall on the heavy side of the spectrum. Yet MSR essentially created a new category with their...

Hilleberg Allak Review

Hilleberg has set the bar high, creating some of the most finely tuned and well-built tents on the market. Therefore we were extremely excited to test the Allak, a 2-person freestanding tent that falls into Hilleberg’s “Red Label” category. This means...

The North Face Mountain 25 Review

Anyone who has spent a stormy winter night huddled in a tent has heard his or her inner voice asking: “is this thing going to hold?” In cold temperatures and inclement weather, we...

Review: Hilleberg Niak

Until this year, the Anjan was Hilleberg's lightest 2-person tent model at 4 pounds (1.8 kilograms) packed weight. Enter the Niak, a new 2-person tent that weighs 3 pounds 12 ounces (1.5 kilograms), yet still offers impressive weather...

MSR FreeLite 2 Review

MSR’s updated-for-2019 FreeLite tent shares many design similarities with one of our favorite backpacking models, the Hubba Hubba NX, but with significant weight savings. At 2 pounds 8 ounces, the FreeLite 2 is a serious contender in the category of...

Review: Nemo Hornet 2P

We are “weight weenies,” so we were thrilled to get a hold of Nemo’s Hornet 2P tent for a few recent fastpacking trips. The Hornet is attractive for many reasons and has all the features we love in an ultralight 2-person tent, including...

Review: Outdoor Research Alpine Bivy

For a number of years, I’d thought of replacing my two-person tent that often serves as my home on solo adventures, with a bivy sack. The idea of reducing weight, saving space, and having a shelter with...

Best Backpacking Tents of 2019

The ideal backpacking tent is lightweight, spacious, and tough enough to handle any inclement weather that you can throw at it. It’s a big category, but the good news for backpackers is that...

Best Camping Tents of 2019

Spacious, user-friendly, and feature-rich, tents for camping are made for a relatively luxurious experience in the outdoors. Many of these behemoths offer enough room to set up cots or even chairs and a table for card games on a rainy day...

Best 4-Season Tents of 2019

From backcountry ski tours to mountaineering in some of the most inhospitable weather on Earth, a 4-season tent is the last line of defense between you and the elements. Accordingly, these tents are much stronger...

Osprey Aura AG 65 Review

Osprey’s proven lineup of backpacking packs runs the gamut from simple entry-level haulers and ultralight builds to premium, feature-rich models. The Aura AG—and its men’s counterpart, the Atmos AG—falls right in the middle...

REI Co-op Flash 55 (2019) Review

With the 2019 Flash 55, REI Co-op enters the world of ultralight backpacking in a big way. For a reasonable $199, REI pulled out all the stops: ample storage, removable features including a top lid and...

Osprey Levity 60 Review

Released last year, the highly anticipated, sub-2-pound Osprey Levity is a formidable contender in the ultralight backpacking pack market. Coming in 11 ounces lighter than their popular Exos, the design targets thru-hikers and minimalists. We took the...

Review: REI Co-op Traverse 70

REI Co-op continues to improve its in-house line, and the versatile Traverse is the company’s leading backpacking pack. Updated for 2018, it retains the characteristics that have made the pack a success, including high levels of comfort, thoughtful...

Granite Gear Crown2 60 Review

Granite Gear is a market leader in ultralight packs, with a strong following among thru-hikers and other minimalist backpackers. Arguably, their best design is the Crown2...

Osprey Eja 48 Review

The minimalist Exos has been a mainstay among ultralight packs, but in 2018, Osprey introduced its women’s-specific counterpart: the Eja. Going beyond the “shrink and pink” strategy, the Eja is a well-fitting, adjustable pack that comes in 38, 48, and...

Gregory Baltoro 75 Review

Gregory’s flagship men’s Baltoro and women’s Deva packs are long-time favorites for those carrying serious weight. Updated last year, we took the Baltoro 75 on the demanding Huemul Circuit in Patagonia and were pleased with its stable feel and premium...

Osprey Stratos 24 Review

Osprey is a leader in the pack market, and their Stratos line is an all-around favorite for day hiking. We’ve owned multiple variations over the years, and all have delivered nearly flawless performance through extended, rough use. We’ve been...

Gregory Paragon 58 Review

Best known for their heavy-hauling Baltoro, the Paragon backpack from Gregory cuts weight to appeal to the core overnight and weekend crowd. We’ve had a chance to get out on a couple trips with the 58-liter model and have come away pleased. The Paragon...

Gossamer Gear Mariposa 60 Review

I typically purchase gear with an eye toward fastpacking, and previously thought of high-capacity packs as being useful only for slower thru-hikes or long trips into the backcountry. The Gossamer Gear Mariposa 60 backpack has changed my mind. Though...

Osprey Talon 22 Review

Osprey’s Talon is the daypack we see on the trails more than any other. And there’s good reason for its popularity: it’s light, has a nice fit, is made in a wide range of sizes and bright colorways, and hits a desirable price point. We’ve used the...

Osprey Aether AG 70 Review

Osprey has a strong reputation for building comfortable packs, and the Aether line is one of their best. To see how it performed, we loaded down the 70-liter model for a multi-day trip in Southern Utah. Despite the recent overhaul, the Aether’s core...

Granite Gear Lutsen 55 Review

Best known for their ultralight gear, Granite Gear has changed its tune lately with a series of innovative but not necessarily paper thin backpacks. First, the Trace Access hit the market with its gorgeous...

Review: Osprey Atmos AG 65

One of the few downsides in the industry-wide transition to internal-frame packs is ventilation. In creating a backpack that hugs the body, very little air passes through the space between...

Review: Granite Gear Kahiltna 29

In recent years, Granite Gear has built a solid reputation as ultralight pack specialists with a knack for knowing where to cut weight without sacrificing functionality and comfort...

Review: Thule Stir 20

Thule, the Swedish company known mostly for their car rack systems, recently ventured into the world of backpacking with the successful introduction of their first technical packs. In 2016, they have expanded their line of packs...

Best Backpacking Packs of 2019

Gone are the days when backpacking consisted of strapping on a huge external frame and lumbering through the forest with an aching body. Trends in backpacks these days err towards minimalism...

Best Daypacks for Hiking of 2019

A key piece of any gear closet is a go-to daypack. It’s what you grab for nearly any type of outdoor adventure, whether it’s a hike, bike ride, or day on the slopes. Generally, what most people look for…

Arc'teryx Proton FL Hoody Review

Made to move with you during high-output activities, active insulation jackets—like those in Arc’teryx’s Proton collection—merge warmth and weather resistance with class-leading breathability...

Patagonia Fitz Roy Down Parka Review

Patagonia’s down products are known for their 100-percent-traceable feathers, quality construction, and sleek, stylish looks. Building off of these core characteristics, the Fitz Roy Down Parka is...

The North Face Metropolis Parka II Review

Winter weather doesn’t discriminate—it can be just as unforgiving on the streets of New York City as it is in the mountains of Colorado. And for everyday use, down-filled parkas like...

Arc'teryx Firebee AR Review

Arc’teryx rarely misses the mark with quality, performance-oriented gear, and the Firebee AR is no exception. This winter parka is the whole package: it’s loaded with premium down, and offers excellent weather resistance and impressive packability...

Arc'teryx Thorium AR Hoody Review

Arc’teryx’s Thorium AR (“all round”) Hoody slots below the performance-oriented Cerium LT as the brand’s do-everything down layer. Eager to test this claim, I wore the women’s Thorium regularly...

The North Face Ventrix Hoodie Review

The release of The North Face Ventrix has been well hyped and for good reason. This new synthetic jacket rivals the uber-popular Patagonia Nano-Air in both comfort and performance, yet comes in considerably...

Arc’teryx Cerium SL Hoody Review

The ultralight Arc’teryx Cerium SL Hoody combines 850-fill down with synthetic insulation, and it was an obvious choice for our recent bikepacking trip to Mongolia’s Khangai Mountains and trek...

Mountain Hardwear StretchDown Hooded Review

Down jackets have a reputation for being bulky, restrictive, and fragile, and therefore often stay on the ground or stuffed away in a pack during a day of skiing or climbing. Mountain Hardwear’s StretchDown...

Feathered Friends Eos Review

Feathered Friends is a boutique down specialist birthed out of Seattle’s climbing scene in the 1970s, and they still lead the pack in down outerwear construction and design. The company is known...

Patagonia Micro Puff Hoody Review

Synthetic jackets are hot ticket items these days, and the buzz has been particularly strong around Patagonia’s Micro Puff. Taking the polyester fill game in a different direction than their Nano-Air...

Rab Xenon X Review

U.K.-based Rab has a long history of designing quality, performance-oriented products for the harshest of conditions (or “connies,” as the British would say). And when rain and cold are constantly in the forecast, there’s simply...

Black Diamond First Light Hoody Review

British Columbia’s South Coast often has what is referred to as a “damp cold,” with moisture in the air and temperatures that hover around freezing. This can lead to...

The North Face ThermoBall Review

The North Face ThermoBall is now a handful of years old, but remains one of the most popular jackets on the market. With its puffy synthetic fill, sewn-through construction, and smooth shell, the jacket does a...

Patagonia Nano-Air Hoody Review

Patagonia’s Nano-Air took the active insulation market by storm, designed to be a synthetic jacket that truly can be worn all day through a variety of conditions. For casual use, light exercise in cool...

The Best Cheap Down Jacket: REI Co-op

We’ve spent months wearing and testing a huge range of down jackets from entry-level models from the likes of Outdoor Research and Columbia to premium options from Patagonia, Arc’teryx...

Review: Patagonia Ultralight Down Hoody

The Patagonia Ultralight Hoody is a quintessential all-arounder down jacket, one that works well as a midlayer and outer layer, but also plays nice for daily wear. Despite falling into...

Rab Neutrino Endurance Review

Winters are harsh in the U.K., and British alpinists are known for getting out in all types of conditions. So if there’s anyone we can trust to make innovative gear for the cold and wet, it’s Rab. This England-based...

Arc'teryx Cerium LT Hoody Review

Always designed with a specific purpose in mind, we consider Arc’teryx as the outdoor industry’s equivalent to Tesla Motors. Both create super high-end products where every...

Patagonia Nano-Air Light Hybrid Review

Patagonia has been a front-runner in the active insulation market with the popular Nano-Air and Nano-Air Light, but even those jackets can be overkill for sustained, high-output activities. Enter...

Review: Outdoor Research Filament Down Pullover

With the ultralight down jacket market dominated by a number of $300-plus options, the Outdoor Research Filament Down Pullover is an intriguing jacket at $225 (and we’ve often see it on sale for considerably less). Although it’s...

Arc'teryx Atom LT Hoody Review

The Atom LT from Arc’teryx is a legend. It’s been one of the popular synthetic jackets on the market for years, so much so that it has received few updates even as the competition continues to increase. It’s true...

Patagonia Down Sweater Review

Climbers, hikers, and outdoor adventurers of all types have enjoyed Patagonia’s Down Sweater for years. It’s a go-to piece that has defined a jacket category, as any new down sweater is compared to this legendary...

Review: Columbia Compactor

Columbia Sportswear is an outdoor industry veteran with decades of experience and a high level of brand trust. You learn to expect quality at a reasonable price from the folks in Portland, Oregon. Their products...

Patagonia Nano Puff Hoody Review

Patagonia’s Nano Puff is one of the most popular and recognizable insulated jackets on the market today. But with a fresh crop of new rivals, we felt it was time to take another look at this legendary...

Review: Brooks-Range Alpini Anorak

This winter we tested and reviewed a wide range of lightweight down jackets from brands like Arc’teryx, Patagonia, and Montbell, all of which are known for their warmth-to-weight ratios...

Arc'teryx Nuclei AR Review

Billed as the “next generation” belay parka, the Nuclei AR Jacket is well on its way to earning that title. Constructed with a seam-taped Windstopper outer layer that protects Arc’teryx’s proprietary...

Best Down Jackets of 2019

Nothing beats a great down jacket, whether it’s for causal use or tearing around the backcountry. Below we break down the best down jackets of 2019, including the top down sweaters, ultralights...

Best Synthetic Insulated Jackets of 2019

If you’re looking for a jacket that offers solid warmth at a good value, synthetic insulation is the way to go. You don’t get quite as high of a warmth-to-weight ratio as down, but synthetic jackets resist moisture...

Best Vests for Hiking of 2018

For cool fall and spring conditions, it’s hard to beat a vest. This simple layering piece is super cozy, adds warmth to your core, is easy to throw over a flannel, and less bulky and cheaper than a full jacket. But...

Review: Patagonia 850 Down Sleeping Bag

We’ve never seen a sleeping bag release get this much hoopla, but it goes to show how big Patagonia is in the outdoor world. The company jumped into the scene this year with stylish 19°F and 30°F bags filled...

Review: Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite Max SV

In the same way that the words “Velcro” or “Kleenex” are used to describe categories of products, “Therm-a-Rest” has become synonymous with lightweight sleeping pads...

Review: Platypus GravityWorks Water Filter

Water treatment is a sometimes annoying and always time-consuming process, but remains an absolutely essential part of any backcountry trip. In the hopes of delivering convenience...

Review: Sea to Summit Ultralight Insulated Pad

Australia-based Sea to Summit is best known for their reliable waterproof gear and accessories, but the company made a big splash in sleeping pads for 2015. We first saw their new pads at Outdoor Retailer...

Preview: SPOT Gen3 Satellite GPS Messenger

Since the original SPOT was released in 2007, the device has grown from a niche product used by ultra outdoorspeople to a go-to safety item that has just recently celebrated its 4,000th rescue...

La Sportiva Bushido II (2019) Review

The La Sportiva Bushido has been at the top of our trail-running shoe rankings for years for its excellent traction and stability, performance on highly technical terrain, and snug fit...

Arc’teryx Norvan LD Review

Although Arc’teryx only recently entered the trail-running game with their 2016 Norvan VT (short for “varied terrain”), the Vancouver, BC company hasn’t wasted any time establishing their running shoe line-up. Cue the Norvan LD...

Altra Lone Peak 3.0 Review

The Lone Peak 3.0 is the latest version of Altra’s most popular trail shoe, released last year as a replacement for the 2.5. The core elements of the design—zero-drop platform, wide toe box, and significant cushioning...

Salomon Speedcross 4 Review

As one of their most popular and recognizable designs, the Speedcross trail-running shoe has been a huge hit for Salomon. The toothy, exposed traction and bright colorways are a common sight at...

Review: Saucony Peregrine 6

Saucony’s Peregrine has long been a favourite among trail runners, so much so that introducing changes could be seen as a risky move. With their sixth version of the Peregrine...

Review: La Sportiva Bushido

Over a decade ago I purchased and wore a La Sportiva Wildcat trail runner, and though I loved the tacky tread, the stability was unimpressive. I easily dismissed the brand as simply...

Review: Adidas Outdoor Terrex Agravic

The new Terrex Agravic is further proof that Adidas can crossover from track and road running to the trails. Featuring their proprietary Boost midsole, the shoes are well cushioned and...

Best Trail-Running Shoes of 2019

For many, running on varied and challenging trails is a welcome break from the monotony of pounding pavement (or even worse, the belt of a treadmill). Better yet, trail running is...

Black Diamond Momentum Review

For decades now, Black Diamond has been a mainstay for climbing gear and protection. And in late 2017, they finally released their own lineup of shoes. The first to hit the shelves was the...

Arc'teryx Acrux SL Review

Approaches to the granite spires of Patagonia’s Chaltén Range aren’t child’s play, with dry glaciers, steep snow, tricky moraines, and miles upon miles of hiking. It’s no small ask for an approach shoe to be able to perform well in these...

Scarpa Crux Review

Visit any crag across the country, and you’re bound to see Scarpa’s Crux on the feet of multiple climbers. This entry-level approach shoe is a well-built, affordable offering that excels on trail and easy rock. And in early 2018, it got a few...

La Sportiva TX3 Review

As an alpine rock climber and climbing guide, my feet frequent a great deal of trail, rocks, and snow—especially during the summer months. I took on the La Sportiva TX3 as my faithful companion throughout a season of testing, from high-mileage link-up...

Five Ten Guide Tennie Review

Five Ten’s Guide Tennie is widely considered to be the first approach shoe ever made, and over 30 years later, it’s still a crowd favorite. The combination of durable materials, lightweight design...

Review: Salewa Firetail 3 GTX

Salewa isn’t yet a household name, but the company has a serious following among the climbing community and those who like to get into the alpine. Their Firetail 3 GTX is an approach shoe that is robust, functional...

Review: La Sportiva Genius

La Sportiva calls the Genius, “the highest performance climbing shoe on the market.” Climbing companies love to make superlative claims like that, but when it’s La Sportiva, it definitely gets our attention....

Review: Scarpa Boostic

Combining Italian craftsmanship with an aggressive, downturned shape, the Scarpa Boostic is a solid performance shoe. Priced at $179, it does fall into the extremely competitive high-end of the market...

Review: Mammut Infinity

I’ve been climbing for close to 16 years and have owned more than 20 different ropes, not to mention the countless other ropes borrowed other climbers. So it was not exactly a shot in the dark for me...

Review: Evolv Shaman

Chris Sharma is one of the greatest sport climbers of all time, if not the greatest. It goes without saying that he could choose any shoe company, and any shoe in their lineup that he wanted, and get paid to wear...

Five Ten Anasazi Lace Review

The Anasazi Lace—aka the “Pink”—has been a mainstay in Five Ten’s lineup since the ’90s. And with notable improvements throughout the years, it still holds its own in today’s modern market. Boasting a medium-stiff build and powerful edging platform...

Review: Evolv Addict

The Addict is a relatively new climbing slipper from Evolv, and a solid one at that. Built similarly as the time-tested design of Five Ten’s excellent slipper, the Moccasym, Evolv managed to create a shoe that...

Best Rock Climbing Shoes of 2019

We love rock climbing shoes, and we bet you do too. The good news for climbers is that there are more quality products and styles to choose from than ever before. Impressive new models such as the La...

Best Approach Shoes of 2019

I knew I was officially a climber when I bought my first pair of approach shoes. A climbing-specific style of footwear, approach shoes offer a unique combination of hiking shoes, climbing slippers, and sometimes even mountaineering boots...

Salsa Timberjack (2019) Review

Of all the bike brands on the market today, Minnesota-based Salsa Cycles conjures up the most thoughts of adventure and getting off the beaten path. I spent the last few months aboard...

Santa Cruz Bronson (2019) Review

Santa Cruz is known for making some of the best bikes in the industry, and their attention to detail and quality of craftsmanship are second to none. The Bronson line made its debut all the way back in...

Thule Vital 8L Review

Better known for their bike racks and carriers, Thule entered the hydration pack market with the mountain biking-specific Vital lineup in spring 2018. I’ve opted for hip packs the past few years on technical rides to allow my back to breathe...

Cannondale Habit (2019) Review

Connecticut-based Cannondale has always done things a little differently, but their revamped and surprisingly mainstream 2019 Habit seeks to make them a top contender once again. With its...

Thule T2 Pro XT Review

Sweden-based Thule is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of car racks and bike accessories, and the T2 Pro XT is their top hitch-mounted offering. An evolution of the flagship T2 Classic, this is a fully-featured rack with...

Shimano ME7 Review

Shimano has made a strong push in the mountain bike shoe world of late, releasing a number of quality and functional designs for clipless and flat pedal riders. Updated for 2019, the ME7 stands at the top of their enduro and trail line-up as...

Smith Forefront 2 MIPS Review

Smith’s foray into the world of mountain bike helmets began in 2014 with the release of the lightweight Forefront. Four years later, they’ve introduced the “2” with notable updates...

Yakima Dr.Tray Review

Yakima has been a key player in the bike rack market since 1979, and the Dr.Tray currently sits at the top of their platform hitch offerings. Fully featured and wrapped up in a class-leading lightweight package, the Dr.Tray was an exciting choice...

Kuat NV Base 2.0 Review

Founded just over a decade ago, Kuat is a relative newcomer to the world of bike racks, but they haven’t wasted any time in creating functional, polished designs. Their NV Base 2.0 is a solid hitch-mounted rack that is comparable to...

Outdoor Research Hemispheres Jacket Review

When it comes to choosing a shell, backcountry-goers often have to make the decision between range of movement and weather protection. However, the new Outdoor Research Hemispheres Jacket aims...

Salomon MTN + Brake Review

Salomon made a grand entrance into the tech binding world with the release of the minimalist and feather-light MTN binding. With excellent build quality, user-friendly step-in and climb modes, and strong power...

Oakley Airbrake XL Review

Oakley has long been a favorite in the ski goggle industry, with functional and stylish designs that go head-to-head with leading manufacturers like Smith and Giro. Their Airbrake XL—retooled with a large spherical lens and low-profile frame—was our...

Smith Vantage MIPS Review

Smith is a leader in the ski helmet market, and their Vantage MIPS is a favorite among serious downhill and alpine touring riders. This lid seemingly has it all: comfort, performance, safety, and good looks to boot. Given its impressive résumé...

Outdoor Research Hemispheres Bib Review

Released in late 2018, the Outdoor Research Hemispheres kit garnered a lot of attention among backcountry skiers due to its claimed balance of weather protection and freedom of movement...

G3 Ion 12 Review

G3 shook up the tech binding market with its exceptionally user-friendly Ion binding, and true to form, they’re back with improvements that boost performance and shorten transition time. The Ion 12’s auto-rotation lock...

Salomon S/Lab MTN Review

Salomon is no stranger to the backcountry skiing market with an expansive line-up of touring equipment. From their ski boot collection, the S/Lab MTN is aimed at resort and backcountry skiers who want the option to do both...

DPS Skis Wailer 106 Tour1 Review

Utah-based DPS is best known for their powder skis designed for big lines and face shots. But for those who like to earn their turns, most are simply too heavy to haul up thousands of feet...

Scarpa Maestrale RS Review

Among Scarpa’s impressive and diverse lineup of ski boots, the Maestrale RS alpine touring model is a standout. A stiffer version of their popular Maestrale, the RS is designed to be light up the skin track...

Review: Arc'teryx Procline Carbon Support

When Arc’teryx announced they would be releasing ski mountaineering boots, the Procline series, we were intrigued to say the least. The brand dominates the ski apparel market, but with only a recent foray...

Outdoor Research Skyward Review

This winter came with a bang and provided some of the best backcountry skiing the Rockies have seen in recent years. Given the heavy storms (we found ourselves breaking trail on many ski tours with...

Black Diamond CoEfficient Hoody Review

Redesigned for 2017, the Black Diamond CoEfficient Hoody is a highly breathable, technical fleece jacket. We tested it this winter in the mountains of British Columbia under...

Arc'teryx Alpha SV Review

Arc’teryx is no stranger to hardshell jackets and long has been a go-to option for protection from harsh weather. At the very top of their lineup is the Alpha SV (severe weather), designed for use in the most serious of conditions. Frigid winds and...

Review: Patagonia Reconnaissance

Backcountry skiing can be very demanding on both the participant and their gear. It requires garments to be breathable during high-output approaches yet durable enough to withstand heavy snow, pelting sleet...

Review: La Sportiva Storm Fighter 2.0 GTX

The La Sportiva Storm Fighter 2.0 GTX is a minimalist hardshell jacket made to withstand severe weather on your fast and light missions. With Gore-Tex Active and a tailored fit, we found that it performs best...

Arc'teryx Proton LT Hoody Review

High-output activities like ski touring and winter climbing require an insulated jacket that balances warmth and ventilation. Arc’teryx jumped into this growing “active insulation” market with their...

Review: Arc'teryx Satoro AR

The Satoro AR Zip Neck LS is Arc’teryx’s newest offering in the world of performance baselayers. Consisting of merino wool woven around a nylon core, it has a super soft next-to-skin feel...

Review: Arc'teryx Lithic Glove

We value a company that is always innovating and questioning industry norms, and Arc’teryx does that about as well as anyone. Examples include their 2-piece Bora2 hiking boots and recently announced avalanche...

Review: Hestra Moon Mitt

Oh, how we love the new Moon Mitt. Made by esteemed Swedish manufacturer Hestra that specializes in handwear, this mitten is extremely warm, plush on the inside, and perfect for casual use and winter walking even in the most frigid...