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.

Review: Atomic Hawx Ultra XTD 110 W

With backcountry skiing on the rise and many downhillers opting for touring set-ups, the lines between alpine and AT gear have begun to blur. In the ski boot world, one result is “crossover” models...

Review: Salomon S/Lab MTN

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...

Review: DPS Skis Wailer 106 Tour1

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...

Review: Arc'teryx Firebee AR

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...

Review: Patagonia Pluma 

After a spell of silence on the hardshell front, Patagonia’s release of the Pluma for the 2017-2018 season was, in our opinion, worth the wait. Weatherproofing is excellent thanks to the premium Gore-Tex Pro construction...

Review: Arc’teryx Cerium SL Hoody

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...

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...

Review: Salomon OUTline

Salomon is a major player in the world of hiking footwear, so it’s a pretty big deal when they release a brand-new shoe line. For 2018, the OUTline mirrors the modern trends: it’s essentially a trail runner up top with hiking shoe tread on the...

Review: Arc’teryx Norvan Jacket

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...

Review: Salomon Quest 4D 3 GTX

Salomon’s Quest 4D boot has headlined their backpacking lineup for years. Updated for 2018, they fine-tuned the design with a new outsole and reworked platform that offers a little more flexibility...

Review: Adidas Terrex Swift R2 GTX

Adidas has come on strong in the world of hiking footwear, and for 2018 released the latest rendition of its Terrex Swift series. The R2 GTX is a low-cut hiking shoe that comes in at just 1 pound 8.6 ounces...

Review: Merrell MQM Flex

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...

Review: Salomon X Ultra 3

Salomon’s X Ultra line of hiking footwear is one of our all-time favorites for all types of uses from day hikes to lightweight backpacking trips. The new “3” was released in late 2017, and Salomon mostly stuck to the original script—changes include...

Review: The North Face Ultra 110 GTX

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...

Review: Lowa Renegade GTX Mid

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...

Review: Salomon OUTline

Salomon is a major player in the world of hiking footwear, so it’s a pretty big deal when they release a brand-new shoe line. For 2018, the OUTline mirrors the modern trends: it’s essentially a trail runner up top with hiking shoe tread on the...

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...

Review: Keen Targhee III

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

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...

Review: La Sportiva TX3

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 this season, from high-mileage...

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...

Review: Merrell Moab 2

More than 10 years after the original Moab was released, Merrell has given us the Moab 2 for 2017. The first edition reached legendary status, so we were excited to see what Merrell had done for the reboot. To cut right to the chase...

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 2018

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 2018

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 2018

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...

Review: Arc’teryx Norvan Jacket

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...

Review: Patagonia Pluma 

After a spell of silence on the hardshell front, Patagonia’s release of the Pluma for the 2017-2018 season was, in our opinion, worth the wait. Weatherproofing is excellent thanks to the premium Gore-Tex Pro construction...

Review: REI Co-op Drypoint GTX

Fresh off a new Gore license for 2018, REI Co-op now has top-of-the-line waterproofing technology to replace their eVent line. Combine this with REI’s increased focus on design and performance of their...

Review: Marmot PreCip

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...

Review: Arc'teryx Alpha SL

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...

Review: Arc'teryx Beta AR

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...

Review: Marmot Minimalist

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...

Review: Arc'teryx Alpha FL

For spring of 2017, Arc’teryx introduced a new version of their Alpha FL hardshell. The Alpha series is climbing and alpine-focused and the “FL” represents fast and light. True to its name, this updated jacket remains minimalist and...

Review: Arc'teryx Alpha SV

Arc’teryx is no stranger to hardshell jackets, and long has been a go-to option for protection from harsh weather. For the 2016-2017 season, they’ve updated their bomber Alpha SV with sturdier Gore-Tex, an innovative new zipper design, 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...

Review: Outdoor Research Skyward

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...

Review: Arc'teryx Norvan SL Hoody

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...

Review: Patagonia Torrentshell

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 new Arc’teryx Zeta LT represents a distinct break from the hiking rain jacket status quo: design and performance that nearly match an alpine hardshell, but with the comfort and weight of a packable...

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...

Review: The North Face Venture Fastpack

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 2018

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 2018-2019

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...

Review: Arc'teryx Firebee AR

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...

Review: The North Face Ventrix Hoodie

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...

Review: Arc’teryx Cerium SL Hoody

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...

Review: Mountain Hardwear StretchDown Hooded

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...

Review: Feathered Friends Eos

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...

Review: Patagonia Micro Puff Hoody

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

Review: Rab Xenon X

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...

Review: Black Diamond First Light Hoody

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...

Review: The North Face ThermoBall

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...

Review: Patagonia Nano-Air Hoody

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...

Review: Rab Neutrino Endurance

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...

Review: Arc'teryx Cerium LT Hoody

AAlways 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...

Review: Patagonia Nano-Air Light Hybrid

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...

Review: Arc'teryx Atom LT Hoody

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...

Review: Patagonia Down Sweater

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...

Review: Patagonia Nano Puff Hoody

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...

Review: Arc'teryx Nuclei AR

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 2018-2019

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 2018-2019, including the top down sweaters, ultralights...

Best Synthetic Insulated Jackets of 2018-2019

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: Big Agnes Tiger Wall UL2

The new Tiger Wall tent from Big Agnes blends two of their best backpacking designs—the popular Copper Spur and Fly Creek—into one intriguing ultralight package. We took the UL2 model...

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...

Review: REI Co-op Half Dome 2 Plus

Beloved by backpackers for years, REI Co-op has updated their iconic Half Dome for 2018. Now offered in a full line of spacious 1, 2, 3, and 4-person “Plus” models, the new tent is...

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...

Review: MSR Remote 2

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...

Review: Nemo Dagger 2P

Nemo has come on very strong in the tent market with a number of quality offerings for backpackers. We took the 2-person version of their high-end Dagger for a series of summer trips into the Alpine Lakes of Washington State and the...

Review: REI Co-op Kingdom 4

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...

Review: Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2

Following their update to the Fly Creek HV UL tent, Big Agnes has added a second “HV,” or high volume model, with their popular Copper Spur. Already loved by ounce-counting backpackers and...

Review: REI Co-op Quarter Dome 2

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 and...

Review: MSR Access 3

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...

Review: Hilleberg Allak

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...

Review: The North Face Mountain 25

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...

Review: MSR FreeLite 2

MSR’s new FreeLite tent has design similarities with one of our favorite backpacking models, the Hubba Hubba NX, but with significant weight savings. At 2 pounds 11 ounces on our scale including poles, stakes, and guylines...

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: MSR Hubba Hubba NX

Discerning backpackers look for a high quality, lightweight, and durable tent. From our experience with the MSR Hubba Hubba NX, it checks all of those boxes emphatically...

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 2018

An ideal backpacking tent is lightweight, packs down small, and is tough enough to handle inclement weather. The good news is that tent technology has come a long way even over the past few years...

Best Camping Tents of 2018

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 2018

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...

Review: Osprey Levity 60

Osprey has expanded their formidable backpacking pack lineup for 2018 with the highly anticipated sub-2-pound Levity. Coming in 11 ounces lighter than their popular Exos, the new design targets thru-hikers and minimalists. We took the 60-liter model...

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...

Review: Granite Gear Crown2 60

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...

Review: Osprey Eja 48

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

Review: Gregory Baltoro 75 (2018)

Gregory’s flagship men’s Baltoro and women’s Deva packs are long-time favorites for those carrying serious weight. Updated for 2018, these deluxe haulers have been modernized with better ventilation, new...

Review: Osprey Stratos 24

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...

Review: Gregory Paragon 58

Best known for their heavy hauling Baltoro, the all-new 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...

Review: Gossamer Gear Mariposa 60

I typically purchase gear with an eye toward fastpacking, and previously thought of high-capacity packs as being for slower thru-hikes or weeklong trips into the backcountry...

Review: Osprey Talon 22

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...

Review: Osprey Aether AG 70

Osprey has a strong reputation for building comfortable packs, and the Aether line is one of their best. Updated for 2017, the Aether AG adds Osprey’s signature “Anti-Gravity” suspension to mix. To see how it performed, we loaded down the 70-liter...

Review: Granite Gear Lutsen 55

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 2018

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 2018

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…

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...

Review: Altra Lone Peak 3.0

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...

Review: Salomon Speedcross 4

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 2018

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...

Review: G3 Ion 12

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...

Review: Salomon S/Lab MTN

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...

Review: DPS Skis Wailer 106 Tour1

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...

Review: Scarpa Maestrale RS

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...

Review: Outdoor Research Skyward

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: Black Diamond CoEfficient Hoody

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...

Review: Arc'teryx Alpha SV

Arc’teryx is no stranger to hardshell jackets, and long has been a go-to option for protection from harsh weather. For the 2016-2017 season, they’ve updated their bomber Alpha SV with sturdier Gore-Tex, an innovative new zipper design, 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...

Review: Arc'teryx Proton LT Hoody

High-output activities like ski touring and winter climbing require an insulated jacket that balances warmth and ventilation. Arc’teryx jumps 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...

Review: Black Diamond Momentum

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...

Review: Arc'teryx Acrux SL

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...

Review: Scarpa Crux

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...

Review: La Sportiva TX3

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 this season, from high-mileage...

Review: Five Ten Guide Tennie

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, and a high degree of stability on rock make it one of...

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...

Review: Five Ten Anasazi Pink Lace-Up

Ah, the Anasazi Pink. If only I could review arguably my favorite shoe ever every day. How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. You edge on a dime, fit like a glove, conquer virtually all terrain...

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 2018

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 2018

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...