This gear is smarter, lighter and more thoroughly tested than your typical buyer's guide. Enjoy our picks of the best light and practical gear in our 2018 Smart Gift Guide for Hikers and Backpackers. There's cool gear from smaller manufacturer and cottage gear you may not know about—gear that's innovative and lighter—near and dear to our lightweight/practical philosophy. And [...]
The vast inventory at the Big REI Anniversary Sale can be overwhelming. This year I've done a bunch of research to select some of the best lightweight gear at the sale. In particular, I list some good items to use your "Members Save 20% Off One Full Priced Item. Plus Save an Extra 20% Off one Garage Item." Shop early for best selection...
Down quilts are far and away the best sleep value for most backpacking trips. They are half the cost and substantially lighter than sleeping bags. For example, a +20°F down quilt like the one above weighs just over a pound and can cost as little as $150, far less than $460 for a +20°F sleeping [...]
One hammock can do it all—and well! The Chameleon, works in all conditions from hot, bug infested jungles to bitter cold winters of the Northeastern US. In the following "Review of Dutchware Chameleon Hammock," I discuss what makes it possibly the best multi-season hammock. The review concludes with a Comparison of the Chameleon Hammock to its nearest Competitors. Overview [...]
Forget synthetics! Down rocks. A lightweight down jacket is the most weight and cost effective way to stay warm. Lightweight down jackets are less expensive than synthetics,* they weigh less, but most importantly they are so much warmer! It is true that down jackets may be one of the most expensive items in your kit. BUT, if [...]
This year we had a local backpacker freeze to death. They'd likely be alive today if they had brought a Satellite Messenger and activated its emergency signal (by the time they were reported missing and the search crews went out, they had frozen to death overnight). Of course, there are many other good reasons to carry a [...]
This best lightweight backpacking electronics gear is supremely functional, but is also light, low-cost, practical, and durable. It is the gear I take backpacking. This post has many Tips on How to Effectively Use this Gear. This is part 1 of a 3 part series On Trail - Best Lightweight Backpacking Electronics Gear (this article) Best SOS/Tracking/Satellite Communication [...]
The Best Cheap $0.25 Backpacking Gear in my kit are Pint Ziploc Freezer Bags. They are a perfect size and have a ton of uses. I’ve used them to protect my iPhone and other expensive equipment packrafting in Alaska, rafting down the Grand Canyon in winter, trekking in Patagonia and the rain forests of New Zealand. Surprisingly, they are virtually unknown and you won’t find them on grocery store shelves.
Just how light can you go on backpacking gear for the AT and still be an efficient hiker? I believe this "Practical Light Gear List Appalachian Trail" is very close to the lower weight limit of gear to efficiently walk long days on the AT without sacrificing comfort, functionality or miles hiked per day. My goal is a sub 12 pound total pack weight (gear, food, water & fuel) to do a ~100 mile section of the AT without resupply.
Best Backpacking Stoves: Trail Designs Caldera, the best alcohol stove system, and JetBoil, the best canister stove system. What makes these systems “best” is that they are fuel efficient, wind-resistant, stable and stow into a small package. Which is the best for you?...