Read our complete sleeping bag guide for more great options
Best Quilt | Enlightened Equipment Revelation 30
This is the best ultralight backpacking quilt or sleeping bag money can buy. The EE Revelation offers the highest warmth-to-weight ratio on the market, utilizing 850 fill power down, premium materials, smart baffling, and an overall flawless ultralight design execution. We strongly recommend this quilt.
Best Value Quilt | Hammock Gear Burrow Econ 30
This quilt delivers a premium warmth-to-weight ratio at an entry-level price. In terms of warmth-to-weight, its elegantly simple design outperforms all traditional sleeping bags and many costlier quilts. At under $200, it’s the best value on the market, bar none.
Best Traditional Sleeping Bag | Therm-a-Rest Hyperion 20
If you value ultralight performance, but won’t sleep in a quilt, the Hyperion is your best bet. It delivers the highest warmth-to-weight ratio among all traditional sleeping bags. Its narrow chassis is constructed with premium fabrics and intelligent down distribution, allowing for maximum weight savings for a sleeping bag.
Best Value Sleeping Bag | REI Magma 15
This is the most affordable top-tier ultralight sleeping bag, and it can often be purchased at mid-tier pricing, that is, under $300. REI’s proprietary Magma line presents an excellent warmth-to-weight ratio using a tried and true design. We also like its lighter-weight cousin, the Magma 30 Quilt.
Read our complete trekking pole guide for more great options
Best Ultralight Trekking Poles | Gossamer Gear LT5 Three Piece Carbon Trekking Poles
At under 10 oz per pair, these poles are shockingly light and surprisingly strong. And they are adjustable so work with most trekking pole supported shelters.
Best Value Trekking Poles | Cascade Mountain Tech Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles
Sturdy, lightweight, carbon fiber trekking poles for $45. This deal can’t be beat.
Best 3 Collapsing Trekking Poles | Black Diamond Distance Carbon Z
These poles collapse down in a Z formation, and they’re shorter than any telescoping poles. This comes in handy for travel (they can fit in a day pack), or for more hands-on trips where poles are carried in a pack as frequently as they are used. What’s more, they only weigh about 11 ounces for the pair and they’re also available in an adjustable version.
Read our complete down jacket & pants guide for more great options
Best Overall Down Jacket | Montbell Ex Light Anorak
At only 6 oz, this is about as light and as warm as it gets! The Ex Light Down Anorak is 2 oz lighter than the highly regarded and more expensive Mountain Hardware Ghost Whisperer. It achieves this low weight in part by not using a full zipper. Instead, you get a a kangaroo pouch pocket, which means warmer hands and better storage. A huge upgrade!
Best Value | REI Coop 650 Down Jacket
It’s pretty amazing to be able to buy a legit, lightweight, responsibly sourced down jacket for just $100. The basic Co-op down jacket is one of the best value propositions on this entire page.
Best Synthetic | Enlightened Equipment Torrid Pullover/Jacket
No synthetic jacket comes closer to down in performance than the Enlightened Equipment Torrid. By combining high tech ultralight fabrics with a high warmth to weight, water resistant synthetic loft, Enlightened Equipment has delivered the best synthetic warmth-to-weight ratio on the market. Plus, it comes in a pullover model with kangaroo pocket, our favorite chassis.
Best Parka | Montbell Mirage
Montbell makes great puffy jackets, and it’s no surprise their parka is also best in class.At less than 14 ounces for a full on, fully baffled parka, this one heckuva warm jacket. Best warmth to weight on this list, by far. In fact, 40% of the garment’s weight is down. Down more typically represents 20% of a garment’s weight.
Best IInsulated Pants | Enlightened Equipment Torrid Pants
Insulated pants are susceptible than jackets to rips, tears, and getting wet, which is why we think the Torrid Apex Pants are the best overall option for keeping your legs warm. And at only 5.4 ounces, they’re hardly heavier than down.
Best Overall Fleece | Patagonia R1 Hoody
Beloved across all outdoor sports, there is a cut of Patagonia’s R1 for everyone. This warm, stretchy, highly breathable fabric has been time tested. From camping to backpacking to mountaineering, the R1 is simply a perfect lightweight and sporty fleece.
Best Value | North Face TKA
Old fashioned fuzzy fleece actual deliver a high warmth-to-weight ratio performance. While it’s marked as a budget pick, and it certainly isn’t anything fancy, TNF’s TKA fleece line deliver surprisingly good performance and stats in a basic fleece at a low price.
Best Technical | R1/R2 Tech Face
If you need a fleece with a bit more weather resistance, we recommend the R1 tech face fleece. It pulls inspiration from R1, but adds in a more tightly knit flat face exterior that blocks wind and resists light precip while still maintaining excellent breathability. We recommend it for high exertion activities in very cold climates. Cross country skiing, for example.
Best Overall | Outdoor Research Echo Hoodie
For most three season hiking, we recommend OR’s amazing echo sun hoody. Incredibly light, breathable, airy, quick drying, moisture wicking, and rated to UPF 15, this shirt does it all. Pack a sun hoody and you’ll find that you use less sunscreen and get less sun burns. We’ve worn this shirt around the world and are always impressed.
Best Bug Shirt | Rail Riders Journeyman Shirt with Insect Shield
In late spring and early summer, where mosquitos and ticks thrive, we prefer to wear a bug shirt over a sun shirt. The Rail Riders Journeman Shirt offers InsectShield bug repellent treatment, and a soft-but-bite-proof nylon poly blend fabric. We’ve taken this shirt, and similar options to Alaska and the Sierra.
Best Merino Smartwool | Merino 150 Base Layer
For cold weather or shoulder season hiking, we recommend a lightweight Merino wool baselayer like Smartwool’s 150 weight quarter zip. This fabric keep you just warm enough in chilly conditions, and just cool enough in hot conditions. It smells better than synthetics, and the zipper venting further widens its comfort range.
Best Overall | RailRiders Bushwacker Weather Pants
Lightweight, breathable, sun blocking, quick drying and virtually indestructible, we love everything about these pants. You won’t win any sartorial awards in them, but we know wearers appreciate the incredibly deep and secure pockets.
Best Value Overall | Eddie Bauer Guide Pro
Style meets high performance and comfort in this great looking, reasonably priced pair of hiking pants. We appreciate them for the their two way stretch comfort and elegant look.
Best Insect Pants | RailRiders Eco-Mesh Pant with Insect Shield
In high mosquito or tick season, we trust Railriders Eco Mesh pants. The lightweight, breathable, quick drying nylon is bite-proof, wards off insects,and keep the legs comfortable with massive mesh side vents. The mesh keeps bugs out while letting fresh air in.
Read our complete hiking electronics guide for more great options
Best Headlamp | Nitecore NU25 360 Lumen HeadLamp
For 2021 we are going with a rechargeable headlamp that’s a favorite with ultra runners. This 1.9 oz light is super simple to operate and puts out a ton of light. Best of all, no worrying about batteries — it can always be fully charged when you hit the trail!
Best Charger | Anker Powercore II 10000
Weighing just 6.9 oz, this powerhouse, rechargeable USB battery can charge most phones multiple times — great for use on trips longer than three days. And unlike many “smart” batteries it will detect & charge low drain devices like a fitbit or smart watches.
Best Satellite Communication Device | Garmin inReach Mini
Staying safe in the backcountry has never been so small and light. The Garmin inReach mini allows text messaging (by bluetoothing to your phone) and SOS pings from anywhere, no service necessary. An indispensable comms unit.
Best GPS | Gaia GPS App
Available on iPhone or Android, Gaia GPS offers a Google Maps-like experience but pinpoints you on topo maps. No cell service or LTE required, so long as you download the maps in advance. Much more affordable and user-friendly than dedicated GPS units. Gaia is our primary navigation tool.
Best Watch | Garmin Instinct Solar
This smartwatch offers an altimeter, barometer, compass, GPS, and a slew of health tracking options with 14-day battery life that can be extended in-field by ambient solar as well as manual charging with a USB battery. All in a lightweight, comfortable, medium-sized silhouette.
Best Stove | Jetboil Stash
New for 2021 and weighing and only 7 oz, the Stash is the lightest Jetboil-style stove on the market. Amazingly, it retains the famed Jetboil heat efficiency and fuel economy. We love how well it holds a pot, how quickly it boils water, and how astoundingly light it is.
Best Alcohol Stove | Trail Designs Caldera
Weighs only 5.5 oz, yet very safe and superbly wind resistant, the high efficiency Caldera is an obvious choice for the best alcohol stove. The cone protects from breezes while creating a very stable and heat-efficient system with the best fuel economy among all alcohol stoves. Yet it still weighs less than all conventional isobutane stoves.
Best Value Stove | AOTU Portable Camping Stove
This is a legit backpacking stove for $20. It in the time-tested Pocket Rocket style, and even comes with a handy built-in sparker.
Best Pot | TOAKS Titanium Pot 900ml
This wide, easy-to-clean, no-nonsense titanium pot weighs only 5.5 oz and costs just $45, a great deal from a classic brand.
Best Mug | TOAKS Titanium Cup 450ml/15oz
Strong, elegant, and weighing only 2.7 oz, this titanium mug is a killer deal for only $20.
Best Spoon | TOAKS Titanium Long Handled Spoon
Strong, lightweight, and long enough to dip into the deepest of freeze-dried meal bags.
Best Coffee | Hario V60 01 Plastic Dripper + V60 Paper Coffee Filters 01
This 2.2 oz marvel is the coffee dripper that Tetsu Kaysuya used to win the 2016 World Brewers Cup Championship. Pour over is a huge upgrade over Starbucks Via.
Best Water Purification | Sawyer Squeeze System
Faster and more efficient than pumping or chemical treatments, the squeeze system offers on-the-go hydration at a good flow. This product is long-lasting, affordable, reliable, and very user-friendly. We also like the sawyer water bags for compressibility.
Best Water Bottle | Smartwater 1L
Ditch that heavy Nalgene for a significantly lighter Smartwater 1L bottle. This iconic bottle is incredibly durable and long lasting, and it fits a sawyer squeeze filter. A thru-hiker favorite.
Best Water Purifier | Aquamira Water Treatment
Time-tested, as the best overall way to chemically treat water in instances where viruses are a concern. We prefer filters, given the choice, but this is your best option when that’s not enough. We appreciate that it does not taint the taste of the water.
Best Bear Bag | Ursack Major
Unless a canister is required, we always prefer the bear-proof Ursack Major bear bag, made of kevlar. It’s lightweight, comfy to carry, and actually protects your food. We recommend pairing it with the Loksak Opsac bag as a smell-proof, waterproof, liner system.
Best Bear Canister | Bearvault BV500
When regulations require bear canisters, we prefer the Bearvault BV500, or its smaller cousin the BV450. These canisters offer the best blend of volume to weight, durability, and price. We also like its smaller sibling, the BV450, for 2-3 day-long trips.
Best Bear Bag Liner | Loksak Opsak Odor-Proof Barrier Bags 12×20”
Nesting perfectly in an Ursack Major Bear Bag, this giant, ultra-heavy-duty Ziploc bag will keep your food dry when it rains, and prevent smells from escaping when properly closed. A necessary pairing to fully protect your food from the elements.
Best Knife | Gerber LST Ultralight Knife
With an impeccably sharp 2” blade and weighing a scant 1.2 oz, this Gerber Knife is great for backcountry food prep and all general-purpose cutting.
Best Compass | Suunto M-3D
This is a simple and durable lightweight compass with all of the essential features including declination adjustment. Great to carry along with paper maps as a backup to GPS.
Best Trowel | TheTentLab The Deuce #2
This is the sturdiest sub one ounce trowel we know of. And at $20, it’s also a great buy.
Best Bug Head Net | Sea To Summit Mosquito Head Net
Weighing only 1 oz and totally mosquito-proof, you barely notice this comfy, high visibility bug net.
Best Rain Gloves | Japanese Fishermens
As bizarre and out of place in the backcountry as rubber-like fisherman’s gloves might look, the Showa Temres are simply warmer, and more reliable waterproof than the competition. We prefer these gloves to other options for cold rain, sleet, and wet snow. They’re shockingly waterproof, warm, and just breathable enough.
Best Warm Gloves | Defeet Duragloves
Simple yet effective, we love the secure fit and grippy fingers and palm of these basic, midweight gloves. An excellent, and highly affordable option for most hiking.
Best Sun Gloves | Glacier Glove Ascension
In the very harsh sun, gloves can be preferable to constantly reapplying sunscreen. These are our pick for the best overall option thanks to the comfy, breathable, durable fabric, and accommodating price.
Best Sun Hat | Sun Runner
A classic option for any hiker who agrees that capes and caps are better than 360 brims. This is because it performs better in wind and does a better job of protecting the neck, especially in the angled sunlight of late afternoon when your skin needs a break.
Best Beanie | REI Co-op Lightweight Beanie
A beanie’s a beanie. Get one with a cuff to double ear warmth, or unfurl for max coverage. REI’s co-op beanie look elegant and performs great. Highly recommended!
Best Balaclava | Outdoor Research Option Balaclava
If you really want to keep your head warm, don’t skimp on neck coverage For spring, fall, and winter hiking, we prefer balaclavas, like the OR Option Balaclava, because the neck coverage combines with the head coverage to offer a better overall warmth to weight ratio, and more protective garment.