Top

Archive | Gear Reviews & Previews

On the right surfaces, the Sense Pro 3 is very fun and very fast. It's light, smooth, and responsive; the upper fits precisely; and the traction is very reliable.

Review: Salomon Sense Pro 3 || Smooth speedster for soft ground

The Salomon Sense Pro 3 is a fast, smooth, and aggressively lugged trail running shoe that is best for narrow/low-volume feet and soft or loose surfaces. Even though the Sense Pro 3 will replace the Sense Pro 2 and shares nomenclature with the Sense Pro 1, it most strongly resembles the S/Lab Sense 6 SG, which was the […]

Continue Reading
The second-generation Salomon Sense Pro 2 is a lightweight, neutral, and capable trail runner that excels on steep, obstacle-filled trails.

Long-term review: Salomon Sense Pro 2 || Nimble & capable trail shoe

The original Salomon Sense Pro (long-term review) is still one of my all-time favorite shoes. It fit me perfectly and was extremely versatile — in it, I ran a road marathon, a 50-miler on smooth singletrack and jeep roads, and a 100-miler on tough mountain trails, among other races and training runs, and never felt […]

Continue Reading
The Suunto 9 Baro is accurate and fully featured, and has a long-lasting battery.

Long-term review: Suunto 9 Baro || Legit flagship watch, needs firmware fix

For five months I’ve been using the Suunto 9 Baro GPS Sport Watch on a near daily basis, mostly while trail and road running, and occasionally backpacking. With few exceptions, it has supplanted my trusted Suunto Ambit3 Peak (long-term review). It’s the nicest Suunto watch that I’ve used yet, but has one significant blemish that […]

Continue Reading
The author at the last trail junction before Milner Pass, the northern terminus of the Pfiffner Traverse, with trusted inReach Explorer+ at the ready.

Long-term review: Garmin inReach Explorer+ || Sat comm + GPS unit 2-in-1

For different trips, I often wear and carry different gear. But some items are so vital that they end up on every trip — and my Garmin inReach Explorer+ is one of them. Since its release in early-2017, I have used my inReach Explorer+ on many trips around the globe, including on the southern Appalachian Trail, […]

Continue Reading
Why mess with success? The Speedgoat 3 has been tweaked, but mostly remains the same.

Preview: Hoka Speedgoat 3 || Tweaks to a top-seller

For two years the Hoka One One Speedgoat 2 (my review) has been the brand’s top-selling trail shoe. So in developing the third generation, it was understandably reluctant to mess with success. The most significant change to the Speedgoat is the midfoot lockdown. The TPU overlays have been re-mapped, and a yoke-like collar has been […]

Continue Reading
The upper looks like other Sense shoes: mesh with TPU overlays, elasticized tongue, and Quick Lace.

Preview: Salomon X Alpine Pro || For scrambly runs, maybe high routes

When running and racing on trails, I normally wear Salomon Sense or Salomon Ultra shoes. But for hiking and backpacking, I currently have to look elsewhere. For two years my go-to has been the La Sportiva Bushido (my review; and my preview of the Bushido II), which is perfectly suited for high routes: they’re securely fitting, durable, […]

Continue Reading
The Altra Tusher will be released in July 2019. It is a conventional hiking boot but with Altra's famed zero drop and wide foot-shaped last.

Preview: Altra Tusher || Hiking boot with zero drop & foot shape

My coverage of Outdoor Retailer Winter Market 2018 starts with Altra, which has developed a cult-like following among hikers and runners for its zero drop shoes, wide lasts, and gender-specific fits. Altra revealed three new shoes at the show: the Tusher, Grafton, and Wahweap. They will be available in July 2019. Availability is uncertain at this […]

Continue Reading
The SPOX X has rudiumentary navigation capabilities. It has a digital compass, and can create and go-to waypoints.

Review: SPOT X Satellite Messenger || I’ll keep my inReach, thanks

Exactly one week after Garmin announced the inReach Mini in May, SPOT released its first new device in five years and its first device with two-way satellite messaging. The SPOT X retails for $250, weighs 6.7 oz, and features a 2.7-inch dot matrix illuminated screen and physical QWERTY keyboard. It looks like an orange Blackberry with an over-sized antenna. […]

Continue Reading
It had to be the poles. Buzz Burrell of Ultimate Direction guides a group of men half his age towards Boulder-Grand Pass in Rocky Mountain National Park.

Review: Ultimate Direction FK Trekking Poles || Dreamy performance but inherent limitations

For two weeks last summer I used the Ultimate Direction FK Trekking Poles while guiding trips on the Pfiffner Traverse in Rocky Mountain National Park. The FK Poles were new for spring 2018 and are part of an adventure-oriented collection that also includes the FK Tarp, FK Bivy, and FK Gaiters. FK is short for “fastest known,” as […]

Continue Reading
Typical cowboy camp in upper Conness Creek on the Yosemite High Route in August, when nighttime temps were normally in the high-30's/low-40's. This year I slept on the Insulated AXL for about 30 nights.

Review: Big Agnes Insulated AXL Pad || Very light & comfy, not very warm

Until last spring, Big Agnes had no sleeping pads in its line that interested me. The pads looked comfortable, but they were considerably heavier than my time-tested Therm-A-Rest NeoAir XLite ($170, 12 oz). But with the AXL sleeping pad, Big Agnes caught my attention — its weight and thickness looked promising. The AXL comes in two […]

Continue Reading