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The Nitro (right) and Cloud (right), SD's new premium mummy bags

Preview: Sierra Designs 2018 sleeping bags || Highlight: “Zipperless mummy”

The Sierra Designs 2018 sleeping bag program includes four distinct models, each with several temperature rating options and in a male and female version: an updated Backcountry Bed and Zissou mummy, and an entirely new Nitro and Cloud, which are an ultralight mummy and “zipperless mummy,” respectively. The Backcountry Bed and Nitro will be available […]

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The third-generation Pocket Cleat from Vargo, which will be available this fall.

Preview: Vargo Pocket Cleats v3 || Sub-3 oz traction for early-season backpacking

The third-generation Pocket Cleats from Vargo have undergone significant revisions since v2, which was tweaked from v1. They will be available in October or November in stainless steel ($40, 2.9 oz) and titanium ($60, 2.1 oz), each in just one size that will fit most running shoes, hiking shoes, and hiking boots. Problems with v1 and […]

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Notice the aggressive, nearly vertical doorway pole, which helps to increase interior volume.

Preview: Sierra Designs 2018 tents || High Side, Studio, Sweet Suite & Meteor

My coverage of Outdoor Retailer starts at the Sierra Designs booth (naturally, since they’re paying for me to be here). For 2018 SD has largely revamped its shelter line-up. Only three current models are being carried forward — the Summer Moon, Clip Flashlight, and my High Route. The remainder will be discontinued and closed out. […]

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Wearing a 200-weight fleece atop 13,250-foot Mt Bancroft, where the wind was howling at 30 mph and temperatures were only in the 50's.

Review: REI Quarter-Zip Fleece Pullover || Benchmark standard for $22

On three-season backpacking trips in the Mountain West, and on cooler trips elsewhere, I consider a fleece top like the REI Co-op Quarter-Zip Fleece Pullover ($45, 8 oz) to be an essential item. It serves two functions: As a second layer in brisk conditions (e.g. chilly mornings, windy ridges and peaks), when my hiking shirt isn’t […]

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With warm temps, steady rain, high humidity, and light winds at this pre-dawn start, Buzz was very happy with his umbrella, especially since we would spend the next four hours climbing.

Reader question || Backpacking umbrellas: Pros, cons & recommendations

Recently I received a question from reader Eric W about umbrellas, which I’ve mentioned previously (e.g. Core 13 Clothing, The Ultimate Hiker’s Gear Guide) but never addressed in great detail: Under at least some circumstances, all modern raingear options for backpacking are flawed. For example, most rain jackets and pants — which are the most common selection […]

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Eventually I settled on the Canon G9X II. I could justify its price, and it had all the features that I know I need, with some opportunities to grow.

Backpacking camera shopping: Two helpful questions

In my buyers guide for backpacking cameras, I identified the pros and cons of various options and discussed the optimal user profile for each. The guide is designed to help you settle on a specific form factor: smartphone, point-and-shoot, enthusiast compact, or interchangeable lens. Camera shopping does not necessarily get any easier from there, however. Within each category, […]

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