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Backpackers.com — Summer temperatures and the National Park Service are hitting 101 this month. There is nothing quite like the outdoors in the heat — we’re thankful, sweaty, and have been testing gear like winter is coming.

We have new gear reviews and recommendations for sleeping bags and quilts, sleeping pads, and another new headlamp for three different Backpacker Types. Plus our first backpacking stove review!

Your Backpackers.com update is here!

New Gear Reviews

This gear has been researched, tested, and found worthy. Follow the links to read the full gear reviews and get the gear!

REI Igneo 17 Sleeping Bag

The REI Igneo 17 sleeping bag doesn’t know the meaning of the word “compromise.” You will be will warm, you will be dry, you will be light, and you will sleep so good.

Read the full gear review of the REI Igneo 17 to see why we recommend it as our Classic Pick for the Wilderness Backpacker.

REI Trekker Self-Inflating Sleeping Pad

New to the outdoors? Experienced adventurer? Anyone can sleep easy on the REI Trekker Self-Inflating sleeping pad without breaking your back or the bank.

Read the full gear review of the REI Trekker Self-Inflating sleeping pad to see why we recommend it as our Budget Pick for the Car Camper.

Kelty Callisto 30 Sleeping Bag

The Kelty Callisto 30 is a classic car camping sleeping bag with a modern touch. Think luxurious comfort plus a couples blanket. Snuggle-bots, roll out!

Read the full gear review of the Kelty Callisto 30 to see why we recommend it as our Budget Pick for the Car Camper.

Petzl e+LITE Headlamp

Prepping for Armageddon? Shaving down the grams? Just want reliable light in the backcountry? The Petzl e+LITE headlamp’s rich feature set does it all.

Read the full gear review of the Petzl e+Lite to see why we recommend it as our Classic Pick for the Ultralight Backpacker.

Therm-a-Rest Z Lite Sol Sleeping Pad

The Therm-a-Rest Z Lite Sol’s accordion folds are classic, but the cost and weight make it an easy choice for the thrifty, gram-counting backpacker.

Read the full gear review of the Therm-a-Rest Z Lite Sol to see why we recommend it as our Budget Pick for the Ultralight Backpacker.

REI Trail Pod 29 Sleeping Bag

The REI Trail Pod 29 is an adaptable bag with a soft, squishy heart. Take it adventuring, keep it handy for overnight guests, let it work for its money!

Read the full gear review of the REI Trail Pod 29 to see why we recommend it as our Classic Pick for the Car Camper.

MSR Whisperlite International Backpacking Stove

The MSR Whisperlite liquid fuel stove shines for long trips in the mountains. It can go the distance, be repaired when it gets clogged, and uses cheap fuel.

Read the full gear review of the MSR Whisperlite International stove to see why we recommend it as our Premium Pick for the Wilderness Backpacker.

New Outdoor Guides

We dug deep on this one. A new Outdoor Guide means a massive dose of information for our readers. That’s you. You can thank us later.

How to Choose the Best Backpacking Stove For You

The best backpacking stove is situational. Figure out what stove is best for your wilderness experience, and learn a few things too!

Stay Up to Date

We publish content weekly and update you every month. Visit Backpackers.com to see what new gear we’ve recommended, and what new guides we’ve penned for your reading pleasure.

The post Backpackers.com August 2017 Highlights appeared first on Backpackers.com.

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Backpackers.com — We talk a lot about parks. We might love parks more than our morning brew — blasphemy, I know. And we love the National Park system (I still have my collection of National Parks badges tucked away in my mom’s attic), which celebrated its centennial in August 2016.

While it may not be easy to tick all 59 U.S. National Parks off your bucket list, the best way to start is with a National Park pass, better known as America the Beautiful: The National Parks Annual Pass. Plus, with the pass sitting in your glove compartment, burning through your dash, you’ll be more likely to go check out all these amazing spaces. Everglades? Check. Joshua Tree? Check. The Badlands? Check. You get the idea.

There are over 2000 recreation areas included with your National Parks Pass. Yes, the pass includes free entry to all National Parks, National Wildlife Refuges, and many National Forest lands. So what are you waiting for?

Badlands National Park. You can visit for free with a National Park Pass! Courtesy QFamily. How to Buy a National Park Pass

Don’t worry, it’s not complicated. Before you purchase one, you need to know what kind of pass you qualify for. There are three general types:

  1. Annual Passes: These are offered to citizens under the age of 62 who don’t qualify for a free National Park pass. These will cost you $80 a year and include a car full of people, up to four people over 16. Anyone 15 and under gets in free. If you’re going to bury someone under camping gear to sneak them into the park, make sure they have snacks. It’s only polite.
  2. Lifetime Seniors Passes: If you’re over the age of 62 you can buy a Lifetime Seniors Pass. This does exactly what you think it does! A pass that gets you in free for the rest of your life.
  3. Free National Park Passes: You may qualify for a free National Park pass. To see if you do, scroll to the bottom of this article.
Lifetime Seniors Pass Fee Increase!

The National Park Service (NPS) recently announced that the Lifetime Seniors Pass was getting a price boost. What’s the current price? A ridiculous $10. Yes, you can currently get a lifetime pass to our National Parks for the price of a movie ticket. The only catch is that you have to be 62 years old.

On August 28, 2017 these passes are going to be a whopping $80. Now — right now — is the time to score your Lifetime Senior Pass. We also recommend this as a perfect gift for the camper, hiker, or wilderness-obsessed 62 year old in your life.

So how do you score the best 62nd birthday present ever? Or buy a pass in the first place? There are several easy ways.

Where to Buy a National Park Pass In Person

The cheapest way to get your National Park Pass is in person. Here is the list of all the offices where you can buy your pass and bring it home immediately. You can feed it, crack open a cold beer with it, buy it a sleeping bag and snuggle up together under the stars.

In-person pass buying doesn’t add a “service” fee to the process, and makes sure you’ll interact with a knowledgable NPS employee — always a good idea.

This is also the only way to get a last minute pass — the other options take at least a couple weeks to get sent over.

Online

You can buy a pass online, but you have to pay for the digital privilege. There’s a $10 convenience fee. Steep, I know. But hey, the money still goes towards National Parks.

You can buy the National Park pass online from the official USGS store. Make sure to select the appropriate pass for you.

You can also buy the Annual National Park Pass online at REI. While you can’t get the Senior Pass or other versions, this is a hassle-free way to grab one. You can also use an REI gift card, which is a major win. Your local REI might actually sell the pass in store, too, so if you’re desperate make sure to call.

Note: the USGS has a big warning on their website that Senior Passes are backlogged. That’s ok, you can use your confirmation page to get into National Parks now. Your actual pass will arrive in the mail, delivered by a bald eagle.

By Mail

If you’re old school, enjoy licking envelopes, and find joy in picking out the perfect summer fruit stamp (watermelon, always), you can mail in your National Park Pass order. The convenience fee is $10 for this method as well. Or if you’re counting pennies, it’s $10.49 including the postage. (Unless you bought your Forever stamps when they were $0.35).

If you want to mail in the form, download it here. You’ll need to include a copy of your driver’s license proving you’re old enough (I bet it’s nice to be carded again, huh?).

Note: All eligible Senior Pass orders postmarked before August 28 will be processed at the $10 price. Lifetime Senior Pass orders postmarked after August 28 will be processed at the $80 price.

How to Get a Free National Parks Pass

There are some options to get free National Parks passes, which we wanted to share in case they apply to you.

Free National Parks Pass for Military

I come from a Military family and love that we give our Military families free National Parks passes.

How do you get one? Show a proper Military issued ID at any of the physical locations where you can purchase an annual pass. Most of them have Military Passes available as well. You may want to call and double check that they have them in stock if you have a long drive.

Current U.S. military members and their dependents in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard, as well as most members of the U.S. Reserves and National Guard are eligible for free Military passes.

Free National Parks Pass for Fourth Graders

If you’re lucky enough to still be nine years old, you can get a free National Parks Pass! Every 4th grade kid in America can complete some fun and easy online activities about our parks on the Every Kid in a Park website. Then, print off your voucher and exchange it for an Annual 4th Grade Pass at your local Federal Recreation Site. You have to show up in person to get these, sorry Mom and Dad!

Gummy worms, chocolate pudding, and a free National Park pass…Can I be nine again, please?

Free National Parks Pass for Disabled Americans

If you are permanently disabled, you should get outside and enjoy our National Parks. They are there for all of us. You can order a free pass here. Download the paper form to mail in here.

Free National Parks Pass for Volunteers

I’ve got a beach clean-up on my calendar, but it’s not enough to get me a free National Parks Pass. You need a hefty 250 hours of community service to get a free pass for the next year. Take as long as you like to accumulate your hours, just make sure you get them officially signed off.

Are there any restrictions on my volunteering, you may ask?

Yes. You can collect your 250 hours by volunteering on Federal recreation lands managed by one or all of these agencies:

You can pick up hours at any or a combination of agencies, it just has to total 250 hours before you get to turn your time in for a free pass. Then your pass is valid for 12 months from the date you pick it up.

We think all passes should come with a bag of marshmallows, ready to roast. But you’ll have to pick those up, too. Just make sure to save extra chocolate for my s’mores!

The post How to Buy Your National Park Pass appeared first on Backpackers.com.

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Backpackers.com — It was our first year at the Outdoor Retailer Summer Market. For those not in the know, this is the largest gathering of outdoor professionals in the U.S. It consists of synthetic-clad designers, marketers, PR teams, journalists, photographers, retail buyers, and founders traipsing around the inside of a giant convention center for four days.

The purpose? To debut new outdoor gear.

We walked the show, met with brands, and got a sneak peek at everything that’s coming out in 2018. We happened to choose a few clutch pieces of gear we loved, too.

Best Outdoor Gear of 2018 Klymit Armored V

Klymit is best known for its unique Body Mapping technology. They tend to think outside the box, and the Klymit Armored V is in another shape altogether. Mimicking the baffle pattern of the popular Klymit Static V, the Armored V is a pad that will not pop.

Klymit Uses SuperFabric, comprised of 300,000 individual scales — yes, you read that right — on the underside of the pad. Rocks, sticks, glass, even knives will have trouble getting through. They didn’t invent the fabric, but are the first to apply it to the bottom of a sleeping pad.

While most backpackers won’t need such a rugged pad, we appreciate the engineering savvy.

The bottom of the Klymit Armored V, taken at Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2017.

Best for:

Specs:

  • Weight: 2 lb 7 oz
  • R-Value: 1.6
  • 50D Stretch Top, 100D armored nylon SuperFabric bottom
  • Retail Price: $199.95

Available September 2017

The Titanium Dig Dig Tool as a tent stake. It’s a trowel too. Image provided by Vargo, All Rights Reserved. Vargo Titanium Dig Dig Tool

Vargo is a small brand best known for its titanium products, like pots and pans. It also has pulse on the long-distance, lightweight backpacking community, who like multifunational tools and use specialized trowels these days. (Yes, to bury your poop).

Combine these and you get the Titanium Dig Dig Tool. It’s a titanium trowel and tent stake rolled into one easy-to-grip package. The main highlights are a ridged bottom that can cut through roots, an 8-inch length which is how long a cat hole should be according to Leave No Trace, and a top that makes it double as a seriously durable tent stake.

We dig it.

The Vargo Titanium Dig Dig Tool at Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2017.

Best For:

Specs:

  • 1.25 ounces (36 g)
  • 8.1 inches (20.5 cm) x 1.7 inches (4.4 cm)
  • $24.95

The Titanium Dig Dig Tool went on sale in May of 2017, but it’s too cool to leave off this list.

The full Alpha Cookware series. Image courtesy Sea to Summit. Sea to Summit Alpha Cookware

Sea to Summit creates fun gear that works together. They are one of those companies with a nifty solution for nearly every camping woe, best known for their dry sacks, collapsible cups, and unique sleeping pads.

They debuted a handful of gear at the show, but what caught our eye was the Alpha Cookware series. You may be familiar with the X-Pot, a collapsible cooking pot that redefines the space your cook gear has to take up. While the X-Pot series is great, it’s pretty heavy.

Alpha Cookware doesn’t collapse, but it is super light. The Alpha Pots use a hard-anodized alloy and have a polished interior, while the Alpha Pans use an “advanced, PFOA-free, Halo® non-stick surface”.

There’s a lot of cookware out there. This set drew our eye for a few reasons:

  1. Not titanium, yet very light. The material is much better for cooking than titanium, yet it’s still super light. We’re not sure how they did that.
  2. Nesting. True to Sea to Summit form, the entire set nests and can be bought in mix and match fashion.
  3. Easy lock handle. The handle is nice, locks the lid, and seems sturdy.
  4. Affordable. Also because no titanium is used, the price point on these bad boys is really reasonable.

You can learn more about the Alpha Cookware series on the Sea to Summit website.

The Sea to Summit Alpha Cookware setup at Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2017.

Best For:

Specs:

  • Alpha Pot 1.2L, 6.6 oz, $34.95
  • Alpha Pot 2.7L, 9.6 oz, $44.95
  • Alpha Pan 8″, 8.6 oz, $34.95
  • Alpha Pan 10″, 11.8 oz, $44.95

Alpha Cookware will be available in Spring 2018.

The NEMO Stargaze Lux in action. Beer not included. Image courtesy NEMO. NEMO Stargazer Chairs

NEMO is best known for innovative design and specific application. Their tents, sleeping bags, and sleeping pads are typically designed for the weight-conscious backpacker and come with ingenious features.

At Outdoor Retailer their backpacking gear was on full display, but so was their car camping gear.

The Stargazer series is a new kind of camp chair. It’s a combination of a rocking chair (at least it feels like one), a comfy seat, and on the higher end models a supreme cup-holding device. But the clutch feature is that it rotates backwards, allowing you to assume a “gazing at the stars” position. We gazed at the ceiling of Salt Palace, and man was it comfortable.

These are pricey, but NEMO gear often is. If you want a camp upgrade, check it out.

All three Stargaze camp chairs at Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2017.

Best For:

Specs:

  • Stargaze Recliner Low: 5 lbs 3 oz., $169.95
  • Stargaze Recliner: 5 lbs 11 oz., $179.95
  • Stargaze Recliner Luxury: 6 lbs 12 oz., $219.95

The Stargaze camp chairs are available from NEMO October 1, 2017. They will be in online retailers in January 2018.

Black Diamond BD.dry

Black Diamond had a number of new products on tap for Outdoor Retailer, but the most promising one is BD.dry, a proprietary waterproof membrane. This membrane competes with the likes of GORE-TEX and eVent, but is developed and used only by Black Diamond in a few new lines of rain jacket.

Many brands have something similar, but what stood about about BD.dry was the feel in its FineLine and StormLine rain shells. They combine waterproof breathability with a ton of stretch. In touching the two jackets Black Diamond on display we were impressed with the stretch and lightweight feel — it was clear they would be excellent for active pursuits.

We’ll see how well the technology does when they’re released, but the price point on both jackets is highly competitive.

The StormLine and FineLine rain shells with BD.dry at Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2017.

Best For:

Specs:

  • FineLine Stretch Rain Shell: 9.8 oz, 2.5-layer, $129
  • StormLine Stretch Rain Shell: 11.2 oz, 2.5-layer, $149

The BD.dry technology and the accompanying rain jackets will be available Spring 2018.

Western Mountaineering Nanolite and Astralite Quilts

For those into ultralight backpacking game, quilts are the rage. They are lighter than sleeping bags but do roughly the same job. Western Mountaineering is regarded as the premier manufacturer of high-end down sleeping bags, and they’ve heard the call of their ultralight fanbase.

Yes, Western Mountaineering debuted two ultralight, high-end quilts at Outdoor Retailer. Meet the Astralite and the Nanolite.

The Western Mountaineering Nanolite (blue) and Astralite (neon green) at Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2017.

These quilts aren’t entirely revolutionary, but Western Mountaineering rarely debuts a new product, let alone a whole new type of product. We can’t wait to see their take on this growing alternative to sleeping bags. The specs listed below are for the prototypes they debuted at Outdoor Retailer — final specs, including price and overall performance, could change for the final product.

Best For:

Nanolite Specs:

  • Rated to 38°F
  • 11 oz (312 g) total weight, 6.5 oz (184 g) fill weight
  • Offered in 5’8″ or 6’4″
  • $330 MSRP

Astrolite Specs:

  • Rated to 26°F
  • 16 oz (454 g) total weight, 10.5 oz (298 g) fill weight
  • Offered in 5’8″ or 6’4″
  • $415 MSRP

The Western Mountaineering Nanolite and Astralite will be available in Spring 2018.

Snow Peak BBQ Rod

You probably associate Snow Peak with ultralight backpacking. Titanium stoves, cups, sporks — all with a fairly high price tag. But did you know the Japanese company has a huge range of camping and lifestyle products, most of which have not made it to North America?

The Snow Peak BBQ Rod is one of those nifty camp items. They debuted the BBQ Rod at Outdoor Retailer, and while it is slightly silly, we couldn’t help but highlight it. Who doesn’t want a durable fishing rod to cook weenies and mallows on?

The Snow Peak BBQ Rod on display at Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2017.

Best For:

Specs:

  • 3.75 lbs (1.7kg)
  • Steel and Bamboo Construction
  • $39.95 MSRP
Columbia Omni-Shade Sun Deflector

Everyone knows Columbia. They make stellar outdoor and casual wear and pride themselves on a heap of in-house, proprietary technology created in advanced laboratories. Most of this tech falls under the “Omni” moniker, such as Omni-Wick and Omni-Heat. Each piece of tech is infused in Columbia gear, mostly clothing, and makes that gear do something special.

The newest tech that Columbia debuted at Outdoor Retailer is Omni-Shade Sun Deflector. This features small dots that reflect sunlight away from the body and clothing, thereby keeping the wearer cooler. These dots use titanium dioxide, a reflective and durable compound found in sun block, to deflect the sun.

Sounds like magic, right? It kind of is. And it’s a bunch of small circular dots on your clothing, making the line a fashion statement, too.

Omni-Shade Sun Deflector comes out on a number of Columbia lines, and what we saw at the show looks excellent. We’re most excited about the Solar Ice Short Sleeve Shirt, which is your basic hiking shirt. It’s completely covered in these dots.

The Omni-Shade Sun Deflector line at Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2017.

The only downside to the tech is that it’s not cheap — the Solar Ice shirt will run you roughly $75 at retail. But Columbia is known for solid discounts, so keep an eye out.

This tech and the clothing line will be available Spring 2018.

Cotopaxi Allpa 35L

If you haven’t heard of Cotopaxi yet, it’s time to get familiar. The stylish brand is redefining cool, comfortable, and essential backpacking gear. Backpacks and clothing is what they’re most well-known for, but they’re getting into sleeping bags and tents these days too.

The newest edition to their line is the Allpa 35L. Meant for adventure travel, this backpack can store your laptop, clothes, and other travel essentials while fitting into the overhead compartment of an airplane. It looks good, is durable as hell, and has built-in organization.

It’s not exactly new — the Allpa 35L has been on Indiegogo since May of 2017, and has been funded over $1,000,000. Yeah, you read that right. We’re not the only ones who think it’s a sweet pack, but we got to confirm that at the show.

The Cotopaxi Allpa 35L pack next to a few other packs at Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2017.

Best For:

Specs:

  • 35 Liters
  • 3 lb 7 oz (1.5 kg)
  • 1000D polyester and 1680 ballistic nylon paneling
  • $170..
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Backpackers.com — From mountains to plains to sea, we’ve been sleeping under the stars this summer. Getting out of the city and into the fresh air is our permanent weekend plan — and weekday plan, if we’re lucky. Below you’ll find the sleeping bags, sleeping pads, and even a new headlamp we’ve awarded and recommended for three different Backpacker Types. The campfire is calling.

Your Backpackers.com update is here!

New Gear Reviews

This gear has been researched, tested, and found worthy. Follow the links to read the full gear reviews and get the gear!

Feathered Friends Egret Nano 20 Sleeping Bag

The Feathered Friends Egret Nano 20 is the Rolls Royce of sleeping bags. Accurate warmth, deluxe features, quality materials, and made the U.S. of A.

Read the full gear review of the Feathered Friends Egret Nano 20 to see why we recommend it as our Premium Pick for the Wilderness Backpacker.

Princeton Tec Byte Headlamp

Bright enough, ultralight, and basic in its design, the Princeton Tec Byte headlamp is an excellent budget choice for non-technical backpacking trips.

Read the full gear review of the Princeton Tec Byte to see why we recommend it as our Budget Pick for the Ultralight Backpacker and Wilderness Backpacker.

REI Camp Bed 3.5 Sleeping Pad

The REI Camp Bed 3.5 soothes a rock and roll sleeping soul. Super thick, leak-free, and easy to inflate. Wake up rejuvenated.

Read the full gear review of the REI Camp Bed 3.5 to see why we recommend it as our Classic Pick for the Car Camper.

Sawyer Squeeze Water Filter

The Sawyer Squeeze takes the chore of filtering water and turns it into a quick and easy process. Fill the bag, screw it on, and squeeze.

Read the full gear review of the Sawyer Squeeze to see why we recommend it as our Budget Pick for the Wilderness Backpacker.

Klymit Insulated Static V Sleeping Pad

Laying on a cloud may seem like a luxury, but with the Klymit Insulated Static V sleeping pad, even a basic backpacker on a budget can experience such comfort.

Read the full gear review of the Klymit Insulated Static V to see why we recommend it as our Budget Pick for the Wilderness Backpacker.

Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XTherm Sleeping Pad

If Therm-a-Rest is the Ferrari of sleeping pads, the NeoAir XTherm is their show stopper. The combination of warmth, durability, and weight is peerless.

Read the full gear review of the Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XTherm to see why we recommend it as our Premium Pick for the Ultralight Backpacker.

Stay Up to Date

We publish content weekly and update you every month. Visit Backpackers.com to see what new gear we’ve recommended, and what new guides we’ve penned for your reading pleasure.

The post Backpackers.com July 2017 Highlights — Headlamps, Sleeping Bags, and Sleeping Pads appeared first on Backpackers.com.

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Backpackers.com — The good news? It’s officially summer. Sure, coastal California may suffer from June gloom, but the sun is shining just about everywhere else. We’ve been sleeping under the stars (and on top of a few rocks) to test our latest gear, and we have a lot to share this month.

Below you’ll find the sleeping bags, sleeping pads, headlamps, and even more puffy jackets we’ve awarded and recommended for all five Backpacker Types. Plus, we have a new Sleeping Pad Guide that will help you achieve the ultimate night’s sleep in the wild.

Your Backpackers.com update is here!

New Gear Reviews

This gear has been researched, tested, and found worthy. Follow the links to read the full gear reviews and get the gear!

The North Face Thermoball Hoodie Synthetic Puffy — Classic Pick for the Car Camper and Urban Hiker 

The North Face Thermoball Hoodie will keep you warm at all costs and looking good while you hunker down in the huge hood and quilted, down-like heat.

Read the full gear review of The North Face Thermoball Hoodie to see why we recommend it as our Classic Pick for the Car Camper and Urban Hiker.

Western Mountaineering UltraLite Sleeping Bag — Premium Pick for the Ultralight Backpacker

The Western Mountaineering UltraLite is a legendary sleeping bag: incredible loft, crazy compressible, fully hooded with a down collar, and ultralight.

Read the full gear review of the Western Mountaineering UltraLite to see why we recommend it as our Premium Pick for the Ultralight Backpacker.

Sea to Summit Comfort Plus Insulated Sleeping Pad — Premium Pick for the Wilderness Backpacker

The Sea to Summit Comfort Plus Insulated Mat may not be the lightest pad in town, but it is a weight worth bearing. Work harder, sleep better.

Read the full gear review of the Sea to Summit Comfort Plus Insulated Mat to see why we recommend it as our Premium Pick for the Wilderness Backpacker.

The North Face Cat’s Meow Sleeping Bag — Premium Pick for the Car Camper

The North Face Cat’s Meow is a premium synthetic mummy sleeping bag that works for car camping and backpacking, all for under $200. You’ll purr.

Read the full gear review of The North Face Cat’s Meow to see why we recommend it as our Premium Pick for the Car Camper.

Black Diamond ReVolt Headlamp — Premium Pick for the Wilderness Backpacker and Car Camper

The Black Diamond ReVolt is a waterproof rechargeable headlamp. Let that sink in. And it has all the other features you need for quick and easy light, too.

Read the full gear review the Black Diamond ReVolt to see why we recommend it as our Premium Pick for the Wilderness Backpacker and Car Camper.

Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite Sleeping Pad — Classic Pick for the Ultralight Backpacker

The Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite delivers the comfort, warmth, and thickness of a much heavier pad, and is ready to whisk you away directly to dream-land.

Read the full gear review of the Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite to see why we recommend it as our Classic Pick for the Ultralight Backpacker.

New Outdoor Guides

We dug deep on this one. A new Outdoor Guide means a massive dose of information for our readers. That’s you. You can thank us later.

Backpackers.com Guide to Sleeping Pads

This sleeping pad guide helps you choose the best pad for you. Learn about different types of sleeping pads, R-Value and insulation, how to patch a pad, and a whole lot more. Sleep easy, sleep well.

Stay Up to Date

We publish content weekly and update you every month. Visit Backpackers.com to see what new gear we’ve recommended, and what new guides we’ve penned for your reading pleasure.

The post Backpackers.com June 2017 Highlights — Sleeping Bags, Sleeping Pads, Headlamps, and More! appeared first on Backpackers.com.

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Backpackers.com — May is typically a busy month. The sky clears up, flowers are in bloom, and trails begin to see the usual feet kicking up dust and dirt. We’ve got a jam-packed summer of backpacking and camping coming up — and we hope you do too! It’s just about stargazing time.

We’ve been busy testing new gear this past month, and have some fully featured recommendations to share. Below you’ll find the latest rain jackets and synthetic insulated jackets (puffy jackets!) we’ve awarded and recommended for all five Backpacker Types. Plus a new guide that dives deep on the marshmallow goodness of Sleeping Bags and Backpacking Quilts.

Your Backpackers.com update is here!

New Recommended Gear

This gear has been researched, tested, and found worthy. Follow the links to read the full reviews and get the gear!

Montbell UL Thermawrap Parka Synthetic Puffy — Budget Pick for the Ultralight Backpacker and Urban Hiker

The Montbell UL Thermawrap Parka is an ultralight packable jacket with super-cozy synthetic insulation. And it won’t break the bank.

Read the full review to see why we recommend the Montbell UL Thermawrap Parka as our Budget Pick for the Ultralight Backpacker and Urban Hiker.

Arc’teryx Atom LT Hoody Synthetic Puffy — Premium Pick for the Wilderness Backpacker and Ultralight Backpacker

The Arc’teryx Atom LT Hoody, featuring Coreloft insulation, is breathable, durable, uber water resistant, and more comfortable than your barcalounger.

Read the full review to see why we recommend the Arc’teryx Atom LT Hoody as our Premium Pick for the Wilderness Backpacker and Ultralight Backpacker.

Patagonia M10 Rain Jacket — Premium Pick for the Ultralight Backpacker 

The Patagonia M10 is wonderfully waterproof, beautifully breathable, lusciously light, and perfectly packable. It simply does everything you want an ultralight hardshell rain jacket to do. And yes, it can handle this kind of snow.

Read the full review to see why we recommend the Patagonia M10 as our Premium Pick for the Ultralight Backpacker.

Outdoor Research Cathode Hooded Synthetic Puffy — Budget Pick for the Wilderness Backpacker and Day Hiker

The Outdoor Research Cathode is a set it and forget it jacket. It’s a comfortable, warm, breathable insulated puffy that’s ready for any adventure. And yes, it’s available in “so bright you can see it from space” pink!

Read the full review to see why we recommend the Outdoor Research Cathode Hooded Jacket as our Budget Pick for the Wilderness Backpacker and Day Hiker.

Patagonia Torrentshell Rain Jacket — Classic Pick for the Car Camper, Day Hiker and Urban Hiker

The Patagonia Torrentshell rain jacket is a basic, highly functional piece perfect for rain, sleet, or spit-ball snow. It’ll make sure you don’t become a wilted springtime wildflower.

Read the full review to see why we recommend the Patagonia Torrentshell as our Classic Pick for the Car Camper, Day Hiker, and Urban Hiker.

New Outdoor Guides

We dug deep on this one. A new Outdoor Guide means a massive dose of information for our readers. That’s you. You can thank us later.

Backpackers Guide to Sleeping Bags and Backpacking Quilts

The guide goes deep on camping sleeping bags, backpacking sleeping bags, and backpacking quilts. Learn about temperature rating, insulation, features, and more.

Stay Up to Date

We publish content weekly and update you every month. Visit Backpackers.com to see what new gear we’ve recommended, and what new guides we’ve penned for your reading pleasure.

The post Backpackers.com May 2017 Highlights — Synthetic Jackets, Rain Jackets, New Outdoor Guide appeared first on Backpackers.com.

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Backpackers.com — Spring has arrived! Trails are filling up, boots are muddy, and pollen is on the wind. While warmer days don’t always mean warmer nights, it’s getting time to cozy up around a campfire. Unpredictable weather can change your backpacking plans for the better or worse, and we’ve got you covered.

We’ve been busy testing new gear, and have some fully featured recommendations to share. Below you’ll find the latest rain jackets and synthetic insulated jackets (puffy jackets!) we’ve awarded and recommended for all five Backpacker Types.

Your Backpackers.com update is here!

New Recommended Gear

This gear has been researched, tested, and found worthy. Follow the links to read the full reviews and get the gear!

Arc’teryx Zeta LT Rain Jacket — Premium Pick for the Wilderness Backpacker

The Arc’teryx Zeta LT rain jacket is a slim-fitting, highly durable, silky-smooth water repeller that breathes during high exertion in pouring rain.

Read the full review to see why we recommend the Arc’teryx Zeta LT as our Premium Pick for the Wilderness Backpacker.

Montbell Thermawrap Pro Synthetic Insulated Jacket — Budget Pick for the Car Camper

The Montbell Thermawrap Pro is a warm puffy jacket that’s affordable, practical, looks sleek, and will survive seasons of use around a campfire.

Read the full review to see why we recommend the Montbell Thermawrap Pro synthetic insulated jacket as our Budget Pick for the  Car Camper.

Outdoor Research Helium II Rain Jacket — Classic Pick for the Ultralight Backpacker

The Outdoor Research Helium II rain jacket is an ultralight storm shell distilled to elemental purity: functional, simple, and it won’t break the bank.

Read the full review to see why we recommend the Outdoor Research Helium II rain jacket as our Classic Pick for the Ultralight Backpacker.

Columbia Arcadia II Rain Jacket — Budget Pick for the Urban Hiker

The Columbia Arcadia II is an ideal, affordable rain jacket for stormy adventures in and around urban areas. Just remember to zip up and strap down! (The men’s version is the Watertight II.)

Read the full review to see why we recommend the Columbia Arcadia II as our Budget Pick for the Urban Hiker.

Rab Xenon X Synthetic Insulated Jacket — Classic Pick for the Wilderness Backpacker, Ultralight Backpacker, and Day Hiker

The Rab Xenon X is a synthetic technical hoody designed to keep you warm, mobile, and comfy at all costs. It feels so good you just might start dating it.

Read the full review to see why we recommend the Rab Xenon X synthetic insulated jacket as our Classic Pick for the Wilderness Backpacker, Ultralight Backpacker, and Day Hiker.

Stay Up to Date

We publish content weekly and update you every month. Visit Backpackers.com to see what new gear we’ve recommended, and what new guides we’ve penned for your reading pleasure.

The post Backpackers.com April 2017 Highlights – Rain Jackets and Synthetic Insulated Jackets appeared first on Backpackers.com.

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Backpackers.com — As snow stops falling on the East Coast, waterfalls are springing to life on the West Coast. From sea to sea, backpackers are emerging from winter hibernation and plunging into the wild for their first trips of the year. Unless you’re one of those snow-stoked backpackers, in which case we cannot commend your resilience enough.

We’ve tested gear this winter, and have some fully featured recommendations to share. Below you’ll find the latest water filters and purifiers we’ve awarded and recommended for all five Backpacker Types. You’ll also find one new Outdoor Guide for synthetic insulated jackets, the best insulating layer for cold and wet climates.

Your Backpackers.com update is here!

New Recommended Gear

This gear has been researched, tested, and found worthy. Follow the links to read the full reviews and get the gear!

Sawyer MINI Water Filtration System — Budget Pick for the Ultralight Backpacker

Ultralight, simple beyond measure, reliable to 100,000 gallons, and tiny. The Sawyer MINI Water Filtration System works on the spot for everyone.

Read the full review to see why we recommend the Sawyer MINI Water Filtration System as our Budget Pick for the Ultralight Backpacker.

Platypus GravityWorks 4L Water Filter System — Premium Pick for the Wilderness Backpacker and Car Camper

The Platypus GravityWorks 4L Water Filter System is everything we’ve dreamed about: fast, simple, and mesmerizing. Why have we been pumping all these years?

Read the full review to see why we recommend the Platypus GravityWorks 4L Water Filter System as our Premium Pick for the Wilderness Backpacker and Car Camper.

Katadyn BeFree Water Bottle Filter — Budget Pick for the Day Hiker and Car Camper

The Katadyn BeFree water bottle filter is for those who have frequent access to water, love a fast filter rate, and value simplicity above all else.

Read the full review to see why we recommend the Katadyn BeFree Water Bottle Filter as our Budget Pick for the Day Hiker and Car Camper.

MSR Guardian Purifier — Premium Pick for the Urban Hiker and Day Hiker

The MSR Guardian Purifier will treat your water in seconds, cleans itself while you pump, and is one self contained unit. If you need to to thwart viruses and have the money to spend, you can’t do better.

Read the full review to see why we recommend the MSR Guardian Purifier as our Premium Pick for the Urban Hiker and Day Hiker.

New Outdoor Guides

We dug deep on this one. A new Outdoor Guide means a massive dose of information for our readers. That’s you. You can thank us later.

Backpackers Guide to Synthetic Puffy Jackets

This is your ultimate guide to synthetic insulated jackets, the other puffy. Cheaper, more breathable, and better when wet than down, these jackets are pretty awesome.

Stay Up to Date

We publish content weekly and update you every month. Visit Backpackers.com to see what new gear we’ve recommended, and what new guides we’ve penned for your reading pleasure.

The post Backpackers.com March 2017 Highlights – Water Filters, Synthetic Jackets appeared first on Backpackers.com.

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Backpackers.com — The final throes of winter are the perfect time to learn about some new gear. Spring is just around the corner, and trips abound. We’ve got you covered.

Below you’ll find the latest gear we’ve awarded and recommended for all five Backpacker Types and two Outdoor Guides for new gear: rain jackets and water filters and purifiers. Are you thirsty for a backcountry adventure? We sure are. Rain or shine.

Your Backpackers.com update is here!

New Recommended Gear

This gear has been researched, tested, and found worthy. Follow the links to read the full reviews and get the gear!

Petzl Tikkina — Budget Pick for the Car Camper, Day Hiker, and Urban Hiker

The Petzl Tikkina is plenty bright, has a crazy wide beam, three versatile light modes, and five-year warranty. All for under twenty bucks.

Read the full review to see why we recommend the Petzl Tikkina headlamp as our Budget Pick for the Car Camper, Urban Hiker, and the Day Hiker.

ZebraLight H52w AA Neutral White — Premium Pick for the Ultralight Backpacker

The ZebraLight H52w is a headlamp species on the rise: ultralight, customizable, durable, and seriously bright, all without the advertising hype.

Read the full review to see why we recommend the ZebraLight H52w AA Neutral White headlamp as our Premium Pick for the Ultralight Backpacker.

Marmot PreCip — Budget Pick for the Car Camper, Day Hiker, and Wilderness Backpacker

The Marmot PreCip rain jacket offers a super lightweight, packable shell that fends off any rain thrown your way, just as long as you’re not climbing Everest.

Read the full review to see why we recommend the Marmot PreCip rain jacket as our Budget Pick for the Car CamperDay Hiker, and Wilderness Backpacker.

SteriPEN Adventurer Opti — Classic Pick for the Day Hiker, Ultralight Backpacker, and Urban Hiker

The SteriPEN Adventurer Opti is exceptionally light, simple, and fast-acting. Safe drinking water in 90 seconds? Yes, please.

Read the full review to see why we recommend the SteriPEN Adventurer Opti water purifier as our Classic Pick for the Day HikerUrban Hiker, and the Ultralight Backpacker.

New Outdoor Guides

We took long, deep drinks in the wild — and stayed dry doing it. New Outdoor Guides means a massive dose of information for our readers. That’s you. You can thank us later.

Backpackers Guide to Rain Jackets

Everything you ever wanted to know about rain jackets – laminates, membranes, layers, DWR, waterproofness, and fancy features – explained. With a bit of humor, too.

Backpackers Guide to Water Filters and Purifiers

Water filters and purifiers will do more than ease a worried mind. Learn why treatment of water in the backcountry is necessary, what methods are right for you, and how to do it right.

Stay Up to Date

We publish content weekly and update you every other week. Visit Backpackers.com to see what new gear we’ve recommended, and what new guides we’ve penned for your reading pleasure.

The post Backpackers.com Highlights — February 1-28, 2017 appeared first on Backpackers.com.

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Backpackers.com — Have you completed any of your backpacking resolutions yet? We’re already picking out the trails, mountains, and campsites we’ll be visiting to test more awesome gear for you this year!

Below you’ll find the latest gear we’ve awarded and recommended for all five Backpacker Types and an Outdoor Guide for a new gear category: headlamps. How far ahead can you see?

Your Backpackers.com update is here!

New Recommended Gear

This gear has been researched, tested, and found worthy. Follow the links to read the full reviews and get the gear!

Columbia Steens Mountain Full-Zip Fleece 2.0 — Budget Pick for the Car Camper, Urban Hiker, and Day Hiker

If you need a trusty companion at a low price the Columbia Steens Mountain Fleece is a safe bet. Plush fabric, simple design, classically styled.

Read the full review to see why we recommend the Columbia Steens Mountain Full-Zip Fleece 2.0 as our Budget Pick for the Car Camper, Urban Hiker, and the Day Hiker.

Patagonia R1 Hoody Fleece — Premium Pick for the Wilderness Backpacker, Ultralight Backpacker, and Day Hiker

The R1 Hoody is a veritable buffet of fleece-awesomeness for the gear addicted backpacker. Comfort, warmth, design, and sheer versatility at your service.

Read the full review to see why we recommend the Patagonia R1 Hoody fleece as our Premium Pick for the Wilderness Backpacker, Ultralight Backpacker, and the Day Hiker.

The North Face Denali 2 Fleece — Premium Pick for the Car Camper and Urban Hiker

The North Face Denali 2 reimagines a classic in all the best ways. It keeps you toasty, performs admirably as a wind blocker, and feels like home, if home were a fleece jacket.

Read the full review to see why we recommend the North Face Denali 2 fleece as our Premium Pick for the Car Camper and the Urban Hiker.

Black Diamond Spot Headlamp — Classic Pick for the Wilderness Backpacker, Day Hiker, Car Camper, and Urban Hiker

The Black Diamond Spot is a superstar that exemplifies all that a headlamp should be. It will help you see a long way, for a long time, in terrible conditions.

Read the full review to see why we recommend the Black Diamond Spot Headlamp as our Classic Pick for the Wilderness BackpackerDay HikerCar Camper, and the Urban Hiker.

Black Diamond Sprinter Headlamp — Premium Pick for the Day Hiker and the Urban Hiker

The Black Diamond Sprinter Headlamp is sleek, comfy, and so bright it may occasionally be mistaken for a Bowing 747 hurtling towards you.

Read the full review to see why we recommend the Black Diamond Sprinter Headlamp as our Premium Pick for the Day Hiker and the Urban Hiker.

New Outdoor Guides

We went deep. A new Outdoor Guide means a massive dose of information for our readers. That’s you. You can thank us later.

Backpackers Guide to Headlamps

Comprehensive guide to that which lets us see — headlamps! Demystifying, scientific, hilarious. Includes misconceptions about lumens and battery life, too.

Stay Up to Date

We publish content weekly, and update you every month. Visit Backpackers.com to see what new gear we’ve recommended, and what new guides we’ve penned for your reading pleasure.

The post Backpackers.com Highlights — January 1-27, 2017 appeared first on Backpackers.com.

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