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Searching for the Light

After the year of darkness that was 2020, I needed to walk in the light of the Mojave desert.

By the Numbers: Is Synthetic Insulation Warm When Wet?

We throw some quantitative testing at an oft-repeated synthetic insulation claim to measure the thermal performance of wet insulation.

The Backpacker’s Journey

Rex Sanders examines the arcs and stages that backpackers take as years and mileage start to add up.

Enlightened Equipment Uprising Underquilt

The Enlightened Equipment Uprising Underquilt is a tapered, somewhat customizable underquilt aimed at experienced hammock users. It incorporates a number of performance features differentiating itself from the majority of available offerings, such as strategically placed insulation and a unique suspension system.

Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Nano Travel Day Pack Review

The Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Nano Travel Day Pack (MSRP: $29.95, 1 oz / 30g) is an 18 L summiting daypack that can be compressed to the size of an egg and tucked into a multiday pack for peak-bagging on longer trips.

Episode 39 | Matt Mason: Bikepacking and Public Lands

Andrew interviews backpacker turned bikepacker Matt Mason in a Bikepacking 101 conversation.

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Gear Reviews

Red Paw Packs 28 L Flatiron Backpack Review

The Red Paw Packs Flatiron Pack 28 L (13 to 19 oz / 368 g to 538 g, MSRP from $220) is a customizable low-volume overnight / daypack with a unique zippered main compartment.

Black Diamond Blitz Spikes Review

The Black Diamond Blitz Traction Spikes (MSRP $39.95, 1.5 to 1.8 oz / 42 to 50 g) are ultralight, stainless-steel, forefoot-only traction devices for shoes and boots intended for incidental use on hard-packed snow terrain.

Gryphon Gear Aries 20 Quilt Review

The Gryphon Gear Aries 20 Quilt (25.7 oz / 729 g, MSRP from $327) is a three-season quilt with a differential cut, draft collar, an edge tensioning system, and 17.5 oz (496 g) of down fill.

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Skills

Winter Backpacking When There’s No Snow?

My shelter, sleep, clothing, water, and cook system for when temps drop but full-on winter snow and wind hasn't yet arrived.

How to Get Water Out of a Frozen Stream Where the Ice is Several Inches Thick

We invited this challenge from our community on the forums and Instagram. Here's our solution - thanks for your feedback and suggestions!

Backpacking Trip Planning Resources

Here are some of our favorite trip planning resources. These are curated by our staff and include products we've personally used and recommend.

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Gear Testing & Research

By the Numbers: Rethinking Fleece

Stephen Seeber subjects ten fleece samples to rigorous thermal testing.

By the Numbers: Thermal Performance Measurements of Synthetic Insulations

Stephen Seeber presents measurements of several market-leading insulations along with four performance metrics to help judge their performance.

Lipstick on a Pig? Wind & Cold Temperature Testing of the Jetboil Stash (StoveBench)

Backpacking Light publisher Ryan Jordan subjects the Jetboil Stash to the StoveBench testing protocol to answer the pressing question: is this innovation, or lipstick on a pig?

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Culture

Learning Curve: Risk Assessment

It takes a close call for Maggie Slepian to dial in her risk assessment skills.

Standards Watch: Dan Durston Talks Design and Business

Dan Durston is a gear designer, wilderness guide, and biologist. In this interview with Rex Sanders, he talks about the process and philosophy of shelter design.

Unpacked: Rewards of Repetition

Greek philosophy says you can't step in the same river twice, but what about backpacking the same trail?

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