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Inflatable sleeping pads: finding comfort when sleeping on the ground

The product category of inflatable sleeping pad is trending towards larger, warmer, and more comfortable pads - with very little weight penalty.

Gear Guide: Satellite Messaging Devices (“Messengers”)

This gear guide summarizes the category of satellite messaging-centric devices, i.e., devices that focus on satellite messaging as its primary, rather than secondary, function. This is in contrast to navigation-centric devices (which usually offer integrated mapping on the device), such as the Garmin inReach Explorer or Garmin GPSMap.

The Dirt Catwalk: Modern Layering Ensembles for Backpackers

In this article, I discuss some of the challenges that an effective layering system needs to address. In addition, I highlight a handful of the layers that I use the most and how I combine them into various ensembles for different use cases.

REI Magma Trail Quilt 30 Review (Updated)

This REI Magma Trail Quilt 30 review features a high quality, well-insulated quilt that uses water-resistant down and includes an insulated draft collar.

A Place to Sit: A Perspective on Ultralight Camp Chairs

My perspective on camp chairs, and perspectives on how it has changed in the past five years.

Hiking with Tripod on the Colorado Trail
Editor’s Note: This story contains descriptions of animal abuse and trauma related to a rescue dog. Introduction: Tripod’s Story Can anyone own a 4-legged canine rescue? Three-legged? Toothless? Hacked off...

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Gear Reviews

Superior Wilderness Designs Rugged Long Haul Review

The Superior Wilderness Designs Rugged Long Haul is a 35 to 50 L internal frame backpack weighing 2 pounds made from Ultra and EPX fabrics.

Outdoor Research Flurry Sensor Glove Review (Updated)

The Outdoor Research Flurry Sensor Glove (2.5 oz / 71 g, $40) is the warmest glove I've found that I can use effectively with a smartphone.

MSR Pro Bivy Review

The MSR Pro Bivy weighs less than 10 ounces (285 g). It's a very compact, feature-less bivy sack that embodies the essence of bivy sack camping.

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Skills

How to Choose Backpacking Gear (Shelter Case Studies)

In this video, we walk through a framework for making decisions about how to select gear based on benefits, features, and design attributes, with a focus on shelter systems.

Stove Systems for Winter Backpacking

Ryan discusses how you build and utilize your stove system for winter cooking and snow melting to maintain hydration.

Animal Encounters in the Backcountry

Ryan shares some principles about how to manage wildlife encounters, based on his own encounters with wild animals in the backcountry.

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Gear Testing & Research

Shell Game: Wind and Rain Jacket Breathability Tests vs. Trail Performance

I sent several top wind and rain shells to the lab to measure breathability and then took them on the trail for real-world testing.

What Properties Influence the Air Permeability of Wind Shirt Fabrics?

The purpose of this report is to investigate the relationship between air permeability, fabric porosity, weave type, and yarn structure via photomicrography and image analysis. This is not an exhaustive research study, but rather, an exploration of some of the fabric design attributes that have an impact on air permeability rates.

By The Numbers Fabric Air Permeability and MVTR are Closely Related, Just Not How You Might Expect

This work explores the relationship between air permeability and MVTR in fabrics that do not include a waterproof membrane.

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Culture

New Gear Guides: REI & Cottage Brands (+2024 Sale Info)

Quick reference to information and links to the new REI and Cottage Brand gear guides & 2024 Spring Sales.

Book Review: Trail of the Lost

Mark Wetherington reviews the Trail of the Lost by Andrea Lankford and reacts to the implications it unveils for backpackers.

On Finding and Claiming Femininity in the Backcountry

"...they never felt more powerful, or more fit, or happier about themselves and their bodies, than when they were thru-hiking." - Nikki Stavile on femininity in the backcountry.

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