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Notes from the Field: Summer on the Pacific Crest Trail

Long distance hikes have a unique character. BPL editor, Don Wilson, shares his perspectives on gear, technique, clothing and philosophy following a lightweight, 6-week section hike of the PCT.

The Backpacker’s Digicam Manifesto

BPL's techno guy discusses the attributes of the lightweight backpacker's perfect digital camera - and laments the fact that no one is making it yet!

Visor Buff Evo-2 Hat SPOTLITE REVIEW

A versatile ultralight outdoor cap from Buff. Is it funky or cool – you decide.

Integral Designs Hot Socks SPOTLITE REVIEW

So much warmth in such a light package.

Backcountry Water Quality: Technologies, Trends and Paranoia?

A close look at ways backcountry users can treat their water: what works, what should concern us, and what is hyperbole.

Montrail Hardrock Trail Shoe SPOTLITE REVIEW

Designed for the grueling Hardrock 100 endurance race – and that’s no exaggeration!

Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles Review Summary and Gear Guide Overview

Carbon fiber construction has made its way into the trekking pole industry in a big way. The result is a bunch of really light poles. Which are better? We put twelve all-carbon and carbon/aluminum hybrid trekking poles through some seriously tough testing and rate their performance and features.

simBLISSity UnSlack Pack SPOTLITE REVIEW

If your backpack doesn’t have convenience pockets for your camera and snacks, here is a good way to add them.

Integral Designs eVENT Shortie Gaiters SPOTLITE REVIEW

Elegant in their simplicity and functionality, they’re like putting your socks on in the morning.

New Balance 872 Off Road Trail Shoe SPOTLITE REVIEW

A superb shoe for ultralight backpacking on-trail. Off-trail, they performed exceptionally well, except for one weakness.

Tarptent Contrail (Sneak Preview) SPOTLITE REVIEW

Tarptent returns to its roots with a new fast and light bivy-weight 1-person tent.

John Muir Trail (JMT) Record Attempt – Unsupported, Without Resupply

BPL subscriber, Al Shaver, will attempt to break the JMT speed record for an unsupported hike without resupply. He starts on the full moon, September 7th.

Integral Designs eVENT Crysallis (Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2006)

Looking for a bivy sack made out of eVENT fabric? Take your pick at Integral Designs.

Apparel Trends and Highlights

Trends and highlights in lightweight apparel from Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2006.

Night Ize Figure 9 Rope Tightener (Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2006)

Nite Ize rescues the knot challenged among us with their Figure 9 Rope Tightener.

In the Chaos: The craziness That is OR (Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2006)

Exciting, awesome, exhausting, intense, and hectic are just some adjectives that describe the chaos of OR.

Sleeping Bag Overview (Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2006)

Sleeping Bags continue to drop weight with new materials and construction techniques.

Outdoor Research MicroNight Bivy (Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2006)

Outdoor Research unveils an 18 ounce, fully-featured waterproof bivy sack.

New Lightweight Silnylon Products From Equinox (Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2006)

These items stray a bit from backpacking, but frankly we were impressed with their quality construction, lightweight, compactability, and usability. They would also make very nice gifts.

Eagle Nest Outfitters SingleNest Hammock (Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2006)

Hammock options continue to grow with the ENO SingleNest.

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