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Gear Nerds Win: Introducing Our Summer 2012 Buyer's Guide

The wonky tech talk can get pretty heavy around here. Personally, I can go on for hours about air permeability, fabric denier, and how the number of lumens in a headlamp isn't the whole story. But it's not just me. There's so much geeking out in the halls of our Santa Fe headquarters that Buyer's Guide art director Edie Dillman thought it would be amusing to illustrate some of the more colorful remarks [see print edition].

But we walk the walk, too. Recently Aaron Gulley, who oversees Outside's bike coverage, asked me if I could recommend a daypack in the 20- to 30-liter range with beefy suspension. It was an odd request—most packs that size don't have much structure—until he explained what he intended to use it for. He was assembling his kit for the AZTR: a 700-mile self-supported mountain-bike tour that bisects the state of Arizona. Right around mile 620, you run into a slight hiccup called the Grand Canyon. Because it's a national park, there's no mountain biking allowed. So like the handful of other crazy mofos participating in this year's AZTR sufferfest, Gulley will have to complete a 20-plus-mike rim-to-rim hike with a bike strapped to his back. After several shakedown sessions in the hills around town, Gulley decided on Osprey's Stratos 24—just in case you've got a daylong bike portage in your future.

—Sam Moulton

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