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Petzl Alto Crash Pad. (Courtesy of Petzl)
 

Petzl Alto Crash Pad ($300)

With three layers of dense foam, the Alto has plenty of cushion for big falls. What’s more, the hingeless design means you can sandwich gear between the two halves before zipping it up—handy when schlepping from rock to rock.

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Edelrid Boulder Bag 2. (Courtesy of Backcountry)

Edelrid Boulder Bag 2 ($30)

This cavernous container holds all the chalk you could need for weeks of climbing, and the twist closure mitigates spillage.

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Ortovox Brenta shorts. (Courtesy of Ortovox )

Ortovox Brenta Shorts ($129)

The Brenta’s Cordura fabric lends hardiness, while a touch of spandex ensures stretch when reaching for toe hooks.

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Five Ten Approach Pro shoes. (Courtesy of Five Ten)

Five Ten Approach Pro Shoes ($120)

The laces cinch a wide strap of rubber across the shoe’s upper and around the heel, creating a locked-down fit that’s perfect for scrambling.

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Metolius Super chalk. (Courtesy of Backcountry)

Metolius Super Chalk ($5)

Our preference for added grip, this chalk sticks through several rounds on tough, sloping projects.

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Royal Robbins Upward Variations shirt. (Courtesy of Royal Robbins)

Royal Robbins Upward Variations Shirt ($28)

Enjoy puffing a pipe and sipping wine at the crag? So did Yosemite OG Royal Robbins. Which is why both appear amid the nuts, rope, and carabiners on this breezy tee

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Metolius Shortstop pad. (Courtesy of Metolius)

Metolius Shortstop Pad ($37)

Nothing ruins your day like landing between pads. The three-by-two-foot Shortstop covers the gaps, helping prevent turned ankles and worse. 

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Black Diamond Boulder Hoody. (Courtesy of Black Diamond)

Black Diamond Boulder Hoody ($129)

This buttery-soft polyester-wool midlayer kept us toasty on chilly fall nights. The retro elbow pads are a nice touch, too.

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Tenaya Iati climbing shoe. (Courtesy of Backcountry)

Tenaya Iati climbing Shoes ($170)

The Iati is the comfiest shoe we tested. The snug toe box and cotton-lined inner sock felt great all day. While the sole is a tad chunky for solid purchase on micro-­edges, Vibram rubber ­affords ­sandpaper traction for smearing.

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Travel

The Best Summer Hiking Boots of 2017

We tested dozens of boots last season. These 10 stood out for their versatility, durability, and comfort.  La Sportiva Nucleo High GTX ($200) La Sportiva Nucleo High GTX. (Courtesy of REI) (Pictured above) The lines separating specialty hiking boots from one another got sharper this year. Looking to set a fastest known time up a Colorado fourteener? There’s a shoe for that. Carrying a 50-pound pack through the Montana wilderness? There’s a shoe for that, too. Of course, there are still good old dependable hiking boots that refuse to be pigeonholed. Take the La Sportiva Nucleo High GTX. We adore this

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The Best Women's Hiking Gear of 2017

The perfect assortment for all manner of out-and-backs.  Grayl Ultralight purifier. (Courtesy of Grayl) Grayl Ultralight Purifier ($60) This sleek dual-canister filter basically French-presses viruses, bacteria, and protozoan cysts from your water in just 15 seconds. Simply fill it, press down on the inner cylinder, and drink up. Buy Now Marmot Knife Edge jacket. (Courtesy of Marmot) Marmot Knife Edge Jacket ($225) Despite its gauzy weight (just 11 ounces), this waterproof-breathable Gore-Tex PacLite shell kept us dry in dreary Minnesota sleet. And the details are spot-on, like an adjustable hood with an elastic drawstring. Buy Now Adventure Medical

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Travel

The Best Summer Jackets of 2017

Layers of every stripe.  Helly Hansen Odin 9 Worlds (Courtesy Helly Hansen) Helly Hansen Odin 9 Worlds ($400) Gear of the Year There is a glut of jackets out there, many of them highly refined tools designed for very specific pursuits. Take, for instance, a Gore-Tex shell that thinks it’s a fleece, or an athletic midlayer that you can wear every day for three straight months. Of course, there are also some do-it-all workhorses, which brings us to the Odin 9 Worlds. It shrugged off everything we could throw at it, then laughed in our faces. With classic three-layer construction

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Travel

The Best Dog Gear of 2017

Everything you and your pal need for the best summer ever.  L.L. Bean Pillow dog bed. L.L. Bean Pillow Bed ($79) This 3-by-2.5-foot lounger is plenty big for your dog to stretch out, and the removable polyester cover sheds hair with a spin in the washing machine.  Buy Now ​ Mountainsmith K9 pack. Mountainsmith K9 Pack ($60) This is the only bag our dogs look comfortable wearing. Spandex in the straps allows for uninhibited movement, and the 24-liter capacity fits food and a few treats for longer hikes. Buy Now Buff Dog Reflective. Buff Dog Reflective ($12) Yes, a

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Travel

The Best Summer Sleeping Bags of 2017

Sacks for a comfortable night’s sleep, wherever you lay your head. Kammok Thylacine. (Kammok) ​Kammok Thylacine ($627) Gear of the Year  Ten years ago, the biggest difference between sleeping bags was their stuffing: slight variations in synthetic or down insulation. Today things have changed—a lot. Head into a gear shop and the offerings include comforters and oversize down jackets. Zippers run in many directions or are left out altogether. Some bags change shape. Of the 20 we tested in conditions ranging from the beaches of Mexico to early-season snow in Canada’s Coast Range, the Kammok Thylacine proved the most versatile. It

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Travel

The Best Summer Packs of 2017

Beasts of burden that shoulder the load for you. Osprey Aether AG 70 pack. (Osprey) Osprey Aether AG 70 ($310) Gear of the Year It seems like every pack this year is trotting out a creative new spin—from a sliding waist belt to a cinching design that turns an expedition loader into a daypack. Nowhere is that progress more blissfully apparent, and comfortable, than with the Aether AG (and its sister pack, the Ariel AG 65) and its trampoline-like back panel. The suspended mesh dispersed weight over every lumbar contour and made a 40-pound load feel like helium. That panel

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Travel

The Best Multi-Tools of 2017

Sidekicks for any scenario.  Gerber Center-Drive (Courtesy Gerber) Gerber Center-Drive ($119) The four-inch screwdriver provides tons of torque on stubborn screws and can easily squeeze into tight nooks. At 9.5 ounces and nearly five inches long when closed, the Center-Drive isn’t suited for long expeditions, but after we used it to change out a busted headlight on a decades-old Camry, it earned a permanent spot in our glove box. Buy Now MSR Stake Hammer (Courtesy MSR) MSR Stake Hammer ($30) Yes, you can use a rock to pound tent stakes into the ground. But this 11-ounce stainless-steel hammer weighs

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Travel

The Best Summer Tents of 2017

Shelters for wherever the trail takes you. (Read more of our in-depth tent reviews.)  MSR Access 2 tent (Courtesy MSR) MSR Access 2 ($600) If you haven’t upgraded your hiking shelter in a while, you’re missing out. Weights are tumbling, while living space, durability, and feature sets continue to grow, making for tents that perform year-round. MSR’s Access 2 is at the extreme end of this trend. Until it came along, most options fell into one of two categories: three or four­season. Take a light three-season shelter winter camping and you’ll be cold and miserable. Four-season tents, with their

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Travel

The Best Lights of 2017

We’re experiencing a renaissance in camp lighting. Renewable power sources are adding versatility, LEDs continue to push efficiency to new levels, and materials are getting lighter, making it easier than ever to walk away from our outlets at home. Goal Zero Lighthouse 400 (Courtesy of Goal Zero) Goal Zero Lighthouse 400 ($80) The trend toward lanterns that integrate other features, like backup power, extends to two beautiful new pieces of green tech. Goal Zero’s Lighthouse 400 (400 lumens) can be juiced with solar panels like the Nomad 7 ($89), by USB, or, in a sunless pinch, with a hand

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