Here it is: the best eco-shell in our Summer Buyer’s Guide jacket test. “The three-layer construction is more durable than its 2.5-layer predecessor,” our testers wrote. “Still, as with Torrentshells of old, it’s breathable (pit zips help), a high collar and brimmed hood seal out showers, and there are hand pockets for snacks.”
Technical Backpacks to Help Get Your Kids Outside
Built for big boys and girls (8 to 12 years old), the Tarn Hydro is a straightforward daypack with a wide opening to the main compartment and a comfy padded back panel with an air-flow channel. The stretchy mesh side pockets are great for items your kids want to access easily or an extra bottle if they want more water than the built-in, 1.5-liter HydraPak reservoir can fit.
The 40-liter Icarus is designed for overnight or quick weekend trips into the backcountry, and it comes loaded with the same features your favorite adult packs have: a hydration sleeve, a trekking-pole attachment, a rain cover, a separate slot for a sleeping bag, and an exterior stash pocket. The VersaFit suspension system has four inches of adjustment, so the Icarus can grow with your child.
This Deuter pack is for when you introduce your children to technical pursuits, like ski touring and rock climbing. It has 22 liters of room in a top-loading compartment, with space for a hydration bladder, but is also outfitted with ice-ax straps, D rings, and gear loops for lashing rope, trekking poles, or whatever they need for the day.
A pack made for fast-and-light adventures on a bike, the Moki is a small 1.5 liters, just enough for a layer and some snacks. But it also comes with a dedicated hydration sleeve—with its own quick-zip access—and an attachment strap for a blinking light, so it’s easy for your child to be visible and safe.
This hauler's 55-liter capacity can hold a few days’ worth of gear (up to 45 pounds), but don’t go overboard: you don’t want to weigh down your child too much on their first multi-night backpacking trip. The Optifit suspension can be lengthened as your kid grows, while multiple exterior pockets and top and side access to the main compartment make organization easy. Pack judiciously.
CamelBak built a kid’s version of its most popular mountain-bike pack for the littlest of shredders. The Mini Mule comes with a 1.5-liter hydration bladder, just under a liter of gear space, and a mesh harness that vents so junior isn’t left with sweat stains under the shoulder straps.
Outside columnist Wes Siler called these the best hiking boots he’s tested. “If you need ankle support and weather protection, then you’ll find more of that in these Altras at less of a weight penalty, and with more comfort, traction, and support, than you will in just about anything else,” he wrote.
The Snap-T is a classic piece of outdoor gear. When it was released in 1985, it was the first sweater of its kind. “Here was an insulating layer that offered next-to-skin softness but had the wool-like ability to keep the wearer warm even when wet,” we wrote. Bonus: it’s made with recycled materials.
The Momentum is one of our favorite beginner shoes, but it also excels on long outdoor multipitch routes or as an intermediate gym shoe. The relaxed fit is ideal for those who want more toe space, and the breathable knit upper helps keep your feet from overheating.
The full-zip version of this windbreaker was one of our favorite pieces of peak bagging gear for its compact size and light protection. This half-zip is ideal for day hikes or getting around town, and it won’t blend into the landscape—that’s just fine with us.
We featured these slippers in our 2017 Summer Buyer’s Guide. The braided and tanned water buffalo upper stays true to its heritage roots in India, but the goat-leather lining and natural rubber outsole deliver a much needed dose of modern comfort: “The City molded to our feet for a truly custom fit,” our tester wrote.
In our 2019 Summer Buyer’s Guide, these were our favorite all-mountain chargers. “The toothy Vibram Megagrip lugs offer killer traction, and that surefootedness, combined with massive Hoka cush, inspires confidence on technical terrain,” we wrote. The third version of the shoe has an updated tongue and a heartier toe bumper.
Outside columnist Jakob Schiller loves his Lowdown Flips because of their durability and comfort: “I’ve probably put over 400 miles on them,” he wrote. “Now the footbeds bear an imprint of my toes, the soles are slightly worn down, and the webbing is filthy. But they aren’t showing any signs of falling apart.”
Our Gear Guy crowned the Workman Mid Comp Toe the best mud boot in his test. “The flexible footbed, coupled with a hugging heel cup, kept the Workman Mid absolutely snug on my foot while climbing the muddy hill,” he wrote. “And they never let a drop of water in as I splashed in a soaked and unruly bamboo patch.”
In 2018, we called this shell “the holy grail of waterproof jackets.” “It feels softer than a soft shell but as waterproof as any hard shell I’ve used,” one tester wrote. If you want a jacket that covers all the bases with weatherproofing, breathability, and stretch, look no further than the Interstellar.
Keen makes some of the most comfortable sandals we’ve tested and the Astoria West is no exception. While we wouldn’t wear these for thru-hiking, we like them as a daily driver and for casual day hikes. The grippy rubber sole kept us confident on wet rock. “Perfect for river hangouts,” one tester said.