On a search to find the lightest backpacking setup, our tester chose the Q-Core SLX as his favorite sleeping pad. The pad packs down to the size of a Nalgene and weighs 16 ounces. Our tester especially loved the quilted top, “which you’ll gain a deep appreciation for sometime around night four on the trail,” he wrote.
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.
In his test of the Journey Hydration Pack series, our tester wrote: “Ultimately, the Journey packs offer a comfortable ride, which is exactly what you want from a bag when you’re flying down singletrack.” The Journey includes an insulated bladder system, so if cold water on your ride is a priority, this is the pack for you.
Versatility is this headlamp’s calling card. A solid companion for your next camping trip, the Cosmo 225 has a beam distance up to 72 meters and is waterproof, too. Plus, it has five different modes including red night vision and strobe.
Gear editor Ariella Gintzler loves this base layer tank top. “This buttery-soft piece is form-fitting enough to layer but loose enough to wear alone,” she wrote. The merino wool and nylon blend fabric add a mix of durability with odor and moisture management.
The Wide Mouth was selected by our readers—and by our editors—as one of their favorite water bottles. The Nalgene's tough, BPA-free plastic can take a beating; we've slung ours around at crags, banged them against rocks, and generally abused them for years. Yet they still work just as intended—no leaks and only a few scratches, for character.
Gear columnist Jakob Schiller loves the Weekenders. “They look great, have high-quality lenses, and are so affordable that I won't worry about them getting a little bit dinged up,” he says. “It's rare to find one pair of shades I want to wear for 80 percent of the things I do outside—and even rarer to find one at this price.”
We're just as likely to sport this shirt at the campsite as we are at the office. That's because it's simultaneously smartly tailored and tough as nails, thanks to the fact it's made of burly, sustainably-grown hemp. During the summer, a couple of these polos is all we need.
In our roundup of affordable stocking stuffers, we wrote: “This flask should be full of bourbon and tucked into your daypack along with a compass, knife, headlamp, and matches at all times.” Stanley’s Classic Flask is compact, BPA-free, and easy to drink from.
We included this mountain bike shoe in our roundup of the best gifts for cyclists because they’re stylish, functional, and comfortable. We especially like the grippy Stealth S1 rubber for sticking to flat pedals while on rough mountain trails. Plus, the suede-and-mesh upper looks good enough around town during off-the-bike adventures.
These shoes are stylish enough for around town, but have the technical chops for charging down singletrack. The dot-rubber Stealth Phantom outsole is key for gripping flat pedals even on bumpy rides and is non-marking so you don’t have to worry about them messing up floors inside. Plus, the shoes make a great gift for avid mountain bikers.