We crowned this hauler the best duffle bag of last year. Our Gear Guy, Joe Jackson, wrote: “It is rare that a product is as dominant in a head-to-head test as the Sea to Summit 65-liter duffel was in this one.” Its comfort, packability, water resistance, and durability is far ahead of the competition.
The Best-Reviewed Gear at REI’s Anniversary Sale
Our tester put the Tiger Wall through the wringer. “I don’t believe there is a two- or three-person, semi-freestanding, double-wall tent that weighs 2.5 or 3 pounds (or less), retails for $400 or $450 (or less), and matches or surpasses the Tiger Wall,” they wrote.
The One was our Gear of the Year sleeping bag in our 2019 Summer Buyer's Guide. “Five-degree bags are sweatboxes, 40-degree bags aren’t warm enough, and 20-degree bags are never just right. The One Bag, though, is Goldilocks through and through,” said testers. “This is a quiver killer, worthy of all-year use in many places.”
The Ariel AG 55 won our women's backpacking test. “The Ariel is a feature-rich, versatile pack that presents a case study in how a sturdy, weight-bearing suspension design is often more comfortable than a design that shaves ounces by way of flimsier built-in support,” our testers wrote.
The Nano Puff was released over a decade ago, but it's still one of the most popular jackets around. It fits great and is filled with synthetic insulation, so you can use it as a layer for skiing. But it also looks good enough to wear around town. It's available in a women's version, too, and both make great gifts.
We featured this pad in our 2019 Summer Buyer's Guide. “It may be lightweight, but this pad gets big points for being stable and plush,” our tester writes. “The secret is in its looped TPU Air Sprung cells—small interconnected chambers that have enough bounce to make you feel like you’re sleeping on a cloud.”
We included the Helium II in our roundup of the most portable gear. The jacket weighs in at just 6.4 ounces, stuffs into your pocket, and is completely waterproof.
The Panga offers 75 liters of waterproof storage, thanks to the high-density nylon shell and Yeti’s famous Hydrolok zipper, keeping water and dirt out. We like the EVA foam-molded base, which gives you a solid platform when you’re loading gear. The interior has two mesh pockets, while the outside is fitted with side grab handles and burly daisy chains that let you tie the bag down to your boat.
Rated down to 20 degrees and weighing in at 2.7 pounds, the Mirror Lake is a versatile, multi-season bag. The 600-fill, water repellant down and traditional mummy construction makes this a reliable backpacking bag for all conditions.
“There are plenty of puffy blankets on the market, but the Rumpl Down Puffy takes the cake,” our tester wrote. This compressible, 600-fill down blanket will keep you warm on your next stargazing outing. It's versatile, too: “The Down Puffy can be your sleeping bag stand-in on a summer backpacking trip,” he writes.
Goodbye, shaky footage. Outside contributor Brent Rose praised the Hero7 Black for its superb image stabilization. “It handles small bumps much better [than the Hero6] and does a killer job of eliminating vibration,” Rose writes. “The footage is certainly smoother and easier on the eyes (and the stomach).”
The Half Dome is editor Jeremy Rellosa’s go-to climbing helmet. The wheel clicker makes it easy to dial in the fit while four large vents dump heat quickly.
The 900-denier ripstop polyester body is water-resistant and boasts a padded bottom panel for added structure. Daisy chains make lashing a breeze, the shoulder straps are comfy and removable, and there are side grab handles for extra convenience. We dig the U-shaped lid, which makes for quick packing, and the two mesh pockets on the lid for storing small items.
The Garmin InReach Mini weighs only 3.5 ounces and keeps all the functionality of the full-size Garmin InReach. According to our tester, Andrew Skurka, “It retains the core InReach functionality (two-way messaging, location tracking, weather updates) in a package that is more portable.”
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 writes.
A solid option for car camping and backpacking, this aluminum set includes a pan and two pots—perfect for cooking on a twin burner or an ultralight stove. When it’s time to pack up, the cookware nests into itself for easy transport.
If you need to carry a lot of stuff, look to this eight-liter pack and its massive main compartment that’s big enough for all your day-hike necessities. An additional zipper pocket keeps smaller items separate, compression straps cinch the load close to your body, and the burly 500-denier Cordura fabric can take plenty of abuse.
The Talon has everything you love about Osprey’s backpacks, just shrunk to fit around your waist. It comes with smart details like padded bottle holsters, small zippered pockets on the sides for quick access, and external compression straps that let you carry an extra layer. Osprey also makes a women’s-specific version called the Tempest.
Mountainsmith has been synonymous with hip packs for years, and it updated the classic Tour by making it waterproof: built with TPU-coated nylon, welded seams, and waterproof zippers, it ensures everything inside stays moisture-free. A mesh back panel and compression system keep the load comfortable and compact, while detachable bottle holsters, webbing loops, and D rings allow customization.
Based in Bellingham, Washington, High Above specializes in waist packs for mountain bikers. We dig the Lookout’s camo body, which is waterproof and durable as hell, thanks to the Dimension Polyant VX material. Three interior pockets make for simple—not fussy—organization.
Nathan moves the water storage (two ten-ounce bottles) to the sides of the hips to disperse the load and keep the running-specific Trail Mix Plus from bouncing too much. While storage is minimal, the belt is made from a stretchy nylon-polyester blend for a snug but comfy fit, and there are reflective hits all over the pack to boost visibility.
We’ve been raving about how the TRX can provide one of the most efficient ways to get a full body workout. This set includes the TRX, an Xmount, a jump rope, and resistance bands to give you everything you need to quickly set up a small home gym.
These hand-blown tumblers feature a tiny rendering of Yosemite’s Half Dome. Whiskey Peaks also has versions of these glasses for Everest, Mount Fuji, Denali, and other iconic peaks. The set of two makes a classy addition to any home bar.
In 2018, professional climber Nina Williams mentioned the Ethos Harness as one of her favorite pieces of climbing gear. The Ethos has four gear loops and a breathable mesh lining on the waist and leg straps. Williams also praised the padding: “Something about the cushy waist gives me an extra confidence boost.”
Kryptonite is the most trusted name in bike locks, and its Keeper 712 offers a balance between cost and protection. This chain sits inside a weather-resistant nylon sleeve and requires a four-digit combo to unlock. Its manganese steel isn’t light, but rest easy knowing your bike probably isn’t going anywhere unless you want it to.
It doesn’t get much lighter than the Z Lok, which is essentially a burly zip tie with a steel core. It’s not going to keep your bike safe all night long in, say, Manhattan, but it’s great to have in your pack for times when you want to lock your bike while you indulge in a quick postride pint.
The Carlito is among the lightest U-locks on the market, coming in at under 14 ounces. Is lighter safer? Absolutely not. But this Rocky Mounts model is small enough to stow in a pocket, fits around most frames and racks, and has an alloy frame that provides protection against casual would-be used-bike owners.
Ever seen a lock and thought, This would make a nice belt? Us neither. But for quick and easy deployment when you’re hopping on and off the bike, the Spin wraps comfortably around your waist. The chain inside the nylon sheath is six millimeters thick, so bolt cutters could make quick work of it, but it’s a solid deterrent.
Slide the 13-millimeter-thick KryptoLok around your back tire and chainstays, then loop the included cable through the frame and front wheel before hooking it to the U-bar and clamping the whole thing shut. The entire system looks damn near unbreakable and can ward off all but the most determined thief.
The Salomon X-Mission 3 is a versatile, comfortable hiking shoe for people with narrow feet, according to one of our gear columnists, who said it “will do just fine for everything but the gnarliest backpacking trips.”
The Deva 70 is a slightly older version of a standout hauler we highlighted as “the biggest, most comfortable women’s pack on the market.” The suspension, dialed specifically to fit a woman’s frame, allows for a customizable fit. It also includes a removable daypack that doubles as a water bladder.
This two-person tent is built to withstand three-season temperatures and has two doors and two vestibules for easy access. The nylon and mesh panels are strategically placed to provide optimal privacy where you need it and breathability where you don’t.
REI gave the Magma 17 high-quality 850-fill hydrophobic goose-down insulation wrapped in a superlight 15-denier ripstop nylon Pertex outer shell. The Magma packs down to the size of a small watermelon and weighs just over two pounds, stats that would be good for a 20 or 30-degree bag but are remarkable for one as warm as this.
Outside staffers get compliments on their Marmot PreCip jackets every time they wear them. The simple, streamlined design works well for urban commutes, epic hikes, and high-speed singletrack descents. Plus, Marmot makes them in solid colors that look good on everybody. You won't find a more reliable, comfortable shell at a better price.
The biodegradable spray in this kit is a simple combo of water and mild soap. Make a habit out of giving your lenses a spritz after a hard day on the trail, then wipe them clean with the included microfiber cloth. The ritual will go a long way toward maintaining a nice shine (and an unobstructed view).
Is the Vault overbuilt? Maybe. But if you really want to protect your shades, this semirigid case pairs a crush-resistant exterior with a soft liner to ensure that both lenses and frames remain intact. The mesh pocket in the lid can hold a cloth or a retainer, but it also prevents glasses from bouncing around inside the case.
Croakies uses miniature nylon climbing rope for this burly retainer. PVC rings slide onto your sunglasses’ arms, and the whole thing weighs just nine grams, so you barely know it’s there, even as it’s keeping your shades from hitting the deck.
If you spend much time in the water, you’ll need a “SwiMP3”—a waterproof set of headphones with an MP3 player that straps to the back of your head. The Finis Duo is fully submersible down to nine feet, has four gigabytes of storage (enough for 1,000 songs), and uses bone-conduction tech, so you can clearly hear the music when your head is underwater.
If you’re looking for a pair of water-resistant headphones on a budget, look into the Fit line from Plantronics, which has everything from burly over-ear models to true wireless buds. We like the the 350’s security, six hours of play time, and sweatproof IPX5 rating. Just don’t take them swimming.
True wireless headphones, these fit snugly inside your ears. And they can handle spray from a shower or the sweatiest workout of your life with no problem. The sound quality is great, there’s a built-in microphone for calls, and 4.5 hours of play time on a single charge isn’t shabby.
This little dynamo’s best feature is its 360-degree sound—you don’t have to worry about where the thing is pointed for unobstructed listening. Other perks: it’s completely waterproof and floats, plus you can pair two devices at once for friendly DJ battles.
You don’t have to drop serious cash for serious sound. Anker specializes in budget-friendly speakers, and the SoundCore Sport is no exception. It’s shockproof and waterproof, so you can take it on the trail, river, or out in a rainstorm without worry. Its eight-ounce frame belies its rich sound and ten-hour battery life.
The Charge 3 is a favorite of ours for several reasons: it has great battery life (up to 20 hours of play time), it can charge your phone (via the USB output), and it’s IPX7 waterproof (read: it’s fully submersible). Oh, and there’s that ample bass. Lash this speaker to the front of your paddleboard and go.
We love the Klettersack for its beautiful, high-quality design. Our tester praised the bag's bomber construction, writing "the 22-liter pack features 1,000-denier Cordura fabric and heavy duty hardware so it'll put up with years of day-hike abuse."
The SuperFly has served gear editor Jeremy Rellosa for years without fail. “I've taken this stove everywhere from Nepal to Patagonia, and it's kept my trail food warm and my backpack happy because it's easy to use, clean, and stow,” he says.
We featured the Challenger ATR 4 in our roundup of the best trail-running shoes of 2018. Though it's thick soled, testers described it as “admirably nimble.” It’s great all-around, too: “Extra-long days on hardpack? Easygoing efforts? Both felt great,” our testers wrote.
These are some of our favorite do-it-all men's pants. Kudos to the drawstring adjustment on top of the traditional button-and-fly closure, which kept the Everywhere snug without the weight of a belt, making airport security a breeze. Factor in the ten pockets for all of your EDC gadgets, and you’re set.
These were among favorite boardshorts in our 2019 Summer Buyer's Guide. For pure toughness, these burly trunks win big, with a cotton-poly material that holds its shape so you don’t wind up with a waistband full of sand. As a bonus, four pockets hold wallet, keys, and other sundries for after-session cervezas.
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 sunglasses I want to wear for 80 percent of the things I do outside—and even rarer to find one at this price.”
Thanks to its T-back, this polyester top allows for free range of movement and breathability. The light and stretchy polyester and elastane blended fabric wicks moisture and dries quickly to keep you looking fresh for post-send beverages.
This DWR-treated softshell packs down into its own pocket so it can be easily pulled out/stashed when the clouds roll in. Slip it on when the gusts come out to play, and the climbing-specific gussets keep your arms moving freely even as its nylon face blocks the wind. The Schoeller softshell fabric is highly breathable, so you can hike fast and climb hard.
An updated version of our go-to outdoor pants, the Zion Straights take the comfort from their predecessors and add a more streamlined cut. One bonus: less muddy, flappy cuffs on those dirty days on the trail.
The Dirt Surfer made our list of cool crossover bike gear. “Club Ride added a little bit of spandex to this poly shirt for extra stretch, as well as a UPF 50 rating to give the Aloha vibe technical chops,” our tester writes. It also has perforated pit vents and zipper pockets on the front and back.
Our cycling columnist said he'll “never go back” to other hitch models after testing the Backstage Swing Away. “It’s no overstatement to say that for truck and van owners, the swing-away design will make life a lot easier,” our tester said.
Our columnist Wes Siler tested the Tango Duo Slim in his comprehensive review of couple's backpacking gear. The sleeping bag weighs in at 2.6 pounds and has a 30-degree temperature rating, making it ideal for three-season backpacking.
This award-winning jacket has a permanent home in our editors' closets—and for good reason. The active insulation in the Ventrix is made to work with you, dumping heat as you go. Gill-like vents cut into the synthetic insulation that stretches throughout the whole jacket.
The 21-liter Urban Assault bag is inspired by military assault rucksacks and is the epitome of clean, functional design. A unique three-zip closure on the front allows you to easily see the contents of your bag without having to dump it out. The face fabric is a super durable 500-denier Cordura, which you'll be hard-pressed to tear.
The Skeletool is a do-it-all multitool that shaves weight down to five ounces without sacrificing utility. The standard fare (pliers and wire snips, blade, screwdriver set) is augmented by a carabiner-like clip that’s good for cracking open a bottle of beer.
We picked the 10-Year as one of our favorite hoodie upgrades. “The cotton-polyester blend is warm enough for cool-weather workouts,” our tester says. Flint and Tinder made it durable enough to last for the next decade, so if you rip it or tear it, they’ll repair it for free.
Form•Function•Form took the simple and sleek Timex Weekender Chronograph watch face and paired it with a tanned Horween leather strap to make a winning combo. A solid choice for everyday wear, the Weekender line is among our favorites .
Zeal took the same Automatic Lens technology it uses in its goggles and brought it to the Big Timber: the tint of the lenses adjusts to the available light. The frames are also made from plant-based Z-Resin (instead of petroleum-based plastic), and Proflex rubber on the temples and nose affords a secure fit.
There’s nothing crazy about the Swank, just a retro frame with shatterproof and scratch-resistant lenses that offer complete UV protection while the hydrophilic rubber nose pads keep everything in place. It's hard to find more capability at this price point.
The polarized lenses in these sunnies change tint based on light conditions, getting darker in bright rays and lighter when you’re under tree cover, making them ideal for trail running in the woods. The adjustable temples and curved frame give you full coverage and a snug fit in a package that weighs just over an ounce.
These new glasses from Smith come with two pairs of interchangeable ChromaPop lenses—one for low light, one for full sun—and a magnetic frame that unlocks to make swapping easy. They’re light, and the middle-of-the-road coverage doesn’t make the Caravan look huge on your face.
Suncloud manages to bring quality ingredients (a flexible and durable Grilamid frame, polarized polycarbonate lenses) to an inexpensive set of shades that performs well on the go. We dig the sporty rimless look and full coverage. And Megol pads at the nose and temples help the Contender stay put.
Keep this tiny kite (just 3.9 ounces) in your backpack and you’ll be ready to fly whenever the breeze picks up. The single line control and ripstop nylon lend the Pocket Flyer durability and ease-of-use, so it’s perfect for a hilltop on a windy day.
Want to do stunts? This dual-line kite is built for performing flips and twists, with a lightweight fiberglass frame and ripstop nylon body. Wrist straps keep the lines secure, but the Osprey and its 60-inch wingspan are best suited for medium-strength wind (think eight to eighteen miles per hour).
Hengda is one of the most trusted names in kites. This low-maintenance parafoil-style model doesn’t have a frame—it still flies taut in the wind, but there’s not much that can break. You need a solid gust to achieve lift, but the Parafoil is easy to pack and carry, and the single line makes it straightforward for even kids to control.
An incredibly agile kite, the Synapse has dual Dyneema lines with wrist straps that let you whip it back and forth across the sky. Its large wings are responsive but not finicky. And the Synapse has good range, able to fly in winds as slow as six miles per hour and as fast as 25.
It doesn’t matter if you’re backpacking or car camping—lounging in a hammock is the most relaxing way to spend an afternoon. The SingleNest is ENO’s original backcountry model, and it still overperforms in the wild, thanks to bomber 70-denier nylon-taffeta fabric that can withstand loads of up to 400 pounds.
The Vibe was featured on our list of the best affordable bike lights, where our tester appreciated the “sensor, which turns the light on when there’s motion and turns the light off when the bike is parked so you never waste your battery by forgetting to hit the off button.”
This stainless-steel bottle will keep your coffee hot and your iced tea chilly, thanks to its double-walled vacuum insulation. Yeti’s thick cap makes it leakproof, so don’t be afraid to toss it in your pack with other weekend sundries.
Featured in our 2018 Holiday Gift Guide, this yoga towel feels like a soft terry blanket. Don't let the coziness fool you, though. This puppy is all about yoga performance, with silicone dots on the bottom to grip slick studio floors and a convenient lightweight and packable build.
Part Tupperware, part dinnerware, the Mealkit 2.0 combines storage and serving with its system of plates, bowls, cups, and lids, making it easy to prep a meal at home and store it in a cooler on the way to a picnic spot. Plus it’s light enough to take into the backcountry.
One side of this pillowcase from Rumpl is made from soft fleece, the other from abrasion-resistant nylon. When you’re ready for bed, unfurl it and stuff it with your jacket or pants to turn it into a comfy place to rest your head. It packs down to the size of a can of soda and only weighs five ounces.
Ditch the hiking boots around camp and go full-on Mr. Rogers with these booties. The Fireball is constructed from a tough Pertex outer with a DWR finish, 40 grams of PrimaLoft insulation, and a soft microfleece liner for ultimate comfort. The rubber outsoles are tough enough to handle light duty and pointy rocks.
Everything you need to make simple fireside cocktails—a shaker, a reamer, a jigger cap, and two rocks glasses—is here. Beer might be your go-to camp beverage, but there’s nothing wrong with indulging in an ice-cold martini or margarita in the middle of the woods every now and then.
A hot sandwich is a better sandwich. Load this cast-iron press with bread and your favorite sandwich fixings, then rotate it over the fire for a few minutes for toasted goodness. It’ll elevate your campfire-cooking game beyond hot dogs and marshmallows on sticks.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
Stio teamed up with Polartec to create a line of baselayers made with merino wool and synthetic fibers. The result? Breathable, durable pieces that move moisture off the skin. The Power Wool was the only baselayer our gear editor wore on a four-day hut trip. “The Basis was completely odorless,” he writes.
Designed to move with you through the elements in fall and then transition into a trusty midlayer for winter, the Nova Jacket is stuffed with Primaloft Gold insulation and has a stylish, modern cut that's flattering without being restricting.
One of Outside columnist Jakob Schiller's favorites, this jacket is made with burly, seven-ounce waxed sailcloth and lined with soft polyester. Like fine leather, it will develop a patina that looks great the more you wear it. “[It] will not only put up with years of chopping wood but will also look better afterward,” he writes.
Want a sneaker that you can throw on for a quick errand or dress up for a night at the water’s edge? There’s no wrong way to wear this minimalist shoe, with its stripped-down style, white piping, and a lightweight, breathable poplin-twill upper. We picked it as one of the best travel shoes of 2018.
The best part about the Wilder is that while it excels at being wet, it feels just as comfortable on land. It features a mesh and neoprene upper on a grippy, lugged outsole. That upper is reinforced for support with a heel cup in the back and rubber vamps toward the front. Dual climbing shoe-inspired tabs make getting in easy, and a speed lace system locks the foot into place.
The Unico blends the performance and support of a hiking boot with the style and agility of a trail runner. A one-piece Kevlar upper and seamless construction eliminates potential rubbing areas, which means no hot spot or blisters. Inside, a wool sock liner wicks moisture away from your foot. Plus, it's totally waterproof.
For the weight conscious, Sea to Summit’s hanging toiletry bag is made from an über-light, water-resistant, polyurethane-coated nylon and weighs just 2.8 ounces. The big central pocket can accommodate shampoo, soap, and a comb, while two smaller zippered pockets on the lid are good for keeping travel-size floss and toothpaste organized.
Eagle Creek’s Dopp kit doesn’t hang, but it has a wide base and zips wide open, so you can find what you need without fumbling. The water- and stain-resistant ripstop, plus seam-sealed compartments, keep whatever else you have in your suitcase safe from potential explosions.
The beauty of the shower roll is its compact nature. Fold it up, and you can slip it into the most tightly crammed pack, but unfurl that puppy and hang it from the shower-curtain rod, and you’ve got everything you need visible. The best feature is the removable pocket with a clear window—handy for keeping liquids separate and easily accessible as you make your way through airport security.
Osprey has a reputation for paying attention to the details, and that’s certainly evident with the Ultralight. It’s made from 40-denier ripstop for durability, has cushioned walls to help prevent broken combs or burst shampoo, and five pockets for organization. And of course, there’s a hook for hanging.
Undoubtedly the coolest looking of the bunch, this toiletry case is waterproof (like fully submersible waterproof) and made from a light TPU construction that tips the scales at 2.75 ounces. And it has the best of both worlds: the solid base and wide-mouth opening are ideal for countertop use, and the hanging loop allows you to take it in the shower if you so choose.
Thule’s Subterra luggage has impressed us with its ability to fit what feels like endless storage in limited spaces, and the line’s toiletry bag lives up to that reputation. Flip open the top lid to access two compartments, but then unzip the bottom one to find another two pockets (which are conveniently transparent) cleverly nested within that.
Take the fun of Spikeball, eliminate all the setup, and you have Rocketball. Play one-on-one or in teams, trying to bounce the ball off the board and past your opponents. The best part? The board floats, so you can easily move from grass to the pool or lake.
The game is simple: Work with your teammate to get your Frisbee in the can. Toss the disc and sink it in the top of the can for three points, have your teammate knock your throw in through the top for one, and hit the side for two. Angle a throw through the slot in front for an instant win.
This is what lawn games in Norway look like. Divide into two teams and try to knock over kubbs (or pins) with a wooden baton until you topple the other team’s king. According to our friends in Scandinavia, this is how Vikings entertained themselves when they weren’t pillaging.
Cornhole is like blue-collar bocce—a staple lawn game that’s tailor-made for playing with one hand (leaving the other one free to hold your beverage). It can be tempting to go for a lighter, more weatherproof set made from aluminum or plastic, but you want solid wood boards like these for that regulation bounce and slide.
These slippers are one of our gear editor's all-time favorites. Each pair is handcrafted from toasty 100 percent pure, natural wool, which naturally wicks moisture from your feet so they're always warm and dry. Plus, the rubber sole means you can wear them outside.
The Crown VC has all the bells and whistles you need, like compression straps, a ventilated back panel, and stretch pockets on the shoulder straps hold cell phone or earbuds, but still weighs barely over two pounds. Going on a shorter trip? The roll-top closure accommodates varied load volumes making it just as easy to use this pack for an overnight as it is for a week-long adventure.
These Chelsea boots look good and perform well, too. Made from a waterproof leather upper with a canvas lining, the boots slip on and off easily. The rubber outsoles have a slight heel and are made to be grippy on rocks and light snow.
We featured these zero-drop shoes in our roundup of the best trail runners of 2018. “The shoe takes a centrist’s approach to foam and protection, with a slow, cruisey vibe and a wide, boxy fit best suited for ambling runs on less technical trails,” our tester wrote.
The design of this jacket is based on the iconic M65 field jacket issued to American troops, but Proof has borrowed smart modern materials for their updated version. We particularly love the outer fabric, which maintains that matte green finish but comes coated with DWR and has four-way stretch for unrestricted movement. Inside, the jacket is packed with 80 grams of cozy synthetic insulation.
The Gurkhali's are one of gear editor Will Egensteiner's favorite pants. They're made with a blend of Dyneema, cotton, and Lycra, so they provide range of motion and durability. For those reasons, they're a great fit for the office and the trail. “Pretty soon I’ll have no reason to change out of them,” Will writes.
Protect your eyes with these polarized sunglasses for women. The lenses reduce 99 percent of visible glare from water, snow, sand, and even pavement for better visual accuracy and decreased eye strain. An anti-reflective and hydrophobic coating help them resist reflections and water.
Former editor Ben Fox loves the Transcendent for its uber-warm protection from the elements. “When you’re on a chilly belay or ripping off touring skins on an exposed summit and the wind starts gusting, you’ll be thankful for the Transcendent’s lofty, lightweight 650-fill down insulation, wind-resistant fabric, and cozy hood,” he says.
Fend off chills and cold weather in the Ghost Whisperer Reversible jacket. Nikwax-treated 800-fill down retains heat while also resisting moisture, so the jacket can be worn in light rain and snow and still provide ample protection from the elements.
Marmot’s Ama Dablam is an excellent midweight expedition parka. It has a long cut, full hood, and 800-fill down, all in a sub-three-pound package. And thanks to the hexagonal quilting, it has a slimmer, sleeker cut than many other puffies.
This hoodie is as high-tech as it looks. Packed with quality 850-fill down in the core, the Cerium LT Down has strategically mapped areas with synthetic insulation to resist moisture. You’ll barely notice it in your pack: it weighs just 10.9 ounces.
Our testers love the Thorium for its tough outer nylon shell that will resist rips (unlike the paper-thin outers of most puffies). Bonus points for the DWR finish and water-resistant synthetic insulation at the spots most likely to get wet (the shoulders, cuffs, and underarms). It’s the complete package.
We crowned this the Gear of the Year hiking shoe in our 2019 Summer Buyer’s Guide. They’re fully waterproof, and gave us confidence to power through puddles and light streams, thanks to the Gore-Tex construction. The cherry on top was the lightweight Vibram outsole, which kept our feet secure across uneven terrain.
Sometimes smartphone cameras don’t cut it. Upgrade that special mother in your life to the Coolpix B600, which features 60x optical zoom, full HD video, and built-in WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity for sharing photos. The controls are simple, so she can get shooting right out of the box.
The Tile Pro two pack is an ideal gift for mothers that chronically misplace their valuables. Latch one onto a a set of keys or put one in a purse fold, and they act like beacons when synced with her smartphone. The best part? If she can’t find her phone, she can just press the button on the Tile to give it a ring.
The big sole of the Clifton 5 gave testers a cushy, stable ride. At 15.2 ounces, they’re on the heavier side, but Mom's feet will be happy with the extra cushioning and support.
A handy sack for gardening, foraging, and holding weekend sundries, the Barebones Gathering Bag has a removable waterproof liner, so cleaning it out after a day of heavy use is a breeze. Plus, it comes with steel pruners and a canvas sheath.
The Uinta has what you’d expect of a solid bag—tough polyester to keep your mat safe and a small pocket and key clip for carrying personal effects. But it’s got nice extras, too, like the mesh bottom that allows sweat to evaporate and escape.
If you want to really open up your back, lay faceup with this wheel beneath your spine, and settle in. (Don’t fret—it can withstand up to 550 pounds.) You can also use it to help build balance and core strength by incorporating it into poses like crow and plank.
In some outdoor spaces, you can simply dig a hole, cover it up, and leave your business behind. But if you’re in a sensitive ecosystem, or on the side of a big wall, you’ll be packing your poop out. Enter this puncture-resistant solution, with "Poo Powder” that turns waste into a stable gel, so you can transport it worry-free. These 12 bags are leakproof, but smart people bring along a Tupperware.
Guys have it easy. Women, who are tired of ditching layers or a harness or a pack when peeing, do not. The Sani-Fem is the lightweight answer: a small funnel that lets you keep your clothes on and stay upright. Because accidentally squatting in poison ivy is no fun.
The TP you use is really about personal choice, because, in an ideal Leave No Trace world, you’ll be packing it out with you. But Coleman’s version comes in a convenient carrying case that acts as a dispenser and is two-ply, affording a bit of comfort when answering the call of nature in nature.
When you're car camping, you shouldn't skimp on comfort. This cot's aluminum frame and 600-denier polyester fabric makes for a sturdy sleeping platform. At 86-by-40 inches, it needs a good bit of space—make sure you have a big enough tent.
On cool-weather climbs and hikes, we prefer soft shell jackets for their stretch and breathability. The Ferrosi’s nylon-spandex blend is lightweight but holds onto enough warmth to take the bite out of chilly breezes. This hoodie does run a bit small, so consider ordering a size up.
Back in 2012, the Zealot made the cut as one of our favorite pieces of MTB gear. Not much about this classic pack has changed since—it still holds up. Testers found it easy to stow and retrieve a jacket in the outside pocket, while the ribbed suspension system and detachable hose are comfortable and intuitive.
We love trucker hats for their sun-blocking prowess. But they're often bulky and hard to stuff in a pack. The ball cap-style Horizon has a bill that folds down the middle into the size of a hotdog, fitting easily in a back pocket and, yes, a pack too.
This top's polyester mesh feels airy and wicks away sweat well—perfect for hot and humid environments. But if you're looking for a more form-fitting cut, check out the Motivation Stripe tank.
We feel good about wearing Threads 4 Thought. The brand uses recycled materials (much of it from a city in China that recycles 82 percent of its water) and makes comfy gear to boot. We dig the Moto's sleek ribbed material on the shins. These run a bit loose—we recommend sizing down.
If you're looking for a solid pair of polarized, multi-sport shades, grab the Comstock. The grippy nose pads keep the frames in place even when you work up a sweat. Though these sunnies run wide, so try them on beforehand if you have a slimmer face.
A removable insulated box paired with an outer shell, the Cooloir was a breeze to hose down and dry out after a trip. It’s large enough to fit lunch for four, but best not to keep perishable items in it for more than 48 hours.
The Mini-7 employs a three-part locking system which allows you to protect the most vulnerable bike components: frame, rear wheel, and front wheel. The U-lock secures the frame and rear wheel, while the front wheel is protected by Kryptonite's included 130mm WheelBoltz.
Easily the most versatile mount you can buy, this accessory turns your ski pole into a selfie stick for powder-heavy face shots. It also fits multiple positions on your bike: stick it on your bars for head-first action, or turn it backward on your seat post to capture a friend ripping behind you. The base rotates 360 degrees and features multiple secure positions for the perfect angle.
Our gear editor praised Patagonia's Nine Trails packs for their clean efficiency: “With a minimalist design and well-considered features, Patagonia has proven that when it comes to daypacks, simpler is better,” he writes. It's available in both men's and women's sizes from 14 liters to 36 liters.
It seems like every week one of our writers praises the performance qualities of the Buff. Made from soft polyester microfiber, you can use it as a neck warmer, twist the ends together to make a hat, or even wear it as a bandana.
Forget stealing the hotel shampoo. Fill these durable Cordura bags with your shower and grooming essentials instead, and you’ll have everything you need in reusable, leakproof containers. Each weighs less than half an ounce and carries three ounces of liquid—well within TSA restrictions.
Not all Dopp kits are created equal. The North Face’s version is made from tough ballistic nylon that easily withstands shower spray and mist. More importantly, it has a wide opening, a flat bottom, and a hook, so it can sit upright on the countertop or hang from the showerhead, always within reach.
There are plenty of organic, biodegradable soaps out there, but it’s hard to beat the classic: Dr. Bronner’s. A liquid pure-castile soap (no chemicals or phosphates), it doubles as shampoo and bodywash. The label also makes for fun bathroom reading.
Showers are great—when you can take them. But it’s not always possible, so make sure you have a pack of these wipes in your kit. They’re extra thick but soft enough to use in the most sensitive places, and aloe vera and vitamin E moisturize as you scrub the grime away.
Whether you’re rinsing off after a bike ride or grabbing a quick shower at a hostel abroad, having your own towel comes in handy. This one is an ultralight option (6.4 ounces for the full-body version) that folds down to the size of a pocket square. It’s made from a super-absorbent microfiber that dries fast, too.
The Dipseas sunglasses have long been one of our favorites. According to our testers, “the [Dispseas] turns up the style dial with delicious frame colors...and the outlook is cool and clear through polarized emerald lenses that are better than you’d expect at this price.”
Soft-shelled coolers aren’t supposed to work this well. The Hopper Two collapses nearly flat and will keep brews cold for a really, really long time. It’s not light (almost six pounds when empty), but let’s be real—nothing from Yeti is. If you want cold beer for hours, and a lot of it, opt for the Hopper Two.
With space enough for two growlers, the seam-sealed, waterproof polyester-ripstop Sixer is burly. Friends will thank you for bringing plenty to share, and that the reflective silver liner and foam insulation kept it all chilled by the time you arrived.
Every cooler here is collapsible to a degree, but the Classic is the true space saver’s dream. It’s essentially just a watertight nylon bag that can fold flat or roll up when you’re not using it. An air valve lets you pump extra cold-trapping dead space into the walls for maximum insulation around 12 cans of beer and accompanying ice.
The smallest cooler here, the Bucket Truck It is only designed to carry a six-pack. But that makes it easy to bring everywhere, leaving no excuses to not have it on hand. Fill this tote with your favorite beverages and an ice pack, then carry a liquid picnic to your preferred scenic overlook.
Fold the Pack Away completely flat when you’re not using it—it’s much easier to stow in the back of your car that way, ready to deploy when you make a pit stop for beer en route to the campsite. It holds 24 cans and is fully seam sealed, so don’t worry about leaks, even when the Pack Away is loaded with ice.
The beauty of the Double Take: it’s only a cooler when you want it to be. Use the retro main shell on its own (choose from waxed canvas, 1,000-denier Cordura, or upcycled tent fabric when you buy), or throw the Chilly Bag insert in and you’ve got 6.5 liters of cold storage. Bonus points for the buckle that doubles as a bottle opener.
The cozy wool upper on these slippers pairs beautifully with a rubber outsole for ultimate convenience when hanging out indoors or running out for a quick coffee. They can be worn with or without socks, and if you choose to do the latter, you won't have to worry about stink, thanks to the odor-resistant nature of the wool.
Made with lightweight, quick-drying polyester ripstop fabric, the Sol Patrol II shirt is a warm-weather staple that also offers UPF 30 sun protection.
It may be so hot and humid outside that your hair feels like it never left the shower, but at least the Short-Sleeve A/C Lightweight Top helps. With a blend of ultralight organic cotton and breathable hemp crafted into a slightly raised texture, this shirt helps cool you down against the sticky heat outside.
Editor Emily Reed, who tested the Yampa 70 last summer, said the bag is “made to endure rocky shorelines and brambly bushwhacks,” citing its TPU-coated nylon and foam cushioning. "You can haul, toss, and drag your gear without fear of damaging it," she wrote.
Springtime means rainstorms, and the Venture 2 is a budget-friendly way to stay dry, whether you’re dodging drops on your way to work or stuck in a torrential downpour miles from the trailhead. Clean lines help it look sharp, while the 2.5-layer DryVent waterproof-breathable laminate and underarm vents dump unwanted heat buildup.
This lightweight, soft-shell hoodie is built for comfort on all-day missions. This jacket has windproof coverage in the hood and arms, but if you're looking for more insulation, layer up with a warm long-sleeve base-layer underneath.
The Isabella will serve you well on your daily commute, on campus, or as a carry-on. It's outfitted with a laptop sleeve, two side pockets, a compartment for your electronics, and plenty of room for textbooks. And the cushy shoulder straps make this pack a solid option for day hikes after class.
The synthetic insulation in the Ventrix is made to be active, with gill-like vents cut into the underarms to dump heat. The soft face fabric glides easily under your shell for perfect layering when the weather turns.
Hold on to your fitness goal harder than ever before with this data-driven bundle from Garmin. It combines a multisport GPS heart rate monitor watch with an HRM-Tri heart rate chest strap to deliver top-notch results after every workout. The watch is great for everyday use too—smart notifications hit the device as soon as you get a text or call to your smartphone.
This isn’t a luggage tag in the traditional sense. It’s a GPS tag you can attach to anything you don’t want to lose like your camera, keys, or purse. Pair it with your smartphone and you can click a button to sound an alarm on the Tile that can be heard for 300 feet, or use the GPS feature to track the item that’s missing.
Make sure your beer and chocolate bars stay yours with this cooler, which, when paired with a locking kit, is certified bear resistant from the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee. To earn that distinction, the Venture had to survive an hour of being manhandled by a grizzly.
If you want to keep food safe, seal it up. The Insider has a quick-opening locking mechanism that’s easy for humans to figure out but a lock that will frustrate bears. And it’s made of bomber polypropylene, plus has a good amount of storage space (11.86-liters for food) without a ton of weight (3.7 pounds).
Federal regulations limit how much capsaicinoids (the active eye- and nose-stinging ingredient) bear spray can have, and most options on the market hit that maximum. But the Sabre Frontiersman also has a long range (up to 30 feet), and the company makes a training spray so you can safely practice without wasting the real stuff.
Some national parks and forests require the use of bear canisters in the backcountry. But for places where ursine scavengers aren’t as much of a concern, a food bag is a good, lightweight option to keep the critters out. The Ursack is made from an incredibly tough Kevlar-based fabric, and the integrated six-foot-long cord makes it easy to string up in a tree.
Our gear editor praised Patagonia's Nine Trails packs for their clean efficiency: “With a minimalist design and well-considered features, Patagonia has proven that when it comes to daypacks, simpler is better,” he writes. It's available in both men's and women's sizes from 14 liters to 36 liters.
This bag is a staple for summer surf trips, shoulder-season backpacking trips, and overnight forays into the mountains. It’s light and compact enough for taking out on the trail, yet still comfy enough for casual car-camping adventures, and it comes at a price that won’t destroy your summer-wandering budget.
RxBars are made of just a handful of natural ingredients, one of which is egg whites for protein. The result is chewy and delicious. This particular flavor has only a hint of caffeine (five milligrams) for when you need a little pick-me-up.
Jelly beans have gotten us through more than one mountain-bike race. They’re fruity, delicious, and packed with electrolytes and B and C vitamins, but mostly they’re straight energy-giving sugar. These also have 50 milligrams of caffeine per bag for even more of a bump.
Shot Bloks are good when you’re craving something (anything) other than another gel or bar. And they’re made from all-organic ingredients. Get the black cherry or chocolate-cherry flavors, which come with 50 milligrams of caffeine per every three pieces.
Gear editor Emily Reed loves the Eldris, which is a staple of her camping box. She finds the oversize handle and fixed blade effective for whittling and chopping kindling. Plus, the affordable price means it's not a devastating loss if she accidentally forgets the knife at a campsite. Read her full review here.
With ten LEDs that produce 50 lumens, this lantern has a frosted plastic body that casts prettier light than most fixtures at five-star resorts. It has three settings (low, medium, and high), a separate button to check the remaining power, and a strap for carrying and hanging.
This jacket is as high-tech as it looks. Packed with premium 850-fill down in the torso and synthetic insulation elsewhere, the Cerium LT is constructed to retain warmth where you need it (around your core) and manage moisture everywhere else. You’ll barely notice it in your pack: it weighs just 9.7 ounces.
Our testers put the Z/Cloud X sandals through the paces and came away impressed. One wrote: l've hiked for miles on end in them, from rocky scrambles in Grand Teton National Park to ruins in the ancient city of Petra, Jordan, and dusty, steep hills along other parts of the Jordan Trail.
This superlight jacket is filled with Patagonia's new PlumaFill insulation, which is made of hydrophobic polyester fibers that mimic the structure of down. Rather than being blown into baffles like other synthetics, the PlumaFill is tacked between sheets of 10-denier nylon in long strands, so it won’t shift and create cold spots.
Keep your digits extra warm this winter with a refillable hand warmer from Zippo. Fill the interior chamber with lighter fluid, light the flame, close the lid, slip it in your pocket, and enjoy heat for up to 12 hours. When the heat runs out, repeat the process for endless warmth all winter long.
The Roo Double camping hammock is optimized for adventure. It's durable, tear resistant, comfortable, and strong enough for two campers—or a baby elephant. Your pick. Diamond ripstop nylon adds reinforcement to protect against tearing and ripping and results in the 500-pound weight capacity.
The Deviator is one of our favorite mid-layers. It uses hydrophobic Polartec Alpha insulation, which moves water away from your body.
Gear editor Ben Fox praised Patagonia's Nine Trails packs for their clean efficiency. “With a minimalist design and well-considered features, Patagonia has proven that when it comes to daypacks, simpler is better,” he writes. It's available in both men's and women's sizes from 14 to 36 liters.
The Marzen has an interesting feature: its glasses come with two sets of interchangeable arms, one sporty and one casual. More importantly, it’s made with superlight, impact-resistant nylon frames and polarized lenses with 100 percent UV protection.
These glasses were designed specifically for water sports, with gray wraparound polarized lenses that cut through the glare and a buoyant foam frame core that keeps the glasses afloat if you drop them. The lenses are shatterproof and offer 100 percent UV protection.
The Charge 4 is a speaker-and-battery combination, delivering high-quality audio in a portable, waterproof package with 20 hours of playback time. It weighs more than three pounds, so it’s not the lightest speaker on the market, but it also has a 7,500 mAh battery that can charge your phone twice and still leave you with several hours of play time.
This has a battery capacity of 1,425 watt-hours and the ability to power everything from your mini fridge to your laptop to your camera. It’s incredibly easy to use (there’s an app to control it with your phone and a screen that will give you the estimated run time) and has outputs for every form of power you could think of. At 45 pounds, it isn’t light, but true off-the-grid power has its price.
This isn’t much bigger than the palm of your hand, but it puts out 350 lumens of light for up to 250 hours. It also serves as a power bank that can charge your smartphone up to four times. There’s an Android and iOS app that enables you to control the light from your phone.
All you need to charge your phone are some sticks—that’s the beauty of BioLite’s Campstove 2. It features a powerful burner (10,000 BTUs) that runs thermal energy generated by a small fire. The heat produced also feeds the on-board 2,600 mAh battery, which can store a full phone charge. We dig the LED dashboard that offers real-time info on fire strength and battery level.
The River Bank bridges the gap between a small power bank designed to charge your phone and a large portable generator made to power just about everything. It features two USB-C ports and two USB ports as well as a Qi wireless charging pad, so you can charge a laptop, phone, drone, or even jump-start your car. It holds its charge for up to six months and only weighs two pounds.
Our testers picked the Caldera 2 as one of the best trail runners of summer 2018. “This was the shoe we reached for when we wanted to take it easy on our dogs,” they wrote. “On most trails, the Caldera provided ample protection.”
Constructed with 2.5-layer GORE-TEX, the Paclite Stretch is built to brush off rain showers and snow. With vents to dump heat and a drop-tail hem that protects your lower half from downpours, it's a complete waterproof package.
Pair the Kyanite fleece vest with a base layer, or wear it under a shell when you're huffing it on switchbacks. The airy Polartec insulation wicks moisture and breathes well, and the four-way stretch keeps you unrestricted.
Our tester praised this shirt in his test of the best performance flannels. “The Fjord deserves points for its 100 percent organic cotton, which felt soft and supple, and it had just enough give to never slow me down as I rode the Jabberwocky Trail outside Ashland, Oregon,” he wrote.
Why choose between pants and shorts when you can have both? These convertible pants go easily between both by an easy access zipper above the knee. They have two great cargo pockets for maps, keys, or other small essentials.
Instead of filtering water, these dissolving tablets purify it with EPA-approved sodium dichloroisocyanurate. Complicated name, but essentially it kills viruses, bacteria, and cysts in a quart of water in 30 minutes. The price ($10 for 30 individually wrapped tablets) and tiny size make Aquatabs the ideal backup on long trips.
Katadyn took a handy one-liter water bottle, which rolls up small to save space in your pack, and put a 0.1-micron microfilter in its nozzle that removes 99.9 percent of nasties. The BeFree can purify up to 1,000 liters over its lifetime.
Like the LifeStraw, MSR’s TrailShot lets you drink straight from the source, but it’s also good for filling a water bottle. Drop the long straw in the stream and squeeze the hand pump to get the magic started. It works fast, treating a liter of water in 30 seconds.
Collect stream water in one of Sawyer’s 32-ounce pouches, then filter it through the hollow-fiber membrane to remove bacteria and protozoa. The pouches are collapsible (each weighs only three ounces) and reusable, and you can drink straight from the filter’s nozzle or pour the water into a bottle for later.
This is one of the best starter climbing packs on the market. Besides shoes and a rope, this kit has everything you need to hop on the rock: a comfy Corax harness, a Verso belay-rappel device, carabiner, chalk bag and chalk ball. The kit is also available with a larger harness size.
Salomon got innovative with storage in this vest, giving you the standard front water-bottle pockets and multiple stash pockets for smaller items but also a kangaroo pocket that stretches around the sides. Everything is designed to be accessible without breaking your stride.
A 15-liter backpack built on a running-vest chassis, the Distance is a hybrid hauler with dual front stretch pockets for snacks, a bladder sleeve, and dual side-compression straps that keep the load close. And its water-resistant, 210-denier nylon helps keep gear dry.
We featured this helmet in our nine favorite pieces of peak-bagging gear. Thanks to multiple adjustment straps, you can dial in the Wall Rider to fit your dome perfectly. “Bonus points for the ultralow weight and big vents to keep your noggin cool,” our tester writes.
The Trail Mix 7 is built specifically to better fit around a woman’s bust. Compression straps that bring the load tighter to your back, reflective hits for 360-degree visibility, and seven liters of storage (in addition to the two-liter bladder) are icing on the cake.
The Ultra Pro 2in1 name is appropriate, since this model comes with a ten-liter pocket that completely detaches from the vest. Use the vest solo for fast, short runs, or attach the pocket for longer missions when you’ll need more food and gear. It comes with two long-straw flasks and can handle a two-liter bladder in back.
Osprey blends running-vest performance with backpack capability in the Duro, which has four front pockets—two extra-large stretch-mesh ones for a phone and water, and two smaller ones for food. Six liters of space in the main compartment is enough for a jacket, headlamp, and other accessories, plus the included 1.5-liter water bladder.
The Halo was designed for ultramarathons and all the extra gear they demand. The front bottle pockets keep water at the ready but also have lash points to holster trekking poles, while the pockets on the lower straps hold your phone, gels, or bars. The bladder-compatible Halo also has two pockets on the back, which are reachable without taking off the vest.