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.
Our Favorite Gear from Small Brands We Love
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.
We love the Klettersack for its beautiful, high-quality design. Our tester praised the bag's bomber construction: “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.”
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.
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.
The Cannons are some of our favorite women's sneakers. “Every aspect of this sneaker uses environmentally sustainable materials and construction,” our tester writes, “but it doesn’t look like a 'green' shoe, and that’s the point.” The synthetic upper uses recycled plastic bottles and the soles use Bloom foam made from repurposed algae.
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.
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.
Our Gear Guy put these merino wool socks through the wringer last year. The result? They won his test of the best hiking socks. Joe Jackson wrote, "This sock did everything extremely well, but mostly it was just damn comfy."
The Harmony is one of our Staff Picks. The natural rubber is among the grippiest we’ve tested, which makes it ideal for hot yoga or sweaty workout sessions.
These classic canvas sneakers go with nearly anything in your closet, from jeans to your favorite summer dress. The shoes are 100 percent vegan and have a nonmarking rubber outsole.
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.