In our Gear Guy’s roundup of backcountry ski packs, he wrote: “If I were to choose a pack for a winter worthy of Game of Thrones, this would be it.” The Bergtagen is a lightweight, high-volume option that’s ideal for backcountry hut trips. We especially liked the hip belt and wooden frame.
Men's Waist Packs for All Kinds of Adventures
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Bitterblaze made it into our 2019 list of favorite gloves for a reason: they’re out-of-this-world warm. Outdoor Research lined them with aerogel—the überwarm, porous silica insulation used by NASA in its space suits.
“Booties are dorky and they take forever to put on. But they will change your life,” we wrote in our staff picks roundup of winter gear. We especially like the waterproof fabric and reflective elements to keep you drier and more visible on the road.
The Nano Puff is a classic jacket that is “super versatile, warm, and looks good with any outfit.” It’s built with 100 percent recycled polyester for the ripstop shell and 55 percent recycled content for the insulation. Plus, it packs down into its own chest pocket for easy transport.
This light is one of ultrarunner Dean Karnazes’ favorite tools for running trails at night. He likes the Zephyr Fire 300’s hand-strap which minimizes strain on his arm. Plus, the light’s rechargeable battery lasts for three hours on its highest setting.
These gloves are among our favorite pieces of bike safety gear. “Buy these gloves and stow them in a rear pocket or pack for extra protection,” writes our tester. The neon back and reflective hits keep you visible while the waterproof fabric helps protect your hands on wet commutes.
Our tester Wes Siler loves these shoes for hiking and backpacking trips. Siler said the Lone Peak 4 “is more comfortable and has better grip than anything else I’ve tested.” Altra designed the Lone Peak 4 for hikers and runners with a wide, comfortable footbed and exceptional traction on anything from loose dirt to slippery mud.
These tiny but bright LED strobe lights are better than reflective bands. Clip them to your shirt or shorts and choose from blinking or steady-stream mode to stay visible. They also have an IPX3 water-resistant rating, so you don’t have to worry about rain or heavy sweat. The replaceable lithium batteries will give you over 50 hours of light on high.
The Micro Puff was our favorite jacket of 2018 because there’s a lot to love about this warm, super-light piece. “The PlumaFill is tacked between sheets of ten-denier nylon fabric in long strands, so it won’t shift and create cold spots,” our tester wrote.
How did this baby make it on our very exclusive list of fall's best flannels? It has everything to do with the variety of colors and patterns, the heavy-duty warmth, the absurd softness, and the two big chest pockets for storage.
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