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.
Sun Shirts: Your First Line of Defense Against UV Rays
ExOfficio blends Tencel, a natural fabric that has a cooling effect on your skin, with cotton to make this supersoft top that wicks well and has a UPF 40 rating. Pop comes courtesy of the Hawaiian-inspired floral print.
As the name implies, this UPF 40 shirt is built with fishing in mind, but you don’t need to be carrying tackle to appreciate the details. It’s made from a light polyester-nylon blend that’s puckered like seersucker so less material touches your skin. A sunglasses cleaner built into the hem is a nice, user-friendly hit.
The Terminal Deflector offers top-notch protection for long days in the sun, with a hood and a built-in turtleneck-like gaiter. In addition to the UPF 50 rating, the fabric is loaded with metallic dots on the outside that reflect sunlight. And Columbia’s Omni-Freeze treatment, which reacts with your sweat to cool down, is also a fun trick.
O’Neill goes casual with this long-sleeved slim-cut top, which is made from a light polyester with plenty of stretch, so you can wear it all day, whether you’re surfing, fishing, or just sitting in a beach chair. The notable UPF 50+ rating is one of the highest we found in a sun shirt.
This is the fancy UPF 45 shirt you wear for the lunch date that might include a long stroll on the beach. The sleek Skyline is made from a breathable polyester that won’t wrinkle (so it’s perfect for travel), it dries fast, and it has a surprising amount of stretch.
The Mountain shirt has the understated style and technical chops that make you want to wear it day after day. Good thing it has a Polygiene antimicrobial treatment to cut down on stink. There’s a bit of spandex in the polyester-nylon blend for added mobility, and the whole package has a UPF 40 rating to keep you unburned.
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.