Here it is: the best eco-shell in our Summer Buyer’s Guide jacket test. “The three-layer construction is more durable than its 2.5-layer predecessor,” our testers wrote. “Still, as with Torrentshells of old, it’s breathable (pit zips help), a high collar and brimmed hood seal out showers, and there are hand pockets for snacks.”
The Summer Gear We're Eyeing at Backcountry's Sale
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.
This jacket earned a Gear of the Year award in our 2019 Summer Buyer’s Guide for its perfect balance between breathability and waterproofing. “Two hours of riding in pouring rain and lots of mud, and it never sprung a leak,” said one tester. We credit the stretchy Pertex Shield fabric which is lightweight and surprisingly durable.
The full-zip version of this windbreaker was one of our favorite pieces of peak bagging gear for its compact size and light protection. This half-zip is ideal for day hikes or getting around town, and it won’t blend into the landscape—that’s just fine with us.
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.
In 2018, we recommended this sweatshirt as a gift for Mother’s Day because it’s “perfect for chilly nights around the campfire.” The Mountain Sweatshirt has three layers of synthetic insulation that make it comfortable and warm. Plus, the top layer has a durable water-repellent finish to keep the jacket dry and stain-free.
The Flip 20 was one of our favorite tech tools of 2016. This portable charger will recharge your phone or headlamp twice. “At a barely-there 4.6 ounces and no bigger than a jumbo pack of Doublemint gum, it’ll slip into your jacket so you can charge on the go,” we wrote.
These athletic pants are tailored and sharp so you can get your sweat on but still feel comfortable in a more professional setting. “If you want to look like a self-employed dogsledder pretending to be a businessperson, then these are the pants for you,” wrote our contributor Blair Braverman.
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.”
We gave this lightweight rain jacket a Gear of the Year award in our 2019 Summer Buyer’s Guide. The Bantamweight strikes a perfect balance between being waterproof and breathable, so you stay dry in summer showers and comfortable on strenuous hikes. “The Bantamweight feels like a windbreaker but performs like a hard shell,” one tester wrote.
The Storm is a perfect example of how far headlamps have come. It’s moderately priced but pumps out 375 lumens from a proximity beam—ideal for working in close quarters or as a spotlight when you’re on the trail. We really like the battery meter, which shows how much juice you have left in your AAAs. Oh, and it’s fully waterproof.
This sleeping pad was our top choice for winter camping in our 2020 Winter Buyer’s Guide. Our tester spent a week in Wyoming’s high country with the Trail Boss and confirmed it’s one of the warmest and toughest pads out there. It’s built with heat-reflecting PrimaLoft Silver insulation wrapped in puncture-resistant, airplane-grade nylon.
We included the Helium II in our roundup of the world's most portable gear. The jacket not only weighs in at just 6.4 ounces—it’s also completely waterproof. “Stow it in your running or hiking shorts, and whip it out for full-on protection when the weather turns,” our tester said.
Outside contributor Wes Siler loves these pants so much he wrote an in-depth piece about its new design changes, showing how they’re even better than before. Siler writes: “The new Kebs are lighter, more durable, and have better freedom of movement.”
Our Gear Guy called the Lowball the only Yeti product you actually need. “I’ve been using this tumbler almost every day since August 2015, and after four and a half years of heavy use, it still works just as well as the day I got it,” he wrote.
Outside contributor Wes Siler called these the best hiking boots he’s tested. “If you need ankle support and weather protection, then you’ll find more of that in these Altras at less of a weight penalty, and with more comfort, traction, and support, than you will in just about anything else,” he wrote.
The Snap-T is a classic piece of outdoor gear. When it was released in 1985, it was the first sweater of its kind. “Here was an insulating layer that offered next-to-skin softness but had the wool-like ability to keep the wearer warm even when wet,” we wrote. Bonus: it’s made with recycled materials.
The Momentum is one of our favorite beginner shoes, but it also excels on long outdoor multipitch routes or as an intermediate gym shoe. The relaxed fit is ideal for those who want more toe space, and the breathable knit upper helps keep your feet from overheating.
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 wrote.