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.”
Need Go-To Casual Sandals? Start with Our Favorites
In our Gear Guy’s test of the best men’s flip flops, he highlighted the Nohona Ulana’s classy vibe: “You could almost wear a pair in the office on a casual summer Friday,” he wrote. “On flat ground, the supple leather toe post and subtly contoured footbed made for the second most comfortable flip on this list.”
Outside columnist Jakob Schiller loves his Lowdown Flips because of their durability and comfort: “I’ve probably put over 400 miles on them,” he wrote. “Now the footbeds bear an imprint of my toes, the soles are slightly worn down, and the webbing is filthy. But they aren’t showing any signs of falling apart.”
Keen makes some of the most comfortable sandals we’ve tested and the Astoria West is no exception. While we wouldn’t wear these for thru-hiking, we like them as a daily driver and for casual day hikes. The grippy rubber sole kept us confident on wet rock. “Perfect for river hangouts,” one tester said.
For those who like the freedom of flip-flops but need more orthopedic support, these are the shoes for you. The sandals got top marks in our 2019 Summer Buyer’s Guide for their cushioned, shock-absorbent footbed and deep heel cup. The uppers use recycled PET webbing that’s both stylish and comfortable.
The Kona Flip-Flops are the perfect do-it-all summer sandal. The EVA-molded footbed gives comfort and structure while the outsole has high-traction reliability. In our review of summer flip flops last year, our tester especially liked “the fuller coverage of the poly webbing” and antimicrobial treatment.
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.”
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.
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.