The Vantage Point is a full mesh trucker that has more structure than your typical running hat, but it’s still built with crushable materials, so you can pack it away without ruining it. It dries fast and fits any head thanks to a snapback fit that has an extra elastic adjustment, but we really love the slots on the side of the hat, which allow you secure the arms of your sunglasses.
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Outside columnist Jakob Schiller penned an ode to these shorts and praised them for their versatility. “Buy two pairs, and I promise that they’ll be all you need from June through October for the next five years,” he wrote.
The Ariel AG 55 won our women’s backpacking pack test. “The Ariel is a feature-rich, versatile pack that presents a case study in how a sturdy, weight-bearing suspension design is often more comfortable than a design that shaves ounces by way of flimsier built-in support,” one tester wrote.
Packed full of dependability, the no-frills Trail trekking poles offer easy-to-use FlickLock adjustment points that promise no slipping while you’re hiking. The poles collapse from 49 inches down to 23 inches and stow easily into a suitcase or strap onto the exterior of a packs.
An updated version of our go-to outdoor pants, the Zion Straight takes the comfort of its predecessors and packages it in a more streamlined cut. One bonus: less mud on the cuffs during dirty trail days.
This shirt jacket is one of our favorite long-sleeve layers for shoulder season. The Bedford is heavier than a regular shirt but not as warm as a midlayer, so it’s ideal for those in-between days. The durable piece also stands up to “everything from weekend chores, yard work, woodworking, to tree cutting,” wrote our columnist Jakob Schiller.
The two-liter Multipass can be worn as a shoulder sling, but we like it better as a waist pack. The belt wraps around low on the hip bones, so it doesn’t squeeze your stomach, and the bounce is so minimal that we forget we’re wearing it. The bag has enough space for a phone, mask, wallet, and water, but the only detail missing is an external bottle holder—we have to unzip the bag to get a drink.
Our Gear Guy praised this shirt in his test of the best performance flannels. “The Fjord deserves points for its 100 percent organic cotton, which felt soft and supple, and it had just enough give to never slow me down as I rode the Jabberwocky Trail outside Ashland, Oregon,” he wrote.
Osprey specially designed the Ariel AG for women backpackers by having the designers go backpacking with groups of women testing the pack. The pack uses Osprey’s Anti-Gravity suspension system for ultimate comfort and has a custom-moldable hipbelt. “The Ariel AG is one of the most comfortable packs I’ve ever used,” wrote our tester, Kelly Bastone.
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.
The TC Pro is the best shoe for big walls and cracks, hands down. “The toe box is pointier than a lot of trad shoes, so it not only fits into small splitters but also holds onto some overhung features, making it uniquely versatile,” wrote our testers. (20 percent off with the code 20CLIMBSALE)
We gave this jacket a Gear of the Year award in 2017. “Think of it as a Nano-Air on steroids: a stretchy, waterproof-breathable fabric wraps the synthetic fill, while the interior is made from the same plush liner as the original. Add pit zips and you have a bombproof jacket that wears and breathes like a sweatshirt,” wrote our tester.
The Storm is a perfect example of how far headlamps have come. It’s moderately priced but pumps out 370 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.
We included this rope in our roundup of the best gym climbing gear of 2020. “The Gym Cuts offers Trango’s trademark light weight and durability, but in 30- and 40-meter lengths—perfect for indoor lead walls. No more dragging a full-length rope across the pads,” wrote tester Jenny Earnest.
These glasses aren’t techy—they have polarized lenses and a tight, secure fit that we love—but they are super fun, especially if you customize them on Knockaround’s website by picking the frames, lens color, and arm design. You can mix and match options until you come up with a perfect pair of shades that’s unique to you.
We have yet to find a better starter climbing kit at this price. Mad Rock’s package has the all the essentials for a session at the climbing gym or crag: an adjustable harness with four gear loops, a chalk ball, chalk bag, Wingman belay device, and a locking carabiner.