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Campers who feel claustrophobic in tight mummy bags will love the Cochise’s stretchy construction. The baffles of this 15-degree, synthetic-fill bag are sewn with elastic fabric, so you can squirm around without resistance—and even sit cross-legged to cook or read. The other upside to this elasticity: When you stop…

BEST SPACE-TO-WEIGHT RATIO Testers were impressed with the two-person model of this tent; it’s roomy (30 square feet) and light (less than four pounds) and has the critical double doors and vestibules (13 total square feet of storage). Then they tried the three-person version (pictured here), which adds a luxurious…

Best for Cold, Wet Weather This is a great price for any zero-degree-rated bag, never mind one stuffed with PrimaLoft Infinity, a top-shelf but affordable synthetic insulation with a great loft-to-compressibility ratio. Just don’t expect the same fabrics and tailoring as on high-end bags. There’s no ergonomic footbox, and the…

EXPEDITION-READY Kelty developed the new Foraker line in conjunction with Alaska Mountain Guides, an adventure outfitter whose guides spend hundreds of days in the field. You can tell: This 750-fill sack is the toughest, most packable sleeping bag Kelty has ever made. It’s cut from three different fabrics. A water-resistant,…

Need a three-season and a summer-weight bag but can’t afford both? Sidestep the decision with the Chasseral. If conditions are too warm, simply zip off the topsheet, which folds into its own stash pocket, creating a ready-made camping-size pillow. And although the Chasseral is the roomiest bag here, it…

FOUR-SEASON CHAMPION If you’re looking for a lightweight shelter that can handle high winds and heavy snow, single-wall tents like the Valhalla are tough to beat. Thanks to an interior-pole structure, two testers were able to quickly and easily set up the Valhalla in 50-mph winter winds. To combat condensation…

If comfort is more important to you than weight, go ahead and buy a three-person tent for yourself and your mate. But consider this first: New pole connectors, like plastic hubs and sockets, have made tent walls more vertical, which creates more usable space in a two-person model without…

1. At 50 square feet, this three-person model is as big as many four-person tents but weighs the same as some built for two. Even more impressive, it achieves this balance without sacrificing livability. Thanks to an efficient architecture, ultralight poles, and thinner fabrics, the Losi still boasts two…

EMS’s 20-degree Boreal is the first sack to use a new synthetic insulation from Prima­Loft called Infinity, which EMS claims is “18 percent warmer and 25 percent more compressible” than comparable fill. Although it was impossible to test that boast, the Boreal squashes down to the size of a…

LOTS OF COMFORT, LITTLE WEIGHT Big Agnes took last year’s already light Gear of the Year–winning Emerald Mountain tent and sliced off nearly a pound, while apparently sacrificing nothing. How’d they do it? An even smarter design, smaller-gauge zippers, and a featherweight body and 15-denier nylon fly that, because its…

Backcountry Headquarters There are plenty of sturdy and roomy four-person base-camping tents on the market. What makes the Hideaway our favorite is that, while it’s downright cavernous it’s still light enough (nine pounds) to take into the backcountry. And once there, it’s a comfy base of operations, with two huge…

“Big enough for comfy car camping but light enough for backpacking.” That tester comment pretty much sums up the Gore Pass. Although our team praised its four gear pockets, huge doors, and generous 33-square-foot floor plan, our favorite detail was the dual-zippered vestibule door. Using your trekking poles as…

As with previous Kazoos, this 15-degree bag is still stuffed primarily with 600-fill down and bedecked with smart features—glow-in-the-dark zipper pulls, easy-to-adjust hood, etc. Even more impressive, this Kazoo’s shell and insulation are made with 100 percent recycled materials. Plus, it’s a hybrid. There are compression-resistant, synthetic insulation pads…

THE ENTERTAINER We’re not saying you should buy a tent based on how many people can comfortably play cards inside. But if you do, you should know that the Mo Room, with 44 square feet of space and nearly vertical walls, can comfortably host a six-person game of Texas Hold…

Light and Roomy Even when building a “value” tent, Big Agnes gets the details right. With amenities like a vestibule that turns into a shade canopy with trekking poles, high-visibility (read: trip-preventing) guylines, and mesh vents on baffles that help silence wind chatter, the two-man Lynx Pass’s only sacrifice is…

The Minibus uses two parallel hoops connected by perpendicular brow poles that make for truly vertical sidewalls and the roomiest two-person interior in our test—five of us were able to comfortably sit in a circle and play cards. And although it resembles the hippie-mobiles of yore, its amenity package…

This is the only synthetic-insulated bag we’ve found that matches the loft, weight, and compressibility of a comparably rated down sack. The key is Mountain Hardwear’s proprietary Thermic Micro insulation, which testers found both more compressible and loftier than other synthetics. Plus, the baffles are welded rather than sewn,…

ROOMY AND WELL-PRICED Like all of Mountain Hardwear’s tents, the three-season Sojourn is packed with user-friendly touches. The fly’s two clear windows make for sleeping-bag weather checks, while the reflective material on the guylines prevents late-night headers. And after a week of stormy weather, testers reported “zero condensation,” thanks to…

Lightweight Luxe This classic two-door, two-man, two-vestibule backpacking tent has been rebuilt with lighter fabrics to weigh in at less than most single-door ultralights. The Skyledge 2.1 shaves ounces by eliminating the tent’s corners; instead, nylon webbing connects the body to the tent poles. The 20-denier fly fabric needs to…

If you need a shelter that can handle the nastiest weather year-round, Hilleberg’s flagship model, the Kaitum, is the best non-freestanding tent we’ve ever tested. Setup, even in high winds, is a snap, and the tube-style design sheds snow easily. Because the body and fly are linked, you can…

Ready to go pro? Then you already know that tricks are for kids—and success hinges on huge air. Enter Dagger’s Crazy 88, our Gear of the Year selection. This boat is a masterly equation of length, width, weight, and volume distribution, all of which pull together when the time comes…

It used to be that sleeping bags’ degree ratings were determined in various ways, so conventional wisdom dictated that you buy a bag with a temperature rating at least 10 to 15 degrees lower than the lowest temperature you’d expect to be camping in. That’s starting to change. For…

1. It’s partly recycled, yes. But the Verde won this year’s award because of how it performed in the field. It’s all about the fill: The Verde’s insulation (Climashield Green) is “continuous filament,” meaning it won’t clump or shift—and create cold spots—as old-school synthetics do. 2. The insulation…

Ultralight but Sturdy A three-pound tent with two doors and two vestibules—there’s got to be a catch, right? Not exactly. The Rev 2 is impressively spacious for a two-man (42 square feet) and quick to set up. Because the canopy and the rain fly are clipped together, we easily pitched…

In years past, a freestanding two-person shelter this light (sub-four pounds) would have been either as cramped as an MRI machine or as flimsy as a $5 umbrella. Or both. Sierra Designs keeps the Vapor Light sturdy and saves weight by using Jake’s Foot pole anchors along with superlight…

WILD STALLIONDig in your paddle and the Fish will instantly respond. But this one isn’t for newbies: With sharp edges and cavernous volume, this DragoRossi will toss those who don’t fully commit to their tricks. That said, the Fish is packed with nifty design elements, like raised bumps on the…

Base-Camp King A zero-degree-rated, 650-fill down bag for $219? It’s not a misprint. The Coromell saves a few bucks by using duck down. While duck and goose down are virtually the same performance-wise, you generally pay a bit more for goose down’s superior reputation. And Kelty certainly didn’t skimp on…

PLENTY OF ELBOW ROOM With elastic in each baffle, this bag expands as you toss, turn, and even sit up cross-legged to cook or play cards. When you finally stop thrashing, the bag’s elastic keeps the thick sheets of MontBell’s house-brand synthetic insulation close to your body, so you won’t…

Airy & Durable Astute architecture students will notice it right away: The Sugar Shack employs elements of Romanesque groin-vault structure—a sturdy intersection of four arches that lends impressive strength to an airy roof structure. The result is nearly vertical walls that increase roominess, two massive doors, and enough square footage…

Thanks to its mostly mesh canopy, the double-door Adobe received high marks for warm-weather stargazing and ventilation. But what really impressed us was its performance in an early-season Wasatch snowstorm. The full-coverage fly kept pelting snow from drifting through the mesh, while the tent’s unique pole structure—a pair of…

ALL-ROUNDERDid Necky’s designers once work for Hasbro? Like a vintage Weeble toy, the Crux will wobble, but it won’t fall down. With minimal rocker in the stern, this one is nimble enough for tight creeks and fast enough for pushy rivers. Its round bottom softens landings. Taking a deep plunge?…

Ultralight and Packable The Vapor 15 is the lightest 15-degree-rated bag on the market; it stuffs down to the size of a Nerf football—and isn’t much heavier. Unfurl it, though, and you’ll find the high-end, 850-fill insulates like a bag that weighs almost twice as much. Of course, to make…

ULTRALIGHT AND COMPRESSIBLE Testers liked Big Agnes’s almost entirely recycled synthetic sack (the Skinny Fish; $180) just fine but were blown away by the down-filled Zirkel’s warmth-to-packability ratio. Like all the company’s bags, the Zirkel integrates the pad right into the bag via a sleeve on the underside, which, in…

Mountaineering Master The second tent by pole maker Easton, the two-man, single-wall Si2 features the company’s proprietary carbon poles, which it claims are stronger than any aluminum pole on the market. We couldn’t verify that in the field, but thanks to a plastic bumper on each pole—where it crosses atop…

Apparel manufacturer Ground has hit the tent on-ramp at full speed. The Ajanta, its first three-season tent, is an impressive debut. An intuitive, hubbed pole architecture makes it easy to set up, while such details as arched vents on the fly kept condensation to a minimum, even on a…

OVERACHIEVERThis boat’s predecessor, the EZ, proved stable and easy to paddle yet was up for the latest tricks. And with a new, narrower cut and a hull tweaked for freestyle moves, the ’05 EZG improves on the formula. During tests on the McKenzie River in Eugene, Oregon, this kayak’s forgiving…

A Minimalist Sack The sleeping bag, deconstructed. The ultralight (1.4-pound) 700-fill-down Haven has no zippers and, thanks to the giant hole in the underside of the bag, a fifth less insulation and fabric than your average 20-degree bag. Uh, what? Yep, you actually “enter” the Haven through that hole and…

A TINY SUMMERWEIGHT BAG The North Face claims that its revamped line of Flight Series bags are the first synthetic sacks to rival equivalently rated down bags in weight and compressibility. We were skeptical, but this 40-degree comes pretty darn close. The secret? It’s stuffed with Climashield’s newest stuff,…

1. Thanks to its top-of-the-line 800-fill down, light fabrics, half-length zipper, and trim cut, the Adrenaline 20 packs down to the size of a loaf of bread. Even more impressive, at less than two pounds, the Adrenaline is about a half-pound lighter than the average 20-degree down bag. Add…

1. The Aura is downright spacious (35 square feet), with two doors and two big vestibules. It’s plenty sturdy, easily withstanding 50-mph winds without guylines. And light: The Aura flirts with the four-pound barrier, the two-person freestanding tent’s equivalent of the four-minute mile. 2. Talk about usable space:…

Durable and Well-Priced With beefy draft tubes around the hood and along the full-length zipper, glow-in-the dark zipper pulls, and 600-fill goose down, the 15-degree Hotlum is built to the same general specs as fancier (and more expensive) bags in the North Face’s line. The only difference is that the…

BUILT TO LAST The Woodpecker, from Swiss company Exped, is meticulously crafted—just what you’d expect from a nation of legendary watchmakers. (Of course, its heavy-duty zipper is the only moving part.) A well-placed, down-filled chin guard keeps your face from brushing against frosty zippers. Glow-in-the-dark zipper pulls prevent late-night fumbling.

Nothing is worse than being rudely awakened by rain when sleeping out sans tent, which is why testers had high praise for the 15-degree Shield. For starters, the 800-fill down is wrapped in a proprietary waterproof-breathable fabric that’s nearly as tough as Mammut’s burliest shells. And if it starts…

USER-FRIENDLY AND PACKED WITH FEATURES How many cup holders does your tent have? The Electron RC comes with two spill-saving coffee slings, part of an accessory package that also includes a clip-on ground cloth and gear loft. Those throw-ins made the tent’s $260 price tag all the more amazing for…

Thrashers Welcome The 725-fill Tumble Mountain features recycled fabric, zipper, drawcords, and cordlocks, making it the most sustainable bag here. It’s also the most tricked out. Big Agnes shaves a few ounces by eliminating the unnecessary insulation under the half-length pad sleeve on the back. Slide any standard-width (20-inch) pad…

In an era of massive oil spills and increasing energy demands, why does river conservation still matter? Because free-flowing water is fun. Because it's good for the national chutzpah. And because, as these four comeback stories illustrate, saving rivers is more profitable than exploiting them.

“Not just different. Better.” That tester’s observation sums up this 15-degree bag from Montbell, whose major tech innovation—spiraled baffles—made it the most comfortable and best-functioning bag we tested this year. Far from a gimmick, the spiral baffles drape more evenly over the body, creating…

The future doesn’t just happen. The next frontiers of adventure, fitness, gear, and sport are crafted by bold visionaries with world-changing dreams—and the minds and muscles to make them real. Behold the 25 all-star innovators leading us beyond tomorrow. 1. Conrad Anker: High-Altitude Altruist 2. Josh Donlan:…