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None of the products on this list are necessary for a good time. But hey, partying itself is about indulgence. And if you’re already indulging, why not enjoy it all the more with these six pieces of summer gear?  Miir Growler ($60) Miir makes you…

Man's greatest culinary achievement since fire.

‘Tis the season for car camping and barbequing, which means grilled burgers, sunny days, and (hopefully) cold beer. But to keep your beverage of choice chilled, you’ll need a cooler that can withstand the heat. We reviewed four mini coolers—each 10 liters or smaller and each packed with a six-pack—to…

For years, I used to test how far I could go on day trips without eating. I don’t know if it was some unexplainable machismo or just laziness, but that mindset changed about six months ago. I’d gone on a four-hour run with an empty stomach and no food in…

It’s tough to tell how trustworthy a piece of gear is going to be when you first buy it. In fact, the only way to actually test your equipment’s longevity is to, well, test it. Thoroughly. So instead of having you, dear reader, put your gear through the ringer in…

Forget about rubbing two sticks together. Without matches, your only hope of getting a fire started in the wild is to take advantage of other tools at your disposal. Mykel Hawke—a former U.S. Army Special Forces Green Beret and founder of survival school Spec Ops—recommends two easy,…

The short answer is no. You’ve heard the adage “cotton kills,” right? While that saying is overused (the fabric is quite comfortable in certain situations), the fact is cotton retains moisture and doesn’t dry quickly—making it dangerous in cold situations. And any garment that contains cotton has that problem.  “The…

Would your mother or wife prefer to be climbing, boating, or running rather than brunching this Sunday? If the answer is yes, read on.

Yes, I write about gear for a living, I have access to the most sophisticated toys and tools in the outdoor world, and I’m constantly geeking out over tech details. But I’m keenly aware of the fact that the gear does not make the athlete. I was a much better…

To answer this question, I turned to our Summer Buyer’s Guide jacket tester Ryan Stuart. He lives and recreates on Vancouver Island (where they measure rainfall in feet every spring), and he spends about 70 days a year in the wet testing the newest rain jackets for Outside. Before buying…

Portable outdoor toys that play big and travel small

Tiny adventure tools that prove size doesn't matter

Craft beer and outdoor pursuits complement each other perfectly. But just as we battle the elements to summit a mountain, we also battle the elements to keep good beer cold when we take it outside.   So while sun and warm weather are great reasons to crack open a cold…

Cotopaxi isn’t the first outdoor company built around philanthropy, but the two-week-old water bottle and backpack manufacturer is the most exciting to watch right now. Cotopaxi’s founder, Davis Smith, has a vision to change the world through business. And thanks to a brilliant marketing launch, a direct-to-consumer…

Yes, sun hats are one of the most effective ways to prevent skin cancer. But did you know they can also keep the heat from zapping your energy? During my decade as a raft guide, I found I was much more energetic at the end of the day when I…

First, you should start by thinking about this question in a different way. It’s not about breaking in the boot to fit your foot, but breaking in your foot to fit the boot. If that sounds painful and a bit mystical, don’t worry. There are some easy steps you can…

Because you don't need expensive gear to enjoy the backcountry

Summer Buyer’s Guide tester Billy Brown currently has an office, a closet, and a garage overflowing with next year’s light hikers. The founder of Trek Tech blog and his testers have run about 120 boots through the ringer over the past year. In other words, he…

While you don’t need fancy running shorts, a pair that doesn’t work can ruin your run. (Chafing is hard to ignore.) The best shorts should make you feel like you’re running in the buff—without having to worry about picking up a public-indecency charge. We’ve been testing running shorts since October,…

Camping at the start of spring is pure magic: the rivers are opening up, the days are getting longer, and most of the country gets deluged with life-giving rain. Okay, so while the rain might not be your favorite part of camping, if you come at it with the right…

I can’t think of a better alpinist to answer this question than Steve House—guide, author, Patagonia ambassador, and founder of the Alpine Mentors Program. House has climbed some of the highest peaks in the world with his remarkably clean, fast, and light style. The…

Last year, Patagonia released the Encapsil Down Parka—probably the most technically sophisticated down jacket ever made. In addition to a slew of innovative design features, Patagonia used a process called “plasma deposition” to make the down inside the jacket hydrophobic. Rather than rely soley on chemicals,…

Sandwiched between trailers and a steel storage container, Wagner Custom Skis’ headquarters don’t exactly scream state of the art.  The author’s new skis But when you step into the showroom, you’ll find the most unique ski collection you’ll likely ever see. A corridor with peeling green paint gives way…

Before I answer the question, let me relay an anecdote. I recently met with Bob Gleason, co-founder of BootDoctors. The legendary boot fitter gave me a polite smirk when I pulled off my Dynafits to reveal heavy ski socks underneath. “Do you usually ski in socks that…

The short answer is yes, H2Flow technology works really well. I imagine you might be asking, “What the heck is this system?” Well, here’s how Helly Hansen describes it: “The insulation concept uses air to provide warmth and ventilation and lets you control the airflow that cools…

Running is so simple, but it gets expensive quickly. Ultrarunning especially can send gear geeks like myself into a buying frenzy. (I bought enough gear last year for the 50-mile North Face Endurance Challenge that I could have picked up a new pair of skis.) While all you really need…

An extremely sophisticated, somewhat mystical process that will surprise you

Earlier this week, Kickstarter announced that it’s raised more than $1 billion—money that’s funded everything from failed expeditions to Zach Braff’s new movie. While the range of projects varies widely, there is one unifying theme when it comes to the crowdfunding website—hope.  Kickstarter enables…

If you’re asking, “What the heck is a bug out bag?” you clearly have some work to do before the four horsemen arrive. A bug out bag is basically a fully stocked survival kit that’s ready to grab in the event of a zombie attack or other emergency.   While…

Professional whitewater kayak photographer Darin McQuiod is tougher on camera equipment than anyone else I’ve met. The Dagger-sponsored kayaker built his career by boating into some of the most remote, terrifying rivers in the world with a camera in tow. Think Tank Streetwalker…

Using a ski jacket that breathes well and keeps you dry won’t make you a better skier. But it will increase your comfort level and your time on the slopes. It’s easy to spend more than $400 on a great ski jacket, but guess what? You don’t have to dish…

Most of us at least know someone who’s ski raced or played ice hockey. But what about the bizarre Olympic sports that don’t get primetime coverage?   Take terms like “vice skip,” “bonspiel,” and “K-Point,” which sound more like drinking games…

We all know the right helmet can save your life. But the world’s most sophisticated lid isn’t much better than an egg carton strapped to your head if it’s past its expiration date. With gravity sports getting steeper, faster, and more intense, a good helmet is essential. But how…

Heli-skiing can be insanely expensive. It can also be one of the most unique adventures you’ll ever experience. So go ahead. Be a glutton for a day, and devour those champagne powder turns. But before splurging on a heli-skiing trip, you need to dial in your gear. I asked…

Polar explorer Eric Larsen is no stranger to extreme cold. The Boulder, Colorado-based adventurer has skied both the North and South Poles and has spent up to 72 days on ice in temperatures that didn’t get warmer than 30 degrees below zero.    Larsen carries an SOS…

Last year, “sidecountry”—a term used to describe lift-accessed backcountry terrain—was the outdoor industry’s hot new buzzword. And the hype bled into the media, too. Search for the word on this website, and you’ll get 207 results from 2013.    This year, the term has all but disappeared from manufacturers’ vocabularies.

We all know the saying. It’s the thought that counts on Valentine’s Day. The same holds true when buying gear for the outdoor enthusiast in your life. No matter how much money you have to spend, it’s the experience you have with your loved one that makes the holiday special.

The Skull Orbic H.I. MIPS tells you when it's sustained too many impacts and is no longer safe to use.

The Snowstrike VT has two lenses to accommodate different amounts of light.

I know. It’s the middle of winter and unless you live in Southern California, T-shirts are likely not high on your shopping list right now. But I would argue that a solid short-sleeve, next-to-skin layer is essential year-round. It’s your first line of defense when it comes to wicking sweat…

We’re always on the lookout for bold designs while walking the aisles at Outdoor Retailer, the outdoor industry’s largest trade show. These are the gutsy, sometimes bizarre ideas that make us want to give the designers a round of applause for being willing to try something new. We’ll see how…

There was definitely some very expensive gear on display at this year’s Outdoor Retailer. I strolled by one parka that was beautiful, functional, breathable, and would protect you in virtually any weather—for only $900. So while extremely high-end gear is fun to talk about and often what we focus on…

The F1 Evo isn’t a gimmick. The boot weighs less than two and a half pounds, has so much flex in walk mode that you can easily bend your knee, and is allegedly as stiff as Scarpa’s popular Maestrale boot.

The most sophisticated fitness tracker.

Next week at Outdoor Retailer, Black Diamond will unveil jackets with a revolutionary cord management system that shrinks, hides, and embeds the technology needed to tighten hoods and hems. It’s called Cohaesive, and I’m excited about it for a few reasons. Cohaesive simplifies cord…

Over the past few decades, humans have developed some pretty high-tech synthetic fabrics, including membranes with nine billion pores per square inch and bi-layer wicking polyester.    But in spite of our best efforts, the most advanced technical fibers still come from Mother Nature. Take merino wool, which is hard…

This is always a tricky question. There’s plenty of room for debate when it comes to choosing the “right” ski length, and a useful answer should entail a lot of research.     Take the rocker revolution, which had people arguing about how the effective edge—or the length of metal…

The 2014 Consumer Electronics Show, a tech orgy that draws hundreds of thousands of people every year, wrapped up Friday in Las Vegas. And as usual, there was some pretty weird technology on the floor.  Sensoria Fitness Sock A tattoo that measures your pH. A glove…

Exercise caution when you look for an inexpensive mountaineering pack. Remember, a well-built pack is going to last a lot longer than a cheap one, and you want to make sure it won’t fail at a crucial moment. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t good options out there that cost…

Editors at Outside test socks perhaps more frequently than any other gear. If an employee finds himself sockless while prepping for a lunch run in the Santa Fe headquarters, he can always find a fresh pair that’s ready to be put through the grind. With a staff of year-round…

Outside staff members are always busy testing gear—we reviewed more than 600 items for the summer and winter Buyer’s Guides alone. We can’t cover everything in the magazine, so we asked 11 Outsiders to name their favorite piece of gear from 2013. And because our staff ranges from elk hunters to ultramarathoners,…

The best person to explain sit skiing is Josh Dueck, who was paralyzed from the waist down in March of 2004 when he severely overshot a ski jump and injured his spinal cord. Dueck, now 32 and a paraplegic, has triumphantly returned to freeskiing—via a sit ski,…

Whether you’re running or skiing, learn the optimal combination of cold-weather gear with our guide to winter layering

Want to learn how ski but don't want to spend all your wages on expensive ski gear and rentals? Here are some tips for saving on gear from a life-long budget-savvy skier.

I ran my first ultra, The North Face Endurance Challenge 50-Mile on December 7. Save two missing toenails and a pinky toe that looks like it belongs on a cadaver, I think I am far enough away from the pain to write about the gear that helped…

I'm having trouble figuring out what gear to give my loved ones for the holidays.

My family has a rule that stocking stuffers must to be sub-$25 and fit inside a stocking. Help!

You might not find a brand-name puffy, but keep an eye out for these six items.

Three tips from expert bootfitter Ari Goosen.

An endorsement—and a eulogy—for the Saucony Xodus 4.0.

Save money by using things around the house to outfit your next adventure (at least partially).

We asked five top guides share their favorite—and least expensive—gear. Add these items to your must-have list.

I've been kayaking before and want to start it as a hobby. I would like to be able to use it on flat water and the ocean (calm, that is), but also for medium fast-water. What kayak would you suggest?

Freeskiing is, by far, the olympic sport I am most excited to watch during this winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. Freeskiing is brand new to the Olympics for 2014, and the three disciplines involved, half-pipe, slope style, and skicross, are going to be a thrill to watch. I get downright…

I've always wanted to try a onesie. Good idea? Bad idea?

While getting outside and playing with gear is a dream, it isn't my favorite part of my job—it's the people I work with. I have found that outdoors people—for the most part—are really good people. So, it makes sense that give-back programs are popular in the outdoor industry, and there are a lot of them to navigate. Which are the best?

Snow is coming (and already here if you're in Colorado). Time to get my ski gear in shape?

I'm wondering could you recommend some sunglasses that could block 100% UV and 82-91% visible light. I want to use it for high altitude climbing and snow activities.

Our resident newbie runner dives into the science behind the sport's most controversial recovery technique.

I'm looking for a badass camp shoe that is also comfortable and up for a good rock scramble.

I'm in search of the Holy Grail of water bottles. Something that keeps my coffee hot and my G&T cold. It should also be able to take a serious beating.

Maximalist shoes are all the rage in my running circle. Should I try to get over how they look and give them a shot?

What are the coolest and most unexpected uses of duct tape in the outdoor world?

Finding gear in my size is impossible. What are the best products for bigger guys?

You love to read product reviews and research the hell out of every purchase. Here's what you should bookmark.

What gear do filmmakers use to capture the insane aerial shots we see in ski videos?

I'm in search of the Holy Grail of water bottles. Something that keeps my coffee hot and my G&T cold. It should also be able to take a serious beating.

Should I buy that new down jacket sooner rather than later? I keep hearing rumors that clothing prices are set to jump. Is there any truth to the chatter?

Conquer the canyon with this handy guide

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