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Outside reviews the best gear in the 2011 Summer Buyers Guide, including the First Ascent Sandstone Jacket.

Outside reviews the best gear in the 2011 Summer Buyers Guide, including the Helly Hansen Barrier Stretch 3L Jacket.

Outside reviews the best gear in the 2011 Summer Buyers Guide, including the Columbia Peak 2 Peak jacket.

Good for Backcountry Winter hikers, stop making do with ski packs: The 1,700-cubic-inch AirZone Snow is designed specifically for you. The back panel is more like one found on a warm-weather backpack. Rather than flat padding, there’s an airy, suspended mesh that adds both comfort and ventilation…

Good for Backcountry The Free Rider is not so much a backpack as an armored hydration pack, perfect for ducking in and out of the resort. The back panel is actually a protective foam-and-plastic plate—similar to those worn by motocross riders—that flexes with you while you ski…

Good for Backcountry If the devil is in the details, this daypack is an unrepentant sidecountry sinner. Whereas most packs have one or two really smart touches, the Spindrift has half a dozen: a bit of mesh at the bottom of the avy-tool pouch so snowmelt can…

The Squall seems spartan. It isn’t. Well, except for the hipbelt, which is simply unpadded webbing, but that’s all you really need. Plus what’s on the inside is equally important. Within this top-loading, 27-liter pack, everything has its place: There are sleeves for your probe, shovel handle, hydration bladder,…

Backcountry Staple At three pounds, the Cruise is light enough for quick tours and sidecountry laps, but at 30 liters there’s also just enough space to load up for a full day in the backcountry. An external shove-it pocket is the perfect size for climbing skins or a lightweight down…

Good for Backcountry Scrap—not Trash—would be more accurate: This 2,196-cubic-inch daypack is made out of leftover bits of sailcloth. It’s a cool story, but it also makes sense: The fabric is remarkably weatherproof and durable. The rest of this streamlined pack is equally clever. Aluminum stays lend…

Board Sport Unbuckle the Blade’s padded back flap, place your snowboard across the pack horizontally, rebuckle, and you’re off. Not only is the process as quick and easy as it sounds, but testers liked the way this design balances the board’s weight, even if it’s not ideal in every situation…

Good for Backcountry Pricey, comfortable, and tough, the Pro Light Tour was the luxury SUV of our test. There are no cupholders, but with a separate pocket for tools, vertical-carry ski straps, and ice-ax loops, everything else has a place. Plus there’s ample padding and just enough…

Tough Guy This is a stand-up pack—literally. Thanks in part to its extremely heavy-duty fabric (“Like Carhartts,” said one tester), the 29.5-liter Pit Boss stands up straight, on its own, even when empty. But the truly unique feature is the pack’s three interconnected zippers. Two close the lid over the…

Smart and Fast In an actual emergency, the last thing you want to do is fumble with zippers. Which is why Marmot designed the Backcountry’s external snow-safety-tool pocket with double zippers and a sturdy pull loop: You can rip it open with one quick tug. It’s just one of many…

Workhorse The 29-liter Mazama doesn’t have any whiz-bang features. Rather, words like “solid,” “sturdy,” and “intuitive” kept popping up on tester cards. Plush padding on the hipbelt and shoulder straps made it comfortable for long hauls, it’s reinforced in all the right places (including the waterresistant zippers), and multiple side…

Ski-Mountaineering Master With straps, loops, and holders designed specifically to carry skis, snowshoes, a helmet, ropes, ice axes, and trekking poles, the 40-liter, ski-mountaineering Spindrift is without a doubt the most versatile pack we tested this year. Even more impressive is how intuitive it is to affix all of the…

Good for Backcountry This was our favorite pack for skiing around the resort. With its low profile, the Agent sits comfortably on a chair and stayed glued to our backs, even when hopping tight chutes out of bounds. Better yet, because the loops for its simple and…

Lift lines to skin track. Heli-drops to sidecountry laps. Snowshoeing, skiing, snowboarding. We subjected more than 20 new winter packs to serious use and abuse to whittle the list down to seven, a mix of generalists and specialists. But if you’re anything like us, you want one pack…

In November, explorer Eric Larsen, of Grand Marais, Minnesota, sets off for Antarctica, beginning his attempt to become the first person to reach earth’s three most extreme points—both poles and Mount Everest—in one year. The logistics of squeezing three dangerous, highly weather-dependent expeditions into one year is hard enough, but…

A world-class, carbon fiber playboat.

On road or trail, the best navigators do more than just keep you on track