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On Monday, we got a sneak peek of the two new backcountry products at the company's Canadian headquarters

Square footage and height matter. But a new group of companies is advocating for adding another metric to the spec list: volume.

Better bags so you can go farther, faster, and safer

2015 Gear of the Year Winner

2015 Gear of the Year Winner

2015 Gear of the Year Winner

Not long ago, there were three clearly defined categories for jackets: waterproof hard shells, stretchy and breathable soft shells, and wind shells.

Choosing the right tent requires finding the perfect balance of price, weight, and space.

The rising cost of down is spurring insulation alternatives that will have us all sleeping soundly.

A top-tier down sleeping bag that handles rain for only $230?!? We’ll take it!

Staying dry doesn’t have to mean looking like you’re on a mountaineering expedition. Case in point, the waxed-canvas Fjallraven Abisko.

There’s good reason for the shocking $700 price tag: comfortable in temps from 55 degrees down to 5 degrees and able to fend off moisture, it’s the only bag you’ll need year-round.

Transceivers work well, but are costly. Apps may offer a cheaper alternative.

With ice-ax retention you can release with the pack on, gear loops for ’biners and belay devices, and an integrated crampon pocket, the Matrix is purpose-built for ski mountaineering. But you don’t have to rope up to appreciate how light, roomy, and useful the Matrix is.

The Marmot prodigy is a do-it-all soft shell

The Ignite DriDown offers water-resistant down filling at a great price

Outside reviews the best gear in the Summer 2013 Buyer’s Guide, including the Rab Maverick.

A livable, freestanding three-season tent.

According to Mountain Hardwear, the Ghost Whisperer (hooded) is the world's lightest down jacket—seven ounces, 850-fill down, two pockets, and a ripstop shell that's down- and wind-proof and water repellant

Think of your pack as a closet on your back. And just as there’s no right way to fold your clothes, there’s no single pack that’s suited to everyone. But allow us to offer some advice.

After air bags saved lives in several high-profile slides last year, demand (and curiosity) has never been higher. In 2011, there were five manufacturers making air-bag packs. This winter there are at least 10, and an increasing number of cat- and heli-ski operations are outfitting their clients with them.

In the past 12 months, Columbia, Mountain Hardwear, Polartec, Gore-Tex, and Stoic have introduced new waterproof-breathable membranes. We won’t bore you with the wonky details of their lofty claims; all you need to know is that each is more breathable than many of the jackets we’ve been raving about for years.

An avalanche in Washington State killed three skiers but spared a fourth who was wearing an avalanche air bag. For years, experts have warned skiers never to travel in the backcountry without beacons, rescue shovels, and probes. Is it time to add one more piece of gear to the list?

Outside reviews the best gear in the 2012 Winter Buyer's Guide, including the K2 Rescue Shovel Plus.

Outside reviews the best gear in the 2012 Winter Buyer's Guide, including the Salomon Quest 30 pack

Avalanche air bags are gaining in popularity. And for good ­reason—they can increase survival rates by 98 percent.

Outside reviews the best gear in the 2011 Summer Buyers Guide, including the Marmot Nano.

Outside reviews the best gear in the 2011 Summer Buyers Guide, including the Outdoor Research Cirque Windshirt.

Outside reviews the best gear in the 2011 Summer Buyers Guide, including the Arc'teryx Epsilon SV Hoody.

Outside reviews the best gear in the 2011 Summer Buyers Guide, including the Patagonia Torrentshell Pullover.

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…

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