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Everything—from our favorite rugged suitcase to the world's most comfortable shoes—except the lift ticket

Most functional bags of 2015.

Bags for light, medium, and heavy packers

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…

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,…

Stands out in on-the-fly convenience, spaciousness, and durability.

Where carry-ons are concerned, thin is in, and you’ll do well to avoid the wide-body rollers that can be cumbersome on smaller planes. If you’re looking for a larger bag to check, look for a balance of durability and weight: every pound off the bag means another pound of stuff you can squeeze in and still meet the 50-pound rule.

Outside reviews the best gear in the 2012 Summer Buyer's Guide, including the Oakley carry-on roller bag.

Thule Crossover 87L rolling duffel.

Outside reviews the best gear in the 2011 Summer Buyers Guide, including the GoLite TraveLite wheeled carry-on.

Outside reviews the best gear in the 2011 Summer Buyers Guide, including the Eagle Creek ORV Trunk 30 rolling luggage.

Outside reviews the best gear in the 2011 Summer Buyers Guide, including the Victorinox WT Hardside Trolley 20 rolling luggage.

Outside reviews the best gear in the 2011 Summer Buyers Guide, including the Osprey Shuttle 32 rolling luggage.

Outside reviews the best gear in the 2011 Summer Buyers Guide, including the Thule TCRU-2 60 Liter Upright rolling luggage.

Slick Packaholic Scads of apparel, triathlon gear, souvenirs for the family…this wide-body, 6,447-cube roller rocked for weekend warrioring. A shiny vinyl sheath gives this tank a clean urban aesthetic that also toughens its skin, all wrapped in external load-cinching straps. We loved the voluminous, 18-inch-wide main compartment and mesh compression…

Explosive underwear, full-body scans, luggage fees? Welcome to the friendly skies. To subdue some of travel’s travails, shop smart for luggage; no one wants a finicky travel companion. With airlines’ checked-luggage charges, carry-ons have renewed appeal. The newest batch strives for lightness—generally good but not if shaved ounces compromise…

Gearhead Enabler Bulky equipment disappeared in this 8,769-cubic-inch dump bin. The over-under design means there are two cargo holds sporting Burton’s stretchy zippers, which invite overstuffing. Bust the 50-pound mark at check-in and a quick zip splits the monster into two scale-cheaters. We dragged, pushed, and tossed this brute during…

Recon Artist Brawny and balanced, the TLS is a 4,976-cubic-inch beefcake that shuns bling for practicality—perfect for a Thailand traverse where rain, muck, and brusque Bangkok cabbies failed to breach the 900-denier fabric and stout compression-molded bottom. No rummaging, thanks to the straightforward suitcase-style design, which splays open to reveal…

What's the best long haul bag for an island vacation? The Editors Santa Fe, New Mexico

“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…

I looking for a wheeled duffle/backpack with the option to carry on my back (I think). However, I DON'T like the zip-on daypack feature. I have checked out REI and Eagle Creek and can't find what I looking for. I traveling for two weeks and won't be doing any trekking. Any ideas? Elizabeth Portland, OR

I'm looking for luggage to use on a ten-day eco-tour of Costa Rica. Do you have any suggestions? Mark Buffalo, NY

I'm traveling to Oz for six months and need to buy a wheeled bag that converts into a backpack if needed. Can you suggest anything? Lisa Cardiff, Wales

Score with a bargain rain shell, an eco-friendly PFD, and more of the season's hottest new gear

You trust Outside Online’s Gear Guy to answer all of your pressing questions about buying, using, and rehabbing gear. Now get his advice on the best buys for your friends and family this holiday season.