Gear Institute Expert Test Menu

Hiking & Camping

Hiking and camping gear.

Smith Pivlock V90

92

2012

Smith Pivlock V90

The Pivlock V90 from Smith Optics is a rimless sunglass designed for multi-sport use with a focus on cycling and running.

Julbo Dirt with Zebra Lens

88

2012

Julbo Dirt with Zebra Lens

Engineered for mountain biking, the Julbo Dirt features a helmet-friendly design.

Rudy Project Gozen

93

2012

Rudy Project Gozen

A high-tech performance wrap sunglass designed for more serious athletes, gear heads, and mere mortals who appreciate the finer things in life.

Deuter Aircontact 75+10 Backpack

85

2012

Deuter Aircontact 75+10 Backpack

A big load pack with small pack comfort.

Arcteryx Venta SV Jacket

93

2012

Arcteryx Venta SV Jacket

The Arcteryx Venta SV is a windproof, lightly insulated hooded soft-shell designed for alpine and expedition climbing use. It has many similarities to a hard-shell—low-stretch fabrics, full pit-zips, an adjustable helmet-compatible hood—but is not fully waterproof.

Jetboil Sumo Group Cooking System with Sumo Companion Bowl Set

79

2012

Jetboil Sumo Group Cooking System with Sumo Companion Bowl Set

As tested, the Jetboil Group Cooking System is a 1.8 liter pot with strainer lid, Sol canister stove, pot support, measuring cup and three individual bowls with lids.

Uvex SGL 202 Vario sunglasses

90

2012

Uvex SGL 202 Vario sunglasses

Down with smudges: Cycling-specific, frameless shades with quick-changing photochromic lenses...and at just 0.8 ounces.

Millet Namche 70+15

84

2012

Millet Namche 70+15

A big, stable pack with a lot of organization options—at a fair price.

Snow Peak Titanium Multi Compact Cook Set

86

2012

Snow Peak Titanium Multi Compact Cook Set

The Snow Peak Titanium Multi Compact Cook Set is a two-person backpacking cook set with two nesting pots and lids, each with folding handles.

GSI Outdoors Halulite MicroDualist

92

2012

GSI Outdoors Halulite MicroDualist

The GSI Outdoors Halulite Microdualist is a compact two-person backcountry kitchen, including a 1.4 liter pot, two mugs, two bowls, two utensils. And yes, even the kitchen sink.

Platy Water Tank 6L

70

2012

Platy Water Tank 6L

A water tank for the campsite with a zip top: Great idea, but testy in practice.

Columbia Hoodster

82

2012

Columbia Hoodster

Lightweight snow hiker with a soft heel and mid-cut for moderate winter adventures.

Zeal Equinox

89

2012

Zeal Equinox

Erinn Morgan's performance sunglass shootout: The Zeal Equinox.

Lowa Trident II

91

2012

Lowa Trident II

Fur-lined Gore-Tex meets adventure-ready winter hiking boot.

Kaenon Soft Kore

94

2012

Kaenon Soft Kore

Erinn Morgan's performance sunglass shootout: The Kaenon Soft Kore.

Nike Vomero12

94

2012

Nike Vomero12

Erinn Morgan's performance sunglass shootout: The Nike Vomero12.

Rudy Project Hypermask Performance

95

2012

Rudy Project Hypermask Performance

Erinn Morgan's performance sunglass shootout: The Rudy Project Hypermask Performance.

Redfeather Alpine 25 Epic

85

2012

Redfeather Alpine 25 Epic

The snowshoe test: Powderchaser Steve on the Redfeather 25 Alpine Epic.

Crescent Moon Gold 9

87

2012

Crescent Moon Gold 9

The snowshoe test: Powderchaser Steve on the Crescent Moon Gold 9.

Ibex Indie Zip T

92

2012

Ibex Indie Zip T

Powderchaser Steve's full test of the Ibex Indie Zip T.

FITS Socks- Light Hiker Crew

91

2012

FITS Socks- Light Hiker Crew

Powderchaser Steve puts the FITS Socks name to the test.

MontBell U.L. Spiral Down Hugger #1

95

2012

MontBell U.L. Spiral Down Hugger #1

Frederick Reimers is quite succinct when it comes to the Mont-Bell U.L. Spiral Down Hugger #1. He says: "It's the best sleeping bag I've ever tested."

REI Half Dome 2 Tent

94

2012

REI Half Dome 2 Tent

REI nails it with the Half Dome 2 Tent. Frederick Reimers goes into detail on just what they got right.

Keen Hoodoo High Lace

79

2012

Keen Hoodoo High Lace

Leah Gallant took this cross-over winter hiking, lifestyle boot to it's limits—and reports.

Ibex Woolies Zip T Stripe

94

2012

Ibex Woolies Zip T Stripe

A versatile item that can be used during warm single layer days as well as cool to cold days on the slopes for use as a base layer.

Sierra Designs Fireside Down Bootie

85

2012

Sierra Designs Fireside Down Bootie

An ideal après boot or for chilling by a campfire close to the car, but too bulky to be a backcountry item.

Adidas Evil Eye Half Rim Pro

89

2012

Adidas Evil Eye Half Rim Pro

Thinking about dropping $200-plus on a pair of performance cycling shades? GI Sunglasses expert Erinn Morgan finds one that will give you your money's worth.

Sierra Designs Packable Down Bootie

74

2012

Sierra Designs Packable Down Bootie

A packable down bootie for the budget-conscious camper—with one (tight) string attached

CamelBak Marathoner Vest

80

2012

CamelBak Marathoner Vest

Wait, a hydration vest? The AdventureBlog's Kraig Becker comes down with a verdict on Camelbak's new solution for runners seeking a divorce from backpanels and shoulder straps.

Point6 Active Light Crew

91

2011

Point6 Active Light Crew

Got socks? Powderchaser Steve does, highlighted here in one of the best pairs he has ever put to the test.

Redington RediLayer Wool Crew

89

2011

Redington RediLayer Wool Crew

Redington's focus is on fly-fishing. But as Powderchaser Steve finds out, the people behind the brand know a thing or two about baselayers as well.

REI XR 8x42 Waterproof Binoculars

85

2011

REI XR 8x42 Waterproof Binoculars

Steve Ogle thought he was just going to use the REI XR 8x42 Waterproof Binoculars as a temporary replacement in the field, but just kept taking them back out. Find out what he liked about them the most.

Keen Revel

90

2011

Keen Revel

Light, comfortable, warm and supportive, the Revels are exceptional winter hiking boots.

SmartWool Midweight Funnel Zip

90

2011

SmartWool Midweight Funnel Zip

From Bhutan to Boulder, Powderchaser Steve gets up close and personal with SmartWool's Midweight Funnel Zip.

Cabela's Mock T-Neck

91

2011

Cabela's Mock T-Neck

Cabela's baselayer collaboration with Polartec gets a full workout, and results in a fully impressed reviewer.

SmartWool Hiking Ultra Light

88

2011

SmartWool Hiking Ultra Light

Powderchaser Steve puts his feet to work, with a no-nonsense test of SmartWool's popular Ultra Light hiking sock.

Thorlo Experia Merino Wool/Silk Thin Cushion Crew

78

2011

Thorlo Experia Merino Wool/Silk Thin Cushion Crew

Comfort, fit, warmth and durability are the measures of any sock. In Thorlo's Experia, Powerchaser Steve finds out if superior fit means that something else has to give.

Stoic Breathe Composite

89

2011

Stoic Breathe Composite

Fall is here. Which means Powderchaser Steve is right on time with his Stoic Breathe Composite midweight review.

L.L. Bean Polartec Power Dry Base Layer

82

2011

L.L. Bean Polartec Power Dry Base Layer

Powderchaser Steve goes skiing, mountain biking, and then to the lab with L.L. Bean's Polartec Power Dry Base Layer. Here are the full results.

Yakima Rack n’ Roll Trailer 78

94

2011

Yakima Rack n’ Roll Trailer 78

Eugene Buchanan goes on the road--and the river--with the Yakima Rack 'n' Roll Trailer 78.

Point6 Hiking Tech Sock

94

2011

Point6 Hiking Tech Sock

Powderchaser Steve gets down to the sole of just how good a sock can be.

Rab's MeCo 165

90

2011

Rab's MeCo 165

Powderchaser Steve gives Rab's MeCo 165 high marks for its superior breathability.

Lowepro's Tried and True Primus AW

87

2011

Lowepro's Tried and True Primus AW

Lowepro's Primus AW gets in some serious trail, climbing and snowboarding time with John Lloyd, who finds that the pack is a light-traveling cameraman's best friend.

Columbia Omni-Heat Baselayer

82

2011

Columbia Omni-Heat Baselayer

Powderchaser Steve takes Columbia's Omni-Heat baselayer to extremes, and returns to tell the tale of just how well it worked.

Vasque Bitterroot GTX

91

2011

Vasque Bitterroot GTX

Vasque hits a home run with a mix of old school leather and new high-tech features in the Bitterroot GTX, one of the best new boots our shoe gurus have had the pleasure of putting on their feet.

Patagonia Drifter

94

2011

Patagonia Drifter

One shoe for 90 percent of your hikes

Salomon 4D Quest GTX

90

2011

Salomon 4D Quest GTX

A surprisingly tough stable boot—with running shoe DNA

Lowa Baltoro

83

2011

Lowa Baltoro

A premium hiking boot with good A/C—but not super stable under heavy loads.

Big Boot, Big Comfort

90

2011

Big Boot, Big Comfort

A burly, midweight backpacking boot for heavy loads. (And it's more comfortable than you'd think.)

The New King of Car Camping Tents

92

2011

The New King of Car Camping Tents

The new King Creek 6 from Big Agnes is in a realm all its own.

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