Gear Institute Expert Test Menu

Hiking & Camping

Hiking and camping gear.

Patagonia Nano-Air Light Hybrid

83

2017

Patagonia Nano-Air Light Hybrid

The Patagonia Nano-Air Light Hybrid is an extremely breathable and lightweight layer that prioritizes air permeability and moisture dissipation over anything else. 

Arc’teryx Proton AR Hoody

85

2017

Arc’teryx Proton AR Hoody

The Arc’teryx Proton AR Hoody is a durable, moderately breathable insulating layer with uncompromised construction quality suitable for medium intensity activity in true winter conditions.

Marmot Isotherm Jacket

82

2017

Marmot Isotherm Jacket

The Marmot Isotherm jacket is an abrasion resistant insulating piece that performs best for moderately active pursuits in freezing conditions.

Patagonia Men’s KnifeRidge Jacket

90

2017

Patagonia Men’s KnifeRidge Jacket

The Patagonia KnifeRidge jacket is a well-rounded soft shell hoody that provides excellent mobility while protecting in all but the wettest conditions. This piece remains light, compressible, with just the right number of features.

Marmot Men’s Zion Jacket

87

2017

Marmot Men’s Zion Jacket

The Marmot Zion is a completely waterproof and fully featured soft shell jacket built for harsher conditions in the mountains.

Arc’teryx Gamma LT Hoody

87

2017

Arc’teryx Gamma LT Hoody

The Arc’teryx Gamma LT Hoody is a lightweight, athletically cut shell that fits closely but moves with you thanks to its elastic material. It is also extremely breathable and durable, making it an excellent outer layer for active, rugged pursuits in moderate winter conditions.

Outdoor Research Men’s Iceline

86

2017

Outdoor Research Men’s Iceline

The Outdoor Research Iceline’s hybrid construction utilizing waterproof breathable panels combined with air permeable and elastic zones creates a softshell suitable for active pursuits in harsher winter climates.

Mountain Hardwear Men’s Dragon Hooded Jacket

84

2017

Mountain Hardwear Men’s Dragon Hooded Jacket

The Mountain Hardwear Dragon Hooded jacket blends wind proofing, warmth, a longer fit and features that work well in alpine environments. 

The North Face Thermoball Full Zip

81

2017

The North Face Thermoball Full Zip

The North Face Thermoball Full Zip is a basic layering piece that will serve well in a variety of conditions.

Helly Hansen Odin Flow Jacket

82

2017

Helly Hansen Odin Flow Jacket

The Helly Hansen Odin Flow Jacket is a technical layer designed for the harshest of conditions.

Cotopaxi Kusa Jacket

84

2017

Cotopaxi Kusa Jacket

The Cotopaxi Kusa Jacket is a coat that straddles both comfortable frontcountry and performance-focused backcountry use. 

OR Cathode

85

2017

OR Cathode

The OR Cathode is a breathable jacket that functions well as a standalone piece. 

Montbell UL Thermawrap

89

2017

Montbell UL Thermawrap

The Montbell UL Thermawrap is an extremely light jacket that doesn’t sacrifice warmth. 

Arc’teryx Atom AR Jacket

90

2017

Arc’teryx Atom AR Jacket

The Arc’teryx Atom AR Jacket has a superior warmth-to-weight ratio and works equally well as a layering piece or standalone jacket.

Granite Gear Crown V.C. 60

87

2017

Granite Gear Crown V.C. 60

The Granite Gear Crown V.C. 60 may be the largest pack in the test group, but it doesn’t act like it.

Mountain Laurel Designs Exodus

90

2017

Mountain Laurel Designs Exodus

The Mountain Laurel Designs Exodus is a bare-bones rucksack designed for the long-distance hiker who seeks durability and minimal weight. 

Osprey Exos 48

82

2017

Osprey Exos 48

The Osprey Exos 48 is comfortable and accessible to backpackers carrying smaller loads but is heavy for its size. 

Marmot Graviton 58

81

2017

Marmot Graviton 58

The Marmot Graviton 58 caters to both backcountry and urban travelers, resulting in increased weight and reduced durability. 

Mountainsmith Scream 55

80

2017

Mountainsmith Scream 55

The Mountainsmith Scream 55 is an affordable and durable frameless pack with some out-of-place features.

Hinderer XM-18 3.5” Flipper – Slicer Grind (Gen 4)

99

2017

Hinderer XM-18 3.5” Flipper – Slicer Grind (Gen 4)

This fourth generation XM-18 3.5” Flipper is the flagship hand-built midtech knife from Hinderer Knives with a titanium frame and hardware and premium stainless steel blade.

Spyderco Para 3

98

2017

Spyderco Para 3

The Para 3 is a compact, ergonomic, military-inspired folding knife suitable for every day carry.

Ontario Knife Company Carter Prime

95

2017

Ontario Knife Company Carter Prime

The Carter Prime from Ontario Knife Company is a robust, everyday carry utility flipper knife.

Helle Bleja

97

2017

Helle Bleja

The Bleja, from the nearly century-old Helle Knives, is a mid-sized folder utility knife with a triple-laminated steel blade, stainless steel liners and curly birch wood handles.

Benchmade 928 Proxy Flipper

94

2017

Benchmade 928 Proxy Flipper

The Benchmade 928 Proxy Flipper has a titanium frame, a glass-based epoxy resin laminate handle and features a steel alloy drop point blade.

CRKT Homefront Flipper

92

2017

CRKT Homefront Flipper

The CRKT Homefront Flipper is a folding knife designed for hard use that can be field-maintained without tools.

Columbia Women's Hexbreaker Long Down Jacket

93

2016

Columbia Women's Hexbreaker Long Down Jacket

Columbia’s Women’s Hexbreaker Long Down Jacket is heating powerhouse chock full of features. 

The North Face Hooded Termoball Parka

92

2016

The North Face Hooded Termoball Parka

The North Face Hooded Termoball Parka is a long women’s jacket with synthetic insulation. 

Mountain Hardwear Nitrous Hooded Down Parka

90

2016

Mountain Hardwear Nitrous Hooded Down Parka

Mountain Hardwear’s Women’s Nitrous Hooded Down Parka is lightweight winter jacket with impressive warmth and solid features. 

Patagonia Lightweight Fiona Down Parka

89

2016

Patagonia Lightweight Fiona Down Parka

Patagonia’s Lightweight Fiona Parka is an ultralight and ultra-warm long down jacket for women. 

Eddie Bauer’s Astoria Hooded Down Parka

85

2016

Eddie Bauer’s Astoria Hooded Down Parka

Eddie Bauer’s Astoria Hooded Down Parka is a mid-weight parka that blends relaxed style and warmth. 

Salomon Quest 4D II

92

2016

Salomon Quest 4D II

The Salomon Quest 4D II is a great mid weight backpacking boot that provides plenty of stability while being very comfortable at the same time.

La Sportiva Trango TRK GTX

89

2016

La Sportiva Trango TRK GTX

The La Sportiva Trango TRK is a lightweight, synthetic boot that is comfortable for all day treks across technical terrain.

Lowa Lady Light

87

2016

Lowa Lady Light

The Lowa Lady Light is a leather backpacking boot that provides great support and stability with the feel of a lightweight day hiking shoe.

Scarpa R-Evolution GTX

83

2016

Scarpa R-Evolution GTX

The Scarpa R-Evolution GTX is a waterproof backpacking boot that is both comfortable enough for long trips and supportive enough to cover more technical terrain.

Vasque Skywalk GTX

81

2016

Vasque Skywalk GTX

The Vasque Skywalk is a full leather boot that uses an old popular design but fails to provide the comfort that modern boots have.

Montbell Down Hugger 800 #1

91

2016

Montbell Down Hugger 800 #1

The Montbell Down Hugger 800 #1 is a lightweight, three-season bag built for comfort with its Spiral Super Stretch System. 

Millet 7 Summits Down Sleeping Bag

90

2016

Millet 7 Summits Down Sleeping Bag

The Millet 7 Summits sleeping bag is designed and built for high-altitude climbing and keeping the user warm and protected from the elements.  

Sea to Summit Talus TS II sleeping bag

89

2016

Sea to Summit Talus TS II sleeping bag

The Sea to Summit Talus TS II is a versatile bag that can be used on summer trekking in the mountains and winter camping in moderate climates.  

Rab Neutrino 600 sleeping bag

89

2016

Rab Neutrino 600 sleeping bag

The Rab Neutrino Endurance 600 was redesigned for spring 2016 and is built for alpine climbers and cold weather backpackers for use on bivi ledges, light-weight mountaineering trips or general winter conditions.

Klymit KSB Down Black Sleeping Bag

89

2016

Klymit KSB Down Black Sleeping Bag

The three season Klymit KBS 20 sleeping bag is light-weight and designed for overall comfort, especially for sleepers that move around.

Big Agnes Fish Hawk 30

87

2016

Big Agnes Fish Hawk 30

The Big Agnes Fish Hawk 30 is a semi-rectangular sleeping bag that is light-weight enough for backpacking, but is designed to feel more like a comforter on your own bed. 

The North Face Blue Kazoo

86

2016

The North Face Blue Kazoo

The Blue Kazoo has been around for years and was recently updated to include water-resistant 650 ProDown™ for reliable warmth in wet conditions. 

GSI Outdoors Pinnacle Canister Stove

76

2016

GSI Outdoors Pinnacle Canister Stove

The GSI Pinnacle Canister stove is very efficient, compact backpacking stove.

GSI Outdoors Pinnacle Four Season Stove

78

2016

GSI Outdoors Pinnacle Four Season Stove

The GSI Outdoors Pinnacle Four Season Stove is a very good four-season canister stove.

Montane Featherlite

90

2016

Montane Featherlite

The Montane Featherlite is an exceptionally comfortable mummy-style sleeping bag with a very soft lining and loaded with extras.

Big Agnes Fish Hawk 30

87

2016

Big Agnes Fish Hawk 30

The Big Agnes Fish Hawk 30 is a semi-rectangular sleeping bag designed to be used with Big Agnes’ sleep system and therefore does not have down insulation on the bottom.

Eddie Bauer Flying Squirrel

88

2016

Eddie Bauer Flying Squirrel

The Eddie Bauer Flying Squirrel is a zipper-less, wrap-style bag rated to 40F and is unlike all others in this category.

Sea to Summit Spark II, Regular

86

2016

Sea to Summit Spark II, Regular

The Sea to Summit Spark II is a mummy-style, lightweight sleeping bag with limited features.

Therm-a-rest Dorado HD

84

2016

Therm-a-rest Dorado HD

New for 2016 by Therm-a-Rest, the Dorado HD is a rectangular sleeping bag for summer, transitioning easily from sleeping bag to quilt.

Salewa Alpine Trainer

78

2016

Salewa Alpine Trainer

The Salewa Alpine Trainer Mid hiking boot is a light-weight, suede and nylon mesh, narrow hiking boot with a precise lacing system and Gore-Tex weatherproofing. 

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