The Exped Synmat Hyperlite M, is a tapered ultralight three season sleeping pad that has an impressive warmth to weight ratio. The Exped pad is the lightest of its category and compresses the smallest, but its narrow tapered foot and vertical baffles limited its comfort.
The Therm-a-rest Neo Air XLite is the ultimate ultralight sleeping pad for weight to warmth to size ratio. However, this pad’s warmth comes from its use of reflective foil technology rather than fill insulation.
The Big Agnes Q-Core SL proved to be the best performing sleeping pad of its category. It is extremely durable, comfortable, and warm; however, is on the heavier end of the scale compared to the others in its category.
Using high tech fabrication to full advantage the North Face FuseForm Dot Matrix is the most versatile jacket we tested in this category, ideal for everything from backcountry trips to walking the dog.
The Keen Targhee II is a low rise, leather and nylon mesh, waterproof hiking shoe, designed with a thick, dual density rubber sole and patented toe guards. Its durable construction provides excellent support, protection and traction over varied terrain.
The Hilleberg Niak is a rare marriage of lightweight and bomber construction. It’s not a roomy two person tent, but for high mountain trekking right into the shoulder season we’d pick this over just about any other tent for its dependability in uncertain weather.
Marmot gave one of its best selling backpacking tents a makeover and made the Limelight 2 one of the most livable tents we’ve tried. Testers loved the interior room, easy set up and plenty of user-friendly touches. It’s a great one-quiver tent and ideal for anyone more interested in comfort than shaving down weight.
The Vasque Talus Trek Low Ultradry is a low rise, leather and mesh, waterproof hiking shoe, designed with a thick, dual density rubber sole, athletic midsole and ventilated panels. Its Vibram outsole and deep lugs provide good quality traction across varied terrain.
The Oboz Sawtooth Low BDry is a low rise, leather and textile, waterproof hiking shoe. It’s wide sole, deep lugs and molded heel provide excellent traction, stability and protection over varied terrain.
The RAB Neutrino Endurance 600 women-specific sleeping bag is a very warm, super comfortable bag with many features tailored to a women’s body and needs—provided she is not taller than 5’7” (largest size).
The Nemo Wagontop is sturdy and spacious. The 78-inch highpoint actually spans the length of the tent and the only place you need to duck is when entering. But, to be this sturdy and spacious the pole system is obnoxious to set up with two awkward and spidery pole sets.
The Kelty Airlift series uses pressurized air tubes to form the structure of the tent where poles are usually used. This is great for families with rambunctious kids who won’t be able to break any poles but extra care must be taken to help the tubes stand up during inflation.
Coleman provides fine tents for fair weather campers. The low price point starts to show when the wind starts to pick up as the walls of the tent bend in more so than with other tents in the test. Where the Longs Peak 6 excels is with a more durable floor fabric to prevent ground moisture from wetting through from the bottom.
The Mountainsmith Conifer 5+ is an extended dome style tent with lots of headroom, a generous vestibule and lots of tie down points to ward off fierce winds. The tent does take a little extra time to set up and despite the color coding there is still some ambiguity on orienting the tent and getting the fly attached.
The Boker Plus Coye Ridgeback is a compact fixed blade knife designed for inconspicuous belt carry. It’s made from 440C and features a drop-point style blade and contoured G10 handle scales which makes the Ridgeback easy to use for almost any application.
The Camillus Soar is a full-tang fixed blade knife designed to see you through to your next adventure. Featuring a drop-point 440C stainless blade with a Titanium Bonded cutting edge, spine, and belly; the Soar is an affordable production knife that performs like an expensive custom one.
The Helle Utvaer is the first full-tang construction knife offered by Helle of Norway. A modern take on the classic puukko style of bushcraft knife, the Utvaer has a modern and aggressive look, features a curly birch handle and comes with a leather sheath.