Showing posts with label Tents. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Tents. Show all posts

Everest Climbing Gear - Then and Now

National Geographic has another interesting article and photo gallery up today, this time taking a look at the past and present gear used on Everest. The slideshow contains a number of fantastic images, and each one focuses on a particular topic, such as "communications" and "insulation layers," with information what was used when Hillary and Norgay completed the first ascent, versus the gear that the rank and file mountaineers are using now.

Today's climbers are outfitted with highly technical apparel, a host of gadgets, and gear that offers an amazing weight-to-performance ratio. Everything from the boots they wear to the tents they stay in have improved dramatically over the past 60+ years. With all of the advanced fabrics and space-age materials at our disposal, it is easier to climb lighter, faster, and more comfortably than ever before, which is part of the reason so many more people are making the attempt.

So just how different was it back in 1953? In the Nat Geo article we learn that Hillary and Norgay couldn't use wireless communications higher up on the mountain, so they communicated by laying out their sleeping bags in a particular pattern that could be seen below. Today, walkie-talkies, sat phones, satellite messengers, and even cell phones can be used to communicate from any point on Everest, including the summit.

Similarly, the tents used on the first ascent where heavy and bulky. Those shelters were made from cotton, and were often crowded, uncomfortable, and very heavy. In contrast, today's tents are surprisingly strong, lightweight, and warm, even at higher altitudes. Every aspect and component of a tent has been upgraded, making them easier to carry and assemble, even when the weather turns bad.

The story is a fun one and well worth a read for Everest fans and gear junkies alike. Lots of good information here comparing climbing now to then. You're likely to come away with even more respect for those early Everest climbers.

Backpacker Shares Their Favorite Tents of 2017

A few days ago I posted a story from Popular Mechanics that shared their picks for the 7 best camping and backpacking tents. Not to be outdone, Backpacker magazine has also shared their thoughts on the subject, publishing their selection for the 12 best tents of 2017 instead. And since it is time for spring hiking and camping outings, I thought it would be a good time to take a look at their suggestions.

In testing these new shelters, Backpacker called in a large group of testers. All told, 31 people participated in the tent test, spending 247 nights outdoors and hiking 1029 total miles. Along the way, one tester faced 55 mph (88 km/h) winds, while others spent 4 consecutive nights in the rain. One even camped above 11,500 ft (3505 meters) in an effort to put these tents through their paces. In other words, the selection of the top tents was no small affair, and the list is definitely comprised of the best camp shelters available today.

So, which tents made the cut? As usual, I won't spoil the entire list, but will share a few of interest. For instance, Cotopaxi's Techo 3 and Inti 2 both earned a spot on Backpacker's rundown, which is a strong showing for a company that just introduced its first models. REI's updated Quarter Dome 2 also got the nod, as did the Big Agnes Copper Spur UL2.

This is just a small sampling of the tents that made the cut and there are 8 others for you to discover as you look through Backpacker's list. Which one works best for you probably depends on your individual needs and budget, but in reality you probably can't go wrong with any of the options here. Obviously the team of testers really put these tents through the ringer, and as a result you can bet that these are the best new options on the market at the moment.

If you're ready to go shopping for a new tent this spring, do yourself a favor and give this story a look. Chances are, you'll discover some new choices you didn't even consider and you might end up with a better hiking shelter than you first thought.

Popular Mechanics Shares the 7 Best Tents for Camping and Backpacking

Now that spring is finally here, I'm sure more than a few of you are planning that first big camping or backpacking trip of the year. If that's the case, and you're in the market for a new tent, Popular Mechanics is here to help. The magazine recently posted an article on its website listing the 7 best camping and backpacking tents that are currently available, with some good options for just about every budget.

The seven tents that made the cut vary in size, weight, and price greatly, but there really is something for just about every type of camper here. For instance, the list starts with the Kelty Grand Mesa 2, a two-person, three-season shelter that costs just $140. On the other end of the spectrum is MSR's awesome Hubba Hubba NX, which retails for $400, but is built to survive in just about any conditions and weighs in at just 3 lbs., 7 oz.

In between these two options you'll find plenty of others, including some that are both more and less expensive. Depending on your needs, you'll discover some solid suggestions here, with tents to accommodate two adventurous souls or as many as six. Most are meant for spring, summer, and fall outings, although one or two could be used for winter camping in mild conditions as well. In short, its a nice variety of shelters to accommodate all kinds of outdoor enthusiasts.

If you're about to do some shopping for a new tent, this article is definitely worth a look. The tent market is as competitive now as it has ever been, and the latest models are lightweight, efficient, and comfortable. Deciding which one is the best is a tricky endeavor, but PM can help you sort out some of the choices that are currently available. Read the entire article here.

Backpacker Gives Us the Best Comfort Thru-Hiking Gear

A few days back I shared a post from Backpacker magazine that offered readers their picks for the best budget gear for making a long-distance thru-hike. Each of the items on that list were selected primarily because they are affordable, with performance being the second characteristic. Now, the editors are back with some more gear recommendations, but this time their offering options that fall into a different category – comfort.

Backpacker's picks for the best comfort thru-hiking gear includes a fantastic sleeping bag from Western Mountaineering, an incredibly comfy sleeping pad from Thermarest, and a large, quite possibly the most comfortable backpack on the market today courtesy of Osprey. You'll also find selections for the best tent, jacket, trekking poles, and even an umbrella, all of which are aimed at the hiker who doesn't mind carrying a bit of extra weight if it means he or she has some luxuries that help them to stay at home out on the trail.

Obviously this list is not for those of us who count every ounce when we're heading out on a hike. Instead, it is all about keeping your body as strong and comfortable as possible, even when hiking for miles on end day after day. If you're someone who is okay with knowing you don't have the lightest gear around, but that you'll probably enjoy your hike more as a result, this list is definitely for you.

Check out all of the items that made the cut by clicking here.

Video: Talking Tents with Explorer/Mountaineer Lonnie Dupre

Want to know what to look for in a tent when embarking on an extreme expedition? Who better to ask than a guy like Lonnie Dupre, who managed to make a solo summit of Denali last January. In this video Lonnie sits down with Petra Hilleberg to talk about the tents he uses on his various adventures, and what he looks for in a shelter in extreme locations.

The 2016 Adventure Blog Holiday Shoppers Guide (Part 1)

The holidays are now upon us, and its time to start looking for the perfect gift for the outdoor adventurer and world traveler on your list. If you're looking for the perfect gift for that guy or gal, I have some suggestions that should make them happy this year. Here's what they really want to find under their tree this holiday season.

Mountain Hardwear StretchDown Jacket ($250)
If your loved ones like to spend time outdoors in the cold months of the year, they'll appreciate the new Mountain Hardwear StretchDown Jacket. Not only does is use stretchy material that moves well during active outings, but it employs heat-sealed baffles rather than standard stitches, making it much warmer as well. This is the most innovative puffy on the market today, and one that will be a great companion on many adventures to come. (Buy at

Osprey Atmos AG 50 ($230)
There are so many great backpacks to choose from on the market today it is tough to select just once. But Osprey's Atmos AG 50 is still one of the very best, with perhaps the most comfortable fit and suspension available today. Perfect for backpacking, camping, and adventure travel, this pack has plenty of capacity and comes with such additional features as a removable top lid, tool attachments, removable sleeping pad straps, and much more. Best of all, its backed by Osprey's lifetime warranty, which means they'll fix or replace it should anything every happen to the pack. (Buy at

Lowa Renegade GTX Mid Boots ($230)
There are a lot of great hiking boots to choose from these days, but for my money it is tough to top the Lowa Renegade GTX in terms of performance, comfort, and durability. This boot is designed for hiking, trekking, and even light mountaineering, with excellent traction on a wide variety of surfaces, plenty of support for the foot, and a classic look that never seems to go out of style. (Buy at

Goal Zero Venture 30 Battery Pack ($99.95)
Being able to keep your gadgets charged while on the go is an important consideration these days, and there are many portable battery packs to choose from. But Goal Zero's Venture 30 not only carries a lot of juice (7800 mAh) but its rugged enough to survive just about anywhere you want to take it. Waterproof and durable, the Venture 30 has a high speed USB port that can recharge your mobile devices as quickly as a wall outlet. (Buy at

Eddie Bauer Kara Koram +20ºF Sleeping Bag ($449)
When it comes to getting a good night's sleep in the backcountry, your sleeping bag is the most important piece of kit that you can take with your. Warm, comfortable, lightweight, and compact, the Kara Koram +20º bag from Eddie Bauer is a great option to have at your disposal. Stuffed with 850-fill, water-resistant down, this bag is tough enough to go anywhere and continue to perform at an incredibly high level.

Klymit Static V2 Sleeping Pad ($64.95)
Nobody likes to sleep on the hard ground when they're spending a night in the tent, which is why a good sleeping  pad is a must. The Klymit Static V2 is lightweight (weighs 1 lbs), very comfortable, and packs down to the size of a soda can. Its body-mapped pattern is also extremely comfortable too, allowing you to sleep like a baby in the backcountry. (Buy at

The North Face Talus 2 Tent ($199)
A good tent provides the shelter you need to survive in the backcountry, and the Talus 2 from The North Face is an excellent option for those who like to travel light but without sacrificing features. Tipping the scales at a mere 3.2 pounds, this tent has plenty of room to sleep two, features double-doors and two vestibules, and comes with both a gear loft and a footprint. It even has a lifetime warranty, which means you can depend on it surviving rough conditions, or TNF will replace it. (Buy at

Mountain Khakis Original Mountain Pant ($84.95)
If you're looking for the perfect outdoor pants that can also transition to town without missing a beat, the Original Mountain Pant from Mountain Khakis has you covered. Reinforced in all the right places, and designed for comfort on and off the trail, these pants feature classic good looks, a relaxed fit, and quality fabrics, stitches, and zippers. (Buy at

REI Sahara Tech Long-Sleeve Shirt ($36.93)
The REI Shara tech shirt is comfortable to wear, provides moisture wicking and temperature control features, and offers UPF 50+ protection from the sun. It also has classic good looks, is designed for travel and outdoor activities, dries quickly, and packs down to a small footprint. Pretty much everything you want out of any piece of active apparel.

Leki Micro Vario Ti Cor-Tec DSS Trekking Poles ($159.95)
A good pair of trekking poles are essential for challenging hikes, and Leki makes some of the very best. Lightweight, compact, and easy to travel with, the Micro Vario TI Cor-Tec DSS poles are perfect for anyone hiking local trails close to home, or flying off to tackle Kilimanjaro. Quick and easy to assemble, with comfortable hand grips, these trekking poles are one of those items you don't know you need until you have a pair. They are perfect for the hiker on your list. (Buy at

More gift ideas to come in the second part of my holiday gift guide tomorrow.

The Very Best Gear of 2016 Summer Outdoor Retailer

As you can see, I'm back from Salt Lake City and updating The Adventure Blog once again. While there to attend the Outdoor Retailer gear convention I had the opportunity to see all kinds of interesting, ingenious, and downright crazy new gear that is coming our way in the months ahead. Some of that gear I'll actually get to test myself, and share my thoughts with you readers. But there is simply so much to see there that no one person could ever review it all in a single year.

Thankfully, there are a number of websites that have shared their picks for the best new gear that was on display at the show. For instance, Outside magazine has posted its selection of the 5 best pieces of gear that were unveiled at OR with a new backpack from Arc'teryx and a tent from Cotopaxi each earning a nod.

Elsewhere, Popular Mechanics has shared it's picks for best in show as well, with some very interesting products earning a spot on their list. They handed out their "editor's choice" awards to seven new products, including an innovative and eco-friendly jacket from Columbia that was a hit with everyone at the show, and the new BaseLantern camp lighting system from BioLite.

Finally, the Gear Institute – a site that I contribute to and helped picks the award winners for – had posted it's selection of Best New Gear Awards too. We ended up handing out eight awards in total, with winners ranging from an ultra-slim, two fuel stove from Kovea to an innovative new sleeping bag from The North Face.

This is just a small sample of what we can expect in the weeks to come, as the trends that we've expected from the outdoor industry – namely lighter, more efficient, and more versatile gear – continues to be the theme. Your pocket book might not be too happy about all of the great gear that is on the horizon, but as an outdoor lover, chances are you will be very satisfied.

13 Pieces of Gear Every All-Around Adventurer Should Own

This article is nearly a year old, but it recently came to my attention when Alastair Humphreys shared it on Facebook. It comes our way from the website Semi-Rad and it provides us with a list of 13 pieces of gear that every all-around adventurer should have in their arsenal. Consider this an inventory of items that all outdoor enthusiasts should have at their disposal.

The list is a comprehensive one, although most of the items are exactly what you would expect. In fact, I suspect that many of you reading this already have a good portion of these pieces of gear. Still, it is a good reminder of the things we should have at our disposal before setting out on an adventure, and as I read through the article, I was also doing a mental inventory of my own gear to make sure I had each of these things on hand.

Some of the items that make the list include a two-person backpacking tent, 30- and 60-liter backpacks, a rain shell, and a down jacket. Author Brendan Leonard also shares his picks for a proper sleeping bag, a headlamp, water bottles, and a variety of other gear as well. If you're looking to build a collection of solid gear to keep you safe and comfortable in the backcountry, this is a good place to start.

So, what do you think of the list? Did Brendan leave anything out? Do you have anything that you would add? Personally, I know I never leave home without a Buff or two, and I think a good watch – such as the Suunto Ambit – is an important piece of gear to have with you as well.

Find out what else made Semi-Rad's list by clicking here.

Outside Presents the 2016 Summer Gear Buyers Guide

Just in case you still need some help selecting the best gear for your summer outdoor adventures, Outside magazine has released its 2016 Summer Buyers Guide, outlining 369 items that will keep you safe, comfortable, and happy while pursuing your favorite activities.

The Buyer's Guide is broken down into multiple categories, including Float, Hike, Bike, Run, Fitness, and Travel. Each of those listings is further divided into subcategories that include lists of great gear that is applicable to the activity. For instance, under hiking you'll find the best tents for 2016, as well as the best hiking shoes. Meanwhile, under the bike category you'll discover the best mountain bikes and accessories for a summer ride.

Naturally, with this many items to explore, it can take you quite a long time to sift through all of the options. But, if you're in the market for a new sleeping bag, kayak, camera, or other equipment, the experts at Outside can help you find exactly what you're looking for. There are some really great products to check out here, each of which has been curated by testers who have put these items through their paces over the past few months.

Check out the full list of items on the Outside Online website by clicking here.

Nat Geo Gives Us the Best New Gear for Spring 2016

Need some new gear for your upcoming spring adventures? National Geographic has you covered, as  Nat Geo Adventure presents its selections for the best new gear arriving on store shelves in the days ahead.

And just which items earn a nod from the NG crew? They recommend REI's new Flash 65 backpack, a new stove from Snow Peak, and the Concerto sleeping bag from Nemo. Other items on the list include Mountain Hardwear's new Ghost UL2 tent, an incredibly lightweight shell from The North Face, and a comfortable new backpacking boot from Vasque.

This is just a taste of the items that make Nat Geo's list. There are all kinds of other items including a mountain bike and bike accessories, jackets, knives, watches an other products that will no doubt be objects of lust for gear junkies and outdoor enthusiasts everywhere.

Spring is a great time to get outside and get back to chasing your favorite activities and adventures. Some new gear always helps with the process, and is good encouragement too.

Nat Geo Presents Gear of the Year for Fall and Winter 2015

Hot on the heals of Outside magazine's 2016 winter buyer's guide comes National Geographic Adventure's picks for the absolute best outdoor gear for fall and winter 2015. As usual, the selection is filled with some amazing products that you'll want to have in your gear closet for the season ahead.

Some of the items that earned a spot on Nat Geo's list include new high-loft merino wool base layers from Patagonia, a pair of ski pants from Black Diamond that include a built-in avalanche transceiver, and a new pair of hiking boots from Hoka One One that have been getting a lot of attention since they were first revealed. Other gear that may be of interest for your favorite fall and winter outdoor activities include the new Jetboil Genesis Basecamp stove, an amazing water purifier from MSR, and Sierra Design's new four-season tent, the Convert 2.

This is just the tip of the iceberg however, as you'll also find Nat Geo's picks for the best fat tire bike, an ultra-bright trail light, skis, boots, cameras, travel bags, watches - both smart and traditional – and a whole lot more. All of the new gear is available now, and would obviously make good holiday gifts for yourself or your favorite outdoor enthusiast. Check out the entire list here.

Best Gear from Summer Outdoor Retailer 2015

As many of you know, last week the 2015 Summer Outdoor Retailer convention was held in Salt Lake City, with many gear manufacturers unveiling their latest and greatest products there. Most of those items won't go on sale for weeks – or even months – yet, but as usual OR gave us a glimpse of what to expect in terms of gear trends and new products that will make our outdoor adventures and travel experiences much better.

This year, there was a focus on expanding what defines an outdoor adventure, with many companies debuting products that were designed for both fashion and function. There is definitely a trend in pursuing urban adventure as well, with a lot of products transitioning nicely from trail to town. The outdoor industry is finding that many younger people don't want to spend their days hiking and backpacking a rugged trail, but instead they like to spend time with their friends outdoors at an event such as a concert or festival. Products designed for this market are very different from what we traditionally think of in terms of tents, backpacks, and sleeping bags.

Of course, many of the online gear sites put together their picks for the best new items on display at Outdoor Retailer, not the lest of which was "Best New Gear Awards" that we handed out over at the Gear Institute. I serve as the news editor for the site, and helped in the selection process. Amongst the products that we honored were an amazing water purifier from MSR, a lightweight tent from Mountain Hardwear, and the lightest waterproof jacket available today (3.5 oz) from Berghaus.

We weren't the only site handing out awards however. The Gear Junkie selected his favorite products from Summer OR as well, with several items making a repeat appearance from the Gear Institute list. Outside magazine also weighed in with their thoughts, honoring other impressive gear items from the show as well.

All in all, it was another good Outdoor Retailer, with plenty of gear for us to covet. That said, there were very few items that were revolutionary, but plenty that made incremental improvements that will certainly be welcomed by the outdoor community.

Nat Geo Picks Gear of the Year for Spring/Summer 2015

The National Geographic Adventure Blog has posted its selection for the best outdoor gear for the spring and summer of 2015, turning a spotlight on the very best equipment that is currently available for our outdoor pursuits. As usual, there are a dizzying array of products as part of this round-up, many of which demonstrate just how much the outdoor industry continues to push the envelope in terms of innovation.

Amongst the products that earn a spot in Nat Geo's line-up are the Atmos and Aura backpacks from Osprey. These packs have been winning universal acclaim on many gear sites this year, which is a clear indication of just how good they truly are. Other items include a new camp cooking set from Sea to Summit, an awesome looking multitool from Leatherman, and a cool lighting system for your camp from BioLite. There is also a nice new synthetic sleeping bag from Mountain Hardwear, a bug-repelling lantern from Thermacell, and an ultra-light two-person tent from MSR.

These products are just the tip of the iceberg however, as there are all kinds of other items for gear hounds to drool over. Everything from the best new mountain bike and kayak, to innovative new trail shoes and a watch designed for surfers made the cut. There is even a backpack designed specifically for carrying a drone on the list. In short, there is just about something for everyone.

If you're looking to expand your gear closet this summer, and have been thinking about adding a few more items to your arsenal, this list will certainly have some suggestions on which products are the very best at the moment. As usual, there is far too much excellent gear available, and not enough money to acquire it all. We can always dream though, right?

Backpacker Picks the Best New Gear of Spring 2015

With spring officially here, it is time to start planning some outdoor adventures, with hiking, backpacking, and camping trips on the agenda. It is also a good time to pick up some new gear for those excursions, and Backpacker magazine is here to help in that department.

The outdoor adventure-focused mag has recently published its spring gear guide, providing readers with lots of insights and information on a wide variety of products. For instance, their backpack overview alone covers more than 18 new packs, each of which were put to the test by over 160 different people in the field. Which packs came out on top? The team at Backpacker were especially fond of the new Atmos/Aura packs from Osprey, as well as the Baltoro and Deva from Gregory.

But backpack aren't the only gear items on the slate of products that were tested. The best new hiking boots were also run through the ringer, as were the latest sleeping bags and pads as well. The magazine even took a look at the top shell jackets, as well as the very best tents for the camping season ahead.

If you're in the market for some new backpacking gear this spring, than you'll definitely want to drop by the site and check out what products won the coveted "Editor's Choice" awards. If you're going to be spending your hard-earned dollars on new boots, packs, or tents, you want to ensure that you're selecting the best that your budget allows. As usual, the Backpacker team is very thorough in their methodology, and there is lots of good insight to be gleaned from their testing. Before you head out to your local gear shop, see what they had to say about the products you're considering adding to your gear closet.