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Backpacker Magazine – April 2009

Get This Gear: Essentials From A to Z

We tested more than 500 products–stoves, clothes, cameras, filters, tech tools, knives, and meals–to find these proven performers.

by: The Backpacker Editors, Courtesy Photos

PAGE 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L
M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | XYZ

P
Pants

The nylon ExOfficio Nio Amphi Convertible did it all on a 40-mile fall trek in Peru, where conditions ranged from cold rain to sweltering heat. A loose cut in the legs and seat provide great mobility, and they're quick-drying and breathable but as soft as cotton, with an integrated belt that prevents sagging under a pack's hipbelt. $80; 13.4 oz. (m's L); exofficio.com

Peanut butter
Single-serving packets of Justin's Organic Nut Butters are the best thing to happen to trail lunches since, well, maybe ever. Available in three peanut and three almond flavors. $6-$10 for 10; justinsnutbutter.com

Personal locator beacon
Here are 10 ounces that could save your life: the smallest, lightest, GPS-enabled PLB available. ACR's MicroFix transmits on a robust 5 watts of power for reliable signaling from all but the narrowest slot canyons and densest timber. Once activated, it puts out a constant rescue signal encoded with your GPS location for 24 hours (before the rechargeable batteries die). As with all PLBs, the signals are received by the international COSPASS-SARSAT system of satellites, and rescue calls are coordinated by a federal agency. PLBs offer the most reliable transmission of any satellite beacon or phone system, but there's no messaging capability aside from an urgent call for help. $540-$600 (street price); 10 oz.; acrelectronics.com

Pillow
Add at-home snoozing luxury for the weight of a candy bar by stuffing a jacket into Therm-a-Rest's microfleece Trekker Pillow. $11; 2.3 oz.; thermarest.com

Puffy jackets
DOWN The 800-fill Mountain Hardwear Nitrous is the perfect lightweight insulation for 40F nights or for layering under a shell in subfreezing conditions. The collar zips to the chin and the sculpted cut is thermally efficient; the combination effectively seals in warmth. The jacket stuffs to softball-size. $220; 9 oz. (w's M); mountainhardwear.com

SYNTHETIC For nasty weather, we like GoLite's Reverb. It's not ultralight, but with moisture-phobic synthetic fill, watertight zippers, and a waterproof shell, it has kept us warm and dry through spitting snow and bitter alpine wind. Long pit zips and a detachable powder skirt make it a great ski jacket, too. $250; 1 lb. 11 oz. (w's M); golite.com


PAGE 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24

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Reader Rating: Star Star Star Star

READERS COMMENTS

Jun
Dec 28, 2010

What an excellent list you've put together. Honestly, this is by far the best essential gear list I have seen online so far. I am going to be buying several things off this list as both presents for others and treats for myself. So thank you for sharing this!<a href="http://www.bladehq.com/cat--Kershaw-Scallion-Knives--402">.</a>

Shane
Nov 13, 2009

Are you kidding me with the $30 chopsticks?? I thought this magazine was about appreciating outdoors, not marketing a bunch of needless crap.

Lost Keys
May 27, 2009

I use the nite ize s biner as a key chaine. I hook it to my belt loop. Numeros times my keys have fallen off. I usually can hear the sound of keys hitting the ground. On a recent end of Fly fishing adventure. I turned the car around to do a final check for any forgoten equipment. The metalic reflection came from the ground. I got out and there was the nite Ize S-biner. BackPacker Editors award and all. Spring not strong enough!

dropkick
May 16, 2009

How many backpackers do you know that carry $600 binoculars? Get real.

AN
May 14, 2009

I'm really surprised to see MSR's quick 2 system at the same time that GSI's dualist system is not mentioned yet it has the 2008 editor's choice and lighter than MSR's. This really makes me question the credibility of the whole backpacker's site that I have always had it as a flagship.

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