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Trail Tools



Readers Choice 2012 Online Exclusive Gear Reviews

We didn't have room to print these readers in our January 2012 Readers Choice Issue--but they still tested some great gear.

Holiday Gift Guide 2011: Galen Rowell: A Retrospective

A book of photos from a great outdoorsman who was equal parts climber and photogrpaher

Holiday Gift Guide 2011: Yosemite in the Sixties

The backcountry bookworm will love this glimpse into the past courtesy of Glen Denny.

Holiday Gift Guide 2011: Platypus PlatyPreserve Wine Storage Bottle

Enjoy a little Merlot at your favorite high lake

Gear News: DELORME TO LAUNCH TWO-WAY GPS, "inReach"

New inReach device from Delorme offers two-way communication and much more.

Gear Review: Grease Monkey Wipes

A magic eraser for grease and grime.

Gear Review: MSR Dromlite Bag

A lightweight, six-liter bag.

Gear Review: Portable Sounds Laboratories iMaingoX Speaker System

A handy little speaker system.

Gear Review: Eton Soulra iPod Dock

An iPod dock for the backcountry.

Gear Review: Brunton Restore Solar Charger

This bomber solar charger was the most durable of all the models we tested.

Gear Review: Energizer's Xpal SP2000 Power Pack

A hybrid battery and solar array.

Gear Review: Goal Zero's Nomad 7M Charger

Through the use of monocrystalline solar cells, Goal Zero created a super effective charger.

Gear Review: Balanzza Mini Scale



Gear Review: Jetboil Crunchit

Easily puncture and crush spent fuel cans with this handy tool.

Gear Review: Loksak's OPSAK bag

These resealable, washable, and polyethylene bags protect food and toiletries from small critters.

Gear Review: Sky Tonight Star Charts

Chart your campsite's night sky with customizable maps.

Gear Review: Hurraw! Lip Balm

Handmade from fair-trade ingredients, this lip balm has BACKPACKER editors raving.

Gear Review: Petzl Core Headlamp

A rechargeable and programmable headlamp.

Gear Review: Primus PrimeTorch 1010

A 140-lumen beam in a lipstick-size flashlight.

Gear Review: Coghlan's Cooler Light

A light for your cooler–perfect for car camping.

Gear Review: Pelican HeadsUP Lite 2690 LED Headlamp

An easy-to-use headlamp (even with gloves on).

Gear Review: Baladeo 22G Knife

A full-size, three-inch blade that's sharp and light.

Gear Review: Adventure Medical Kits Core Lite Knife

A knife, whistle, and light in one.

Gear Review: RoadID's Wrist ID Sport

A bracelet with all your vital information in case of emergency.

Gear Review: ENO ProNest Hammock

Set up camp anywhere with this easy-to-use hammock.

Gear Review: Apples to Apples

While away tent hours with this fun card game.

Gear Review: Brunton Pioneer 26DNL Compass

A compass that floats.

Gear Review: Therm-a-Rest Trekker Lounge Chair

Turn any standard-size sleeping pad into a decadent recliner.

Gear Review: Brunton Eterna Compact 10x25 Binoculars

Powerful optics that pack small.

Gear Review: Pentax Papilio 8.5x21 Binoculars

A bargain binocular that doubles as a backcountry microscope.

Gear Review: Vargo Titanium Pot Gripper

Grab any pot with this lightweight and sturdy pot gripper.

Gear Review: Sea to Summit Kitchen Sink

Wash dishes and haul water easily in the watertight nylon container.

Gear Review: REI Campware Silicone Spatula

Make pancakes in camp with this silicone spatula.

Gear Review: Pot Pal

An oven mitt, a dish towel, a food warmer - this cotton bag does it all.

Gear Review: MSR Universal Canister Stand

An easily packable pot stand that will end tipping.

Gear Review: To-Go Ware RePEat Bamboo Utensil Set

A bamboo utensil set that won't wreck nonstick coating.

Gear Review: CamelBak Groove

A water bottle that makes chemically treated water taste better.

Gear Review: Katadyn MyBottle

Water bottle and filter in one.

Gear Review: Steripen Adventurer Opti

An easy-to-use tool that zaps water drinkable withe the use of ultraviolet rays.

Gear Review: Platypus GravityWorks

A fast, effective way to filter water for a big group.

Gear Review: MSR HyperFlow Filter

A lightweight filter that filters at a rate of three liters per minute.

Gear Review: Vargo Ti-Boiler Mug and Pan

A titanium mug and pot/lid set that is super durable and lightweight.

Gear Review: MSR Alpine 4 Pot Set

A stainless steel three-pot set that is bombproof.

Gear Review: Primus AluTech 1.4 Liter Pot

A triangular shaped pot that's easy to pour and balance on three-legged stoves.

Gear Review: Optimus Terra HE Cook Set

A versatile three-pot combo for the gourmet backcountry chef.

Gear Review: GSI Outdoors Halulite Microdualist Cookset

A two-person cookset that comes with a stuffsack for washing dishes.

Gear Review: USBCell AAs Rechargable Batteries

Able to recharge off of any USB port

Gear Review: SanDisk Sansaclip+ 2GB

Smooth, clear sound and a voice recorder for 40 bucks

Gear Review: Garmin Dakota 20 GPS

Easy to read touch screen with a tough hard-shell

Gear Review: Powermonkey Explorer Solar Charger

Holds a lot of power, comes with 11 adapter tips, and charges quickly

Gear Review: High Gear ATF8 Watch

Clips to your pack for easy access to stats like temperature and altitude

Gear Review: Exped MultiMat

An ultralight, waterproof mat that is handy for wet hikes, snow, rocky areas, and picnics.

Gear Review: Cocoon Travel Pillow - Aircore Ultralight

Just because you're sleeping on the dirt doesn't mean you have to be uncomfortable.

Gear Review: Icon Irix Headlamp

Icon attempts the impossible: to make headlamps cool.

Holiday Gift Guide 2010: Victorinox Flash 2GB Ruby

We can't think of anyone who wouldn't love this James Bonds-ian little gizmo.

Don't Get Burned: FDA Updates Sunscreen Regulation

Misleading sunscreen claims today could be causing tomorrow's skin cancer.

High-end Tent Company SlingFin Enters the Market

A master designer attempts to build the last mountain shelter you'll ever need.

Gear News: Hydro Flask Backcountry Beer Growler

Enjoy a cold beer mid-trip with this 64-ounce growler.

Four All-Star iPad Apps for Camping

Is the iPad coming to a campsite near you? It saves its weight in maps, guidebooks, novels, songs, and more. Here are four top apps for hikers.

Gear Review: Brooks-Range Backcountry Multi-Tool

Cut your tool bag in half with this compact multi-tool.

Gear Review: Gear Aid Repair Kits

Whether it's a torn pack, cracked buckle, ripped tent mesh, or leaky sleeping pad, these kits can pretty much restore anything that breaks.

Gear Review: Brooks Range Field Kit

An excellent avalanche resource in the field and on the couch.

Gear Review: NEMO Ditto Wallet

This ultralight wallet is made from recycled tent scraps.

Gear Review: Exped Vista Organiser

Zip-top bags that are super waterproof.

Gear Review: RADIUS Source Toothbrush

This portable toothbrush is made with recycled materials.

Gear Review: Charmin To Go Toliet Tissue



Gear Review: McNett Tenacious Tape

Repair any fabric with this super sticky tape.

Gear Review: Elemental Herbs All Good Goop

This healing balm soothes cracked skin, dry lips, and minor cuts and burns.

Gear Review: 5.10 Stealth Paint

Revitalize the soles of your hiking boots and climbing shoes.

Gear Review: Lowrance Endura Sierra

A fully-featured GPS

Gear Review: Garmin Dakota 20

A bargain GPS

Gear Review: Travel Yahtzee

A great rainy day tent game

Gear Review: WetFire Tinder

Foolproof tinder to get your fire raging

Editors' Choice 2009: Black Diamond Orbit Lantern

Bright, light, and rechargeable–the perfect camp lantern is here.

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.

Backpacker Gear Guide: Essentials

Packs, tents, boots, and bags–that's easy. Now comes the hard part: Everything else. Below, you'll find our top picks for all the lust-worthy backcountry essentials you'll need to make your trip safe, fun, and simple.

Packing List: Repair Kit

Don't let a busted strap or a deflating tent ruin your trip. Pack these essentials and at all times and you'll be covered.

How to Align Your Compass

Learn how to orient your map with a few basic compass skills

Vibram Expands Group of Trail Running Partners

Vibram continues to expand on its successful mission of reaching a younger, broader audience with work for innovators in the trail running field.

Backpacker February '08 Gear Test

It's cold out there -- but don't fret. We've tested and reviewed all the best gear to keep you warm, dry, and comfy when the mercury drops.

Headlamp Review: Petzl Tikka XP

For just over 3 ounces, you get a smart, powerhouse light with all the functions you'll ever need.

Headlamp Review: Streamlight Enduro LED

A two-setting headlamp with sharp, shadow-free light and a great price.

Water Purifier Review: AquaStar Plus

A water bottle that doubles as an emergency lantern.

Cookset Review: Brunton IB

An aluminum cookset that's light in your pack and on your wallet.

Headlamp Review: Black Diamond Spot

A headlamp with a swiveling compact head and easy-to-use buttons.

Headlamp Review: Petzl Tikka XP

A bright mini-lamp with one-click operation.

Trekking Pole Review: Gossamer Gear Lightrek Plus

Pick up the pace with these lightweight trekking poles.

Multitool Review: Leatherman Squirt P4

A miniature tool with versatility and strength beyond its size.

Backpack Review: Integral Designs Silcoat

A daypack and waterproof stuff sack in one

Accessory Review: Granite Gear Cloud Cover

A light pack cover that kept contents dry in rain from New Zealand to the Pacific Northwest

Backcountry Technology Review: Electronics and GPS

Your complete guide to the latest in outdoor electronics, including a smart watch, a weatherproof MP3 player, and the best in GPS.

Accessory Review: Sea to Summit Trekking Umbrella

You won't miss a thing with this piece of raingear.

Make your trekking poles last forever

Try these easy cleaning tricks to keep using your hiking poles out on the trail longer.

The Wizard Of Duct Tape

A candid interview with duct tape guru Angelo Ritson.

Duct Tape: Reader Stories

An emergency kit doesn't amount to a hill of beans unless a few feet of duct tape are included. Here's everything you ever wanted to know about the sticky, miraculous fix-all.

The History Of Duct Tape

A brief and shining history of the most useful backpacking tape.

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