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Readers' Choice 2014: Eastern Mountain Sports Traverse

A dependable, year-round shelter from Eastern Mountain Sports.

Fall Gear Guide 2013: Tents

Find refuge in these lightweight picks

Gear Review: Hilleberg Akto Tent

Packed, the Akto scrunches to the size of a six-pack-of-bagels.

Gear Review: Brooks Range Propel 2D Tent

The Propel 2D includes 5 poles and the shelter only weighs 3 pounds.

Gear Review: Crux X2 Storm Tent

"This tent is built like a brick house."

Gear Review: Fjallraven Akka Endurance Tent

In places with ferocious weather, there's nothing better than a lot of protected space for cooking and storing gear.

Backpacking Gear Maintenance Tips

Extend the life of your pack, sleeping bag, and tent with these tips.

Gear Guide 2013: Tents

Find the right shelter for every budget and trip.

Editors' Choice 2013: Big Agnes Scout UL2 Tent

This is the lightest two-person shelter on the market that offers big-storm and bug protection for less than $300.

Gear Guide 2013: Three-Person Tents

Comfy for three (or spacious for two!), these three-person tents are backcountry ready.

Gear Review: NEMO Bugout 9X9 Tent

Bugout lets you congregate for blissfully insect-free meals and card games.

Gear Review: The North Face Kings Canyon 4 Tent

Few four-person tents best this blend of livability, low weight, and reasonable cost.

Gear Review: Mountain Hardwear Skyledge 3 Tent

If low weight is your prime tent priority, put this shelter at the top of your shopping list.

Gear Review: Hilleberg Anjan 3GT Tent

A sturdy shelter that's under five pounds.

Gear Review: Bergans Compact Light 3-Person Tent

A tent that is ideal for regions that see plenty of rain and wintry weather year-round.

Gear Guide 2013: Two-Person Tents

Double up in these two-person tents.

Gear Review: Mountainsmith Mountain Shelter LT Two-Person Tent

It's not often that the lightest shelter in our test is also the cheapest and biggest.

Gear Review: Marmot Pulsar 2 Tent

A long drip line and spacious headroom let's you enjoy the inside, and the outside, no matter the elements.

Gear Review: GoLite Imogene UL 2 Tent

A low-weight, low-cost two-person, freestanding tent

Gear Review: Eureka! Midori 2-Person Tent

An affordable two-person tent that can handle real weather.

Gear Review: Big Agnes Slater UL2+ Tent

A 96-inch-long, two-person tents suits every height.

Gear Guide 2013: One-Person Tents

Lightweight, but sturdy tents for the solo camper.

Gear Review: The North Face Mica FL 1 Tent

Deluxe features and headroom for a relatively low weight.

Gear Review: Mountain Hardwear SuperMegaUL 1

A lightweight tent that doesn't skimp on weather protection.

Gear Review: Big Sky Soul Solo Tent

A freestanding tent that tarp lovers will love.

Gear Guide 2013 Table of Contents

412 trail-tested products

Gear Guide 2013: Charts

Hundreds of pieces of outdoor gear from all the major outdoor retailers - now in an easy-to-print digital format.

Field Test: Two-Person Tents

Whether you seek maximum storm protection, minimum weight, or highest value, we've found your perfect shelter.

Four Field-Tested Two-Person Tents

Check out these four two-person tents, all under $300 and 5 pounds.

Gear Review: Marmot Traillight 2 Tent

68-denier ripstop polyester on the canopy and fly make this tent a burly one.

Gear Review: First Ascent Stargazer 2 Tent

The First Ascent Stargazer is a highly livable shelter for backpackers who spend tons of time in wet weather.

Editors' Choice Snow Award 2012: First Ascent Katabatic Tent

A stable, light, livable, four-season tent.

Fall/Winter Gear Guide 2012: Tents

A lightweight shelter for any storm.

Gear Review: Sierra Designs Mountain Guide Tarp

This lightweight shelter served as a basecamper, a day shelter for a climbing party, and a winter mess tent.

Gear Review: L.L. Bean 2-Person Backcountry Dome

A tough, spacious two-person tent for under $400.

Gear Review: Brooks Range Invasion Tent

This tent is so small and light, you'll barely notice it in your pack–until you need it.

Gear Review: Easton Expedition 2P Tent

Carbon poles with monofilament connectors make this tent light and cold-weather friendly

Gear Review: Hilleberg Soulo Tent

A go-anywhere solo tent that's spacious for one.

Outdoor Retailer Summer 2012 Recap Day 2

On day two of the Summer 2012 Outdoor Retailer show, our reader test team tackled ultralight, three-season hiking, and breathability.

Gear: Car Camping

Ultra Luxe
Load the trunk this Labor Day with weight-is-no-object comfort gear.

Gear Review: Sierra Designs Yahi 4

A car camping tent that's spacious, but easy to set up and carry.

Gear Review: Hilleberg Anjan 3

An alpine tent that's light, compact, and brawny enough for storms.

2012 Father's Day Gift Guide

Skip the new wrench sets and the flowery ties. Give the man on your list something that he’ll really be stoked about. We’ve got a slew of great dad-tested gift ideas starting at $20

Gear Guide 2012: One-Person Tents

Find lightweight shelter for every budget and weather scenario.

Gear Guide 2012: Two-Person Tents

Find lightweight shelter for every budget and weather scenario.

Gear Guide 2012: Three-Person Tents

Find lightweight shelter for every budget and weather scenario.

Gear Guide 2012: Four-Peson Tents

These four-person tents offer outstanding space-to-weight ratios and high performances in foul-weather.

Gear Guide 2012: Rip & Equips

Don't go shopping until you've read these comprehensive guides to buying and fitting the right pack, boots, bag, and tent.

Editors' Choice 2012

From a smart-and-light pack to a groundbreaking backcountry communicator, here are the 12 products that passed the ultimate gear challenge.

Gear Guide 2012: Tents

Find lightweight shelter for every budget and weather scenario.

Gear Guide 2012: More Tester Picks - Four-person Tents

These four-person tents offer outstanding space-to-weight ratios and high performances in foul-weather.

Gear Guide 2012: More Tester Picks - Three-person Tents

Stability and comfortability are staples for these three-person tents.

Gear Guide 2012: More Tester Picks - Two-person Tents

Lightweight, durable, and spacious, these two-person tents offer comfortability while taking on the most foul-weather.

Gear Guide 2012: More Tester Picks - Solo Tents

These solo tents offer easy setup, ample space, and durability in weather's toughest conditions.

Gear Guide 2012: Big Agnes Burn Ridge 4 Outfitter Tent

This four-person tent is great for families, offering generous space for an affordable cost.

Gear Guide 2012: Hilleberg Saivo Tent

Stronger and lighter fabrics make this tent great for any adventure and can handle any weather condition.

Gear Guide 2012: NEMO Espri LE 3P Tent

This three-person tent handles challenging weather well and the freestanding dome is lightweight and easy to setup.

Gear Guide 2012: Easton Mountain Products Kilo 3 Tent

This ultralight and stable three-person tent offers space and a quick setup.

Gear Guide 2012: Exped Gemini III Tent

Ample cooking and storage space along with a durable construction make this tent a champ in handling foul-weather.

Gear Guide 2012: Sierra Designs Mojo 2 Tent

Take on challenging weather and withstand strong winds with this freestanding tent.

Gear Guide 2012: Mountain Hardwear SuperMega UL2 Tent

This three-season, ultralight tent offers durability in some of the most foul-weather.

Gear Guide 2012: Mountain Equipment Co-Op Volt 2 Tent

Stay comfortable in both summer and winter conditions with this tent's floor-to-ceiling doors and fly vents.

Gear Guide 2012: Easton Mountain Products Hat-Trick 2 Tent

Mesh walls create outstanding ventilation in this four-season tent for two.

Gear Guide 2012: Marmot Firefly 2P Tent

Comfortable and highly ventilated, this tent offers lots of space with a double-wall dome that's great for short overnight hikes.

Gear Guide 2012: NEMO Obi Elite 2P Tent

This tent for two is designed to increase ventilation, durability and interior elbow room.

Gear Guide 2012: Exped Mira II Tent

This spacious, two-person tent uses durable fabrics to provide sturdy weather protection in a lightweight package.

Gear Guide 2012: The North Face Asylum Bivy Tent

With best-in-class ventilation, this tent provides generous dimensions and a breathable single-wall for a comfortable and roomy experience.

Gear Guide 2012: REI Quarter Dome T1 Tent

This spacious tent provides stability and protection while weighing less than three pounds.

Gear Guide 2012: Mountain Laurel Designs Cricket Tent

Stable and light, this three-season minimalist tent offers minimal flapping and a quick setup.

Winter 2012: Outdoor Retailer Wrapup

All the best gear our reader reporter team saw at the 2012 Outdoor Retailer Winter Market.

Gear Guide 2012: Charts

All the great gear specs you're used to seeing in the Gear Guide - now in an easy-to-print digital format.

Gear Review: Exped Mira 1 Tent

A freestanding, double-wall solo tent that's light and packable

Outdoor Retailer Roundup: Tiger Tail, CAMP, & Old Favorites with New Products

BRR Nick, who is also a physical therapist, found lots of back- and budget-friendly gear on Day 3.

Gear School: Four-Season Tents

Camp comfortably this winter with a shelter built for foul, windy weather.

Fall/Winter Gear Guide 2011: Tents

From solo tents to big basecamp, eight bomber tents for cold-weather camping.

Gear Review: 4-Person Tents

Light and large: That's what you get with these five shelters, which deliver comfort on trail and in camp for families and groups.

Fall/Winter Gear Guide 2011: Black Diamond Eldorado Tent

A bomber tent with lots of legroom

Gear Review: Black Diamond Eldorado

Fall/Winter Gear Guide 2011: Nemo Obi 1p Elite Tent

A super light double-wall tent

Gear Review: Nemo Obi 1p Elite

Fall/Winter Gear Guide 2011: The North Face Assault 2 Tent

A lightweight, easy-pitching, two-pole tent.

Fall/Winter Gear Guide 2011: Mountain Equipment Co-op TGV2 Tent

No other double-wall tent we tested offers so much protection for so little money and bulk.

Fall/Winter Gear Guide 2011: Big Agnes Royal Flush 3 Tent

A tent that can handle it all - temperature swings, ripping wind, humidity, and rocky campsites.

Fall/Winter Gear Guide 2011: Mountain Laurel Designs Circus Tent

With a massive 96-square-foot (floorless) area and 70-inch peak height, the Circus Tent can fit up to seven.

Fall/Winter Gear Guide 2011: MSR Storm King Tent

An ultralight shelter for four.

Fall/Winter Gear Guide 2011: Nemo Alti Storm 3p Tent

A tent with all the bells and whistles you'd want--large vestibules, super sturdy, and great ventilation.

Gear Review: Sierra Designs Zeta 4

This top performer is light, roomy, stable—and affordable.

Gear Review: Sierra Designs Zia 3 Tent

A three-person tent with 40 square feet of floor space.

Father's Day Gift Guide

What do dads really want? Hint: not more ties or car wash gift certificates. We polled our male staffers to find out what they hope to get (or give) this June 19th.

Gear Review: REI Passage 2 Tent

There's no need to sacrifice sturdiness with the less-pricey REI Passage 2 three-season tent.

Gear Guide 2011: Big Agnes Jack Rabbit SL2 Tent

A lightweight, freestanding, stable tent with adequate space.

Gear Guide 2011: Three- & Four-Person Tents

Pile in with these three- and four-person tents.

Gear Guide 2011: Tents

Stay warmer and drier thanks to efficient pole structures, geometries that enhance space and stormproofing, durable lightweight materials, and wind-tunnel-proven shapes.

Gear Guide 2011: Two-Person Tents

Whatever your needs–ultralight, inexpensive, all-season, tough–we found the perfect two-person tent.

Gear Guide 2011: One-Person Tents

If you fly solo, these are the tents for you.

Gear Review: Flip An Zip Zipper Repair Kit

This kit makes zipper repair a DIY project.

Editors' Choice 2011

From a bargain ultralight tent to perfect-fit boots, here are 14 products that passed the ultimate field test.

Editors' Choice 2011: Kelty Salida 2 Tent

This sub-four-pound bargain brings ultralight shelter to the masses.

Editors' Choice 2011: Big Agnes Copper Spur UL4 Tent

Where are the smoke and mirrors? This family-size tent weighs the same as some two-person shelters.

Gear Review: Hilleberg Saitaris Tent

A mountaineering tent that costs as much as a mortgage payment, but delivers homelike comforts.

Gear Review: Marmot Boreas 3P Tent

A freestanding, three-person tent that has super ventilation.

Gear Review: Mountain Hardwear Corners 3 Tent

A roomy, affordable, and freestanding dome.

Gear Review: Cabela's XPG Ultralight 3 Tent

This three-star accommodation costs less than $60 per person.

Gear Review: Easton Kilo Tent

This three-season tent saves weight with new pole technology.

Gear Review: Marmot Turret 2P Tent

A tent that can handle the rougher edges of spring and fall.

Gear Review: Hyperlite Mountain Gear Echo II Tent

If you count weight savings in grams, not ounces, you won't find a lighter option with this much protection.

Gear Review: MSR DragonTail Tent

True all-season performance–without a weight penalty.

How-To Slideshow: Learn to Fix a Tent Pole

Resurrect any tent pole with this handy how-to guide.

Gear Review: EMS Velocity 1 Tent

A bargain solo tent.

Gear Guide 2011 Table of Contents

Boot TLC: Tips on Cleaning, Buying, and Mending Your Hiking Boots

Your boots will last longer, fit better, and hike farther if you give them a little TLC.

Tent TLC: Tips on Cleaning, Buying, and Mending Your Tent

Keep your favorite shelter in tip-top shape with this advice.

Sleeping Bags TLC: Tips on Cleaning, Fitting, and Mending Your Sleeping Bag

Your sleeping bag is critical to backcountry enjoyment - keep it happy.

Backpack TLC: Tips on Cleaning, Fitting, and Mending Your Pack

Proper fit and care will keep your backpack comfortable and functioning.

Gear Guide 2011: Extra Online Chart Reviews

Read all the full-text reviews of the gear we didn't have room to dish about in the 2011 Gear Guide charts.

Online Tent Reviews | 2011 Gear Guide

How-To Slideshow: Pitch a Tent on Snow

Learn how to pitch your tent when the snow falls with this how-to guide.

Couples Camping 101: Gear and Skills

Gear and skills to keep you and your outdoor-loving honey happy in the backcountry.

Gear Review: REI Arete ASL 2 Tent

A four-season tent that truly can be used year-round.

Slideshow: How to Pitch a Tent Anywhere

Think beyond the stake. Use these techniques to pitch a tent anywhere.

Readers' Choice Issue: Reader-Rated Gear

Our official test team logged more than 2,337 miles and 263 nights in the backcountry to find the best gear for every type of hiker.

How-To Slideshow: Rigging a Tent

This is your guide to creating convertible guy lines and rigging a tent securely on rocky surfaces.

Gear Review: GoLite Poncho Tarp

An ultralight poncho/tent with durable 15-denier, siliconized fabric

Gear Review: The North Face Double Toad 44 Tent

An all-mesh canopy and 54 square feet of living space

Gear Review: Black Diamond HiLight Tent

Fend off heavy precipitation and 30-mph wind in this cozy tent for two

Gear Review: EMS Velocity 2 Tent

Two person, double-wall shelter with ample room and easy setup

Tent Buying Guide

Shopping for a tent is like shopping for a home: there are dozens of styles, designs, sizes, and features to consider. In this guide, gear editor Kristin Hostetter shows you how to pick the right one for any outing.

Gear Review: Kriana AA Krill Light

The Krill Light electronic electroluminescent (EL) light stick is a bright, long-lasting glow stick made for function not fashion.

Best of BACKPACKER: Time-Tested Gear

Over the years we've tested a lot of gear, and learned a lot of lessons.

Time-Tested Gear: Sleeping Bags and Pads

Many starry nights–and a handful of miserable ones–revealed the best bags and pads over the years.

Time-Tested Gear: Tents

A-frames, domes, party tents–we've tested them all.

Time-Tested Gear: Backpacks

You can't be a backpacker...without a backpack.

Holiday GIft Guide 2010: Big Agnes Fly Creek UL2 Tent

An ultralight, two-person tent that's livable.

Holiday Gift Guide 2010: Kelty Cosmic Down 20° Sleeping Bag

Want to fly business class on a coach fare? Gift the Cosmic.

Fall/Winter Gear Guide 2010: Gear News

iPad apps, backcountry beer, and the perfect tent.

Holiday Gift Guide

Want to find the ideal gift for every hiker on your list? No matter what your budget, we've got you covered.

High-end Tent Company SlingFin Enters the Market

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

Sleep Better When Camping

Got the gear but still can't get any rest? These 10 tips will improve your snooze.

Fall/Winter Gear Guide 2010: Tents

Find refuge in these 8 storm-tested shelters.

Gear Review: NEMO Espri 3P Tent

A tent built for three-season backpacking in the foulest weather.

Gear Review: Hilleberg Altai XP Yurt Tent

Sleeps eight and sits 12, this is the tent for a group expedition.

Gear Review: Brooks-Range Rocket A2 Tent

A lightweight, all-conditions shelter for two.

Gear Review: REI Arete ASL 3 Tent

If you dip your toes in winter camping this tent is for you.

Gear Review: The North Face Mountain 25 Tent

This tent survived the worst of Mt. Washington's epic weather.

Fall/Winter Gear Guide 2010

255 gear reviews and cold-weather tips!

Gear Review: Byer of Maine Easy Traveller Hammock

Backcountry hammocks–the easiest way to bring tropical comfort to your wilderness paradise.

Gear Review: Big Agnes Copper Spur UL3 Tent

You can fit four people for a game of cards, three people for sleeping, and it still weighs less than many two-person tents.

Gear Review: Big Agnes Lynx Pass 4 Tent

A sturdy, lightweight tent built for a family.

Wild Wales: Hiking Wales

Don't be fooled by the cozy pubs and low elevations. The birthplace of mountaineering overflows with challenges, from rugged peaks to history-laden coastal treks.

Gear Guide 2010: Solo Tents

Going it alone? Go with confidence in these solo tents.

Gear Guide 2010: Two-Person Tents

Need a tent for you and your favorite camping partner? These two-person tents will do the trick, and then some.

Gear Guide 2010: Three-Person Tents

Need a little more room? Check out these three-person tents--the best of the year.

Gear Guide 2010: Mountaineering Tents

Our picks for the best mountaineering tents will help you battle the elements not matter what your expedition.

Editors' Choice Awards 2010

After 15-hour trail days with 50 pound packs on 100-miles of Switzerland's Via Alpina, we're proud to present the best gear of the year.

Gear Guide 2010: Tents

These tents offer more headroom, lighter weights, and lots of strength and durability.

Gear Review: ZRK Outdoor Zipper Rescue Kit

Fix a zipper on the fly with this repair kit.

Gear Review: Coghlan's Tarp Clips

Gear Review: McNett Tenacious Tape

Repair any fabric with this super sticky tape.

Toughest Gear: Sierra Designs Tiros Tent & MSR Tough Gear

In high camps, the Sierra Designs Tiros is often the last tent standing.

BACKPACKER Editors' Toughest Gear

Thirty indestructible gear picks from two decades of hardcore field-testing.

Editors' Choice Green Award 2010: GoLite Tier 1 Recycled Fabric

An entire line of packs and bags goes eco-friendly.

Editors' Choice Gold Award 2010: REI Half Dome 2 Tent

Eight years later, this REI tent is still the best deal out there.

Editors' Choice 2010: Big Agnes Fly Creek UL2 Tent

Attention, ultralighters who want a legit two-person tent: This is it.

Editors' Choice 2010: NEMO Meta 2P Tent

If you use trekking poles, you should use this tent.

How to Purchase the Right Tent

Purchase a tent that fits and make it last forever with these key tips.

Gear Review: REI Cirque ASL 2 Mountaineering Tent

A weather worthy two-person tent

Gear Review: Hilleberg Jannu Mountaineering Tent

A roomy, lightweight tent that can handle big weather

Gear Review: Black Diamond Skylight Mountaineering Tent

A strong, superlight two-person tent with lavish space

Gear Review: Sierra Designs Zolo 3 Tent

A palatial three-person tent with two giant vestibules

Gear Review: MSR Carbon Reflex 3 Tent

Weather-worthy three-person tents don't come any lighter than this one.

Gear Review: Mountain Hardwear Drifter 3 Tent

A bargain three-person tent

Gear Review: Big Agnes Hager House Tent

This three-person tent can be pitched in a variety of ways, depending on your trip.

Gear Review: Mountain Hardwear Skyledge 2.1 Tent

Gear Review: Kelty Gunnison Pro Tent

If you want a dependable three-season shelter that can handle light winter conditions, this is it.

Gear Review: Sierra Designs LT Strike 2 Tent

Choose this tent for its awesome space-to-weight ratio, and use it in moderate three-season conditions.

Gear Review: Marmot Haven 2P Tent

This roomy tent weighs less than four pounds yet offers 56 square feet of space.

Gear Review: NEMO Morpho 1P Tent

The Morpho is like three tents in one.

Gear Review: GoLite Eden 1P Tent

This durable tent wins "Best All Around" for the one-person category.

Gear Review: Big Sky Mirage 1P Tent

Goodbye bivy sack, hello headroom.

Gear Review: Eureka! Forte SQ 2XT Tent

With moderate weight and ample interior space for two, this freestanding double-wall hits a value sweet spot.

Editors' Choice Awards 2010/Gear Guide 2010 Table of Contents

Gear Guide Gear Sweepstakes List of Winners

2014 Gear Guide Gear Sweepstakes Official Rules

Win Free Gear!

Every week we go into our gear closet and pull out a sweet prize.

Editors' Choice 2008: GoLite Adrenaline Sleeping Bags

These sacks are warm like the Grand Canyon is big: You gotta experience it to understand it.

Editors' Choice 2008: Big Agnes Copper Spur UL3 Tent

The lightest, roomiest tent we tested this year. Enough said.

The Manual: Deluxe Winter Camping

Don't let frigid temps keep you inside. Here are five tips for deluxe winter camping.

Gear Lab: Tents in a Pressure Washer

Who wants a mountain tent that buckles under pressure? Not us–so we subjected four to a powerful series of tests.

Gear Lab

We took durability testing to the extremes, so you would know which gear lasts–and why.

Fall/Winter Gear Guide 09: Tents

Find a tent to fit your needs–basecamp, solo, bargain, ultralight, etc.–with these seven options.

Winter Camping: Gear & Clothing

Your complete guide to choosing, fitting, and using essential winter gear.

Gear Review: REI Ace SW2 Tent

This two-person, single-wall REI tent is tough, versatile, and $300.

Gear Review: NEMO Tenshi 2-Person Tent

This two-person NEMO tent is versatile and comes with a Condensation Curtain.

Gear Review: Mountain Hardwear Sprite 1-Person Tent

This solo Mountain Hardwear tent is great when the temperature dips.

Gear Review: L.L. Bean Backcountry Dome 3-Person Tent

This three-person, all-season L.L.Bean tent costs less than $350.

Gear Review: Black Diamond Mega Ultralight Tent

This 2 lbs. 5 oz. update to Black Diamond's Megamid promises to be a new classic.

Gear Review: Big Agnes Flying Diamond 6-Person Tent

This four-season tent palace isn't just spacious inside, it has a 26-foot vestibule.

Fall/Winter Gear Guide 2009 Table of Contents

Gear Reviews: Tents for Every Trip

From ultralight solo shelters to all-conditions mountain tents, here are 10 models that will survive the worst weather so you can enjoy the best night out.

Gear Review: Nemo Asashi Tent

This tent stands up to rough conditions, assembles in minutes, and has room for the whole family.

Gear Review: L.L.Bean Microlight 2 Tent

True to product description, this tent gives you more for the money.

Gear Review: MSR Asgard Tent

Spacious for two, the "bow frame" geometry of this tent stands up to the toughest conditions.

Gear Review: Big Sky International Mirage 2-Person Tent

weighing in at 2 lbs. 6 oz, this ultralight tent fits two with room to spare.

Gear Review: The North Face Mica 12 Tent

Unmatched in weather-worthiness, this solo tent earned top honors among testers.

Gear School: Ultralight Tents

Looking to cut shelter weight in half this summer? A featherweight tent is just the ticket.

Family Camping: Tips & Stats

How many miles, and how heavy a pack, can your kid handle? Plus, big tents, first aid, and newbie adults.

Family Camping: How to Pull it Off

87 tips for making your next family trip easy, fun, and comfortable

Backpacker's Guide to Family Camping

A realistic, hassle-free handbook for taking kids outdoors

Gear Review: Big Agnes Gore Pass 2

This two-person palace isn't ultralight, but it is ultracomfortable.

Sleep Better Now: Improve Your Backcountry ZZZ's

Our restless guinea pig snooze-tested the latest science and gear to bring you a simple plan that's guaranteed to improve your backcountry ZZZ's.

Gear Review: MSR E-Bivy

thanks to a durable, polyurethane-coated nylon ground layer and more, this balanced bivy has all the right elements.

Readers' Choice 2010

We want your stories! Your photos! Your best trips and tips and all-time favorite gear! For this special edition of our Readers' Choice Awards, we're using your best stuff to create our January 2010 issue.

Gear School 2009

Tent leak like a sieve? Boots stink like a compost pile? Don't worry. Class is now in session. Whether you're a beginner or a pro, this in your one-stop, do-it-all user's guide.

Editors' Choice Awards 2009

The best new gear. That's what earns our seal of approval, and only after months of hardcore testing. This year, we subjected dozens of products to heinous trail conditions from Alaska to Wales. In the end, 18 survived to take our top honor.

Gear School 2009: Tents

Mend a broken pole, fix leaky seams, and get rid of that musty smell.

Gear Guide 2009: Brooks Range Ultralight Guide Tarp Review

Our top ultralight tarp ensures versatility with no weight.

Gear Guide 2009: Eagle's Nest Outfitters ProFly Tarp Review

This tarp offers the fastest setup, with tons of cooking room.

Gear Guide 2009: MSR Zing Tent Review

This tarp is best for groups of campers.

Gear Guide 2009: Hilleberg Kaitum 3 GT Tent Review

Big and versatile, the gigantic Kaitum is in a class all by itself.

Gear Guide 2009: Nemo Losi 3P Tent Review

Our best all-around 3-person tent combines the best of space, weight, and weatherproofing.

Gear Guide 2009: Sierra Designs Vapor Light 2 Tent Review

This top ultralight stood up to fierce winds in Alaska, and is a snap to set up.

Gear Guide 2009: Kelty Gunnison 2.1 Tent Review

This light, large, and affordable tent will appeal to almost any three-season camper.

Gear Guide 2009: Big Agnes Fly Creek UL 1 Tent Review

Roomy, rugged, and light-as-a-feather--that's why the Fly Creek is this year's pick for best all-around solo tent.

Gear Guide 2009: Sierra Designs Convert 2 Tent Review

This is one of the lightest, toughest four-season tent on the market.

Gear Guide 2009: REI Cirque ASL 2 Tent Review

Want to get a winter tent without breaking the bank? The Cirque is the tent for you.

Gear Guide 2009: MSR Dragontail Tent Review

This winter tent is long, lean, and livable.

Gear Guide 2009: Black Diamond Stormtrack Tent Review

Black Diamond's Stormtrack will keep even giants warm in the mountains.

Gear Guide 2009: Big Agnes String Ridge 2 Tent Review

Adequate space, bomber construction, and light weight make the String Ridge our pick for this year's best mountaineering tent.

Gear Guide 2009: The North Face Minibus 33 Tent Review

The Minibus is just like its namesake: Roomy, big, and heavy.

Gear Guide 2009: Sierra Designs Zeta 3 Tent Review

Space and price align in the Zeta 3.

Gear Guide 2009: Marmot Crib 3P Tent Review

If you're taller than tall, the Marmot Crib could be for you.

Gear Guide 2009: Ground Ajanta 3 Tent Review

The Ajanta feels bigger than you'd ever expect, and comes at a sweet price

Gear Guide 2009: Black Diamond Oasis Tent Review

Not even the strongest winds can faze the roomy Black Diamond Oasis.

Gear Guide 2009: Big Agnes Slide Mountain SL 3 Tent Review

Rain making your fly droop? Adjust your tent from the inside with this pricey tent.

Gear Guide 2009: The North Face Madraque 23 Tent Review

This extra-large tent dwarfs all other "big-guy" tents.

Gear Guide 2009: Tarptent Double Rainbow Tent Review

Tarptent's innovative tent creates an ultralight solution for big campers.

Gear Guide 2009: REI Hoodoo 2 Tent Review

The Hoodoo isn't exactly ultralight, but it provides plush quarters for a great price.

Gear Guide 2009: Nemo Nano OZ Tent Review

This eco-friendly single-wall tent doesn't skimp on quality features.

Gear Guide 2009: MSR Carbon Reflex 2 Tent Review

Want double walls but low weight? Try the Carbon Reflex 2.

Gear Guide 2009: Mountain Hardwear Taurine 2 Tent Review

The Taurine tackles both light-and-fast summer jaunts and heavy winter expeditions.

Gear Guide 2009: GoLite Valhalla 2+ Tent Review

This all-conditions champ can handle any weather in any season.

Gear Guide 2009: Exped Aries Mesh Tent Review

This tent matches ultralight values with tough design.

Gear Guide 2009: Eureka Zeus 2 Classic Tent Review

Gear Guide 2009: Tarptent Contrail Tent Review

The lightest solo tent tested is also--surprise--the biggest.

Gear Guide 2009: Nemo Gogo EX Tent Review

The Nemo Gogo works great for tall hikers--provided you don't mind not sitting up.

Gear Guide 2009: MSR Skinny One Tent Review

This huge, livable solo tent is also a killer deal.

Gear Guide 2009: MontBell Crescent 1 Tent Review

Perfect for stargazers, the MontBell Crescent offers 180-degree views of the night sky.

Gear Guide 2009: Kelty Corrie 1 Tent Review

This high-and-wide tent is meant for one, but can fit two, provided they're under six feet tall.

Editors' Choice 2009 Green Award: Big Agnes Salt Creek Recycled Tent

"Habitat for humanity" gets a new meaning with this eco-friendly tent.

Editors' Choice 2009: Sierra Designs Lightning XT 4 Tent

Four is not a crowd in this family-size featherweight.

April 2009 Table of Contents - GEAR GUIDE

Eco-Friendly Tent Poles

How do manufacturers make your trusty tent poles better for the environment? We discovered the magic formula right here.

The Denali Test: Gear for America's Highest, Coldest Peak

Our tester spent 18 days climbing, camping, and evaluating gear on America's highest, coldest peak. If his picks made it there, they can make it anywhere.

Little Big Houses: Three-Season, Double-Occupancy Shelters

At right around two pounds per person, these three-season, double-occupancy shelters do everything but weigh you down.

Trip Doctor: Rent Gear for Newbies?

I'm organizing my first group trip. Can I rent gear for newbies who may not be ready to buy?

Field Notes: Boots, Jackets, Tents, And More

The latest word from our testers. This month, we test the Marmot Cauldro jacket, Gregory Z65 pack, Exped Andromeda, tents, Danner Formation boots, and more.

Head to Head: Basecamp Tents

Got a family to shelter or just want castle-like living space? Go light or go big with these two standouts.

The Fix: Deodorize Your Gear

Does your pack smell like last summer's cheddar? Here's how to clean up.

Camping Hammock Reviews

These versatile sanctuaries do more than just keep you dry. ONLINE EXCLUSIVE: See our video review of the latest bivys and hammocks.

Field Notes: The Latest Word from Our Testers

The green truth behind bamboo, a hyper-efficient cookpot, and a bargain three-person tent.

March 2008 Table of Contents

Backpacker Editors' Choice 2008

The year's best packs, boots, tents, jackets, and sleeping bags. Period. Plus, a never-die headlamp, a life-saving beacon, a back-saving ultralight chair, and more innovative, trail-tested gear.

Spring Cleaning Your Gear

We know. You meant to scrub and scour your gear last fall. But...[insert excuse here]. Now, set aside one weekend afternoon to get your gear back into action and promise to be better next year.

March 2008 Perfect System: East

March 2008 Perfect System: Southwest

March 2008 Perfect System: Rocky Mountains

March 2008 Perfect System: Northwest

Backpacker 2008 Gear Guide: Perfect System

The best gear in the world can be worthless in the wrong conditions. That's where Backpacker's Perfect System comes in.

March 2008 Tents Review: Mountaineering Tents

March 2008 Tents Review: Three-Person Tents

March 2008 Tents Review: Two-Person Tents

Backpacker Gear Guide: One-Person Tents

Backpacker Gear Guide: Tents

You can test-drive a car, but not a tent. So our crew did the shakedown for you, logging 600-plus nights under stars and storms. Here's what we liked.

Boot Shopping Guide

Backpack Shopping Guide

Sleeping Bag Shopping Guide

Tent Shopping Guide

How to Waterproof Everything

From your tent, to your bivy sack, to yourself, learn how to stay dry and comfortable.

Gear: Tents 101

There's a bewildering array of tent options available, including hundreds of three-season tents and specialized models built for hot deserts, Arctic summits, and steamy rain forests.

Gear-Buying Tips

Before shopping for gear it's important to plan a budget, do your research, and prioritize.

Gear: Clothing

Clothing is gear that's just as important as a tent or sleeping bag. We'll help you choose wisely.

Gear: Packs

It's important to consider loading, capacity, and pockets when choosing which pack to buy.

Gear: Choosing the Right Pair of Hiking Boots

Pick the boot that's right for you with this guide.

Sleeping Bag Repair Tips

Learn what you can and can't fix yourself on a sleeping bag.

How to Sleep Soundly In a Sleeping Bag

On your next camping trip, be sure to heed these 10 tips for sleeping like a log

How to Store and Clean a Sleeping Bag

Keep your sleeping bag up to fluff with proper care and handling, including storing, washing/drying, and special considertations.

Sleeping Bag Terminology

Impress your friends–and understand any salesperson–by learning all sorts of sleeping bag lingo.

Become a Savvy Sleeping Bag Shopper

Five questions to ask yourself before you buy a sleeping bag

Gear Checklists and Shopping Guides

Make sure you don't forget a thing with our comprehensive gear checklists for pretty much any trip occasion. Plus, learn how to pick the perfect piece of gear.

Make Your Gear Last Forever

Backpacker's Ultimate Fix-It Guide

How to Choose a Campsite

A NOLS veteran offers tips on balancing comfort, safety, and Leave No Trace principles.

How to Repair a Jacket Zipper

Salvage a few more years out of your favorite jacket with these zipper fixes.

Backpacker Tests 3-Person Tents

These lightweight tents can house three campers in comfort or two in splendor.

Tent Review: GoLite Trig 1

A spacious ultralight tent that stays dry.

Tent Review: Six Moon Designs Europa 05

A weather- and bug-proof tent of negligible weight.

Tent Review: MSR Fling

An atypical hoop tent that's cleverly spacious.

Tent Review: Big Agnes Seedhouse SL2

The lightest freestanding double-wall tent in the universe.

Tent Review: Six Moon Designs Lunar Solo

A traditional tent with ample room for one.

Tent Review: Big Agnes Parkview 2

Keep from tripping over your partner with this tent made for two

Tent Review: New-School Shelters

Slash weight, not weather protection, with this year's top new ultralight tents.

Tent Review: Sierra Designs Electron

An affordable two-person tent that holds up in any weather, spring through fall

3 Ways To Save: Trail-Tested Tents

Three tents that'll save you money, weight, your friendship, and your head

Tent Review: Big Agnes Sarvis SL1 eVent

If solitude is your thing, dish out the extra green for this spacious, sturdy solo tent.

Tent Review: Tarptent Cloudburst

This upgrade suits the fastpacker's need for a roomy, bugproof tent during hot and humid nights.

Tent Review: MSR Hubba Hubba

Meet the new benchmark in lightweight, three-season shelter

Gear Reviews: Editors' Choice 2005

New Zealand is pretty to look at, but harsh on gear--making it just what we needed for our Kiwi challenge.

Winter Gear Lightens Up: Tent and Clothing Review

Carry less, enjoy the cold months more with the latest four-season tents, gloves, hats, and gaiters.

Tent Review: Hilleberg Jannu

Testers give the Jannu two thumbs up, despite wanting more space

Refurbishing Your Tent's Coatings

Give that old tent a new waterproof coating without shelling out big bucks.

Q&A: How to Stay Dry

We went to outdoor educators and gear retailers to uncover the most common questions asked about staying dry in the backcountry. Here are the top 6.

Waterproof Your Wilderness Gear

A complete guide to buying gear that will keep you dry--no matter what

Time To Treat: When to Repair Gear

How do you know that your gear is crying out for help? Consult our handy list of signs and solutions.

Rainy Day Skills

To stay dry in a downpour, carry the right wet-weather gear and know how to use it.

Quick Tip: Tarp Tactics

Tarp tips for the tactical hiker.

Field Fix: Tent Poles Apart

Tackle your tent pole problems with this quick tip.

Quick Tip: Rainfly Right

Quick tips to set your tent with the right rainfly.

Winter Camping Tips: The Perfect Tent Pitch

How and where you should set up your winter tent for maximum comfort and shelter longevity.

Bug Bite Evasion Therapy

What's the best way to treat bug bites? Don't get bit in the first place.

Teepee Tent Setup Secrets

Hard-won tips for pitching tepee tents on any terrain

Tent Setup: Building A Rain Dam

Protect your tent from rain by building a rain dam.

Field Fix: Pole Patch

Tent pole problems? Here's an easy fix.

Buying A Better Tent

Not all shelters are created equal, as anyone with a cheap tent will tell you after a bad storm. Follow these 10 essentials when buying your next tent.

Tent Stake Solution

QuickTip: How to stake tents on hard ground.

Tent Pole Wisdom

Quick Tip: Preserving tent poles

Gear Rx: Tents

Mildew. Torn mesh. Broken zippers and poles. Is it worth fixing your home away from home? Find out for yourself.

Tarps: High And Tight

Setting up a tarp? Follow these techniques depending on the situation.

Fixing Tents: Don't Despair...Repair

What can and can't be fixed on your tent.

'Seams' Dry: Weatherproof Your Tent

Learn how to weatherproof your tent -- before it rains.

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