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Backpacker Magazine – April 2009

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.

by: The Backpacker Editors

Editor Jon Dorn tackles the worst of Wales for Editors' Choice (Steve Howe).
Editor Jon Dorn tackles the worst of Wales for Editors' Choice (Steve Howe).

We have a new high bar in gear testing: Wales in November, where the spectacularly wet and windy weather is matched only by the magnificently craggy scenery. From the Pembrokeshire coast to the peaks of Snowdonia, we carried our Editors' Choice finalists into the worst Welsh conditions–after months of testing on trips from the Sierra Nevada to Spain. The damage: three tents destroyed, two leaky boots...and one of the strongest groups of winners ever.

SLEEPING BAG: MontBell UL Spiral Down Hugger #1
GPS: Garmin Oregon 400t 
video icon(Garmin Oregon 400t Video Review)

HEADLAMP: Mammut X-Zoom

TRAIL SNACK: Honey Stinger Organic Energy Chews
CAMP FUN: Gibbon Slacklines
video icon(REI Flash 65 Video Review)

TENT: Sierra Designs Lightning XT 4
video icon(Sierra Designs Lightning XT Video Review)

SLEEPING PAD: Therm-a-Rest NeoAir
video icon(Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Video Review)

CAMERA: Nikon Coolpix P6000
LANTERN: Black Diamond Orbit
video icon(Black Diamond Orbit Video Review)

BACKPACK: Osprey Sprint Series
MEAL: PackIt Gourmet Austintacious Tortilla Soup
BOOT: Kayland Zephyr
video icon(Kayland Zephyr Video Review)

BOOT: New Balance 1500 Rainier

Editors' Choice Green Award
TENT: Big Agnes Salt Creek Recycled

Editors' Choice Gold Award

LUGGAGE: The North Face Base Camp Duffel

See what the Backpacker editors had to endure to bring you the best gear of 2009.

Editors' Choice Trip 2009: Snowdonia National Park, Wales
Witness the world's worst weather as the BACKPACKER staff tackles wailing wind, slippery crags, and zero visibility in the high peaks of Wales' Snowdonia National Park.

video icon Editors' Choice Trip 2009: Brecon Beacons, Wales
Follow BACKPACKER Editors on a misty mountain hop through steep slopes, huge waterfalls, and fog-shrouded vistas in Wales' Brecon Beacons National Park.

video icon Editors' Choice Trip 2009: Pembrokeshire Coastal Path, Wales
BACKPACKER Editor-in-Chief Jonathan Dorn shows you how to get the most out the British Isles' best seaside trek, the 186-mile Pembrokeshire Coastal Path.

video icon Editors' Choice Trip 2009: Climbing Mount Snowdon
Rocky Mountain Editor Steve Howe tackles a different kind of mountain in this video. Join him as he battles howling winds on the highest peak in Wales.


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Reader Rating: -


Feb 20, 2010

What's the best thing to pee in when it's cold outside and you are in your tent?

Feb 13, 2010

Thank you. Eco/Green is GOOD! To answer a question- that orange jacket above is the REI eVent jkt.

Jan 20, 2010

Climate change, global warming, whatever -- call it what you will. If you hike the Sierras, Cascades or Olympics and don't see the changes in the lakes, rivers and glaciers you are simply kidding yourself. Go look at Lake Shasta to get additional perspective. Green (or more accurately) low impact and eco-aware have always been the trademark of those that love the back country where ever it is. Take a few hours to read the writings of John Muir.

Brooks A. Mick, M.D.
Jan 01, 2010

Now that the climate change global warming hoax has been exposed, can we cool it with the "green" stuff? Just a little?

Bria Sanchez
Dec 09, 2009

best wind water resistant fleece jacket?

J Weaver
Sep 25, 2009

Best two-way radios?

Ann Johnson
Sep 14, 2009

alan b.
Sep 12, 2009

Best Daypack? Mens and Womens PLEASE!

Aug 28, 2009

best water purifier?

Aug 21, 2009

Best stove?

Aug 10, 2009

What brand is the organge jacket being worn above?

Katie, BP Web Producer
May 20, 2009

This has been fixed. Thanks for letting us know.

Thomas Linek
May 11, 2009

LANTERN: Black Diamond Orbit Your link is pointing to 12870 instead of 12874


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