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Backpacker Magazine – Online Exclusive

Gear Pro: Why Review Expensive Gear?

Readers often ask why we review such pricey equipment. Here's the answer.

by: Kristin Hostetter

PAGE 1 2 3 4 5 6
image: / Flickr
image: / Flickr

Pad: Therm-a-Rest Trail Scout

This classic self-inflater can be had for about $40

PAGE 1 2 3 4 5 6

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Reader Rating: -


Star Star Star Star Star
Apr 05, 2014

Its give that there is a limit on the number of items you can review, but in fact, I have not seen reviews of some top-of-the-line, and better than most, gear that are available. For some examples: Wiggys sleeping bags and other gear, some of which are very reasonably priced, and Crossfire DG-6 and DG3 packs. Additionally, there are some economical top-of-the-line gear that I have not seen reviewed, for example the Military ALICE rucks (yeah I know ALICE is external frame, etc, etc.), UK Army Bergens, poncho liners, and the like. You can get a brand new ALICE LC-1 or LC-2 ruck, frame with waist belt, and shoulder straps for around $100.00. Have done a LOT of humping and hiking with the ALICE gear and it is top-of-the-line for ruggedness and adaptability. When properly loaded and adjusted to the user the ALICE ruck is quite comfortable. One can probably get a MOLLE ruck nowadays for a reasonable price. Expensive, best quality packs like the Crossfire DG6, an external frame ruck, can hold more stuff, with better organization, and is very comfortable under heavy load, but it certainly is not essential for say an Appalachian trail through hiker. With the DG6 for example, you get a lot of versatility as it comes with an auxiliary patrol/day pack, a magazine carrier, more rigging points and a means to rig it for parachute jump is available.

Star Star Star
Paul Keller
Apr 03, 2014

Yeah, you guys are certainly fond of pricey gear. Nice thing about the internet though is you can read a review on a $300 pack on and then shoot right over to ebay and pick up the Chinese trade-infringement version for like $80... 300D is 300D right? (never-mind the stitching -wink-)

A budget-packer (dibs on the name) tab on your homepage is a no-brainer, honestly it's silly not to have one already! How about a DIY section too?

Star Star Star
Apr 01, 2014

I think many readers are unable to buy it "all at once" so a $100 item replaced 4 times over the years is better than a $400 item that can last a decade. It would be nice to have a truly frugal section on a near monthly installment for the beginners, young adults starting the worklife, etc.

Apr 01, 2014

Sorry but I am just not buying your line. I am not trying to sound mean but this is why I did away with my subscription to this magazine years ago.
The outdoors is not just a playground for the filthy rich and that is what you shamelessly promote.
I routinely venture outside and I do not spend gobs of money to do so. Hiking, fishing, canoe or kayak, I do it all and all within a budget.
I purchase cheapeer equipment which I sheck over carefully and alter, as needed. I maintain my equipment and tend to use it for years. I do not run out and buy the "latest greatest" thing to hit the market. I look for cheaper alternatives and take care of them. Your magazine never touches on this sort of thing. Hey, if you are a magazine for spoiled rich kids, ok. I will peruse your articles from time to time as will, I am sure other regular folks, but don't try to tell us that you simply must deal only with the most overpriced stuff there is and act like it is just not possible for someone to exist without it. Just act like the snobby rich people you cater to and be honest about it.

Apr 01, 2014

EXACTLY why I cancelled my subscription years ago....not much here for the common man. The idea is great, but the delivery is mostly for the rich kids.

Star Star Star Star Star
Apr 01, 2014


Thank you for a cogent and well written 'open letter'. I will say however that price remains a bugaboo that keeps many folks away. And while as you say top gear is not for the occasional 'weekend warrior' or folks that don't meet the 3 criteria you listed... what about those folks? Are there not a sleeping bags, boots, shells , tents out there from one of the 'marts' that would suffice for an over-nite or couple of days? How about a 'weekend warrior" section covering reviews of lower cost gear..dare I say.. ever from..gasp... discount mass merchandisers? For some folks $100 for a shell is to much, let alone $500, and 4 days backpacking is too much.. let alone 3 months. Should these folks forget about backpacking? If not..what products should they buyy..a few reviews for them would be nice.

Mar 27, 2014

This post smeels like bullcrap, in particular this "Whether or not a company advertises bears zero weight on whether they get a review"
Kiss my lovely a...

Star Star Star Star Star
Mar 26, 2014

Thank you for including some ideas on gear that can be purchased for $100 or less per item. I could not begin to afford the type of clothing and gear that I often see in stores or online. While I wouldn't want to sacrifice safety for cost, disposable income is just not that available to me. I don't buy gear or go to the wilderness with the idea of being outfitted with top of the line items, or I wouldn't be able to go at all. I go out there to enjoy the experience and to get back home safely. Due to training (not the expensive schools) and experience I can do that without spending a lot of money.


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