April 2009 Table of Contents - GEAR GUIDE

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EDITORS' CHOICE AWARDS

All it took was 6,000 miles of hiking, 425 nights of camping, and one gale-tossed trip to the highlands of Wales to determine our 2009 Editors' Choice Awardss. From dozens of intriguing new products we selected 18 winners, including a do-it-all boot, a GPS-enabled camera, and the tastiest trail soup we've ever eaten. Plus, a Gold Award for the planet's best duffel.

VIDEO: EDITORS' CHOICE BLOWOUT

Editors' Choice Trip 2009: Snowdonia National Park, Wales

Editors' Choice Award Winner: Black Diamond Orbit

Editors' Choice Trip 2009: Brecon Beacons, Wales

Editors' Choice Trip 2009: Pembrokeshire Coastal Path, Wales

Editors' Choice Trip 2009: Climbing Mount Snowdon

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SKILLS GEAR SCHOOL

Know how to fit a pack? Patch a ripped rainfly? You'll learn these skills–and many more–in our 10-page guide to buying, cleaning, and repairing outdoor gear. Whether you're a beginner or pro, this is your one-stop, do-it-all user's guide.

Zero Impact Challenge, II

Save the planet while you sleep! Or at least make a dent. Last fall, five bag makers answered our call for new thinking in eco-friendly design. The result: five toasty sacks that cut your footprint by 10 percent.

GEAR, GEAR, GEAR

PACKS

Whether you're an avid dayhiker, thru-hiker, peakbagger, or mountain zealot–or all of the above–we have the perfect load hauler. Here are 32 tester-approved choices.

Daypacks

Weekend Packs

Weeklong Packs

TENTS

With the right shelter, the entire backcountry is your bedroom. We spent 450 nights in the wilderness to find the best new tents on the market. These 31 rose to the top.

1-Person Tents

2-Person Tents

3-Person Tents

Mountaineering Tents

Tarps

BOOTS

From Maine to Oregon, and back–that's how far we hiked this year to separate good boots from bad. Our testers hit peaks, coasts, and ridges to pick the top 32 shoes, from trail runners to mountaineering boots.

Light-Duty Boots

Mid-Duty Boots

Heavy-Duty Boots

SLEEPING BAGS

We'll sleep better knowing you can pick 30 new sleeping bags that were tested in every season, region, and climate. Plus: the latest, lightest, best-cushioned pads.

Summer

Three-Season

Winter

Sleeping Pads

THE ESSENTIALS

Sunglasses? Check. Camera. Check. Ultralight stove, raingear, headlamp, and water filter. Check. Outfit yourself with the best of the rest, from appetizers to a zipline, with our indispensable (and alphabetical) guide.

ONLINE EXCLUSIVES: GEAR SHOPPING SECRETS

Gear editor Kristin Hostetter shows you how to pick the perfect sleeping bag and pack in two info-packed videos.

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PLUS, check out the updated GearFinder tool. Search our expanded database by brand, price, weight, size, and more to find the gear that matches your specs and budget. We now have more than 2,000 products, plus photos, reviews, and user ratings.