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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.
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Everlite EL-8 Solar Headlamp
Charge your light (and cell phone, too!) with this bright lamp and its companion solar panel.

Renewable energy meets headlamp meets all power-hungry gadgets in this electronic mash-up. The compact five-LED headlamp charges straight off a 3-ounce solar panel that’s half the size of a CD case. That means you can dispense with batteries altogether–throwaways and rechargeables–and go on extended treks or international trips without worrying about power resupply. The EL8’s high beam has plenty of illumination for night hiking, and the low setting is perfect for camp use. Hang the solar panel on your pack or tent; it takes about six hours of full sun to charge the lamp for 12 hours on high beam–enough for overnight epics. Charging in overcast and timber takes about twice as long. (An indicator light glows green, yellow, or red depending on how much juice is left.) Optional adapter cords ($17) let you wall-charge the lamp or power cell phones and other devices off the solar panel. $50; 6.3 oz.; (800) 225-1339;

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