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Get This Gear: Essentials From A to Z

We tested more than 500 products–stoves, clothes, cameras, filters, tech tools, knives, and meals–to find these proven performers.
Gear Guide Essentials 200x170Gear Guide Essentials 200x170
A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L
M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | XYZ

B

Baselayers
LIGHTWEIGHT Made from 70 percent merino and 30 percent polyester, the Patagonia Wool 1 T-shirt breathes well, wicks moisture, and resists odor naturally, and the touch of polyester speeds drying time. It became an instant favorite among testers, who wore it while hiking, climbing, running, and even just walking around town. The cut was baggy in early samples, but Patagonia says the problem has been fixed. $75 (m’s), $65 (w’s); 2.2 oz. (w’s M); patagonia.com

MIDWEIGHT Our tester never took off the Gordini Lavawool Midweight Zip Top during a weeklong trek in the Andes, where conditions ranged from the 10s to the 50s. Like the Patagonia shirt, the long-sleeve Gordini is a poly/wool blend, though in this case the fabric is 88 percent synthetic. The mix wicks well and dries fast, and didn’t smell ripe until day five. $50; 8 oz. (m’s L); gordini.com

HEAVYWEIGHT With a fleecy inside that’s as soft as flannel, Patagonia’s Stretch Velocity Zip-Neck is the ideal baselayer for cold conditions because of its warmth, outstanding four-way stretch, breathability, and moisture management. Our tester wore it under a waterproof shell while backpacking in freezing rain and reported zero chill. The snug fit and smooth outer surface make for easy layering. A front zipper extends to the belly, offering superior ventilation. Eco-bonus: It’s made with 100- percent recycled Polartec Powerstretch polyester. $100; 8 oz. (w’s M); patagonia.com

Batteries
The best AAs and AAAs just got better. Energizer Ultimate Lithiums now last 15 percent longer than before, which means we regularly see four to eight times the battery life of alkalines. Plus, you get much better performance in cold weather and 40 percent less weight. About $2 each; energizer.com

Binoculars
Waterproofing, condensation resistance, impact armor, and killer optics: Brunton’s Epoch Compact 10 x 25 delivers the whole package at a reasonable weight with an image that’s tack-sharp from edge to edge. $575 (street price); 13.5 oz.; brunton.com

Blister remedy
Stretchy, stick-on Spyroflex eliminates friction, preventing hot spots from becoming blisters–and blisters from getting worse. It also absorbs fluid, provides an antibacterial barrier, and keeps blisters moist so they can heal fast. Bonus: Spyroflex doesn’t stick to wounds (allowing easy dressing changes), and can be left on for up to a week. $7; agslabs.com

Bottle cap
Human Gear’s capCAP turns any wide-mouth bottle into a hybrid. You can chug from the skinny spout without spilling, but still open it wide for easy water treatment and cleaning. $6; 1.2 oz.; humangear.com

Bug repellent
Normally, we recommend only DEET-based bug dope for serious mosquito protection. But Repel Lemon Eucalyptus is natural and kept our tester bite-free during mosquito and blackfly feeding frenzies in the Adirondacks. $8; 4 oz.; repel.com

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