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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

High Gear's AltiTech 2 High Gear’s AltiTech 2 is our favorite digital altimeter/barometer this year for three reasons: 1) the carabiner design is more versatile than a standard wristband; 2) a bar graph tracks climbing and weather data over 24 hours; and 3) it costs lots less than top-end models. The compass adjusts from continuous to single readings to save power. The big face reads well, and you get a thermometer, stopwatch, and alarm. The clip lets you hang it from tent, pack, or harness, so you don’t have to dig through winter layers or scratch it up jamming cracks. $150; 2 oz.;

Water bag
Sea To Summit’s Folding Bucket packs down to hockey-puck-size, weighs only 2.5 ounces, and easily lugs an evening’s worth of water (10 liters) from river to camp. It stands without tipping, making short work of after-dinner dishes. $25;

Water treatment
DROPS Ultralight Aquamira drops neutralize bacteria and viruses with chlorine dioxide, and the purified water doesn’t taste like chemicals. $15; 3 oz. (treats 30 gallons);

FILTER MSR’s HyperFlow is the fastest, lightest, most reliable filter we’ve tested. It won an Editors’ Choice Award last year (4/08). $100; 7.4 oz;

TABLETS Treatment doesn’t get any simpler: Drop in one of Katadyn’s chlorine dioxide MicroPur Tablets and wait 15 minutes to an hour depending on temperature and turbidity. The taste is clean, but the foil packaging is a tad excessive and a pain to open. $16; 0.8 oz. (treats 30 liters);

Wine bladder
Bring your favorite Syrah, but not the heavy bottle. Platypus’s Platypreserve keeps wine fresh better than a Lexan bottle by letting you squeeze out the extra air. Made of BPA-free plastic. $13; 0.9 oz.;

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