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Backpacker Magazine

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

G
Gaiters
Mountain Hardwear Xenon Stretch Mountain Hardwear’s Xenon Stretch have burly Cordura on the lower section for durability and stretchy Gore-Tex Paclite on the upper for breathability. Fit is trim and snug. $85; 11 oz.; mountainhardwear.com

Game
Upgrade storm-day fun with the three-in-one BagGames, a packable (but full-size) game of checkers, chess, or backgammon. $15; 15 oz.; baggames.com

Gear repair book
Shameless endorsement: Fix almost any hiking equipment with Don’t Forget The Duct Tape, by our gear editor. $8; mountaineersbooks.org

Gloves Kombi Windbreaker Fleece Three-season Kombi’s Windbreaker Fleece are workhorse gloves that are perfect for all but the wettest trips. During a nine-hour day with windchill near freezing, they kept our tester’s digits toasty. An adjustable wrist cinch seals out drafts, and a leather palm and thumb improve grip. $25; kombiltd.com

Winter Think of Black Diamond’s Pursuit like a softshell jacket for your hands. The water-resistant Schoeller 3XDry shell blocks bitter wind and allows hands to breathe no matter how hard you’re working, while the removable WoolWeight Liner adds warmth (and can be worn solo in mild conditions). The Pursuit’s wrist gaiter cinches snugly, and leather grips provided the dexterity one Colorado tester needed to futz with tele bindings. Pursuit: $99; 4.2 oz. Liner: $40; 2 oz.; bdel.com

GPS
All-around favorite The touchscreen Garmin Oregon 400t earned Editors’ Choice honors this year for its unmatched blend of user-friendliness and advanced features. $599; 7 oz.; garmin.com

Best onboard maps Delorme’s PN-40 serves up detailed topos, color aerial photos, and city maps; an annual fee of $29 gives you full access to Delorme’s rich library. Loaded with features that expert users will love, this unit has a 24-channel GPS chip that quickly locks onto satellites; it collected accurate tracklogs even under stormy clouds and snow-covered spruce trees in Rocky Mountain National Park. $400; 7 oz.; delorme.com

Grill
Get the portable, dishwasher-safe Cobb Pro Grill for car camping and river trips. Nine briquettes is all it takes to bake, roast, smoke, fry, steam, boil, or grill your favorite foods. The nonstick surface is perfect for dogs, burgers, or sautéed veggies. "It’s smaller than a beach ball, but can cook up enough food for a van-load of hikers," said one tester after a trailhead feast near Colorado’s Mt. Elbert. The base stays cool, so you can safely move it around camp. $100; 10 lbs.; cobbq.com

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