We gave this camera’s predescessor our Editors’ Choice Award in 2013, but this latest version is even better. It’s still waterproof, tough, and easy to use, but it has an improved range of focus that ultimately lets us score better shots. $380; getolympus.com Quite possibly the world’s greatest backpacking lantern. Why? It’s tiny and packable, and, thanks to the silicone globe, it throws a wide pool of ambient light that fills even a four-person tent with a warm, cozy glow. $40; snowpeak.com Zap your water clean with this simple to use, reliable UV wand. Two coin-style batteries will treat up to 100 liters. The Opti doesn’t mar the taste and weighs less than 4 ounces. $90; steripen.com If you’re a weather geek (or a BACKPACKER gear tester) you probably carry a device that measures temperature and wind speed. Our gear editor has been carrying this one for close to 10 years on all her gear testing trips. “It’s never let me down, and the battery life is amazing.” $94; kestrelmeters.com Simple, foolproof, bright, and clear. That’s why keep coming back to this classic headlamp. $40; petzl.com Get pro-quality adventure photos no matter what the weather throws at you with this fully sealed and waterproof DLSR. $700; pentaximaging.com We’ve used this amazing messenger to stay in touch with loved ones (you can both send and receive text messages) and post Facebook updates from far-flung, wild places around the globe. It relies on satellites (not cell phone towers), so as long as you have a clear view of the sky, you’re in business. $300; delorme.com The most reliable case we’ve found is also the sleekest. The case only adds a smidge of thickness to your phone, yet it doesn’t sacrifice protection. We’ve dropped and dunked our phones countless times, and several of our editors have had their phones securely ensconced for several years of daily use. Starting at $80; lifeproof.com With a great battery life, indestructible build, and the most accessories and mounts of any POV camera we’ve tested, this is the one to buy. $400; gopro.com The best GPS watch we’ve found: It’s accurate, easy to use, and has best-in-class battery life. $450; garmin.com
In the world of electronics, the notion of “what’s hot” turns over every season. But these 10 items have topped our list of favorites for the past few years. Why? Because we keep going back to them, despite the new items that keep rolling in. Who said all gadgets have to go obsolete?