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Gear Reviews

6 Modern Tools to Upgrade Dad’s Backpacking Kit

It’s time to hang up the old external frame pack and leather boots and step into the modern age.

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Man standing with hiking poles moutain background

Every piece of weathered, well-worn gear tells a story. Ancient aluminum-framed packs carry the memories of trips past, and the barely discernible tread on a pair of beloved leather boots is a testament to the miles of trails they’ve faithfully crossed. But romanticism won’t save you from rainstorms and blisters like new and improved gear will. So, this Father’s Day, do your old man a solid and upgrade his kit with the following 6 picks sure to improve any camp kit.

Merrell Boot

MQM Flex Luna Mid by Merrell x Filson – $160

The old saying, one pound on your feet equals five pounds on your back, especially rings true when your daily mileage hits double digits. Leave dad’s old leather boots for kicking around the neighborhood and treat him to this new Merrell MQM Flex Luna Mid. Featuring the support and protection of a hiking boot with the weight of a trail running shoe, this special edition is tricked out in timeless Filson styling. Buy MQM Flex Luna Mid by Merrell x Filson Now 

Garmin watch

Fēnix® 6 by Garmin – $599.99 and up

Help dad get more from his workouts and time in the outdoors with the Fēnix® 6 multisport GPS watch from Garmin. Plan the day with preloaded trails and GPS tracking. Use the wrist-based heart rate and oxygen monitors along with grade-adjusted pacing guidance for maximum efficiency when running and riding. The intuitive user interface and easy smartphone pairing will have Dad tracking his hikes in no time—and listening to the latest adventure podcasts while doing it too. Buy Fēnix® 6 by Garmin Now

Darn Tough Sock
Darn Tough

Pinnacle Micro Crew Light Cushion by Darn Tough – $21

Toss out those threadbare old woolies and embrace a fresh pair of socks from longtime Vermont maker Darn Tough, made of a Merino-blend that wicks moisture and is naturally antimicrobial. Ergonomically placed support and cushioning make for long-lasting comfort on the trail. Buy Pinnacle Micro Crew Light Cushion by Darn Tough Now

Fjallraven pants

Abisko Midsummer Trousers by Fjallraven – $145

For a pair of pants that perform in the wild and don’t look out of place in town, Abisko Midsummer Trousers check all the boxes. Fjallraven’s award-winning G-1000 Air Stretch material is highly durable and breathable, making it perfect for warm weather trekking. Dad will appreciate the functionality—maybe even the clean Scandinavian styling—for seasons on end. Buy Abisko Midsummer Trousers by Fjallraven Now


Duncan Spine Backpack 50-60L by Mammut – $259.95

Old School external-frame packs are truly a thing of beauty, but innovation in construction and design has come a long way in recent years, and there’s no sense ignoring it. Mammut’s Duncan Spine Backpack is not only staggeringly lightweight (just 1,520 grams) but it leverages patented Active Spine Technology to spread weight throughout the pack, too. This means dad can cover more miles in comfort—and style. Buy Duncan Spine Backpack 50-60L by Mammut Now

Petzl Headlamp

NAO® + Headlamp by Petzl – $199.95

Headlamps are an essential piece of gear for safety and performance, so it’s time to upgrade that spotty old flashlight on a headband. Petzl’s tricked out NAO® + is packed with features—reactive lighting technology adjusts the beam according to the terrain, while Bluetooth connectivity allows for further customization. With 750 lumens of multi-beam rechargeable lighting and a sturdy fit that’s trail running ready, this impressive tool gives Dad one less reason to hate alpine starts. Buy NAO® + Headlamp by Petzl Now

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