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Gear Reviews

Gear Testing in the Rockies

The BACKPACKER test crew just returned from five days in the mountains, where we put next winter's hiking, camping, and skiing gear through a final round of testing.

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Gear Testing in the Rockies

Planning the day’s route over breakfast inside the Skinner Hut. [photo: Andrew Bydlon]

Gear Testing in the Rockies

Storm clouds roll in, bringing plenty of new snow. [photo: Andrew Bydlon]

Gear testing in the Rockies

Tester Crystal Sagan finds yet another untouched slope. [photo: Andrew Bydlon]

Gear Testing in the Rockies

The Skinner Hut sits on a ridge with views over the Glacier Creek drainage. [photo: Andrew Bydlon]

Gear Testing in the Rockies

A late-spring snow storm aided tent testing. [photo: Andrew Bydlon]

Gear Testing in the Rockies

Crystal Sagan looks out a 6 inches of new snow. [photo: Andrew Bydlon]

Gear testing in the Rockies

Overlooking the Glacier Creek drainage. The 3-mile climb up that drainage makes Skinner Hut one of the hardest 10th Mountain Division huts to reach. [photo: Andrew Bydlon]

Gear Testing in the Rockies

Heading up for one more lap. [photo: Andrew Bydlon]

Gear Testing in the Rockies

Returning to the Skinner Hut after a day of skiing, er, testing. [photo: Andrew Bydlon]

The BACKPACKER test crew just returned from five days in the mountains, where we put next winter’s hiking, camping, and skiing gear through a final round of testing. We climbed almost 2,000 feet up to the 10th Mountain Division’s Skinner Hut, which sits at 11,620 feet, above Leadville, Colorado. A late-spring storm delivered plenty of fresh powder and perfect testing conditions. Our reviews, including the 2015 Editors’ Choice Snow Awards, will appear in the November issue.

Photos by Andrew Bydlon.