Gear

Here’s What Backpacker’s Editors Loved in February

A custom bike pack, a light-as-air ski boot, and some very handy velcro straps: Here are our editors' favorite things of the month.

mask straps
Photo: Courtesy

Velcro Mask Extender Straps

Covid case rates may be dropping, but as someone who lives with an immunocompromised family member, I’m still wearing a mask religiously. On the other hand, I like to breathe the free air on the trail when I can. My compromise: these straps ( $7 on Amazon ), which make it easy to keep my mask at the ready. While they’re really meant to keep the pressure off your ears, I use them mostly to hang my mask around my neck on Nordic ski days and hikes around home; when I see someone heading my way on a narrow trail, I can cover up without digging around in my pockets. —Adam Roy

frame pack
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Rogue Panda Designs Double-Decker Frame Bag

Count on bikepacking to make me look at my normal ultralight backpacking kit and think, I’ve been glamping. There is just less space to pack things on a bicycle when you need to bug out far into the desert to look at gigantic, austere landscapes. And that is why I’m loving this custom frame bag . It fits my adventure bike’s triangle like a glove, maximizing the space available and turning empty space into enough storage to fit an extremely minimalist kit and a lot of water. The bags are splashproof, rugged, and have elastic around the zippers, which means they’ll stretch to accommodate whatever you need to shove in there and take you wherever you need to go. —Casey Lyons

fig bar
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Nature’s Bakery Fig Bar Original Fig

When I’m rushing into the hills for a quick after-work excursion, I usually reach for an energy bar; but as anyone who’s eaten enough of them knows, eventually they stop tasting like anything but cardboard. On a cold day the texture swings closer to hardened rubber than food. My latest solution: these fig bars. They come in handy packs of two, the perfect size for slipping into a pocket when I’m headed out riding, hiking, or skiing. Unlike most bars they don’t harden in the cold, and they taste great even after hours in a pack. Plus with a combo of whole wheat and real fig paste, they pack 3g of fiber and 4g of protein into every serving. —Kristin Smith

"None"
“None”

SCARPA F1 LT

Every year, there are some products that I don’t get to test personally—usually due to sample-size availability—but want to very, very badly. The F1 LT, an ultralight ski touring boot from SCARPA, fell into that category last year, but I’ve finally managed to get my hands on a pair and boy howdy am I happy with them. The Tetons, where I do most of my touring, are notorious for long approaches and big days (even a “light” outing” can see you cover 3,000 vertical feet), so wearing a pair of boots that feel almost like slippers has been a huge boon for my legs (and ego). And while the F1 LT is barely noticeable on the ups, it’s stiff enough to be responsive when you need it on the downs. Now, if I could just get my cardio to match my weight savings. — Eli Bernstein

pizza steel

A Pizza Steel

What’s the best way to refuel after a long day of hiking or skiing? Pizza, obviously. And what’s the fastest way to get crisp, chewy, cheese-slathered crust into your face? Nope—not takeout. The Dough-Joe Samurai Pizza Steel helps you make restaurant-quality (or better, in my opinion) pizza (or bread, bagels, pie, and more) at home, no wood-burning oven required. The steel conducts heat superfast, replicating a 900° professional pizza oven in your kitchen and baking a crust your old pizza stone can’t hold a candle too. Sixty five dollars for a piece of metal? , you might ask. You’ll earn back the cost in no time since you’ll never have to tip the pizza delivery guy again. Make the dough ahead of time, and you’ll return home from your hikes to piping hot ‘za faster than you can open the Domino’s app. I stash a few leftover slices in the pocket of my ski jacket for a chairlift snack—there’s nothing better. —Zoe Gates