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Does my dog need an ultralight water bowl? Well, no—but every ounce counts, right? When I’m already carrying extra food and water for my best friend, I’m glad when her gear is as light and compact as mine. The Lifetime bowl is made of superlight, durable Dyneema, which may sound extra for a dog, but which I appreciated while slogging the uphills on New Hampshire’s Zealand-Bonds Traverse. An attached mini carabiner let me hook the bowl directly to my dog’s harness for easy access (it folds up neatly with an integrated loop of shock cord). While I could use an old tupperware or other collapsible bowl, the Lifetime Bowl fit seamlessly into my backpacking kit, and it will surely be accompanying us on many more hikes. —Zoe Gates, Senior Skills Editor, and Juno, four-legged tester extraordinaire
I have a confession to make: Two years into the pandemic, I am still avoiding “hard pants.” A big part of it is that I’m still working from home, which means my schedule is much less regimented than it used to be. My Holy Grail is a pair of pants that can handle naps, gym workouts, hikes, and trips to the coffee shop with equal aplomb. (I’m not including work in here because none of my colleagues see my pants anyway—thanks, Zoom.) The Astro Pant is exactly that: These “comfy as pajamas” lightweight technical joggers have served me as well on broiling hikes up Colorado’s North Table Mountain as they have during late-night climbing sessions or (casual) dinners out. And unlike my trusty sweatpants, they don’t make me look like I’ve given up on living in society. Plus, they pack up so small and dry so fast that they’ve earned a permanent place in my luggage. I might just give up my jeans for good. —Adam Roy, Executive Editor
My dream knife is so light you forget it’s there, keeps an edge like a high-end Japanese chef’s knife, and has a reliable hinge mechanism. The 535 Bugout is pretty dang close to that vision. At 1.84 oz. and just 10.5 mm wide, it’s one of the lightest fully-featured knives around. But it’s also surprisingly sturdy: the steel blade swings open easily and locks firmly in place for cutting wily foods like hard salami and fresh mango, and can even baton small pieces of wood. Despite its slender profile, the grippy handle offers precision when wet or greasy. I’ve been bringing the small-but-mighty Bugout backpacking with me for several years and have never needed to sharpen its blade, even after pressing it into use as an emergency screwdriver this fall. —Benjamin Tepler, Gear Editor
I received a pair of these binocs for Father’s Day this year. “Standard issue” doesn’t normally inspire confidence in a product’s value, but these binocs, which have a durable, rubber-housed body and scratchproof lenses, perform exceptionally well for everything from backyard birding at my home in Santa Fe to wildlife spotting on a recent trip to Alaska. They’re also lucky. Minutes after getting dropped off by a float plane in Katmai National Park, I aimed my Nocs toward the far side of a lake, adjusted the 8×25 lenses, and immediately saw my first Grizzley some 300 yards away. I then turned around and aimed them in the opposite direction and spotted a red fox. Not bad for $95. —Christopher Keyes, Group Editorial Director
As the rest of the country embraces fall, I’ve been sweating it out in Southern California. It’s been an unseasonably hot month—due to a tropical storm, it pushed 90°F before 6 a.m. on a particularly bad day. When it wasn’t too hot to leave the house, I reserved some spots along our local beach bluff for some late-summer car camping. The star of the show? My Coleman Peak1. Although this tent seems a bit small from the outside, it’s just enough to hold two squirmy sleepers comfortably. My favorite feature is the sunroof: it’s large enough that I could stay inside the sealed tent (to avoid kicking in sand) while my partner passed me our sleeping pads, bags, and more. Another bonus? Stargazing—that is, if stargazing still applies with the one visible star that persisted through the light pollution. — Emma Veidt, Assistant Editor, Skills