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Monthly Issue

Spring Gear Guide 2015 Table of Contents

The year's best new trail-tested products in every category.

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Editors’ Choice Awards
We torture-tested scores of products to separate the great from the merely good. From lighted tents to a jacket you’ll never take off, here are 13 winners that raise the bar higher than ever.

backpacker editors' choice 2015

Big days. Fast-and-light weekends. Peakbagging vacations. Weeklong epics. Whatever your plans, you’ll find a pack to match among these 17 picks.


We suffered more than a few blisters over 10,000 miles of testing. Result: field-proven trail runners, light hikers, midweights, and heavy-duty boots. Don’t say we never do anything for you.

La Sportiva LS Trango Cube GTX
La Sportiva LS Trango Cube GTX

Minimalist campers will love the latest crop of ultralight shelters. Storm-seekers will appreciate the bombproof fortresses. Value-hunters will dig the bargains. And everyone will like staying dry.


Sleeping Bags and Pads
We took these bags below their temperature ratings to find out just how warm they really are. Bottom line: We lost sleep so you won’t. Hit snooze with one of these toasty sacks (and cushy pads).

Sierra Designs Backcountry Bed Duo
Sierra Designs Backcountry Bed Duo

This year’s best jackets sound too good to be true—lighter, more breathable, stretchier, even cheaper—but we’re happy to report that wearing is believing. Stay comfortable in all conditions with these 14 hard- and softshells.

Columbia Sleeker
Columbia Sleeker


Cook better. Boost camp comfort. Protect your eyes and improve your photos. Upgrade every trip with these 78 field-proven products.

We tested every new camp stove, cook pot, and more to bring you these top picks in backcountry camp kitchen gear.

Jetboil minimo
This stove system packs tiny and does it all: lightning-fast boils, quiet simmers, and everything in between. Full review.

This starter setup costs less than $1,300 and will last for years.

Harmony Genesis PFD

We tried dozens of pair to bring you our top 3 new sunglasses for hikers, plus lenses that could actually lift your mood.

best new sunglasses for hikers 2015
(Photo by Andrew Bydlon)

Start right with this bargain kit—helmet, harness, shoes, rope, and belay device—assembled by the editors of Climbing magazine.

La Sportiva Jeckyl VS Rock Shoe

Men’s Apparel
Durability meets comfort in this year’s best new trail apparel for guys.

Saxx Kinetic Boxer Brief
These performance boxer briefs have the support of a jock strap. Full review.

Women’s Apparel
Our crew of pro testers review their top picks for the best new women’s hiking clothes, including pants, shirts, jackets, sports bras, and more. Plus: Top trends in women’s hiking apparel this year.

best women's apparel of 2015: Eider Wooly Hoodie
The Eider Wooly Hoodie showcases the best qualities of both wool and polyster, making it one versatile midlayer. Full review.

The best new backcountry cameras, long-lasting GPS units, and our picks for the hottest new portable power.

Sony a5100
This mirrorless camera has the ability to change lenses, giving you more creative control—and it’s more packable than a DSLR. Full review.

Outfit your aspiring backpackers with these five new must-have pieces of kids’ gear.

Bogs Kids Classic Camp Boots
Bogs Kids Classic Camp Boots

Still coming: Knives and food! Stay tuned…

How to Pack for Backcountry Skiing

Get to know the winter safety gear you need in your pack.