The Osprey Packs Aether is a workhorse with a thoughtful design. The pack easily carries a heavy load, while providing plenty of bells and whistles. While it is slightly heavier than others, the higher volume versions of the pack make up for it with high performance. There are better low volume packs available.
The Big Agnes Fly Creek Tents are shockingly lightweight. They are well designed and backed by top notch Big Agnes customer service. There are certainly more durable and roomier backpacking tents available, but if treated with care, Fly Creek tents can withstand the test of time and the feather weight more than makes up for the fragile materials.
The Western Mountaineering Antelope MF Sleeping Bag is stellar. It is extremely warm and lightweight. It is weather resistant, durable, and boasts the best zipper of any sleeping bag on the market. Well worth the high price tag.
The Arc’teryx Bora AR 50L, 63L Backpack is simple yet highly functional. It is durable, highly weather resistant, and innovative in its hip belt weight distribution. The high price tag keeps many casual users away, but if you can afford it, the pack should last you a lifetime.
The Osprey Packs Atmos AG Backpack just might be the most comfortable pack ever made. The ease and comfort with which this pack carries loads is exceptional. For backpackers prioritizing a pack that carries loads comfortably, the Atmos is the clear choice.
The North Face Banchee 50L, 65L Backpack performs at a high level despite being less well known. The pack receives high praise for its lightweight design, suspension, and well thought-out pockets. While those carrying extremely heavy loads may want to look elsewhere, the Banchee is a great pack choice for most backpackers.
The Deuter Aircontact Lite Pack is highly adjustable and carries heavy loads very well at a reasonable price point. It doesn’t have as many bells and whistles as other packs, but it does the basics well.
The Garmin InReach Mini is the best satellite communicator for users primarily concerned about size, weight and safety. It provides all the basic communication functions needed when in the wilderness, without a lot of bells and whistles. Users who like to save detailed tracks of their routes with their GPS, and therefore require constant communication with the satellite network, may find the Mini’s battery is drained quickly.
The MSR Reactor Stove System is exceptional at boiling water quickly and in the wind. It is heavier and has fewer features, such as simmering, than other integrated systems. If fast hot water is what you want above all else, this is the right stove system for you.
The MSR WindBurner Stove System boils water extremely fast. Although getting the stove lit in the wind can be tricky, once burning, it is nearly impervious to wind. It is a bit heavier and doesn’t simmer very well, but when it comes to boiling water fast in the wind, it can’t be beat.