Editors' Choice Gear Reviews

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These best-in-class awards are the result of rigorous hands-on testing by the editors at OutdoorGearLab.com. We then enhance those editorial reviews with user-reviews and commentary from the SuperTopo climbing community.
The Best Mountaineering Boots For Women Review

The Best Mountaineering Boots For Women Review



From wet and snowy glaciers and peaks in Patagonia, to many laps on steep pitches of solid ice in Ouray, Colorado, to temperate ice climbing in Lee Vining Canyon, California, these boots spent several seasons scaling pristine frozen water, which allowed us to evaluate ice climbing ability. To test h...

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The Best Big Wall Hauling Devices

The Best Big Wall Hauling Devices



There is no part of big wall climbing reviled as much as hauling. To ease the pain we looked at the four top hauling devices and put them up against some monster El Cap loads. We evaluated each device on its ease of hauling, ease of setup, durability, ease of use, and portability. We found that all ...

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The Best Camping Stove Review

The Best Camping Stove Review



We took nine of the top camping stoves and put them in side-by-side tests in both our gear lab and campgrounds across the Western US. We looked for which stove was best for small groups as well as families. We found a number of surprises: the BTU rating alone does not tell you how fast it boils wate...

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The Best Tape for Climbing

The Best Tape for Climbing



When approaching that meat-grinder of a hand crack and contemplating whether you’d actually like to see what the bones and tendons on the back of your hand look like…most of us will reach for the tape. While most tapes will do the job, we thought it would be cool to take a more analytical approach t...

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The Best Backpacking Sleeping Bag Review

The Best Backpacking Sleeping Bag Review



What is the best sleeping bag for backpacking? We tested 30 down and synthetic models in a head-to-head competition that assessed weight, warmth, comfort, packed size, features, and versatility. We pushed the limits of these bags by testing them for years in dry deserts, temperate rainforests and al...

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The Best Ski Jacket for Women Review

The Best Ski Jacket for Women Review



What makes the best ski jacket? We tested several top-of-the-line insulated jackets for skiing to help you find the best. We skied countless runs on Mammoth Mountain, California, sat on many chair lifts, went to multiple happy hours, and partook in numerous winter activities such as an overnight ski...

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The Best Helmet Cam Review

The Best Helmet Cam Review



We set out to test some of the latest offerings in POV/helmet Camera technology. Some of the companies are now on their third generation of product, while others have innovated and created new practicality for established products. In this day and age what we want out of a POV camera is good q...

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The Best Anchor Chain for Climbing Review

The Best Anchor Chain for Climbing Review



What is the best anchor chain for connecting you to your climbing anchor? We look at three of the best options and test them head-to-head. We evaluated them on four criteria: fall absorption, ease of clipping, overall feel, and weight and bulk. The first question you may have is, "What is an an...

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The Best Softshell Jacket for Women Review

The Best Softshell Jacket for Women Review



What makes the perfect softshell? Is it the most protection from weather or the most flexibility and breathability? Do you need one with features tailored to climbers or would you rather have a lightweight shell best suited to running? Heck, do you even need one at all? After evaluating multiple mod...

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The Best Climbing Harness For Women Review

The Best Climbing Harness For Women Review



A climbing harness is your life-line. It is the piece of gear that connects you as a person to your rope and your gear. It catches you when you fall, and catches your partner when they fall. Most climbers keep their harnesses for around 5 years, which is longer than a rope or climbing shoes last, so...

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The Best Ski Gloves Review

The Best Ski Gloves Review



What are the best choice for skiing and snowboarding? We tested 14 of our favorites over the past two seasons, doing everything from riding chairs all over the Western U.S. to backcountry touring in the Cascades, the Wasatch and Alaska. We also pushed these competitors to their limits backcountry, h...

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The Best Ski Jacket Review

The Best Ski Jacket Review



We scoped out the best of the best in men’s insulated ski and snowboard jackets, put them through the paces on the resort, and pushed their limits in the backcountry. Our expert skiing testers slammed through foul weather and slid on rock-hard steep descents. The products we reviewed are each...

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The Best Mountaineering Boot Review

The Best Mountaineering Boot Review



We tested 8 of the best mountaineering boots ever made, including some of the latest and greatest, and some tried and true performers. We wore these boots to climb ice, snow, rock, and choss from the Sierra to the San Juans, from Patagonia to the Ruth Gorge. We discovered the best boots for multi-we...

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The Best Quickdraw for Climbing

The Best Quickdraw for Climbing



What is the best quickdraw for rock climbing? We compared 13 of the best in a variety of tests to find out. We judged each quickdraw in the following five categories: ease of clipping, ease of unclipping, ease of handling, ease of grabbing, rope pull smoothness and portability. In the end we found t...

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The Best Cooler Review

The Best Cooler Review



Which is the best cooler for you? Which is the best on the market? We tested the best insulators, examining insulating value, durability, portability, and ease of use. Our testers jostled them in cars and sand, from muggy coastlines to the fierce desert sun. We recognized models with awards, noting...

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The Best Insulated Jacket For Women Review

The Best Insulated Jacket For Women Review



Our old insulated jacket review took seven of the industry's top pieces and ran them through the gauntlet of winter activities and head-to-head tests. In this updated review, we've upped the ante, adding 10 new pieces, including several brand new releases. Read on to learn how we evaluated each of t...

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The Best Lantern Review

The Best Lantern Review



We took nine of the top-rated models on the market, comparing them side-by-side for six months of well-lit adventures up and down the West Coast. To help you find the perfect one, we rated each on its performance in four critical categories: brightness, ease of use, durability and features. We evalu...

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The Best Women's Sleeping Bag Review

The Best Women's Sleeping Bag Review



What is the best sleeping bag for female adventurers? We tested seven of the most popular women’s sleeping bags on the market to answer that question. All of the bags we evaluated are summer weight “mummy” style sleeping bags meant to keep you warm in a variety of situations from sleeping on the bea...

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The Best Wind Jacket Review

The Best Wind Jacket Review



We identified the top wind jackets and put them in numerous side-by-side tests. These are jackets intended for running, hiking, biking, and general outdoor use. They can hold off a little rain in a pinch but their main purpose is wind protection -- a crucial element of a state-of-the-art layered clo...

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Best Climbing Helmet for Your Dome

Best Climbing Helmet for Your Dome



We chose eight top climbing helmets, dragged them through tight chimneys and up big walls, sport climbs, and long trad routes. We took the occasional leader fall and descended big climbs in the dark with a headlamp strapped to the helmet. In the end we ranked and rated each helmet on five key points...

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The Best Fleece Jacket for Women Review

The Best Fleece Jacket for Women Review



We took our previous fleece review and updated it by testing seven more top-of-the-line fleeces. We tried out some of the industry's best technical fleece jackets and cuddled up in some of the fleeciest around-town pullovers the gear world has to offer. We wore these fleeces constantly and tested th...

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The Best Flip-Flop Sandals For Women Review

The Best Flip-Flop Sandals For Women Review



Whether you live for flip-flop weather or you're simply looking for some open-toed footwear to wear on your next beach vacation, our updated women's flip-flop review has you covered! We tested out 11 pairs of sandals that ranged from insanely cozy to ultra supportive. After flipping up rocky trails ...

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The Best Hydration Bladder Review

The Best Hydration Bladder Review



We took six top hydration reservoirs and spent six months backpacking, mountainboarding, surfing, dog-walking, hiking and biking to figure out the best one for each application. When hydration bladders first came out, they were usually used with the small hydration pack. But now just about every bac...

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Best Rope Bags for Climbing

Best Rope Bags for Climbing



We looked at the seven most popular rope bags on the market today. We compared them side-by-side in a variety of ways. How durable they were, how big their tarps are, how easy they are to roll up, how easily we could fit a 60m rope, a 70m rope, and a rope plus other items like shoes, draws, water bo...

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The Best Winter Jacket For Women Review

The Best Winter Jacket For Women Review



Looking for a winter jacket that can keep you toasty warm, yet also keeps you looking smoking hot? We tested a selection of the best parka style winter jackets, ranging from thigh-length casual designs, to heavy-duty technical products suitable for serious winter athletic activities. Each contender ...

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The Best Hiking Boots Review

The Best Hiking Boots Review



What are the top men's hiking boots? To find out, we took 12 of the top-rated and most popular boots, and put them through a gauntlet of tests. A great pair of boots will take you anywhere, while a bad pair will leave you crippled and sad. For this review we've tested and analyzed the best options o...

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The Best Handheld GPS Review

The Best Handheld GPS Review



Which handheld GPS is the best? We tested nine of the latest and greatest units from Garmin, Magellan, DeLorme and RandMcNally in a head-to-head competition that assessed satellite reception, ease of use, speed, and display quality. Testing occured over two years of hiking, mountaineering, kayaking,...

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The Best Climbing Approach Shoes for Women Review

The Best Climbing Approach Shoes for Women Review



Why not approach a climb in your hiking shoes? Typically climbers are hiking because they are, well, going climbing. Usually this means hiking in locales that aren't always well-maintained trails. It involves cross-country travel, rock-hoppping, and some occasional soloing up large rocks. In this sc...

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The Best Personal Locator Beacon and Satellite Messenger Review

The Best Personal Locator Beacon and Satellite Messenger Review



We took some of the best and most popular emergency electronic devices and used them side-by-side for six months. Our mission: to find out what is the best for telling your family and friends you are okay and what the is best for sending out an SOS signal. We tested one PLB (Personal Locator Bea...

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The Best Ultralight Sleeping Bag Review

The Best Ultralight Sleeping Bag Review



What's the best ultralight sleeping bag for backpacking, climbing, and fast and light adventures of all kinds? We tested 13 top-tier, cutting-edge bags in order to find out. These bags are hyper light for their warmth, pack down to a minuscule size, and offer exceptional performance for backpacking ...

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Haul Bag Review - The Best Bags for Big Wall Climbing

Haul Bag Review - The Best Bags for Big Wall Climbing



What is the best haul bag for big wall climbing? While it would hard to climb with all eight of these bags head-to-head, I did use them all over 110-plus big wall ascents from Yosemite to Norway. Each bag was evaluated on five variables: durability, capacity, waterproof-ness, ease of access, and sus...

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The Best Climbing Chalk Review

The Best Climbing Chalk Review



Ahh…chalk. For some of us climbers it’s only necessary in the blazing heat when even a bag of dust would start sweating, and for others it’s a physical and mental crutch upon which we rely to grunt out those superhuman crux moves on our latest project. Either way, we all use it at some point and whe...

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The Best Yoga Mat Review

The Best Yoga Mat Review



Interested in finding a mat that is perfect for YOUR style of practice? There are seemingly as many options for purchasing one today as there are styles of Yoga. To simplify this process for you we have selected ten top options, as well as two "hot yoga" accessories to help you in your quest for th...

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The Best Travel Backpack Review

The Best Travel Backpack Review



For our travel backpack review, we picked out a range of top-of-the-line full-size, framed backpacks; compressible daypacks; and carry-on backpacks. We used these packs for everyday around-town activities, adventures in the backcountry, and week-long trips. Through all this, we considered how they w...

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The Best Bike Saddle

The Best Bike Saddle



We took 13 of the best bicycle saddles available and put them through the paces. We wanted to know if each could offer comfort, performance, and a competitive weight without compromise. To discover the answer, we rode on these contenders in all conditions and for long distances, from muddy mountain ...

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The Best Nuts and Stoppers

The Best Nuts and Stoppers



We looked at 11 different types of nuts and tested them in a wide range of cracks in a mixture of rock types. We compared their ability to hold a fall in a full range of fissures, from pin scars to parallel sided cracks. We compared and weighed factors that we believed most appropriate for alpine, a...

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The Best Carabiners for Climbing

The Best Carabiners for Climbing



What is the best carabiner for rock climbing? We compared 15 of the best carabiners in a variety of tests to find out. Each one was judged on the following six categories: ease of unclipping, ease of clipping, ease of handling, how many ropes fit, rope pull smootheness, portability . In the end, we ...

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The Best Fleece Jacket Review

The Best Fleece Jacket Review



Which fleece jacket is the best? We tested 22 top-tier men's fleeces over three years of hiking, camping, climbing, and skiing in order to find out. We evaluated each jacket – from thin and highly breathable baselayer styles to thick, comfy-as-a-wooly-bear models – on breathability, wind resistance,...

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The Best Laptop Backpack Review

The Best Laptop Backpack Review



We tested eight of the best backpack style laptop bags in a eight-week long competition to determine their ranking in the following categories; durability, security, aesthetics, comfort, storage, water resistance and versatility. We had eight reviewers use each pack for a week in order to determine ...

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The Best Trail Running Shoes for Women Review

The Best Trail Running Shoes for Women Review



Does the thought of pounding pavement seem dull and senseless? Or are you a road-running warrior that likes to hit the dirt once in awhile? We’ve selected 7 of the finest women’s trail running shoes out there, ranging from barefoot-style to traditional to assess in the wide range of conditions you m...

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The Best Bike Rack

The Best Bike Rack



The bicycle may be the most efficient means of transportation ever created, but if you are like us, you likely use your bike for recreation as well. Our wanderlust has driven us to load up ours, by any means necessary, and head off in search of the next epic ride. So after years of traveling with bi...

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The Best Long Underwear Review

The Best Long Underwear Review



We tested the long underwear that can handle the rugged stuff, keeping you warm and cozy while performing from the tops of mountains to the depths of caves. Sure, you can wear them for a run or to a Yoga class, but you can also take them around the world – skiing, climbing, biking, and just plain c...

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The Best Ski Boots for Women Review

The Best Ski Boots for Women Review



What is the best women's all-mountain ski boot? We spent a winter testing six top-of-the-line boots on the slopes of Mammoth Mountain Ski Area in California to find out. We skied hundreds of runs in a variety of conditions, looking for the boot that does it all. We enlisted a group of dedicated ski...

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The Best Performance Shirt Review

The Best Performance Shirt Review



We took six of the best selling performance shirts and put them through the paces to help you find the one that’s right for you. These shirts can be layered as any true base layer should, but they can also perform on their own. We hiked, biked, paddled, and climbed our way through nine different ca...

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The Best Climbing Harness Review

The Best Climbing Harness Review



We tested 19 of the top harnesses in a head-to-head comparison to find out which is the best. The fact is that there is no piece of climbing gear you will spend more time with than your harness. Climbing shoes come and go and ropes wear out, but your harness will last for years or maybe a decade. Th...

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The Best Backpacking Backpack Review

The Best Backpacking Backpack Review



We took eleven of the highest rated and most popular packs on the market and tested them side-by-side for over five months. We picked versatile packs that an average person would use on trips of two to eight days, but are also capable of going up to a twenty two day trips (yes, we used some of t...

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The Best Running Jacket Review

The Best Running Jacket Review



Which running jacket is the best? To find out, we picked out six of the top rated and most popular running jackets and tested them side-by-side. We wore these pieces on runs through rain, snow, and freezing temperatures, paying special attention to each one's performance. Some kept us warm on snowy ...

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The Best Backpacking Tent Review

The Best Backpacking Tent Review



What's the best backpacking tent? In a three-year-long backpacking bonanza we tested 26 of the best two-person tents on hiking and camping trips everywhere from Maine to Alaska. With feedback from over a dozen people we compared all types of tents, side-by-side, and ranked each on its weather resis...

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The Best 4 Season Tent Review

The Best 4 Season Tent Review



We tested 24 of the best four-season tents in a head-to-head competition that assessed weather resistance, livability, weight, packed size and durability. Testing took us all over the Lower 48, to Alaska, Canada, Patagonia, Greenland, Antarctica, and up mountains like Aconcagua and Denali. This revi...

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The Best Day Backpack Review

The Best Day Backpack Review



Whether you are a frequent hiker, a student, or a weekend warrior, chances are you could use a daypack for one or more of your activities. Any time you need to carry more than your phone and wallet, it is handy to have a vessel to carry all the necessities, such as food, water, and extra layers. ...

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Big Wall Climbing Harness Review

Big Wall Climbing Harness Review



What is the best harness for big wall climbing and aid climbing? We took five of the best big wall harnesses and put them head to head. We evaluated these harnesses in five main areas: comfort, adjustability, comfort while sleeping, gear loops, and ease of free climbing. ...

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The Best Down Jacket for Women Review

The Best Down Jacket for Women Review



We had the privilege of evaluating exciting new products on the market for the 2012 season that use innovative down treatments such as Color-Tec and DownTek. We got our hands on the L.L. Bean Ultralight 850 Jacket, which uses the relatively new technology of treated hydrophobic down, which we evalua...

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The Best Sporks Review

The Best Sporks Review



Frustrated by the burden of carrying a specific utensil for every food medium? Looking for something versatile, something light, or something to add that extra bit of pizzaz to your meal? Look no further than the compound spoon-fork known as the spork. We brought together three of the best sporks on...

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The Best Hiking Pants Review For Men

The Best Hiking Pants Review For Men



Which pair of hiking/outdoor pants provide the best overall performance? During a six-month journey through Central America we tested seven of the top men's outdoor hiking (and general purpose) pants on the market. Whether we were hiking, slacklining, camping, doing yoga, roaming the ur...

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The Best Softshell Jacket Review

The Best Softshell Jacket Review



What's the best softshell jacket? We tested 18 top-tier softshells over three years of skiing, ice climbing, mountaineering, rock climbing, showshoeing, and hiking. Our tests compare different types of jackets, from highly insulated models to thin, uninsulated models in an effort to examine the pros...

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The Best Base Layer Review

The Best Base Layer Review



The baselayer is the most fundamental component of cold-weather comfort. With the advent of new fabrics, technologies and manufacturing processes, the world of baselayers has become as complex and varied as the environments they are used in. We took some of the most popular and high-performing perfo...

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The Best Avalanche Beacon Review

The Best Avalanche Beacon Review



What is the best avalanche beacon for the backcountry? To find out we took thirteen of the top models and put them through rigorous head-to-head tests in the Cascades, Sierra, and Alaska. We had novices test them to see which is easiest to use and learn and then also put them in the hands of expert ...

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The Best Rain Jacket Review

The Best Rain Jacket Review



“Weather shouldn’t change your plans, just what you’re wearing.” And if you are wearing the right clothing, your outdoor experience can be just as enjoyable. This is especially important when it comes to rain shells, since this article of clothing can be one of the most protective layers you will br...

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The Best Bike Frame Pump Review

The Best Bike Frame Pump Review



We researched best selling and top performing frame pumps and put them through our own testing and scrutiny to see which ones came out on top. We tested each one in five categories: pumping speed, ease of use, durability, portability, and looks/design. Below you'll find the results to help you best...

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The Best Climbing Slings and Runners

The Best Climbing Slings and Runners



Climbing runners have come a long way from the archaic knotted bits of rope and webbing that climbing’s early enthusiasts had to choose from. In today’s climbing world, high-tech fibers stronger than steel allow slings to be skinnier than imaginable and still maintain a full strength rating. As wi...

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The Best Hiking Shoes for Women Review

The Best Hiking Shoes for Women Review



Do you like hiking in a traditional boot? Or do you prefer the light feel of a trail runner? What are hiking shoes anyway? There is an emerging genre in the outdoor industry of the hiking shoe, which offers the best of both worlds: extra support for hiking, but the light comfort of a running shoe. W...

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The Best Ski and Snowboard Helmet Review

The Best Ski and Snowboard Helmet Review



Which ski helmet should you trust to protect your valuable noggin? Through many lift-assited ski runs in weather ranging from sunny to freezing, we tested six of the best on the market, evaluating for fit, comfort, weather protection, and style. Along the way we learned a great deal about helmet des...

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Finding the Perfect Big Wall Aider

Finding the Perfect Big Wall Aider



We reviewed eight of our favorite big wall aiders and used them on more than 100 walls, from El Capitan to Baffin Island. We evaluated aiders using five main criteria: comfort, ease of walking up, durability, ease of use free climbing, and top-stepping. We then chose our top aiders in three categori...

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The Best Point-And-Shoot Digital Camera

The Best Point-And-Shoot Digital Camera



Which point and shoot camera is the best? With technology constantly changing cameras into complicated little devices, it’s nearly impossible to keep up. So we took the top nine point and shoot cameras worthy of your adventures and put them through real-time testing, finding out which cameras excell...

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The Best Flip-Flop Sandals Review

The Best Flip-Flop Sandals Review



What are the best all-purpose flip flops out there? We took 7 top models for multipurpose use and put them head-to-head in every situation they were meant for, and some they were not. We climbed mountains in them, walked miles at a time on rough terrain, and even bled in them just so you won't have...

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The Best Camping Coffee Makers

The Best Camping Coffee Makers



Nothing completes a morning quite like a perfectly brewed cup of Joe, and brewing is one of those morning rituals that many people don't like to go without, even if they are on vacation. Does backpacking mean you have to settle for yucky instant? Or (heaven forbid!) do without? Luckily for y...

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The Best Winter Boots for Women Review

The Best Winter Boots for Women Review



For this review, we got our hands.....or.....feet on 10 of the industry's top rated women's winter boots. We put these products to the test, traipsing through snow drifts and splashing through slush. We hiked in them on cold winter days in the desert and we wore them out to dinner on icy evenings. S...

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The Best Climbing Belay Device

The Best Climbing Belay Device



We tested 13 top belay devices in the gym, up and down Yosemite’s walls and in our lab (our garage). We tested for efficiency in throwing rope fast to a leader, smoothly belaying a second, rappelling single or double ropes of varying diameter, and for overall durability. Then we selected the...

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The Best Down Jacket Review

The Best Down Jacket Review



What is the best down jacket? We've tested and reviewed over 15 of the top-rated down jackets in focused side-by-side comparisons. Our testing has taken us all over; the Cascades of Washington, the Sierras of California, and the ice climbs of Montana to name a few. We didn't necessarily look at the ...

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Best Mountain Bike Shorts Review

Best Mountain Bike Shorts Review



What is the best short for mountain biking? We tested 8 of the best and most popular baggy mountain bike shorts on the market, and found which ones are the all-around best shorts for different types of trail riding, ranging from cross-country marathons to lift assisted downhill gnar fests. We rated ...

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The Best Pocket Knife Review

The Best Pocket Knife Review



Which knife should you be carrying? We narrowed a thoroughly mystifying and huge field to eight of the best pocket knives available. We carried, cut with and critiqued these high quality tools for months of use. Occasionally they sat unused for the day in our pockets and purses. However, most days i...

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The Best Bike Computer Review

The Best Bike Computer Review



We geared up in the rain, the snow, and the cold to test eight of the most popular bike computers on the market, side-by-side. We clipped in for training workouts, long rural rides, and jaunts around the city. We tried to get the most use out of each computer, testing them on set-up, ease of u...

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The Best Car Camping Mattress

The Best Car Camping Mattress



Which camping mattress is the best? We enrolled six of the best car camping mattresses in a rigorous testing regime that evaluated the following three categories: warmth, comfort, and durability. Our testing, which involved two years of tenting in campgrounds across North America, identifies the bes...

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The Best Binoculars Review

The Best Binoculars Review



What is the best performing pair of binoculars to meet your needs? Here at OutdoorGearLab we took this question out into the field with 11 different pairs to get at the core of this question through rigorous testing and use. What we found is that there is not one pair that will fit every niche perfe...

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The Best Insulated Jacket Review

The Best Insulated Jacket Review



What's the best insulated jacket? We've lived in, camped in, climbed in, skied, hiked, and biked in literally dozens of insulated jackets over the past couple years. Here, we compare side by side 20 of the absolute best. The spectrum is large; you'll find insulated jackets for the weight-saving b...

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Best Women's Climbing Helmet

Best Women's Climbing Helmet



“See, it protects my very important brain,” says Dr. Bruce Banner in the 2003 Hulk movie when told he looks like a “massive nerd” in his helmet. Even the Incredible Hulk wears a helmet, and we think you should too. Luckily, some of the women's helmet options out there will keep you safe but not look...

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The Best Altimeter Watch Review

The Best Altimeter Watch Review



We tested five of the best altimeter watches on the market in side-by-side tests over a year. These watches feature the key functions that hikers, backpackers, and climbers use the most: altimeter, barometer, digital compass, and standard time-keeping features. They all performed well but their user...

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The Best Hydration Pack Review

The Best Hydration Pack Review



We took 11 top packs and spent six months hiking, biking, and running to find which is the ultimate system. Ever since the first CamelBak arrived over a decade ago, options have changed a lot and there is now an overwhelming number of innovations and options. Which of these innovations is necessary ...

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The Best Rain Jacket for Women Review

The Best Rain Jacket for Women Review



A wise man once said, “Weather shouldn’t change your plans, just what you’re wearing.” And a wise woman once said "The clothes don't make the woman…" but the proper clothes can make a woman's experience. If you select the right clothes to keep you warm and dry, you will continue to enjoy whatever yo...

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The Best Shoe for CrossFit Training

The Best Shoe for CrossFit Training



With the sport of CrossFit rapidly growing in popularity, the demand for top-tier, functional equipment is getting pushed onto the fast track. One product category on the frontline of this battlefield is shoes. CrossFit is a sport that focuses on functional movements structured in high intensity wor...

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The Best Sleeping Pad Review

The Best Sleeping Pad Review



Which sleeping pad is the best? We enrolled 18 top-tier portable sleeping pads in a rigorous testing regime that evaluated warmth, comfort, durability, weight, and packed size. These pads joined us on mobile trips all over the world: the jagged High Sierra, wet and windy Patagonia, remote reaches of...

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The Best Camping Sleeping Bag Review

The Best Camping Sleeping Bag Review



What the best sleeping bag for general-purpose uses like camping and sleepovers? To find out we tested over 70 different models— all types, sizes, and styles— in an epic multi-year camping spree. This review compares 15 general-purpose bags for car camping, crashing on your friend’s living room floo...

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The Best Ultralight Tent Shelter for Backpacking

The Best Ultralight Tent Shelter for Backpacking



What’s the best ultralight tent shelter? We tested 15 of the world’s best two-person trekking pole supported tents over three years of backpacking, climbing, and backcountry skiing. We assessed each model based on its weather resistance, livability, weight, durability, and adaptability. Whether you’...

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The Best Nut Tools for Climbing

The Best Nut Tools for Climbing



We took seven of the best nut tools and tested them at cleaning a variety of cams and nut types in all sizes and over a broad spectrum of rock types. We compared their weight, durability, ability to clean a nut, ability to clean a cam, the comfort level while pounding on the nut tool with our hand, ...

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The Best Backpacking Stove Review

The Best Backpacking Stove Review



What is the best backpacking stove? We tested and reviewed nine of the top-rated one-burner backpacking stoves in a back country cook-off that assessed control, versatility, setup, stability, durability, and wind resistance. We bruised and battered these stoves on trips all over the West Coast. From...

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The Best Locking Carabiners

The Best Locking Carabiners



What is the best locking carabiner for rock climbing? We compared 15 of the best locking carabiners in a variety of tests to find out. We judged each carabiner on the following six categories: lightness/compactness, ease of unlocking, gate hang up, amount of knots held, rope pull smoothness, and gat...

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The Best Ski Boots Review

The Best Ski Boots Review



What is the best men’s all-mountain alpine ski boot? There are many factors affecting this qualifier, so to learn more we tested 6 boots from different manufacturers during the winter of 2014. To choose what boots to test, we sought opinions from recreational skiers and pros alike, to find out which...

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Picking the Best Ice Axe

Picking the Best Ice Axe



We looked at 14 different ice axes and compared them head-to-head in the following categories: self-arresting, anchor digging, step chopping, use as improvised anchor, steep ice and snow climbing, and comfort to carry. We also looked at their advantages and disadvantages across different user groups...

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The Best Carry-On Luggage

The Best Carry-On Luggage



We chose 11 of the industry's top-performing pieces of carry-on luggage and put them through the ringer. We rolled them through airports across the country, shoved them into car trunks, and schlepped them onto buses and trains. We compared two-wheeled convertible luggage with four-wheeled, hard-side...

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The Best Trail Running Shoes Review

The Best Trail Running Shoes Review



We selected 10 of the season’s top trail running shoes for a head-to-head comparison on the trails in and around Boulder, Colorado and on trips around the country. We ran flat fire roads covered in crushed gravel, meandering through farmlands. We charged technical single-track that climbed and desce...

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The Best Hammock Review

The Best Hammock Review



With so many hammocks on the market, how can you know which is the best model to fit your needs? We took 12 of the most popular models and brought them camping in a variety of environments, from the high desert in winter to wet mountains in spring, to see how they compared. We evaluated each product...

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The Best Hardshell Jacket Review

The Best Hardshell Jacket Review



What’s the best hardshell jacket? We tested 20 of the latest and greatest, top-of-the-line models in a two-year long mountain sport fiesta. Our intensive testing and in-depth research offers insight into one of the most expensive types of outerwear money can buy. This review describes our criteria f...

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The Best Hiking Pant for Women Review

The Best Hiking Pant for Women Review



After wearing these pants day in and day out, on short day hikes, overnight backpacking trips, on airplanes, traveling around towns, and on mountain bike and climbing adventures, we came up with some distinguishing criteria for women's hiking pants. We evaluated these pants on the technical qualitie...

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The Best Multi-Tool Review

The Best Multi-Tool Review



We tested seven of the worlds greatest multi-tools. We cut, pried, sawed, and repaired. We carried them for day-to-day use, as well as into the backcountry. We found a wide range of quality and function. Our list represents both ends of the size spectrum, and everything in between. Read on, and find...

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The Best Barefoot Shoes Review

The Best Barefoot Shoes Review



We took seven of the best barefoot shoes and put them in head-to-head tests to figure out what was the best for each activity. We took them running, hiking, surfing, climbing, weight-lifting and just wore them around the house. We scored each in six key categories: barefoot feeling, warmth, traction...

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The Best Barefoot Shoes For Women Review

The Best Barefoot Shoes For Women Review



What is the best barefoot running shoe for women? To find out we reviews the most popular models in head-to-head tests to figure out what was the ideal for each activity. We took them to crossfit, stand-up surfing, gardening, sprinting, trail running, and just wore them around the house. We scored e...

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The Best Camping Chair Review

The Best Camping Chair Review



We took seven of the best camping chairs and tested them side-by-side in the mountains, at the beach, and at the park for some summer barbecues. Through our testing we have found which chair performs the best all-around, which chair gives you the most bang for your buck, the most comfortable chair, ...

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The Best Portable Solar Panel Review

The Best Portable Solar Panel Review



What is the best solar charger for your phone, tablet and other small electronics when off the grid? To find out, we took eleven contenders and put them in head-to-head tests. We compared them on the following categories: output power, ease of use, weight, and versatility. In the end we found big di...

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The Best Rock Climbing Shoes Review

The Best Rock Climbing Shoes Review



What are the best climbing shoes? To find out, we reviewed 25 of the best men's rock climbing shoes and put them in head-to-head competition. We evaluated these shoes on edging, cracks, comfort, pockets, and sensitivity. We did side-by-side comparisons both in our lab, the gym, coastal sport crags a...

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The Best Climbing, Belay, and Rappel Gloves

The Best Climbing, Belay, and Rappel Gloves



What is the best way to protect your hands from climbing, belaying and rappelling? We answer that question by testing 16 of our favorite climbing gloves on big walls, crags, and at the gym. We belayed hundred of pitches, rappelled thousands of feet and climbed hundreds of aid pitches in Yosemite. We...

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The Best Small Climbing Day Pack Review

The Best Small Climbing Day Pack Review



We searched out seven of the best small climbing daypacks on the market and put them through extensive testing; these packs went everywhere with us for over two months. From the high granite walls of Yosemite and Squamish to shorter trips up the Monkey’s Face at Smith Rock or the Bastille Crack at E...

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The Best Ski Pants Review

The Best Ski Pants Review



Out of the hundreds of options, which pair of ski and snowboard pants is right for you? Protecting your legs from wind and cold and abrasion is a thankless job. You will use and abuse this garment for a long time, usually in inhospitable climates. You will need pants that fit your body and roughly f...

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The Best Hiking Boots for Women Review

The Best Hiking Boots for Women Review



We hand-picked nine top hiking boot contenders for a foot-to-foot comparison to determine the best. After rigorous wearing, long walks in the desert and mountains, scrambling over granite and sandstone rocks, and dunking in a creek, we started to see some standout differences between them. Though th...

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The Best Water Bottle Review

The Best Water Bottle Review



We challenged long-time rulers of the outdoor-bottle market, and determined which was truly best in this comprehensive, side-by-side review. The Nalgene may be the standard, but it encountered fierce competition. Collapsible designs, perfect for ultralight outings, "sippy-top" options and others fil...

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The Best Big Wall Gear Sling

The Best Big Wall Gear Sling



We took four big wall gear slings and tested them on Yosemite's big walls and in our Gear Lab. We scored each gear sling in five categories: comfort, adjustability, organization, ease of getting on, and overall bomberness. We scored each gear sling, added up the points, and then awarded our Editors'...

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The Best Cargo Box Review

The Best Cargo Box Review



What is the best roof box on the market? Do differences matter, or are they all the same? We tested five top competitors to find out. We heaved these boxes on the roofs of our cars and compared them on their construction quality, appearance, ease of use, aerodynamics, and security. Our testers drove...

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The Best Sport Headphone Review

The Best Sport Headphone Review



We tested ten of the best available sport headphones, evaluating fit, features, and sound quality to help determine what will best meet an athlete's needs. What style of tunes fill your workout playlist? Do you like sparkly, happy pop music or profanity-laced rap with a thumping rhythm? Do you prefe...

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The Best Travel Duffel Bags

The Best Travel Duffel Bags



We took our favorite burly travel bags (aka "duffle", but more properly spelled "el" for the town of Duffel in Belgium that first manufactured them) and compared them head-to-head to help you decide which one to take on your next adventure. We tested them while running through airports in Ch...

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The Best Climbing Harness Package

The Best Climbing Harness Package



When you are just starting to climb it can be hard to figure out what harness and belay device/carabiner to buy. Climbing companies package these items together with a chalk bag so you can get all the essentials in one place. We looked at the most popular climbing packages and rated them against eac...

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The Best Headlamp Review

The Best Headlamp Review



Which headlamp is the best? To find out, we took 37 top models and put them through a gauntlet of side-by-side tests. Each product was both lab-tested and extensively field-tested. We used industrial light meters to measure brightness. We built an automated "light coffin" rigged up with a data-loggi...

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The Best Hiking Shoe Review

The Best Hiking Shoe Review



What’s the best men’s hiking shoe? We tested eight of the most popular hiking shoes across various terrain and conditions throughout the country. From winter hiking in the Sierra, chasing fall foliage in variable weather in the Whites of New Hampshire, and muddy suffer-fests through the rhododendron...

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The Best Sleeping Pad For Women Review

The Best Sleeping Pad For Women Review



Women’s sleeping pads are slightly shorter and slightly warmer than their traditional counterparts. Based on the results from our primary sleeping pad review we selected six of the top women’s specific models and went head-to-head, putting female bodies on female pads. Our reviews identify the singl...

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The Best Avalanche Airbag Pack Review

The Best Avalanche Airbag Pack Review



What is the best airbag pack for back-country travel? We tested 13 of the best and most popular models on the market and compared them in the following categories: airbag system, comfort, back-country utility, downhill performance, special features and weight. We flogged these packs side-by-side in ...

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Crash Pad Review: The Best Bouldering Pad

Crash Pad Review: The Best Bouldering Pad



We selected over a dozen of the best bouldering crash pads, lined them up, and took practice falls on them repeatedly. Then we took them on as many bouldering excursions as we could. We found big differences in each of them when evaluated by foam, design, durability, and features. We put them all th...

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The Best Rock Climbing Rope

The Best Rock Climbing Rope



We gathered a selection of the top climbing ropes on the market, and after a healthy amount of unwinding and flaking, put them to the test by climbing as much as possible across multiple different climbing disciplines. We cragged, aided, projected, whipped, climbed long multi-pitch routes, coiled, b...

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The Best Women's Backpacking Backpack Review

The Best Women's Backpacking Backpack Review



Whether heading out into the mountains for a weekend trip with girlfriends or preparing for a long solo adventure, having a pack that meets your needs is essential to both enjoyment and comfort. We have tested 9 of the top women’s specific backpacking backpacks to explore how they compared side by s...

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The Best Climbing Camming Device Review

The Best Climbing Camming Device Review



We took the 17 best spring-loaded camming devices (usually just called climbing cams) and put them in head-to-head competition in hundreds of placements. We scored them on how well they did in parallel cracks, flared cracks, tight placements, horizontal placements, free climbing and aid...

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The Best Sun Hat Review

The Best Sun Hat Review



What is the best sun hat? We took 12 of the top sun hats on the market today and put them in head-to-head testing throughout California where we tested each hat in five key categories; Protection, Breathability, Comfort, Durability, and Style. Through our testing we found the best value hat, the mos...

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The Best Winter Boots Review

The Best Winter Boots Review



What are the best winter boots to protect your feet from cold, wet snow? We got our cold feet into seven pairs of the best insulated boots on the market and did a lot of stomping in slush to find out. Anyone who lives, works, or plays in even the most temperate snowy climate needs a pair of waterpro...

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The Best Backpacking Water Purification and Filter Systems

The Best Backpacking Water Purification and Filter Systems



What is the best water treatment system for backpackers and campers? To find out, we took 15 of the best systems and put them in head to head tests. The results shocked us: both the Best Buy and Editors' Choice are not traditional pump systems! Our conclusion: water treatment has come a long ways in...

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The Best Climbing Gear Sling

The Best Climbing Gear Sling



We picked up some of the top climbing gear slings and tested them head-to-head. We evaluated them on comfort, adjustability, organizing, ease of use, and bomberness. ...

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The Best Hiking Socks Review

The Best Hiking Socks Review



Do you have yet to find the perfect hiking sock? One that will fit like a second skin, wick moisture away, and keep you warm, wet or dry? To help solve this very problem, weve tested five of the leading mid-weight competitors, in all types of adverse conditions. We put them through the paces, worn c...

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The Best Winter Down Sleeping Bag Review

The Best Winter Down Sleeping Bag Review



We tested six of the best quality zero degree down sleeping bags in a head-to-head competition that assessed the following categories: fit, weight, warmth, packed size, and features. We pushed the limits of these bags by sleeping in them in cold places all over North America, Patagonia, and Alaska. ...

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Best Climbing Approach Shoes

Best Climbing Approach Shoes



We looked at 13 of the best climbing approach shoes and put them through rigorous head-to-head tests. We scored them on smearing, edging, hiking, durability and their lightweight/compactness. We took them up El Capitan, to the sport crag, on long hikes, or just around town. In the end we choose a wi...

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The Best Messenger Bag Review

The Best Messenger Bag Review



We compared eight top of the line messenger bags suitable for carrying a laptop along with other items in a two month long head-to-head comparison that assessed comfort, aesthetics, storage, water resistance, durability, versatility and laptop security. Our ranking and awards reflect the opinion of ...

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The Best Slackline Review

The Best Slackline Review



Which slackline is the best? To find out we took 12 of the top 1" and 2" kits and evaluated them from the perspective of all styles of slacklining to determine side-by-side which is the best and most complete kit on the market. We set them up in parks, public spaces, and even traveled internationa...

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The Best Daisy Chain For Climbing

The Best Daisy Chain For Climbing



What is the best daisy chain for climbing? We look at seven of the best options and test them head-to-head. We evaluated them on four criteria: fall absorption, ease of hooking, durability, and weight. While daisy chains can be used for free climbing, in general, we recommend an anchor chain instead...

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The Best Long Underwear For Women Review

The Best Long Underwear For Women Review



We took the best women's long underwear and put them in head-to-head tests. These are the shirts that can handle the rugged stuff, keeping you warm and cozy while performing from the tops of mountains to the depths of caves. Sure, you can wear them for a run or to a Yoga class, but you can also tak...

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The Best Men's Sandals

The Best Men's Sandals



What’s the best men’s sandal? With the number of crazy designs coming out seemingly every year, it’s hard to keep tabs on our beloved “mandals,” the utility shoe of the outdoors. From hiking around rivers and waterfalls to blasting down dusty trails, we took the industry’s best eight shoes and put t...

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The Best Climbing Shoes For Women Review

The Best Climbing Shoes For Women Review



We took the top women's climbing shoes and put them to a hands-on…err…feet-on test to find the very best. We found that not all climbing shoes are created equal. Some are better performance shoes, others are better all-day shoes and still others are better for beginners. Find out how the climbing sh...

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The Best Running Shoe Review

The Best Running Shoe Review



We selected seven top ranked road running shoes on the market and took them on a head-to-head ride. Following in the footsteps of Olympic medalists Deena Kastor and Meb Keflezighi through the high altitude roads in Mammoth Lakes, California, to the scenic river paths in Bend, Oregon, these shoes hav...

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The Best Women’s Shoes for CrossFit Training

The Best Women’s Shoes for CrossFit Training



What is the best shoe for the sport of fitness? CrossFit embraces a broad variety of physical activities so we tested seven of the most popular shoes to determine which would hold up the best. After countless runs, squat cleans, rope climbs, and pistol squats we began to see which shoes could handle...

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The Best Backpacking Camping Chair Review

The Best Backpacking Camping Chair Review



We took the top lightweight backpacking and camping chairs and put them in side-by-side tests at the beach, in the mountains, and at the park. We break down what is the best for each application. These are light chairs that always weigh under three pounds. These are ideal for transporting, whether i...

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The Best Camping Tent Review

The Best Camping Tent Review



Looking for the most comfortable camping tent? One that will keep your friends and family dry in a storm, and will give you the ventilation you need to stay cool on a hot summer day when the insects start to get hungry? We took eight of the top models on the market and put them head-to-head in a var...

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The Best Bike Pump Review

The Best Bike Pump Review



We tested eight of the top selling floor pumps in five categories that we believe make all the difference when you are making a decision on which to buy: looks and design, portability, comfort, durability, and general ease of use. Happily, no contender failed miserably in any of our categories, but ...

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The Best Performance Shirt For Women Review

The Best Performance Shirt For Women Review



We took nine of the best selling active base layer tops and put them through the paces to help you find the one that’s right for you. These tops can be layered as any true base layer should, but they can also perform on their own. We hiked, biked, paddled and climbed our way through nine different ...

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The Best Mountaineering and Alpine Climbing Backpack Review

The Best Mountaineering and Alpine Climbing Backpack Review



What’s the best pack for alpine climbing? To find out, we took 11 of the best and most popular alpine packs through two years of testing to see how they compared side-by-side. Each pack is scored on five criteria: weight, durability, versatility, comfort, and features. From sunny big wall rock cl...

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The Best Trekking Pole Review For Hiking and Backpacking

The Best Trekking Pole Review For Hiking and Backpacking



Editor's Choice: The Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork is our favorite adjustable trekking pole because it was the most versatile. It is light, collapses very small, is durable, has great cork handles and an awesome locking mechanism. It's a pole that can do anything. If you don't care about a...

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The Best Winter Jacket Review

The Best Winter Jacket Review



Nothing makes cold weather comfortable like the perfect winter jacket. We’ve tested more than ten of a variety of weights and styles, to help you find the very best for your needs in winter. All contenders are compared side-by-side, and scored according to a range of factors including warmth, weigh...

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The Best Pedometer and Fitness Tracker Review

The Best Pedometer and Fitness Tracker Review



Which pedometer is right for you? If you are looking to track, record, and motivate your daily physical activity, a pedometer or “activity monitor” is just the ticket. OutdoorGearLab once again leads the way in reviewing an exciting new category of gear. We scanned this burgeoning market and chose n...

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Battle for the Best Big Wall Ascender

Battle for the Best Big Wall Ascender



We compare the two top ascenders, the Black Diamond nForce and the Petzl Ascension. Both work well and each one excelled at different things. Both made ascending ropes not just tolerable, but kinda fun....

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Recent Editors' Award Winners

*Award reviews courtesy of OutdoorGearLab.com
We believe the best gear reviews are those that objectively compare and contrast. To that end, we partner with OutdoorGearLab.com to utilize their editorial reviews, and add user-reviews and commentary from the SuperTopo climbing community. We hope the result is a combination of community perspective and side-by-side comparison, that you find more informative and useful.