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REI’s new Magma 10 (men’s) and Magma 17 (women’s) sleeping bags have a combination of weight, warmth, and cost that is hard to beat. This bag is at the top of our Best Sleeping Bags list for good reason. If someone in your world needs a new sleep sack, you can’t go wrong with this one.
The Copper Spur HV UL2 is an excellent lightweight tent with great features for backpackers of all levels. It has all the features for maximizing comfort – freestanding, double-wall, near-vertical sidewalls, two large doors/vestibules, interior pockets – and it’s still somehow under 3lbs. The Copper Spur HV UL2 is at at the top of our Best Backpacking Tents list.
The ZPacks Duplex is an ultralight backpackers dream come true. It’s our tent of choice for specialized ultralight backpacking and thru-hiking trips. The Duplex is built out of unbelievably light Dyneema Composite Fabric, which is a completely waterproof material that won’t sag like silnylon in the rain. This tent would make an excellent gift for an ultralight backpacker or thru-hiker.
The REI Quarter Dome 2 has an excellent lightweight design with nearly vertical sidewalls for increased interior space. It’s solid in nasty weather and has convenient features like sidewall pockets and hang loops. It’s an excellent value buy for lightweight backpackers.
The Revelation Quilt is one of our favorite lightweight quilts. We hate feeling constricted by tight fitting bags and the Revelation gives us the flexibility to spread out and sleep comfortably in the backcountry. It can be cinched up tight on chilly nights or used as a blanket in more temperate weather.
The Poler Napsack makes a fun and functional gift for outdoor lovers. It’s a sleeping sack with openings for your arms and feet, so you never have to leave the warmth of your bag, even when walking around camp. It’s a fun option for summer camping trips and couch surfing.
The Summerlite is an incredibly light and warm sleeping bag for 3-season backpacking. It has a full-length zipper and continuous baffle construction, making it one of the lightest full-functioning sleeping bags on the market. This bag is very popular among thru-hikers.
The women’s-specific Egret UL 20 sleeping bag is our new favorite sleep sack for women. It’s incredibly light (1lb 12oz), filled with responsibly-sourced 950+ goose down, and feels soft against the skin. As a women’s bag, it has more space in the chest and hips, which provides a more comfortable night’s sleep than traditional mummy bags.
The NeoAir XLite sleeping pad is just about the perfect mattress for any 3-season outdoor adventure. It’s incredibly light, comfortable, and compactable. It also has great insulation properties (R-value: 3.2), so it keeps the cold ground at bay. You really can’t miss with this pad. For other great sleeping pad options, check out our Best Sleeping Pads list.
The M10 jacket (in men’s and women’s) is one of our favorite shells for ultralight backpacking rain protection. It’s incredibly light, breathable, and compactable. The material of this jacket feels comfortable against the skin – not plasticy like some other jackets – and it will keep you bone dry even in the harshest conditions.
The Rab Kinetic Plus Rain Jacket (men’s and women’s) defies the crunchy nylon status quo for raincoats. Rab’s new ProFlex material produces a product that is stretchy yet durable, comfortable, and highly breathable. It feels like a soft-shell rather than the stiff, restrictive nylon we are all accustomed to. Note: sizing run small.
The Ultralight Down Hoody (men’s and women’s) is our go-to jacket for almost every 3-season backpacking trip. It’s light, stylish, comfortable and has a great fit. We highly recommend this jacket for lightweight backcountry excursions.
The Down Sweater Hoody (men’s and women’s) is slightly heavier than Patagonia’s Ultralight Down Hoody, but is also a bit warmer, tougher, and more cost effective. It’s an excellent piece of gear for any backcountry traveler and also great for keeping warm around town.
Patagonia released their new Nano Puff jacket and initial reviews are very positive. It’s lightweight, comfortable, and highly compressible. What sets this jacket apart is the patented PrimaLoft Insulation, which helps retain heat better than down materials when conditions are wet. It’s a great shoulder season jacket when conditions may not always be ideal.
The HMG 2400 Windrider is a burly, light, and highly weather resistant backpack with a solid feel. It has a simple design that keeps weight to a minimum, but it’s sturdy frame will transfer the load to your hips better than most ultralight packs. This packs ranks at the top of our Best Backpacks list.
The Exos 48 is an excellent backpack for those looking to hike light, but still wanting the comforts of a traditional pack. It’s loaded with great features like a breathable mesh back panel, shoulder strap pouches, and a removable top lid. The Exos 58 is the same design pack with a larger carrying capacity, making it a popular option as well.
The MSR Lightning Ascents (in men’s and women’s sizes) are best-in-class snowshoes that will make any winter trekker swoon. Along with solid overall construction, they have excellent traction, which is critical on icy surfaces. They also come with televators, which are advantageous on hilly terrain. I prefer the smaller 22 in. size for maneuverability with the option to add 5 inch flotation tails when there’s a lot of deep powder.
The Yeti Tundra 45 is one of the most durable and highest quality coolers on the market. Yeti Coolers are nearly indestructible, they stay cold for a preposterously long time, and they come in a range of sizes. That quality does come at a cost, but if you’re looking for the best cooler out there, this is your guy. For a more compact and on-the-go cooler, check out the Yeti Hopper.
We love nature photography, but we also don’t want to lug ten pounds of photo equipment with us on backpacking trips. That’s why we hike with the Sony RX100. The digital sensor in this camera is much larger than most point-and-shoot models, which means we get fantastic photos from a compact, lightweight camera.
The GoPro camera series is well-known for its ability to capture photo and video in rugged and harsh conditions. The updated HERO 6 still has all the loved features of past cameras with some increased performance in the areas of stabilization and overall image quality. If you want to save some money, we still think the GoPro HERO 5 is pretty legit.
We absolutely love our Kindle Paperwhite for downtimes on a camping or backpacking trip. It’s gentle on the eyes, has a backlight for nighttime reading, and makes finding great books simple. We take ours out on most trips, especially solo jaunts in the backcountry.
The Goal Zero 10 Plus Solar Charger is a highly convenient, reliable, and packable solar charger to juice up your devices in the field. It’s a bit too heavy for lightweight backpacking, but it’s still a really handy tool for backcountry travel.
This heavy duty water purifier may just be the most reliable and effective water filtration system. It physically removes viruses, bacteria, protozoa and dirt quickly and easily on backpacking trips and international travel. The MSR Guardian is not cheap, nor is it lightweight, but if reliability and safety are your top priorities, this is the filter you want.
If all else fails, you can’t go wrong with an REI Gift Card. Any outdoor gear junkie will salivate over a free trip to REI. So no matter what, you’ve always got this great option in your back pocket.
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