A few of our favorite summer things


1/ Dry and Organized
When you don’t know what elements an adventure will hold, you can head out confident your gear will survive if it’s packed in Filson’s new Dry Backpack. The venerable company—it began outfitting men stampeding to Alaska for the Klondike Gold Rush in 1897—made this 28-liter, roll-down-and-cinch-top-closure pack to ensure you’ve got the room you need for all your gear and that your most important things stay dry, whether you’re out for a float or fishing. The exterior pocket isn’t waterproof, so stow your water bottle there and put your wallet, phone, camera, and keys in the waterproof main compartment. $175, available at JD High Country Outfitters, 50 E. Broadway Ave., filson.com

2/ Sleep Warm
It’s likely you’ve long camped on top of a Therm-a-Rest. Now it’s time to camp inside a Therm-a-Rest. The company’s new Parsec mummy sleeping bag is a happy marriage of the perfect features. Rated to 20 degrees, the Parsec places varying amounts of 800-fill Nikwax Hydrophobic Down in different zones based on where warmth is needed most and uses a proprietary lining to trap radiant body heat, which makes it lighter and less bulky than similarly rated bags. Don’t even get us started on what Therm-a-Rest calls the “Toe-asis,” a downy hug for cold, tired feet. And all of this in less than two pounds. From $379.95, available online at thermarest.com

3/ Better Than Coffee?
Yes, we’ve car camped with coffee beans, a hand grinder, and other java accouterments. And we’ve carried packets of instant coffee with us into the backcountry. Then we discovered MTN OPS’ new Hot Ignites. (We’ve also discovered we don’t need to be camping to enjoy Hot Ignites; they give us consistent energy throughout long work days, too.) Each of the three Hot Ignite flavors—Charged Cocoa, Mountain Mocha, and Apple Cider—includes caffeine and, to keep the usual post-coffee crash at bay, nitric oxide, which ensures extended energy. $39.95 (for 30 servings), available online at mtnops.com

4/ Cast Away
Rio Product’s InTouch Big Nasty had us with its name. And the line had our fly-fishing friends with its short and powerful front taper, ultra-low stretch, and welded loops on both ends, which allow for fast rigging. If you’re casting big flies, you want to be casting with Big Nasty. $99.99, available at West Bank Anglers, 3670 Moose Wilson Rd., rioproducts.com

5/ Light Bright
We hate it when our headlamps are smarter than we are. We need them to be bright, but we also need using them to be intuitive. Meet Princeton Tec’s Axis, the company’s newest headlamp, which was designed with us in mind—read: simple and usable. Its 250-lumens are bright enough for any adventure. The press of one button sets lights on spot, flood, or red (and also turns it off and puts it into lock mode). A dial allows users to dim any of the beams to their desired level. $39.99, available at Teton Mountaineering, 170 N. Cache St., princetontec.com

6/ Wrap Yourself Up, Outside
No longer does your coziest blanket have to stay indoors. Kammok’s new Mountain Blanket has a hydrophobic exterior shell (made of the same 40D ripstop, Durable Water Repellant finish nylon fabric as the company’s iconic Wallaby hammock), ultra-plush fleece interior, stake out points at its corners, and thoughtfully positioned snaps that allow it to be used four ways: as a blanket, sleeping bag, or top quilt, or worn as a poncho. Also, it comes in a fun bright orange. $125, available at kammok.com

7/ Your Feet’s New Favorite
German-based CEP has long been making some of our favorite socks. Why? Their precise fit combined with the fact we haven’t yet been able to kill a pair—despite efforts that include multiple fifty-mile runs and one five-day backpacking trip on which we wore the same pair of CEP socks every day(!). The company’s new Dynamic+Outdoor Light Merino model is now our go-to for all-around adventuring. They’re just thick enough to have the perfect amount of padding, are thin enough to keep feet from overheating on hot days, and are antibacterial with odor-reducing properties. $25, available at cepcompression.com

8/ Light is Right
Gregory has brought its considerable R&D to the ultralight scene. Its new Optic (men) and Octal (women) packs are built so you can comfortably carry everything you need for a multiday backpacking trip. And the Optic/Octal weighs only about as much as two loaves of hearty bread. Both packs—the Optic comes in 48- and 58-liter sizes, and the Octal in 45 and 55 liters—feature Gregory’s new ultralight aluminum tubular frame and a proprietary suspension system that carries better and allows for more ventilation than any other pack we’ve tested. Stowed in the pack’s top pocket is a custom-fitted rain cover. From $189.95, available at Skinny Skis, 65 W. Deloney Ave., gregorypacks.com

9/ Value-Priced Views
Lander, Wyoming-based Maven’s new C.2 binoc is the best value binoculars we’ve yet found. Nimble enough to fit in a coat pocket, the C.2 comes in 7×28 and 10×28 magnifications, both of which feature crystal-clear, extra-low-dispersion glass; fully multicoated lenses; a durable, lightweight polymer frame; and a scratch-proof lens coating. And all this for the price of dinner at the Snake River Grill. What’s Maven’s secret? They sell only direct to consumers. $200, mavenbuilt.com

10/ Drying Out
You never know when you’ll need a dry sack, but when you do, it’s often the case that you’ll really need one. Still, since dry sacks were heavy and cumbersome in a backpack, we’d instead use a plastic garbage bag and hope for the best. No longer. What changed? SealLine developed the BlockerLite Compression Dry Sack. These—they come in 5-, 10-, and 20-liter sizes—are light and ergonomic enough that using them on a backpacking trip makes sense. Now our sleeping bag lives in a BlockerLite and we know that whatever the weather, it will be dry. Same for our extra clothing. A bonus? Because they are compression sacks, we find there’s even more room available in our packs. From $39.95, available online at seallinegear.com

Receive Published Stories In Your Inbox

Enter your email address below to subscribe to published stories.