Manute Bol could sit up straight and play cards in this new tent from MSR. The radical new pole geometry makes the walls almost vertical and provides for two vestibules—one that extends into a huge hooped roof. A tester favorite was the mesh skylight-style roof, which enabled some killer stargazing. The additional bells and whistles still only amounted to 6 lbs. 12 oz. $400.
LAFUMA WARM’N LIGHT 800
If down bags are your deal, Lafuma’s lofty 800-fill is uber-comfortable. This bag passed an early winter test, as the insulated draft collar kept out unwanted chilly air and the mummy design kept feet warm and snug at the bag base. Another key feature: the stuff sack compressed this one down smaller than a football. $150.
REI WOMEN’S NOOK SACK
If you’re not one to sleep in extreme conditions, the Nook is an ultralight bag that will save you a Benjamin or more. The 30-degree women’s bag is just right for average nights in the Blue Ridge backcountry. Best of all, the synthetic sack has a superior warmth-to-weight ratio—tipping the scales at just over a pound. $179.
GOLITE ADRENALINE 20
Could the Adrenaline be man’s new best friend? The bag’s centrally located half-zipper was made for middle-of-the-night rollover relief during winter camping—a plus for the brahs that love their post-hike brews. It’s ingenuity on top of a durable nylon shell and 20-degree warmth in a sack that weighs in at an uncanny one pound. $325.
BIG AGNES SKINNY FISH
Big Agnes updates its classic bags with a model that uses 99 percent recycled synthetic materials. The roomy, rectangular design and 20-degree rating made it a perfect choice for sleeping with a clear conscience under the Southern Appalachian stars. $180.
BIG AGNES DIVERSION SLEEPING PAD
Props to Big Agnes for introducing a handful of new green lines this year. The Diversion is made from 100 percent recycled polyester and synthetic insulation, while still providing the ultra-comfortable I-Beam core construction and compact storage. Bonus: the aluminum valve is also recycled. $90.
THERM-A-REST TOUGHSKIN PAD
The ToughSkin was made for hearty backcountry sleepers who don’t have the patience to look for smooth surfaces. An offspring of Therm-a-Rest’s revolutionary self-inflating mattress, it’s beefed up with an abrasion-resistant exterior. While not as light as some other pads out there, it’s rugged peace of mind against rocks or thorns that could leave you face to face with cold hard mountain ground. $100.