Elevate your next adventure with the latest and greatest in packs, sacks, boots, and tents.
BOOTS 1. La Sportiva FC 2.0 GTX La Sportiva has found the way to keep the rock scrambler nimble while not forgetting about stability. According to our tester, this versatile, low-cut, multi-sport/hiking shoe had enough flex for freedom on quick aerobic summit jaunts, but the Vibram brake system also offered on-a-dime control on wet, ragged terrain. $140; lasportiva.com
2. Keen Targhee II A reliable option on the day hike that’s going to cover a variety of terrain or persist in sketchy weather, the Targhee II has aggressive traction and a waterproof membrane that’s great for jumping through puddles and bouncing around boulders. $115; keenfootwear.com
3. Vasque Sundowner Grandpappy used to say, “They don’t make ‘em like they used to.” Well in this case they do, as this old faithful boot just turned 25 years old without modification. This longstanding classic leather boot has stood the test of time, because it provides just the right balance for hiking purists—bombproof durability and support with lightweight construction for mobility. $170; vasque.com
4. Kayland Vertigo Light Spending a day in the Vertigo Light feels more like hiking in a sneaker than a boot. Weighing in at just 20 ounces, Kayland has found a way to deliver high-top support without the dreaded cement shoe resistance. The soft weave construction is supple but surprisingly able to take some scrapes, while the eVent liners delivered on the promise of keeping feet dry. $180; kayland.com
5. Patagonia Nomad GTX Since Patagonia jumped into the shoe market a few years ago, it’s taken a little time for them to make something that could seriously be considered for regular trail wear. The Nomad dispelled our tester’s doubts, turning out to be a quality mid-weight hiker that met the challenges of a three-day backpacking trip. The green-minded boot uses recycled Capilene to manage moisture, while the additionally recycled cork footbed was comfortable through full days of trail pounding. $160; patagonia.com
PACKS 1. Arc’teryx Arrakis 50 For long slogs in unpredictable weather, the Arrakis’ waterproof fabric will keep your gear dry in the steady Southern Appalachian rain. In addition to the durable exterior, this pack has an easily adjustable harness system to stabilize your load. The downside—this high-end performance isn’t cheap. $449; arcteryx.com