Treat spring fever with the best new backpacking gear.
1. Sierra Designs Zissou 15
If you’ve ever wanted the comfort of a down bag without the worry of being waterlogged in the soggy Southern Appalachians, Sierra Designs now has you covered. The Zissou 15 features a new DriDown filling—regular goose down treated with a hydrophobic polymer to keep moisture to a minimum. While not completely waterproof, the bag dries faster than normal down and maintains better loft in humid conditions. Available June 1.
2. MSR Nook
When you’re having trouble finding prime backcountry real estate, the unassuming Nook tucks into tight forested crannies with ease. The small tent offers lightweight (3 lbs. 2 oz.) versatility with a surprisingly high interior peak that lets two campers sit up side by side.
3. Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite
Backcountry slumber comfort meets ultra-light convenience in this new pad that features impressively thick mattress-like support while weighing less than a pound and packing down to the size of your water bottle.
4. Osprey Atmos 50
This popular classic pack received some key upgrades this spring. The uber lightweight Atmos 50 still lets your back breathe better than most packs, but design improvements now enable a more comfortable custom fit with an interchangeable harness and a new simple hip belt adjustment system.
5. Patagonia P26 Mid
For traversing remote, rugged terrain with a lighter pack load, the P26 Mid is a nimble boot with plenty of underfoot protection and lightweight sneaker-like flexibility up top. The breathable mesh lining delivered, as our tester’s feet didn’t experience the usual sweat that comes with leather.
6. Salomon Synapse Hiking Boot
This ain’t your old-school clodhopper. The Synapse is a super-lightweight hiking boot that still provides ample cushioning and support. It’s a trail shoe with ankle support—perfect for fastpackers and ultralight hikers. Our wear-tester zipped nimbly down trails in these fun, featherlight kicks.
7. Oboz Beartooth
If you’re hiking long distances with a pack load north of 40 pounds, the Beartooth is a burly boot that’s impressively stable without being too heavy. Oboz’s own waterproof membrane passed a creek test, but the best feature is the BFit Lacing System that offers a nice secure fit near the ankle.