The best adventure hardware put to the test out in the field.

1. Deuter ACT Lite 65+10

There are no bells and whistles on this pack, but damn does it carry well. At 65 liters, plus a 10-liter extension, it was the perfect size for core backpacking—but it was the fit and feel that really impressed us on a four-day hiking trip. Once we cinched it down, we barely knew it was there when rock hopping and navigating tricky traverses, and the air-contact Lite ventilation system kept us dry and comfy without feeling like too much bulk on the back. $199; deuter.com

2. Sierra Designs Zissou 30 Sleeping bag with DriDown

This bag has already won numerous awards from a host of outdoor publications and we will happily hop on the bandwagon. The 600-fill DriDown is real down, but it works even when wet, ideal for the Southeast where down is a logical choice but a huge bummer if it does get wet. $200; sierradesigns.com 

3. BOA Beefy Split Shorts

Running shorts can be skimpy and awkward. Not the BOA split shorts, which provide plenty of coverage while still giving legs the freedom to spin. Featherlight and fast. $35; boa.com    

4. Gerber Bear Gryllis Knife

The world’s best-selling knife has a carbon stainless steel blade and features a firestarter built into the handle. It also includes a pommel at the knife base for hammering and an emergency whistle. The stout blade had no problem drilling fire holes in wood and cutting through thick rope. It’s the ultimate survival tool. Don’t leave home without it. $62; gerber.com 

5. Big Agnes Fly Creek 2P Platinum UL 

Our first reaction when we picked up this ridunkulously light, 1-pound, 13-ounce tent was, “no way.” We were not sure if we could trust it on a serious trip. But we packed it for a weekend A.T. hike, and we were absolutely shocked how well it survived nasty gusts atop the Roan balds. Even better, we got rid of the tent itself and used it in tarp and ground cover mode for a hard-charging expedition up a 6,000-foot peak. $500; bigagnes.com 

6. Petzl Neo

It won’t be on store shelves until July, but we were lucky enough to test Petzl’s much heralded USB-rechargable-power headlamp in caves and camp this spring. It comes complete with a sensor that powers the LEDs according to how much light you need, so we didn’t blind our buddies in camp but were able to peer into the darkest recesses  underground. $175; petzl.com

7. Native Eyewear Endo

These shades became our go-to eyewear for everything from fly fishing to chasing our racer buddies on mountain bike rides to slogging a big backpack up the steep trail to Mitchell. The key was ventilation above the interchangable lenses that truly stopped fogging. $109–$129; nativeeyewear.com

8. Patagonia Advocate

The slip-ons are durable and conveniently clip to a pack for storage on the go. Leaving a light footprint, a 20 percent recycled EVA footbed and sole offers comfort and support as well as ample grip. $45; patagonia.com 

9. Scarpa Spark

The perfect trail runner is light enough to save energy, yet sturdy enough to endure the sharp rocks and hard landings of the trail. Meet the 9.5-ounce Spark, which combines the best aspects of runner and scrambler. $115; scarpa.com

Use this gear on your next road trip, and here is our road trip guide to get you there!