The lat­est word from our testers

Backpacker - - GEAR -

light­weight dou­ble pad Klymit Dou­ble V

Age- old dilemma for wannabe back­coun­try snug­glers: The gap be­tween sleep­ing pads can feel like the Mar­i­ana Trench, but dou­blewides are usu­ally too heavy for the trail. Not so with Klymit’s cou­ple-friendly of­fer­ing. The Dou­ble V weighs just 2.5 pounds (there are lighter dou­bles out there, but they’re more than twice the price) and packs down to the size of a foot­ball. It's also a spa­cious 47 inches wide and has a 1.6 R-value. “My part­ner and I had am­ple room to move around and find the per­fect sleep­ing po­si­tions with­out fall­ing off,” our tester says. He praised the pad’s V-shaped baf­fles, which limit slip­page. “With most ultralight pads, you bounce around like a rub­ber ball at max in­fla­tion,” he says. “I stayed put all night on the Dou­ble V no mat­ter how much air I blew in.” Trade­off: Its size means it’s tough to origami back into its stuff­sack. $130; 2 lbs. 8 oz.; klymit.com

burly bare­foots Vivo­bare­foot Primus Trail FG

Min­i­mal­ist shoes don’t have to mean min­i­mal­ist pro­tec­tion. Our tester praised the Primus Trail FG’s stream­lined, zero-drop feel com­bined with fea­tures that shielded her feet from rocks and roots. “They're the tank of min­i­mal­ist trail shoes,” she re­ported af­ter a three-day trek along the El­wha River in Olympic Na­tional Park. “A re­in­forced rand around the in­step, toes, and heel shielded me from harm with­out sac­ri­fic­ing flex­i­bil­ity or ground feel.” The tri­dent-shaped lugs are deeper than nor­mal for this style of shoe, and they held fast when she tra­versed long stretches of low-an­gle snow. Mesh up­pers kept her feet sweat-free on 90°F day­hikes around Arches Na­tional Park. Draw­back: The ex­tra pro­tec­tion re­sulted in a break-in pe­riod of a cou­ple weeks—rare for a min­i­mal­ist shoe. $150; 1 lb. 3 oz. (pair m’s 9); m’s 7-13, w’s 5.5-11.5; vivo­bare­foot.com/us

breath­able mid­layer Ice­breaker Meri­noLOFT El­lipse Long Sleeve Half Zip Hood

This hoodie mas­ters the art of ad­di­tion by sub­trac­tion, re­mov­ing ex­cess fill for bet­ter temp con­trol. The ma­jor­ity of the El­lipse is made of a mid­weight merino/poly blend, while the ch­est and hood have pan­els filled with merino. “I never be­came too hot dur­ing high-out­put ac­tiv­i­ties,” says one tester who wore it for ski tours in the Arc­tic Cir­cle and shoul­der-sea­son hik­ing in the Swiss Alps. The in­su­la­tion kept his core warm dur­ing 30°F alpine starts, while the unin­su­lated back and arms pre­vented over­heat­ing while wear­ing a pack. A ster­num-length zip­per adds ex­tra ven­ti­la­tion. Our tester also en­joyed the thumb loops and long, stretchy sleeves when reach­ing over­head. Ding: price. $230; 1 lb. 1 oz. (m’s M); m’s S-XXL, w’s XS-XL; ice­breaker.com

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