Gear Up, Go Far
These products will hold up to whatever the world has in store.
CONVENIENT CARRY-ON Peak Design Travel Backpack 45L $300; 4 lbs. 8 oz.; peakdesign.com
From airplanes to camel trains, this sleek pack can handle just about any commute. Tuckaway shoulder straps and a lay-flat bottom make it easy to stash in overhead bins, and 12 lash points let us strap it to pack animals and canoes. And when you do need your gear, it offers superb access. Backpanel entry let us pack it like a suitcase, and curved, 23-inch zippers along the sides of the main compartment allowed us to grab our stuff no matter how the pack was stored. Organization is dialed, too: A plush pocket on the outside fits goggles or sunglasses, and the smaller front pouch has two mesh pockets that can hold clothes for a weekend. The pack also has a laptop sleeve, and two side stretch pockets that each fit a 1-liter Nalgene. “The pack’s ability to compress down to 30 liters came in handy on dayhikes in the Peruvian Andes, and its EVA framesheet let me comfortably carry 40 pounds of gear,” one tester says.
TOUGH DUFFEL Big Agnes Stagecoach 125L $300; 8 lbs. 12 oz.; bigagnes.com
Rolling duffels can be a godsend for weary travelers, but they’re often heavy, pricey, one-trick ponies. The Stagecoach doesn’t break the scales, and comes in at a reasonable price given its durable construction. Its 420-denier, waterproof, TPU-coated nylon on the upper portion survived a full year of globetrotting, from France to Iceland to Idaho, without any damage, and it fits a 60-liter backpack with room to spare. “We didn’t choose this bag for its versatility, but that’s one of the things we’ve come to love about it,” one tester adds. “The backpack-style shoulder straps are comfy even when the bag is fully loaded, and the chunky wheels handled a trip down a rocky road to a campsite in the Channel Islands without slowing us down.”
EDITORS’ CHOICE UPDATE Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil 18L Nano Daypack $40; 1 oz.; seatosummit.com
We gave this pack’s cousin, the UltraSil Daypack, an Editors’ Choice Gold award in 2017 for its durability and versatility in a tiny package. Sea to Summit improves upon that in the Nano, halving the weight and making it even more packable (it stuffs down to the size of a hacky sack). “I stored it in my bike’s tool pouch, and then pulled it out for hikes up to scenic lookouts,” one tester said after her five-week bikepacking trip through Central Asia. The wispy, 15-denier nylon (the regular Ultra-Sil has 30-denier fabric) is strong for its weight, and ours didn’t suffer any rips. The Nano fits a puffy, sandwich, water bottle, and hat, and its unpadded shoulder straps comfortably support loads up to 20 pounds.
VERSATILE SHELL Fjällräven Greenland Wind Jacket $220; 15.9 oz. (m’s M); m’s XS-XXL, w’s XXS-XL; fjallraven.com
The best travel apparel works everywhere: on the way, on the trail, and on the town. This natty number blocked gusts on exposed hikes in Idaho’s Selkirk Mountains, but is breathable enough that our tester didn’t sweat out completely on uphills. Our tester also praised the hand pockets that sit above a hipbelt and a hood that fits over bike and climbing helmets. The Greenland stuffs down to grapefruit size. Eco bonus: It’s made of 100 percent recycled polyamide, and a PFC-free DWR sheds moderate precip. “I washed it a dozen times in the name of testing. The DWR hasn’t faltered,” our tester reports.
ALL-DAY TOP Patagonia Capilene Cool Daily Long-Sleeved T-Shirt $39; 5.5 oz. (m’s M); m’s XS-XXL, w’s XXS-XL; patagonia.com
No wrinkles and no stink mean that we wore this shirt straight from the trail to the airplane. A Polygiene treatment on the polyester knit banishes odor, and the fabric resists wrinkles even after being packed for days. The weave is airy and soft against skin, and the fabric’s UPF 50+ rating combats UV. It also breathes well: “On a three-day backpack in New Hampshire’s White Mountains, I wore this shirt for sun protection but never felt too swampy, even in 80°F weather,” one tester says. After a rain shower in the Whites, it dried in less than two hours, even with the humidity.
JUICE BOX myCharge Portable Power Outlet $180; 1 lb. 8 oz.; mycharge.com
This charging block means never having to sit next to an outlet on an airport floor again. The novelsize battery pack has four power outlets (a 65-watt AC power port, two USB-A ports, and a USB-C port), so it might even help you make some friends to boot. Its 20,000mAh battery provides up to 10 iPhone charges, and we used it to fuel up a MacBook Pro nearly twice. The rubberized casing can take a beating: “Mine was strapped to a pack that fell off a pickup in Guatemala. My camp mug was totaled, but the myCharge was dent- and crackfree,” one tester reports.
CAMP SHOE Columbia Spinner Vent Moc $55; 8.5 oz. (m’s 9); m’s 7-15, w’s 5-12; columbia.com
Want to simplify your kit? The Spinner doubles as a supportive camp slipper and a shoe you can kick around town in. “I even wore it to hike the rocky and rooty Pipiwai Trail in Hawaii,” one tester says. “The shoes are so light that I felt like I was barefoot, and the mesh upper and drain ports on the heels meant they dried quickly after I hopscotched among tidepools later in the trip.” Make no mistake: The shoes aren’t a substitute for hiking boots, but the EVA midsole provided plenty of support for a quick lap on the 3.7mile Misery Ridge Loop in Smith Rock State Park, Oregon, while the shallow, diamond-shaped tread held firm in loose dirt.