Spring’s Top Gear, as Reviewed by Outside+ Members

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thermarest sleeping bag
(Photo: Courtesy)

Featherweight Sleeping Bag: Therm-a-rest Parsec 32°F

  • Price: $400
  • Weight: 1 lb. 8 oz. (regular)
  • Sizes: unisex small, regular, long
  • Buy Now

For warm-weather hikers who want a full-featured mummy-style sleeping bag at the weight of a down quilt, this bag is a winner. During a 90-mile summertime solo trek of the Great Divide Trail between Montana and Coleman, Alberta, the 1.5-pound Parsec kept me warm and dry and packed down to the size of bread loaf. I stayed toasty inside the bag’s 800-fill hydrophobic down insulation, even when two straight days of rain soaked my sleeping pad. At 62 inches at the shoulder and 57 inches at the waist, it was pleasantly roomy for a petite woman in size regular. Extra insulation on the top of the bag, a full-length draft tube, and an insulated foot pocket inside of the footbox kept me warm on a near-freezing night at the 6,800-foot pass between Mt. Matkin and Mt. Font. If there’s a downside, it’s the high price for a summer-weight bag. Sizes: unisex small, regular, long

The Reviewer: Jackie Bourgaize, Outside+ Member

  • Home Base Calgary, AB
  • Favorite Trail From my house to anywhere 
  • Favorite Trail Snack Tim Tams and tea
jack wolfskin

All-Purpose Shell: Jack Wolfskin Tasman Peak Jacket

  • Price: $170
  • Weight: 12 oz. (w’s S)
  • Sizes: w’s XS-XXL
  • Buy Now

This shell is a thing of beauty with its rich desert rose color, which turns heads and keeps me visible. But the Tasman Peak isn’t all about looks: It earned its trail cred in Yosemite National Park by keeping me comfortable on Mt. Watkins, Sentinel Dome, and Mariposa Grove in 40°F fall temps. The Tasman Peak’s 100-percent recycled polyester membrane shed precipitation during drizzly days in Pennsylvania’s Trexler Nature Preserve, and the shell packed down to the size of a grapefruit in sunny weather. The jacket breathed well while hiking through the rain with temps in the 60s; any warmer and I would’ve noticed the absence of pit zips for dumping heat. I appreciated the long zipper pulls on the two hand pockets and an adjustable cinch on the bottom of the jacket, which helped trap warmth on cooler trips. My main complaint: The mesh inner lining sticks to your arms when you take the jacket on and off.

The Reviewer: Robin Mino, Outside+ Member

  • Home Base Broomfield, CO
  • Favorite Trail Colorado Trail
  • Favorite Trail Snack Anything with peanut butter and chocolate
mountainsmith pack
(Photo: Courtesy)

Do-it-All Pack: Mountainsmith Cona 45

  • Price: $260
  • Weight: 4 lbs. 12 oz.
  • Sizes: unisex one size
  • Buy Now

This pack can pull triple-duty as a dayhiking sack, climbing gear hauler, and carry-on bag. While I hiked with a 35-pound load in Rocky Mountain National Park last summer, the Cona’s cushy EVA foam shoulder straps and ventilating molded backpanel prevented soreness or chafing after a long day on the trail. The roll-top design makes it easy to shove in bulky layers on the go, while a large U-shape front zipper grants access without unrolling the entire pack. The mix of 420-denier and 840-denier carbonate nylon makes this pack bombproof (although it comes with a weight penalty), even after I dragged it between climbing routes at the crag. The Cona works well as carry-on luggage thanks to five space-saving external compression straps. Bonus storage comes in the form of a laptop sleeve, waterproof interior pocket, and small, easily accessed zippered compartments for travel documents. 

The Reviewer: Samantha Cooke, Outside+ Member

  • Home Base Manteca, CA
  • Favorite Trail Hop Valley Trail, Zion National Park 
  • Favorite Trail Snack Honey Stinger Waffle with Trail Butter spread on top

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