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Gear Reviews

Looking for a new pair of hiking boots? How about some help finding the perfect midlayer? Maybe you want to know what other folks have said about that pack you've been eyeing before making the commitment. We love talking about gear, and we love sharing what we find with you. Here's a collection of our best advice about packs, boots, poles and more.

Looking for a new pair of hiking boots? How about some help finding the perfect midlayer? Maybe you want to know what other folks have said about that pack you've been eyeing before making the commitment.

We love talking about gear, and we love sharing what we find with you. Here's a collection of our best advice about packs, boots, poles and more.

Worn Wear: WTA Staff's Favorite Gear With a Story

Jun 16, 2021

All of our gear has a story to tell. It comes along with us on all of our adventures, big or small, and accumulates layers of sweat, dirt and memories over the years.

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Baby Carriers for the Trail: Pros and Cons of 5 Styles

Hiking with a baby or toddler is a lot easier with the right carrier or backpack. Here are the pros and cons of five different styles.

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Gear Up For Winter

Dec 16, 2019

We reviewed some of our favorite cozy layers, sturdy backpacks and other winter essentials for a day on trail.

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Stability and Strength: Choosing the Right Trekking Poles for You

Oct 11, 2019

Here's what you need to know to pick a pair of trekking poles — and make hiking and backpacking just a bit easier.

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Gear Review: Headlamps

Jun 24, 2019

What you need to know to find the right one.

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This Year's Favorite Gear

Dec 20, 2018

Washington Trail's staff spend a lot of time outdoors — and we try out a lot of new gear. Here are our favorites from the year that we love enough to recommend to you.

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How to Fix Tent Woes

Here are tips to overcome the most common tent challenges you’re likely to face while backpacking or camping.

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Gear Review: Tents

May 24, 2018

Our gear experts review four of our favorite lightweight tents.

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Winter Ready Gear

Feb 23, 2018

To be a sage hiker, you need some basic gear: a raincoat, maybe some rain pants or a rain wrap. But what about other gear that will keep you warm and dry in the winter? We've been testing some new gear that can make your winter hikes a lot mroe fun. Here are some of our favorites.

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Gear Review: Shoes

Oct 16, 2017

The shoes you wear are the literal base for your adventure on trail. Choosing the right ones can make your trip easier and more enjoyable. Here are four shoes that our gear team has tried out recently, from a sturdy four-season boot to a water-friendly light hiker.

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How to Pick a Pack

A comfortable pack can make all the difference in how much you enjoy your time on trail. A well-designed, well-fitting pack makes your load feel lighter and the miles a bit easier. Before you buy your first pack—or upgrade an old one—here are some tips to find one that will serve you well for years to come.

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Gear Review: Backpacks

Jul 06, 2017

The WTA gear team has been hard at work getting ready for prime hiking season. Here are four packs that we’ve tried out recently, to fit a wide range of hiking needs.

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Be Kind to Your Feet: Our Favorite Socks

Dec 04, 2020

For hikers, there is no more important tool than your feet. You want to take care of them so they can carry you for endless miles. Here are a variety of socks that our staff and gear testing team recommend.

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Wrap it Up: We Review Rain Skirts, Kilts and Wraps

Jan 23, 2017

The problem: Rain pants are hot and annoying to get on or off. The solution: Rain wraps. They go on and off in seconds, have excellent ventilation and pack down to almost nothing. (Bonus: They're usually cheaper than rain pants!)

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Our Favorite Things: WTA Staffers Pick Their Go-To Gear

Nov 04, 2016

From well-loved shirts to the latest and greatest in footwear, WTA staff share their favorite hiking gear picks.

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Rain Gear Review: 7 Jackets and Gloves for Staying Dry

Feb 12, 2016

Staying dry while hiking is one of the most important things you can do, particularly when temperatures drop. These rain gear options will make sure you have a dry, enjoyable outing.

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Winter Elixirs and Insulated Bottles to Hold in the Heat

Jan 12, 2016

When you craft a tasty concoction, you'll need a bottle to keep it warm. Keep your winter beverages and soups piping hot when the temperatures drop.

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Gear Review: 5 Modern Flashlights, Headlamps and Mini Lanterns to Light Your Way this Fall

Sep 25, 2015

No more fumbling in the dark for the tent zipper. These light options will keep your campsite glowing and the trail illuminated.

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Lighten Your Load

Sep 13, 2015

These minimalist packs will help you reach the summit and stay light on your feet for day hikes.

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Treat Your Feet

Sep 03, 2015

Footwear is one of the most important pieces of gear a hiker can invest in. These three choices will make sure you get to camp in comfort.

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Three Hammocks and a Pack Raft

Aug 26, 2015

We reviewed some of the summer's best hammocks and rafts so you can pick the right one for your outing.

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Trail Shoe Review: Three Lightweight Autumn Strides

Nov 01, 2014

We review a sampling of the latest light hiking shoes from Chaco, Lowa and The North Face, looking for the best in comfort, water repellency and beefy tread to keep you sure-footed on the trails this fall

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Sleeping Bag Review: 4 Bags, 1 Pad

Jul 15, 2014

A good night’s sleep is not as elusive as it seems—the key is a good sleeping bag. We review a few new and notable offerings from Sierra Designs, Selk'bag, Therm-a-Rest, NEMO and Klymit.

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Tent Review: Six Top 2-3 Person Tents

May 24, 2014

Looking to invest in your first tent or replace an old one? WTA gives you the low-down on six great tents for 2-3 people: The Mountain Hardwear Optic 2.5, NEMO Galaxi 2, Big Agnes Fishhook UL2, Sierra Designs Flashlight 2UL, MSR Hubba Hubba NX (redesigned), The North Face Talus 3.

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Backpack Review: Ten Pack Picks from Hydration to Trekking

May 24, 2014

From hydration pack to day pack to ultralight and backpacking, WTA's gear team field-tested and rated ten new packs: the Osprey Rev 12, Outdoor Research Levitator 16, Outdoor Products Amphibian 20, Osprey Stratos 34, Gregory Z40, REI Crestrail 48, Gregory J53, GoLite Quest 65, Granite Gear Nimbus Trace Access 70.

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Gifts to Inspire a Trail Runner

Nov 26, 2013

Three great gifts to inspire and equip a trail runner.

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Practical Gifts to Keep Hikers Safe

Nov 22, 2013

Like the idea of holiday gifts that really matter? Make sure your outdoor friends and family are going out well-equipped by wrapping up a few of the ten essentials in a bow this holiday season.

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Treats for Tots (and Older Kids, Too)

Dec 04, 2013

Stuck on what to get a certain young one for the holiday season? Get the budding outdoor enthusiasts in your life something on our list and you're sure to hear about how cool it is all next hiking season.

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A Pack for Pups and Other Gifts for Great Dogs

Nov 11, 2013

Gift ideas for your best bud and most reliable hiking companion. Check out these three great gift ideas for hiking dogs and get our tips for choosing and acclimatizing your dog to a new pack.

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Gear Review: Ruffwear Swamp Cooler Vest

Oct 03, 2013

Dogs' biology makes them more susceptible to overheating and dehydration than human hikers, so even though things are cooling down across Washington, 70 degree weather with no shade can be plenty hot enough to put some dogs in the danger zone. John Soltys and his dog Treen put the Ruffwear Swamp Cooler Cooling Vest to the test, to see how it performed cooling hot dogs on the trail.

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