Skip to main content

Trekking: The Summer 2015 Outdoor Gear Guide

Man isn’t meant to stay indoors — our weekly “Trekking” column can attest to that. It’s a column dedicated to the adventurer inside of all of us, the one pining to ditch the office humdrum for a quick surf session or seven-week jaunt in the Grand Tetons. One day we may highlight an ultra-light stove and the next a set of handmade canoe paddles. Life doesn’t just happen inside the workplace, so get outside and live it.

Summer is the time for many things — i.e. BBQ, beer, beach balls — but above all, it’s a time to get outside. It’s the time when the wildflowers are in bloom and the high peaks have begun to shed their snowpack (or lack thereof); when the alpine streams are actually bearable and the skies are relatively clear. It’s also, conveniently, a three-month span when we often have enough time off to properly act upon John Muir’s most infamous line, “the mountains are calling and I must go.”

Related: Pack it in with the best daypacks for every adventure | The boots of summer

That said, below are a few of our favorite pieces of summer gear, from telescoping fishing rods and utility axes to lightweight backpacks and a terrific sleeping bag that’s perfect for those warm summer nights when a traditional mummy bag is just too hot to handle. Now, if only our window of opportunity wasn’t already fading with the sunset…

Osprey Atmos AG 65 ($260)

Osprey Atmos AG 65
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Sometimes the long haul requires more than a simply daypack. Thankfully, the Osprey Atmos AG 65 is primed for such an occasion, outfitted with a continuous panel of torso-conforming mesh that extends from top of the backpanel to the hipbelt. Four compression straps let you balance heavy loads, too, while various straps and loops provide a quick means for attaching gear on the move.

Zippo 4-in-1 Woodsman ($80)

Zippo 4-in-1 Woodsman
Image used with permission by copyright holder

The Zippo 4-in-1 Woodsman is the Swiss Army knife of handaxes — one aimed at the car-camping enthusiast looking for versatility without excess weight. The axe quickly converts to a bow saw when you need of clear limbs up to 4 inches in diameter, and more importantly, the back of the 5-inch blade features a mallet and stake puller for quickly assembling and dismantling your tent with ease.

NEMO Tango Solo ($330)

NEMO Tango Solo
There’s a healthy assortment of summer-centric sleeping bags on the market, but nothing quite like NEMO’s Tango Solo. It’s backless design uses a removable hood and built-in elastic to keep any 20 or 25-inch pad beneath you, allowing you to stretch out unrestricted beneath what is essentially a 700-fill down blanket. It’s also light enough for quick backcountry jaunts and rated for 30°.

Owyhee Rod ($160)

Owyhee Rod
Bigger isn’t always better, but in the case of Tenkara Rod Co.’s fishing lineup, sometimes it is. The company’s ultra-light, telescoping Owyhee is its biggest yet, outfitted with a walnut spool, swivel tips, and a green-and-gold color scheme reflective of its namesake. It offers 13 feet of length when fully extended, and when closed, the rod packs down to a mere 21 inches for ultimate portability.

REI Half Dome 2 ($219)

REI Half Dome 2
The Half Dome 2 has long been REI’s flagship tent, and frankly, it’s only gotten better with time. The roomy, three-season tent accommodates two campers with plenty of space to spare, while capitalizing on 40 and 70-denier nylon that’s as durable as it is reliable. The intuitive fly design even lets roll up the sides and ends for maximum airflow and a stunning view of the stars above.

Keen Durand Mid WP ($180)

Keen Durand Mid WP
Keen’s Durand Mid WP is as about as versatile as it comes when talking hiking boots. They’re both light and extremely comfortable, weighing a mere 1.3 pounds and equipped with ample padding. The nubuck leather and polyurethane midsole add to their ruggedness and stability, while grippy outsole ensures you stay grounded on the beaten path, regardless of the water at your feet.

Sea to Summit X-Pot ($45)

Sea to Summit X-Pot
Sea to Summit’s X-Pot is not the lightest or sexiest piece of cookware around, but most others don’t conveniently fold into a disc that’s an inch thick. The cooking pot’s silicone walls quickly collapse for travel, but when propped up at camp, the anodized aluminum base allows you to heat your food within minutes. The translucent lid and integrated strainer only add to its space-saving appeal.

Rab Ignition 3 ($145)

Rab Ignition 3
There’s nothing more iconic to camping than a traditional mummy bag. That said, the Rab Ignition 3 remains one of the best we tested this year for the price, offering considerable comfort when the temperature hovers just shy of 30°. The synthetic fill also renders it both packable and warm, while the 30D ripstop outer fabric allows it to dry quickly and last among the elements.

SportsTek Lightwear 4-in-1 ($40)

SportsTek Lightwear 4-in-1
For most tasks, 220 lumens of light can go a long way. SportsTek’s Lightwear 4-in-1 headlamp is designed for such occasions, providing you with an easy method to light your way from the top of your head, your hip, or the front of your bicycle. The durable, water-resistant lamp also features adjustable straps and lighting modes to boot, so you can tone it up when spelunking and down at dawn.

The Kniper ($145)

The Kniper
The Kniper isn’t your average knife. The lime-green piece of tech is milled from a single piece of 420 high-carbon stainless steel that totes 22 different functions, whether you’re in desperate need of a bottle opener, saw, fork, ruler, wrench, sundial, tobacco pipe, or blade. It’s even a solid throwing knife if need be, though, we anticipate you’ll use that aspect of the blade more for fun than anything else.

Brandon Widder
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Brandon Widder is a journalist and a staff writer for the Manual and its brother site, Digital Trends, where he covers tech…
10 amazing shows like The Bear to enjoy next
Are missing your drama/comedy binge sessions? Stream these series and get your fix
Jeremy Allen White as Carmy in The Bear

One of the best FX shows ever just finished its third season. If you're like us, you probably want even more of The Bear in your life after the drama/comedy wrapped up another 10 episodes of kitchen madness. Following the anxiety, excitement, and family bonds of Carmy Berzatto and his crew as they transform a Chicago sandwich restaurant into a fine dining experience, the series expertly mixes melancholy human elements with dark humor and deft filmmaking techniques like musical composition and montage.

The Bear doesn't really have many mirrors on television at the moment. Some shows share the series' high-octane dysfunction, while others possess the same type of camerawork and direction. If you're missing the Hulu series, we're here to round up the shows that are most similar to it in one way or another. These are the 10 shows like The Bear.

Read more
Best Apple Prime Day deals
A MacBook Air laptop on a desk.

Apple's devices don't come cheap, which is why there's always a lot of interest from shoppers on Apple Prime Day deals. Here's your chance to get some of Apple's products with huge discounts, not just from Amazon but also from other retailers. We've gathered our favorite Prime Day deals on the iPad, iPhone, AirPods, MacBook, and Apple Watch in one place so you won't have to keep jumping between websites, but you're still going to have to make a quick decision on what you'll purchase because there's no telling how much time is remaining before these bargains disappear.
Best iPad Prime Day deals

Apple popularized the tablet with its iPad, and it has since released additional lines -- namely, the iPad Air, the iPad Mini, and the iPad Pro. You'll be able to enjoy discounts when buying any of these models through the iPad Prime Day deals that we've rounded up, and there's no shortage of options because you can get previous-generation releases for even more affordable prices. You need to act fast though, as stocks for these iPads aren't expected to last long.

Read more
NYT Connections hints and answers for July 12, 2024
The logo for Connections.

From the people that bring you the crossword and Spelling Bee, Connections is the latest NYT Games sensation that has the internet abuzz. Although the game is still word-based, Connections is fundamentally different than many of the other games released by NYT Games and can be uniquely frustrating as a result. It tests your ability to group words together into coherent categories and presents a different challenge every time you play it. And, like Wordle and so many other NYT Games, you can share your results with friends and compare them as soon as you're done.

Connections is still in a sort of testing phase at the moment, but given the game's success to date, it seems clear that the game could have the kind of legs that make it a long-running success that people integrate into their everyday lives. Like Wordle, and unlike the crossword, it's a relatively quick game, which means that playing it doesn't have to eat up your entire day. That's part of the reason so many people have gotten devoted to it and why you may be seeing more Connections results in group chats and on your social media feeds than you were a few weeks ago.
How to play Connections
The premise of Connections is relatively straightforward. The game gives you 16 words that are totally unsorted, and your job is to sort those words into four categories of four. A group of words may be combined because they're all associated with another word or thing, like "car parts" for example, or because they have something else in common, like "ends with x." The categories can be almost anything, and the smart folks behind Connections work extra hard to make sure it's hard to file things away neatly into categories. There's plenty of ambiguity, which is why you get four wrong guesses before you lose the game.

Read more