The Best Camping Gear for Summer 2013
The chance for new extreme challenges has pulled you outdoors, but you know that only your mental gritrock will get you out the other side. That’s true for every outdoor endeavor, and backpacking is no exception. All you need is this essential gear, plus a few pimped-out extras, to keep you exploring everything under the sun, moon, and stars.
Weighing in at only 3 lb 12 oz, the Osprey Volt 75 delivers a sick amount of storage for such a light pack, and a unique adjustable torso fits every guy.
Kick off National Bike to Work Week 2013 with the best loot for your commute
May 13th through May 17th is National Bike to Work Week, an opportunity to celebrate the power of the bicycle and the many benefits it provides. Bike commuting saves money, preserves our health and the health of the environment. Best of all, it allows me to fund my passion: shoes*
Bicycling Magazine ranked Minneapolis as the #2 bike city in the country. The US Census Bureau ranked us as the #4 bicycling city in the nation. Minneapolis has 92 miles (and counting) of on-street bikeways and 85 miles (and counting) of off-street bikeways. The city has also been awarded with the League of American Bicyclists’ Bicycle Friendly Community Award. We’re home to Nice Ride Minnesota, the Bike Walk Ambassadors, and the Midtown Bike Center.
You have to carry your clothes and grooming essentials so the pack you choose has to be comfortable, it has to be functional and it has to be big enough to hold your clothes and grooming essentials without bogging you down.
For packs, I love and recommend the Osprey Momentum (MSRP $129 – $149). This is an Osprey product so there’s no question on its comfort or functionality. It has an integrated rain jacket (for the pack, not you), a helmet clip and soft zippered pocket on the shoulder strap to make reaching for your Smartphone while riding super easy.
Along with laptops and smartphones, tablets are tech that has become integral to daily life.
So Osprey designed its Portal series of packs to make access easier. Its new Beta Port courier bag has a padded pocket with a clear port window just under the flap that lets you use your tablet without removing it from your bag.
“The Portal Series is a great example of how technology and design can be married in a really innovative way,” said Cassie Tweed, product designer at Osprey. “With the new Portal series, we have broken new boundaries by designing packs that aren’t just for carrying, but for interacting with tech tools.”
The Beta has separate padded laptop and tablet sleeves, document sleeves, an organizer panel to keep small items secure and accessible, a scratch-free electronics/sunglass pocket and a padded top grab handle. Buy Osprey’s PowerHouse Add-On ($15) separately—it holds a laptop cord, tablet and cell phone cords, battery packs, USB drives and other accessories to keep them from getting lost or tangled.
The Osprey Verve for women comes in 5L, 9L, and 13L. There’s also the men’s equivalent to this pack, the Viper. I tested the 5L, but you can also check out a past review of a larger Verve. The Verve and Viper have less storage room than the Tokul, but more compartments to separate your stuff and a flatter, more streamlined look. I found the pack design to be superior: you get Osprey’s AirScape back panel to wick away moisture and provide some air flow, plus the hydration hose is secured with not only a sleeve down the shoulder strap, but a handy magnet that holds it in place. I found I appreciated this feature more than I anticipated. There’s a chest strap as well as a hip belt, and a front pocket and shoulder pocket as well. The reservoir has a vastly different design than that of the Platypus, and it really just comes down to preference. To fill the Osprey, you open a large valve and hold the reservoir flat under the water stream. There’s a sturdy handle by which to hold it and load it back into the pack (in its own compartment, of course). I found it easier to load than the Platypus, but less adaptable with the rest of my gear. If you already have an Osprey backpack however, it’s a breeze to transfer the Verve hydration system to a large pack.
Your backpack is your closest companion on the trail. From our perspective, that means a comfortable fit with ample room for all of your gear isn’t optional, it’s mandatory. Enter the Manta and Mira daypacks from Osprey, winner of the Editors’ Choice Award for meeting our standards of quality, utility, value, and excellence. Redesigned for 2013 to provide greater comfort, stability and storage, this series isn’t just impressive, it’s our new adventure BFF.
On Performance and Design…
Whether you’re out for a day of taking in the scenery, or moving with speed and precision to get the most out of your adventure, these packs have got your back. Highly ventilated with durable construction, and features that other companies’ technical backcountry packs would be proud of mean your stuff is getting where it’s going without a snag.
Your pack is you every step of the way, which is why the most important features are comfort and fit. In the Manta (men’s specific fit) and Mira (women’s specific fit) series, Osprey proves that comfort and fit aren’t sales-room talking points, but rather ingrained in the brand’s DNA. Since every person, every adventure is different, both the Manta and Mira allow you choose between three different capacities, and different torso lengths, ensuring that you get the perfect fit.
The Osprey Raven, Osprey’s newest addition to their line of women-specific hydration packs, is proof that Osprey gets it loud and clear.
Not just because it has women’s-specific shoulder straps, waistbelt and torso sizing, but because Osprey understands that the concept of carrying bike tools is not gender exclusive.
Oh, definitely. The sleek, integrated, roll-up tool pouch, the same tool pouch used in the unisex Osprey Zealot, is located in a zippered compartment on the bottom of the pack for better center of gravity. You can remove and attach it with an easy snap. Elastic bungees keep tool-pouch contents secure and organized in or out of the pack.
Snow may still be dumping on much of the country, but backpacking season is already in full swing here in California. With a bunch of summer backpacking adventures lined up, I put together a gear kit that will form the base of every trip. I took the gear out for a test backpacking run in the Hetch Hetchy area of Yosemite earlier this week and had a blast. Below you will find my base gear list.
Backpack: I will be switching between the Osprey Viva 65 and the Boreas Sapa Trek (55L). The Osprey pack worked great for Hetch Hetchy with a larger size that is conducive to bear can country.