Camping Gear Reviews

Whether backpacking in winter or summer, hefting a fully-loaded pack can be discouraging. Take advantage of today's ultralight gear and drop those extra pounds whenever you can. For tents, I like the Black Diamong HiLight and MRS's Hubba Hubba. The 15° down Marmot Helium remains a fantastic choice year-round. And be sure to check out the new Neoair pad from Thermarest.

Bivy Sacks


Down Sleeping Bags

Since the release of the brilliant 15° Helium some years ago, Marmot has dominated the ultralight but also ultrawarm down sleeping bag category. Marmot's 40° Atom is a good choice for mild weather backpacking, but it will get chilly as temperatures cool. In addition to Marmot's offerings, Western Mountaineering makes some outstanding bags, especially for cold weather. Eureka's Casper is a reasonably-light economy synthetic bag for car camping or just saving money.

Synthetic Bags

Sleeping Pads

Backpacking Stoves

Jetboil's innovative and integrated PCS canister stove remains my favorite, offering the best blend of usability and efficiency—I automatically reach for it now, bypassing all my other stoves. MSR's Reactor might be thought of as the Jetboil on steroids: bigger, faster, and much more protected from wind. But I feel the Reactor is best for group rather than solo use—and even then, its versatility is limited by its inability to simmer.

Tarps/Ground cloths

Winter Camping Gear

About SierraDescents

When there is snow, SierraDescents is Andy Lewicky's California backcountry skiing and mountaineering website. Without snow, sierradescents becomes an ill-tempered hiking and climbing blog.

Pray for snow.