Diving is a unique sport because it needs life assistance devices. That’s why our ScubaLab group invests much of its time carrying out hard-core examinations on regulators, BCs, computer systems and fins. You depend upon your vital dive equipment to keep you safe, and our task is to assist you discover the very best alternative at the very best expense.
See ScubaLab’s Most current Device Evaluation
However the dive experience incorporates more than simple survival. Diving is a sport — it’s expected to be enjoyable. So we entered search of the essential dive devices — toys, tools and more — that aid you take pleasure in the total dive experience. The following are the top devices we believe every scuba diver needs to have.
1. A Great Full-Sized Equipment Bag
Cressig Gorgona Dive Bag
Courtesy Zach Stovall
Every scuba diver requires a bag to arrange, transportation and safeguard their equipment. We advise you do it right with dive-specific travel luggage that’s not just custom-made to safeguard your equipment however that can withstand sun, saltwater and sumo-like luggage handlers. The pattern in full-sized dive travel luggage is towards somewhat smaller sized and distinctly lighter bags as airline companies have actually gotten stringent about travel luggage constraints over the last few years. Here are 3 brand-new designs that impressed us. See ScubaLab’s newest dive bag evaluation.
On any dive boat smaller sized than your common attack aircraft carrier, so-called “dry locations” are rare. How do you make sure your wallet, cellular phone, clothing and towel remain bone-dry while you’re out having damp enjoyable? Your best option is an airtight dry bag that will seal out water and wetness even if dropped overboard.
It’s another world on the reef during the night, and your passport to diving night is a reliable dive light. You require an excellent primary for night diving, obviously, however an excellent pocket light works both as a backup light and for peering into crevices by day.
If you truly wish to impress the other scuba divers on the boat, do not loaf informing traumatic stories about getting lost — simply return to the boat without needing to surface area to discover it. Some computer systems — take a look at the ScubaLab computer system test here — consist of a digital compass, however you might require to utilize an excellent, old-fashioned compass if you wish to hone your navigation abilities.
Take it from us: Emerging down-current a long, long method from the dive boat is one lonesome sensation. You can’t constantly avoid it, however you can get ready for it with an excellent set of surface area signaling equipment. We advise a high, inflatable signal tube, an ear-splitting whistle and a signaling mirror as basic devices on every dive.
Getting lost at sea is a problem for nearly any scuba diver, however you can put your mind at ease with a GPS rescue signaling gadget such as the Nautilus Marine Rescue GPS. As soon as you trigger the Nautilus, your GPS position is sent out to surrounding boats — it likewise drifts and can be required to 425 feet.
7. A Great Components & Tool Package
Minor equipment failures like a blown O-ring or dripping fitting will not keep you from diving if you have the ideal backup parts and tools to take part in some standard field repair work.
No piece of dive equipment has actually enhanced more over the years than the dive knife. The most recent styles utilize much better products that withstand deterioration and hold a sharp edge longer than ever in the past. See ScubaLab’s latest dive knife review.
Scuba divers understand the noise all too well — clank! clank! Tank bangers are ideal for divemasters mentioning animals in the blue or friends who wish to rapidly catch the attention of another scuba diver.
We love rock climbing shoes, and we bet you do too. The good news for climbers is that there are more styles and quality products to choose from than ever before. Time-tested classics like the La Sportiva Miura VS, impressive new models such as the Skwama, and up-and-coming brands like Unparallel all are represented on this list of the top climbing shoes of 2020. From long alpine routes to overhanging sport climbs and bouldering, we’ve got you covered. In addition to the men’s or unisex version, we’ve linked to the women’s-specific model when available. For more background information, see our climbing shoe comparison table and buying advice below the picks.
The Velcro model of the Miura has become far more ubiquitous than the lace-up in recent years, and for good reason. The VS is a stiffer, more aggressive shoe, and unlike the Lace is constructed with the P3 midsole. Whereas the Miura Lace can become a floppy comfort shoe in no time, the VS will hold its aggressive shape throughout the years. That said, with a leather upper, expect the Miura to stretch a bit over time (if this is a concern, take a look at the partially synthetic Otaki below). Further, many climbers agree that the toe box puts undue pressure on the big toe. But, as the saying goes, if the shoe fits, it doesn’t get much better than the Miura VS… Read in-depth review
What we like: A bouldering slipper that provides amazing support.
What we don’t: Some will want a softer shoe.
The Instinct VS is a relatively new shoe from Scarpa that quickly has grown in popularity. It established itself as a versatile choice for sport climbing and bouldering, but it’s also a common pick for indoor and competition climbing (most notably, 11-time American Bouldering Series champion Alex Puccio cites the Instinct VS as her favorite shoe). The rubber-shrouded toe and heel are excellent on steep rock, and the medium-stiff rand offers more edging power than we’re used to seeing in a bouldering shoe.
Made with synthetic microsuede, the Scarpa will stretch less than a leather shoe, but an elastic patch on the top of the foot gives it a close fit. The stiff feel and moderate downturn set it apart from most shoes made for high-performance sport climbing and bouldering, but a thinner 3.5mm sole adds sensitivity and flex (note that the XS Edge rubber on the men’s version is replaced with XS Grip 2 on the women’s model for an even softer, grippier shoe). Scarpa also offers the same design in a softer version with a 2mm sole (the VSR), which is ideal for lighter climbers or those who prefer a more sensitive feel. And the impressive Instinct family is rounded out by a high-performance lace model and a slipper (SR), each of which are quality, standout shoes in their own right…
Butora might not be a household name like La Sportiva or Scarpa, but the Korean company quickly is gaining traction in the U.S. Before launching Butora in 2014, shoe designer Nam Hee Do had been in the business for over 30 years (most notably, he worked with Chris Sharma to design the Shaman). He came out of the gate swinging with an impressive attention to detail and use of top-notch materials, and their Endeavor quickly became our top pick for a beginner shoe. With its $100 price tag, we recommend it to anyone new to the sport, and even to guides or gym rats looking for a super comfortable all-day shoe.
The flat Endeavor won’t help you push into high-level climbing, but if you want a cozy rig that climbs up to 5.10 or V4, it won’t disappoint. The zig-zagging Velcro straps provide a snug, customized fit, and a unique mix of leather and synthetic in the upper offers comfort and breathability in the areas where you need them most. Further, the inner layer of the tongue is made of memory foam, and the shoe is fully lined with 100-percent-organic hemp to minimize stretch and odor. Plus, both the men’s and women’s Endeavor come in two versions—wide and tight—so you can tailor your fit. All in all, there’s simply no other entry-level shoe in the game with such thoughtful, quality design. And for a more comprehensive list of recommendations, check out our article on the ,,,
If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance you know who Tommy Caldwell is. He climbed this little thing called the Dawn Wall in Yosemite a few years ago, which became some of the biggest climbing news ever—and this is the shoe that TC designed for the job. The TC Pro is an absolute climbing machine for vertical to less-than-vertical terrain, and specifically granite. While we often correlate a flat shoe with a beginner shoe, the TC Pro is a notable exception: the stiff make-up and sticky XS Edge rubber make it an ultra-high-performance edger and slabber. And the upper that extends over the ankles is a game-changer for protection—we actually cringe now when faced with climbing a wide crack in any other shoe.
Take note that the TC Pro is not at all an all-rounder. On anything steeper than vertical, this shoe will feel clunky and flat, akin to having bricks on your feet. Even on thin finger cracks, we’d rather be wearing a shoe like the Anasazi Pink or Otaki below. Boulderers, sport climbers, and gym climbers: this is not your shoe. And as far as fit goes, we’ve found that sizing the TC Pro comfortably does not compromise much in the way of performance. For an all-day shoe that you might take to the mountains and wear with a sock, this is great news… Read in-depth review See the La Sportiva TC Pro
Downturn: Moderate Upper: Synthetic Closure: Lace What we like: Our favorite shoe for technical face climbing. What we don’t: Painful in wide cracks.
The Anasazi Lace (aka the “Pink”) is sort of like living in Colorado—you know who wears this shoe because they tell you they wear the shoe, all the time. Pink fans are true devotees. This shoe excels on vertical face—trad, sport, or bouldering—with excellent edging power that comes from a unique heel and high-tensioned rand. The lace closure allows for a closer, more precise fit than any of the Velcro options above, and the synthetic Cowdura upper minimizes stretch throughout the life of the shoe.
The fit of the Pink doesn’t work for every foot, but when it does, it seems to work extremely well. In other words, you’ll probably love the Pink or hate it, and therefore we heartily recommend trying this shoe on before you buy. And everyone is bound to like the price: at $150, the Pink is one of the most affordable high-performance shoes on this list. To add to that, Five Ten’s popular Anasazi collection is available in a number of different versions: recent iterations include a Velcro model (VCS) and the Pro, a bouldering-specific version of the VCS with a rubber toe patch… Read in-depth review See the Five Ten Anasazi Lace
Downturn: Aggressive Upper: Leather/synthetic Closure: Slipper/Velcro What we like: Fantastic quality; comes in both narrow and wide sizes. What we don’t: Unique toe shape might take some getting used to.
We took the tried-and-true La Sportiva Solution off of our list and replaced it with the Acro, which is Butora’s solution to… the Solution. In just a few years, these shoes quickly have proved their performance chops, gaining a devoted following amongst boulderers and sport climbers alike. If you’re a La Sportiva diehard and the Solutions fit you well, by all means stick with them. However, if you’ve struggled with their fit and are looking for something slightly more comfortable, less bulky, and super form-fitting, it might be time to try out the Acro. And it doesn’t hurt that the quality of this shoe is absolutely outstanding. Despite heavy use, our pair shows no signs of frayed stitching or delamination.
The truth is that we have few gripes about the Acro, although we don’t recommend it for less-than-vertical terrain. The shoe is almost completely covered with rubber, making it a toe- and heel-hooking machine, perfect for boulders and steep sport climbing. It also has a full-length 3D ABS midsole, which means that it retains the downturned shape over time. Climbers in general have been very impressed with the fit, too: the Acro comes in both narrow and wide options and fits a wide spectrum of foot sizes. And the most recent addition to the lineup is a “Comp” version, which is a softer variation of the original slipper…
Downturn: Aggressive Upper: Synthetic Closure: Velcro What we like: It’s tough to argue with Chris Sharma. What we don’t: The “Knuckle Box” and “Love Bump” are features you’ll either love or hate.
Designed in part by Chris Sharma, the Shaman is best suited to the kind of climbing Sharma enjoys most: steep, endurance limestone sport routes. They perform incredibly well on this terrain, dominating small pockets, toeing in on positive crimps, toe hooking on tufa-like features, and heeling on small edges. The Trax rubber is not our favorite, but it is super sticky and performs well once you get used to it. Meanwhile, the synthetic upper maintains a tight fit over time, and the Velcro straps are thin enough to give ample room for toe rubber.
All in all, the Shaman is a really good shoe at a very competitive price. That said, Evolv’s unique “Knuckle Box” and “Love Bump” technologies certainly offer a unique experience. The Knuckle Box creates space on top of the foot, making room for toes to sit comfortably, even when curled. The Love Bump, meanwhile, is a physical bump that sits under the ball of the foot, filling the dead space under the toes and pushing them toward the knuckle box. The intention is to create a comfortable space for a downturned foot, and if the fit is right, it accomplishes this goal. But if the fit is not right, it’s really wrong. We definitely recommend trying on the Shaman before buying or choosing an online retailer with a good return policy…
Downturn: Aggressive Upper: Leather/synthetic Closure: Lace What we like: The No-Edge technology is, as the name implies, genius. What we don’t: About as expensive as climbing shoes get.
The La Sportiva Genius is a high-performance climbing shoe, perhaps best known for its role in popularizing No-Edge technology. It’s a highly aggressive model that features a toe box rounded around the natural shape of the toes, rather than the standard beveled edge we’re used to seeing. The result? It can conform to a large surface area better than shoes with edges, resulting in more sensitivity, stickiness, and security on rock. No-Edge technology has been embraced by many, and now is available on a few more Sportiva models, including the men’s and women’s Futura and the Maverink slipper.
The Genius received rave reviews—including from us—upon its release, but now that the fanfare has settled, it’s uncertain as to whether No-Edge technology truly is a game-changer. On the right terrain (think overhung with large footholds, or especially slabby), it allows you to have the messiest of footwork and still stick to the wall. But for vertical face climbing with small edges, you’ll be left with very little to stand on. Overall, the tradeoffs are similar to that of many shoes: you get high performance on one kind of rock, but not on another. Furthermore, when it comes time for a new sole, you’ll have to send your shoes to one of just a few specialized resolers to get the job done…
9. Unparallel Up Mocc ($110)
Downturn: Flat Upper: Leather Closure: Slipper What we like: A durable, comfortable slipper made in the U.S.A. What we don’t: An unlined slipper isn’t for everyone.
If you haven’t yet heard of Unparallel, here’s your introduction. After Five Ten was bought out by Adidas in 2011, their production was moved overseas, leaving their SoCal factories and many former employees idle. Before long, Unparallel was born, taking over Five Ten’s abandoned spaces with a resolve to carry the U.S.-made torch. Now, this grassroots company makes a full line-up of climbing, mountain biking, and commuter shoes, with a dedication to high-quality materials and construction.
Unparallel’s Up Mocc is a classic, unlined leather slipper, great for all-day comfort on everything from long trad climbs to boulder problems. It differs from the popular Five Ten Moccasym in a few ways: for one, it’s cheaper at $110 (compared to the Moccasym at $125). Second, the Up Mocc has a rubber toe patch, which gives the shoe more durability, protection, and performance in cracks. Last, it’s simply a better-made shoe. In the past few years, the quality of the Five Ten Moccasym has diminished—most notably, many have experienced issues with the leather tearing—leaving many former devotees on the lookout for a replacement. And if slippers aren’t your jam (let’s be honest, they’re not for everyone), we recommend taking a look at Unparallel’s complete collection of bouldering, sport, and trad climbing shoes. See the Unparallel Up Mocc
Downturn: Moderate Upper: Leather/synthetic Closure: Velcro What we like: Downturn plus stiffness allows for great edging on vertical face. What we don’t: The wide toe box is good for some, but sloppy for others.
The Otaki is a relatively recent innovation from La Sportiva, along with its sister shoe, the lace-up Kataki. Built on the same last as the Skwama below and with the same P3 technology and S-Heel design, you’d think the Otaki was a bouldering shoe. And it can be—but it’s also so much more. We’ve worn this shoe both on vertical sport climbs and hard finger cracks and have been super impressed with its performance in both environments. In short, you get both the edging capabilities of the Miura VS and the crack-climbing versatility of the Katana Lace. That’s one impressive recipe.
The Otaki (and Kataki) is often touted as the successor to the Katana Lace, but a few major features set it apart. For starters, the Otaki is constructed with a synthetic lining around the toe, reducing the pesky stretch that occurs in the toe box of the Katana. Additionally, the Otaki has a more aggressive downturn (PD 75 vs. the Katana’s PD 55 last), a Velcro closure, and S-Heel technology that make it a superb crossover shoe between technical face climbing and steep bouldering. And wide-footed climbers rejoice: the Otaki is just as comfortable as the Katana. If you’ve struggled to fit into the Miura VS, the Otaki could be a viable solution.
Every golfer wants to drive well. Straight and as long as possible is what most of us want. The TaylorMade R15 is designed to do just that. It is not for beginners but more experienced golfers will appreciate the benefits of this club.
In this review of the TaylorMade R15 Driver, we will explain what it has to offer.
The main purpose of the driver is to get you good distance off the tee. There are, however, a few other things needed. The TaylorMade R15 is all about distance but has a good many other significant advantages.
It is an advanced driver with a host of features and technologies. It is probably not best for beginners but most golfers, especially the mid to low handicappers will gain a lot from the R15.
As we said, distance is the main purpose of a driver. Distance should be your main goal unless perhaps you are an absolute beginner. There are a number of designs and technologies that make up a driver capable of delivering a good distance. The R15 encompasses the bulk of these technologies in their own unique way and then add a few of their own.
Even experienced golfers still want a fair amount of forgiveness. A forgiving driver will allow balls that are not struck perfectly dead center to still travel a good distance without straying too far off course.
This is related to forgiveness. The maximum allowed is 460cc. While this will give you more confidence at address and more forgiveness it can slow your swing down slightly. The R15 is available in a 360 or 330cc build.
Aerodynamic Head Design
The more aerodynamic the head the faster you should be able to swing which will result in more distance. With TaylorMade design and technology, you can be sure the heads are ultra-aerodynamic.
This will determine how high the ball launches. A higher loft will result in a higher launch. While the launch is important, too much loft will reduce distance. As with many aspects of drivers, it is all about finding the right balance. If you struggle with loft look for a driver with a good loft or an adjustable loft that you can work with.
This is important especially for better players that know what they are doing. Adjustability adds a bit to the weight of the driver but can help you dial it in for your specific needs, the course or weather conditions on the day.
The shaft is an important aspect. Weight and length are important but critical is the shaft flex. The faster your swing speed the more stiffness you want in the shaft. Conversely, a slower swinger will want more flex.
TaylorMade were pioneers in drivers introducing the first steel 12-degree loft metal wood as far back as 1979. While they make a range of quality golf clubs they have always been known for highly effective drivers.
They had great success with the R series driver for many years before switching to the SLDR. The R15 marks their return to the popular R series and it has a lot to offer.
It is a driver designed primally for distance while still offering ample forgiveness. It is highly adjustable and delivers a high launch with minimal spin.
What TaylorMade has done with the R15 is build on their extensive experience and success with earlier models and tweaked a few areas to make the R15 faster, longer and more effective than earlier models.
There are a number of technologies that have gone into making the popular R15 the driver it is and we will explore these in more detail.
Plenty of playability
Accurate and forgiving
Value for money
Better players had some challenges shaping their shots perfectly
Some golfers are not crazy about the crown graphics
Not ideal for higher handicap players
Features & Benefits
Low and forward center of gravity
This is one of the design features TaylorMade has used for a while and they have fine-tuned it for the R15. It promotes a good launch with a low spin. This maximizes distance.
Some players might need additional loft to make this work but fortunately, the R15 is highly adjustable. More on that later. You can always work the loft to your style and swing speed.
Speed Pocket and Inverted Cone Technology
As you would expect from a TaylorMade driver, they have incorporated a speed pocket as well as inverted cone technology. These are both tried and proven technologies that promote distance.
The inverted cone technology not only improves distance but also makes the R15 more forgiving and allows for better results on off-center hits.
The Speed Pocket further reduces spin adding more to the speed and distance of the driver. The updated front track system also operates as a Speed Pocket which allows for a larger sweet spot and helps keep the spin low.
While many modern drivers offer adjustability TaylorMade take it to a whole new level with the R15. You can dial the driver into to your exact needs. The 4-degree loft sleeve will give you an optimized launch.
They also sport “new & improved” sliding split weights that can be positioned to the toe for a fade or the heel for a draw. You can literally have the best of both worlds and adjust the driver to your specific needs. This feature is also handy on tricky courses or when the wind is high.
Flight Control Technology TaylorMade call it, with good reason. There are not many drivers that allow for such perfect adjustability.
The head is lighter than previous versions and has been flattened out. This allows for greater ball speed and distance. It is available in a 460 or 430 CC configuration according to your needs. It is a large head, make no mistake, but the sleek appearance allows it to still fly swiftly through the air. The aerodynamic design is exceptional.
The shaft is also new and is the Fujikura Speeder 57 Evolution shaft, one of the leading shafts available. It has a Lamkin UTX Grip. It is a fair 45.5 inches length and available in a range of options including Extra Stiff, Stiff, Regular and Light. Ensure you match the shaft stiffness with your swing speed.
There is no denying that looks are important, particularly with drivers. Most golfers will agree that the R15 is an impressive looking driver. Despite the adjustability and great technology, it looks modest yet powerful. It does have a large head so it has an imposing presence but does not look oversized by any stretch of the imagination.
The crown graphics are subtle yet some are still put off by them. The shape is sleek and refined and appeals to most players. There is a decent alignment aid for those that want one. It is subtle enough for those that do not want one to be able to ignore them but they are for those that prefer them.
The feel at impact is generally favored by most players. It is not as assertive as some other drivers but certainly lets you know what you did and how you did it.
This is a high-tech driver that has a good combination of technologies. The adjustability, Front track Speed Pockets, sliding weights, and low and forward CG combine well to create a driver that delivers distance with fair forgiveness. It is highly adjustable and works well for most mid to low handicappers.
There is no doubt that the TaylorMade R15 is a killer driver but that it is not to say it is the only great one. There are a number of other worthy alternatives.
Here are a few options worth a look:
1. The Ping G400 Max Driver
Ping know their way around a good driver and the G400 Max is a classic example of their design skills and technology. It has a large sweet spot so is highly forgiving but does not compromise on distance.
It also sports a center of gravity near the rear that delivers distance combined with forgiveness. It is a versatile driver that works well for a range of players and is not just for better players.
It is forgiving and hits long and far. It is not the cheapest driver you will find but it delivers the goods and is extremely popular and well-liked.
2. The Cobra King F9 Speedback
As quality drivers go, the Cobra King F9 Speedback is a serious contender. It also features a low and back weight position for optimal COG and has a CNC-milled face. The entire design supports speed and has a fair amount of forgiveness.
It also features great adjustability and the interchangeable sole weights range from 2g to 14g for optimal performance according to your game. The MyFly hosel also allows for flexibility and fine-tuning of the paly on this driver.
3. The Titleist TS2 Driver Review
Another legendary driver, the TS2 uses legendary Titleist technologies that have made them famous. The adjustable hosel and Speed Chassis stand out. They combine well to give the driver forgiveness and make it workable for a wide range of golfers.
This thin clubface promotes energy transfer, speed, and distance. In a driver designed for distance, this is all-important.
There is no doubt about it, your driver is one of the most important clubs in your bag. You need one you can rely on. All golfers have different needs but distance and accuracy rate amongst the top for golfers at all levels.
The TaylorMade delivers on both aspects and still offers so much more. It is undeniably a long driver which is vital. It is forgiving and accurate. At the same time, it still gives you good playability and control for a distance driver. There is not much more you could ask for. If you are looking for distance and control, the R15 is a good option.
When selecting the best driver for your needs you have to consider your skill level as well as your main priorities. This will help to guide you to select the best driver to fit your needs.
Consider your needs and skill level. If you play a relatively decent game you cannot go wrong with the TaylorMade R15. It is a player’s driver that will still work well for the mid handicappers. Gain a few feet with your tee shots and maintain accuracy with the TaylorMade made R15 driver.
Golf equipment makers are dependent on many aspects of player selection. There is no piece of equipment that would suit all players.
Drivers are the most difficult club in the bag to execute to its full potential. The main reasons for this are the length of the shaft, the speed of the swing and a flatter swing plane than most other clubs.
2020 has seen a number of brands with ground-breaking innovation making purchasing a driver an exciting time. Most significant advancements were achieved on face technology and testing the COR limits maximizing ball speed.
Most players will stick to tried and tested drivers for many years with the average number of rounds that a diver is used being around 200 – 300. This excludes the visits to the driving range.
There are many categories for comparing equipment and a few categories are mentioned below. This review will focus on the category where there are the most active players namely the Most Forgiving Drivers for Mid to High Handicappers.
Although most drivers were released as pairs, e.g. TaylorMade M5/M6, we will highlight the major differences between the clubs but only review the one that is most applicable to the mid to high handicappers.
It is advisable to have a club fitting with your local club pro to ensure that you will gain maximum benefit and consistency from your driver
The player skill level should play a big role in the decision of the equipment purchased. Although the advertisers would want you to believe that the newest driver would add a major distance advantage to your game, this is not always the case.
Purchase the equipment that will suit your game and budget rather than spending vast amounts on equipment that will not add value. It is recommended that the money is rather spent to do a proper fitting with a professional to achieve better results.
This review is based on the intermediate players (mid to high handicappers). A brief description of the categories for the reader to decide whether they fall into this category.
The players in this group require as much assistance as possible. In most cases, this means less equipment, basic fitting until a constant swing is established. Purchase the most forgiving clubs on the market and improve your game.
The majority of players fall into this category and this is where the equipment reviewed will add the most value.
The clubs chosen should mostly be forgiving for the off-center hits as up to 90 percent of hits in this category are still off-center.
Even in this category players, even some professional players, still use forgiving equipment.
Most heads released conforms to the maximum of 460cc. It is advisable to purchase a driver with the maximum size and very few players will benefit from smaller sized heads.
The loft of your driver should be in line with your assessed club-head speed.
20 – 14 Degrees
85 – 94
13 – 12 Degrees
95 – 104
11 –,10 Degrees
105 – 115
9 – 7 Degrees
7 – 4 Degrees
The adjustability of the driver will play a big role depending on the skill and the personal preferences of the player.
Some players prefer to tinker with the setup on a regular basis where others are more inclined to take standard options and concentrate more on the workability of the ball.
It is important to note that adjustability will add weight to the driver as well as increase the cost. Not everyone needs adjustability.
If you do select a club with the adjustability, take the time to understand how it works so that it can help and not hinder your game.
Although there are many factors that play a role in the shaft, flex is probably the most important. The table below can be used as a guideline.
53 – 62
L – Ladies
63 – 76
100 – 110
A – Seniors / Amateur
77 – 92
110 – 139
R – Regular
93 – 107
140 – 160
S – Stiff
X – Tour Xtra Stiff
The lighter the shaft, the faster you can swing it. Lighter shafts are a bit whippier than heavier shafts.
The length of the shaft plays a role in the consistency of the shot and strike. Have the shaft fitted for length and you will reap the benefits.
With the original jailbreak technology plus an AI designed face generating thousands of virtual prototypes resulted in increased ball speed across the meat of the face. The stable head accommodates off-center hits without major loss of direction and distance.
Flash Face Technology for low spin and high MOI
Jailbreak Technology for faster ball speeds and therefore distance
Adjustable Perimeter Weighting allows for control and versatility
Some find the crown design distracting
The sound is not to all golfers liking
New Flash Face technology is as a result of AI technology being put to use to design the new face of the drivers.
The AI simulated in excess of 15000 iterations to set the correct thickness across the face and remain within the trampoline effect parameters as set out by the USGA.
The new technology allowed the thickness reduction from 5/1000 to 2/1000 inch by forging the inside then milling the front pushing the boundaries of legal limits.
The results of the improvements have been proven and the majority of players have seen speed gains of up to 10 MPH while still conforming to regulations.
The increase in ball speed necessitates a stronger face. Epic Flash Face is tempered for strength before being welded onto the head to create the 595C Super Aged Forged Titanium clubhead.
The club retains the original jailbreak technology from the Epic range into the new Flash Face design. The Epic Flash model will suit more players than the Sub Zero.
The Epic Flash Sub Zero driver is more suitable for better players wanting to shape the ball flight than the Epic Flash.
The classic Callaway curved line is set back from the leading edge and the club sits well at address. The head-on the Sub Zero version has a slightly deeper head giving it the impression that it is more forgiving.
The Flash Face is a series of thick and thin swirls that give it the appearance likened to an ear. The Epic Flash is neither round and compact nor stretched and triangular.
The boldness of the head cover design has to be applauded. The crown has thin green and gold stripes on a backdrop of black carbon fiber. At address, you can see the ball framed by two lines of white dots to assist in alignment.
The look is improved by the laser-etched lines together with the five larger rectangles around the sweet spot at the end of the lines. The Callaway Epic Flash Sub Zero driver comes in a smaller more compact head as the standard model without losing any of the features.
The sound of the ball meeting the Flash Face sounds explosive without hurting the more sensitive ears. It will intimidate those playing partners that have a lesser ego though.
It’s in the middle of the sound spectrum between a hollow sound and wooden-bat-solid. The volume and pitch are neither too high nor too low. The sound is explosive without hurting the more sensitive ears.
Generally, there is great audible and sensory feedback through the hands that will speed up the adjustment process when playing with the new driver.
Shafts come standard with a Golf Pride Align grip helping alignment through a raised ridge on the back to help with hand alignment.
The Cobra is the driver to beat in 2020 is the best value for money driver as it is the least expensive, not cheap, 2020 premium driver.
Through the balance of colors and visuals to appeal to a bigger market than before.
Low deep CG
Good speed and distance
CNC milling allows for consistency across the face
Good adjustability options
Some golfers do not appreciate the feedback and muted sound produced
Graphics are distracting to some
Cobra’s King F9 Speedback Driver aero package was inspired by supercars that Cobra dubbed “aeroficiency”. The ground-breaking combination of low CG and an aerodynamic head is the first of its kind resulting in more distance from faster clubhead speed and reduces spin.
Aerodynamic enhancements and enhanced rigidity of the carbon crown is achieved through the strategically placed “PWR Ridges maximizing speed and distance.
A reduction in drag is achieved through the use of lightweight polymer crown trips and titanium sole trips positioned relative to the direction of airflow.
The more triangular shape compared to other drivers on the market helps to slide the club through the air. The high placement of weight high on the clubhead causes a loss in distance due to increased spin.
By raising the perimeter skirt and rounding the leading edges to increase speed and stability through drag reduction, Cobra created what they call an “Aeroficient” driver.
The main color on the 2019 range is a yellow and black color scheme with a secondary option called Avalanche color of snow which is not quite pure white.
The sound and feel of the King F9 driver was also a little better too and combined with a good selection of quality shafts you get a club that feels very poised and stable.
Increased ball speed is achieved through the aerodynamic crown and restyled sole.
The most noticeable change from the 2018 model is that the blue color is replaced by black to achieve wider acceptance in a market that is returning to the conservative side.
The polished weave pattern on the crown provides a confident feel. The less pronounced sole utilizing Wave Technology has fewer ridges resulting in a stiffened sole and improved ball speed. Here is a markable improvement in feel from its predecessor and the ST190 with a reduction in the pitch off the face compared to the ST180.
Mizuno’s use of Harmonic Impact Technology results in a fine-tuned solid sound at impact. The improved adjustability with the Fast Track increases the workability of the club allowing for control of spin and direction.
The ST190 is a simpler, weight-back driver with the ST190G being super adjustable with two sliding weight tracks allowing for fine-tuning of spin and shaping shots.
The ST190 retains the distance of its predecessor but creating too much spin. The ST190 Cortech Face is 10% than the rest of the head while retaining the same Forged SP700 titanium for the rest of the head.
Mizuno offers 26 shafts without an upcharge.
The ST190 is a competitive driver in the current premium driver market with the company returning to a dark look rather than the limited appeal of the blue drivers of the previous model. The ST 190 is a competitive driver but by no means a class leader.
Ping is not the golf business rushing into equipment changes that have no benefit to the player. The G410 Plus is the first time that Ping has added movable weights to their drivers.
Ping’s new G410 SFT (Straight Flight Technology) Driver is their most fade correcting driver yet built with a draw bias
Maximized clubhead speed is achieved through a lighter swing weight but allows additional to achieve a square face at impact
The Ping G410 range has a slightly lighter color than the preceding G400 range, which is only really noticeable when placing the clubs alongside each other.
The long white grooved lines on the face (Turbulators) is meant to assist with alignment when addressing the ball.
The aerodynamically shaped crown has more-efficient Turbulator Technology creating less drag during the downswing creating improved clubhead speed and distance. The patented heat-treatment process used by Ping to create the precision forged face creates a thinner and hotter impact are resulting in maximum flexing.
An awesome sound and feel are achieved through the process of forging and the head’s internal geometry. By adding movable weights for the first time, Ping has produces its most workable driver to date.
This fist moveable weight product from Ping is highly recommended for people that are fighting a fade bias and that want to move to a more draw-biased club. It is recommended that the draw bias be set on the G410 Plus.
The M6 is an all-round offering that is one of the easiest drivers to hit currently on the market. The combination of soft looks, stable head, great sound, speed, and forgiveness will suit the majority of mid to high handicap golfers.
Impressive ball speeds and distance
No major improvements on earlier versions
TaylorMade introduces new technology named ‘speed injected twist-face’ in the new M6 driver pushing the boundaries at the edge of the Coefficient of restitution (COR) yet staying within the legal limits of speed regulations.
The technological improvements despite, the player still experiences more forgiveness than in previous models.
More ball speed is generated as by a larger sweet spot resulting from the screws in the clubface.
The M6 player would likely:
Require maximum forgiveness
Have limited to no need for adjustability
Be able to work the ball
Not be overly concerned with spin
TaylorMade M6 Specs:
Length: 45.75 inches
Loft: 9, 10.5, 12 degree
D3 swing weight
Adjustable Loft Sleeve
The M6 has a sleeker aerodynamic shape than the M4 before it. The crown consists of a 6 layer carbon fiber sole allowing for weight to be applied elsewhere to improve stability.
With the weight savings, engineers were able to create a sleek, aerodynamic shape inclusive of the new ‘inertia generator.’ The inertia generator houses the additional discretionary weight extremely low and back for maximum forgiveness while lowering the CG compared to previous models.
The M6 has a lower and deeper weight in the sole thanks to a carbon sole. The M5 has a moveable inverted T-track on the sole allowing for a 20 gram movable to be installed. The matte black traditional shaped crown inspires confidence and assists with the easy of alignment.
The sound off the face is more muted than the M4 with a stronger feel through the ball.
There are four key features to the design of Speed Injected Twist Face that allow TaylorMade to maximize ball speed;
Ultra-thin Titanium face with redesigned Inverted Cone Technology (ICT)
Reengineered, more-flexible Hammerhead 2.0 slot
Internal support foam with variable amounts of injected resin
A proprietary algorithm to tune each head, which is inspected, measured and then tuned for maximum speed and to ensure conformity.
The TS range is a major improvement on the 917 range with increased feel and performance. With TS range, Titleist is back in contention regarding distance whilst continuing to have consistency.
High clubhead speeds and good distance
Some find less control with the longer shaft
From start to finish, the TS (Titleist Speed) Project was about driving ball speed and unlocking a level of performance that golfers simply couldn’t ignore. – Josh Talge, VP, Titleist Golf Club Marketing
The TS2 allows for a straighter higher-launching fairway finder. The TS3 is more for traditionalists that prefer to optimize performance and shape shots.
The weight chamber at the back of the sole allows for an increase or decrease of the head’s weight. This, in turn, assists in choosing the shaft as a result of the changes in MOI and swing weight.
To assist in the effectiveness of the thinner features the Titleist designers streamlined head shape of the TS2 and TS3 drivers by raising the top of the club just behind the leading edge.
This reduced drag by 20% and assisted in achieving swing faster clubhead speeds. An improvement in aerodynamics was furthermore achieved by a steeper chamber between the face and the top of the crown,
The titanium crown is 20% thinner than the 917 drivers and in the process shaved 20% or 1mm of the crown. In terms of the face where 6g was cut of the weight which is a tremendous amount in terms of clubhead weight.
The face is now .35 mm thinner resulting in Titleist’s thinnest ever face. This was achieved through the implementation of Titleist’s Radial VFT (variable face thickness) concept which reduces the weight of the head and with the Speed Chassis system at the heart of unlocking speed.
Titleist drivers have improved 12% in forgiveness over previous drivers as a result of the changes.
This steeper camber from the face to the top of the crown and then a sharper drop off behind that is effectively what improves the aerodynamics. It holds the air closer to the head for longer in the same way these air tripping devices like SpeedSteps and Turbulators do and is just another way of achieving a similar result.
The Speed Chassis lowered and deepened CG more than any previous Titleist drivers. New lighter and longer stock shaft add to the increase in speed gains.
Mitsubishi Chemical Kuro Kage Black Dual Core 50: Lightweight, high launch and spin shaft. Straight Flight Weighting (SFW) reduces fade flight.
Mitsubishi Chemical Tensei AV (Aluminium Vapor) Blue 55: Lightweight, mid-launch/spin shaft that also features SFW technology. The AV stands for, which is a coated weave by the hands that’s tighter, denser, and thinner for control.
Project X HZRDUS Smoke Black 60: Low/mid-launch and spin shaft with a higher balance point to optimize the swing weight. An 80-gram shaft is also available at no upcharge.
Project X Even Flow T1100 White 65: Heavy with low launch/spin. An 85-gram shaft is also available at no upcharge.
Final Thoughts On Choosing a New Driver in 2020
The reason there are so many drivers is that there is no “one size fits all”. We all have different priorities and needs. A good driver that works well with your swing style and speed is an essential piece of equipment. While all clubs are important, there is a good reason people invest more time, effort and money in their drivers and driving skills. Getting it right is important.
We have presented some of the best golf drivers and there is something for everyone. Consider your needs, your strengths, and weaknesses and select the best one for your game.
The Callaway Epic Flash/Epic Flash Sub Zero stands out as our top pick for the best golf driver for this year. The technology and design of this driver give it forgiveness and distance. It is a pleasure to drive and will help many golfers perform better off the tee.
Not too long ago we sent out an email asking you to identify some of your favorite gadgets. We got some absolutely amazing feedback, and quite frankly, you guys mentioned some things (ok…lots of things) we never would have thought of…and you mentioned the same things again, and again, and again.
This list, compiled based on feedback from our readers, isn’t a list of what’s hot. It’s a list of 10 really cool things you guys say actually work.
GOLFSHOT CLASSIC APP
GPS and Scoring Apps were popular choices among our readers, but none more so than Golfshot Classic. The interface is clean and intuitive, stat tracking is reasonably robust, as is the feature set as a whole. Some will point out that the social media and interactivity pieces aren’t as advanced as some of its competitors, while others will ask why your golf gps and scorecard needs to be social at all.
Because not every course has ball washers, and when they do they, sometimes they’re bone dry, or worse, filled with what smells like raw sewage…. several of you told us that the BallZee is one of your favorite accessories. Who the hell are we to argue? Besides, who doesn’t appreciate squeaky clean balls?“IT’S STUPID AND I GOT IT AS A GAG GIFT AT XMAS ONE YEAR, BUT I LOVE THIS THING” – BRAM
When we did our golf tee test, 4 Yards More came out on top. That’s cool, but what’s equally as impressive is that you guys think 4 Yards More is a must have. Our readers cited durability, consistent tee height and a variety of sizes, as the reasons why they love this particular tee.
Frogger Brush, Frogger Towel, take your pick as both received multiple mentions from those who replied to our email. While the towel is great, we gave the edge to the brush because of the lower price point, its replaceable brushes, and the built-in groove cleaner. Toss in the retractable cord (and Frogger did), and you’ve got a no-brainer accessory for your bag.
EYELINE PRACTICE T ALIGNMENT ROD SYSTEM
Sure, feel free to pick up some run of the mill driveway stakes from Home Depot, we’re not going to fault you for that (not even a little). For our list we chose the Practice T Alignment Rod System from Eyeline golf. We like the added durability, the anchoring system (works with most golf tees), and the crosspiece which keeps the two rods anchored together in an adjustable T-shape . The crosspiece (also available separately) works with Tour Sticks, and those Home Depot grade reflector rods as well.
SUN MOUNTAIN DRY HOOD
The rain hood that comes with your golf bag sucks (they all do, I’ve never seen one that doesn’t). The Sun Mountain Dry Hood is the first. It works with any golf bag, keeps your clubs dry and more importantly easily accessible. It also easily collapses and fits nicely where your old garbage rain cover used to take up space.
IPING PUTTING APP AND CRADLE
PING awesome little free app works like a launch monitor for your putter. It analyzes key aspects of your putting stroke and shows you how consistent (or not so consistent) your putting stroke really is, and will recommend a putter based type of putting stroke you have (straight back-straight through, slight arc, strong arc). While the app is free, the cradle that allows you to easily attach your phone to you putter shaft will set you back about $30.
You guys hammered us with recommendations for several of Martin Chuck’s training products. Sure, we love the Tour Striker Educator, but this list gives us the opportunity to introduce you to the new Smart Ball. The Smart Ball helps keep you connected while eliminating that nasty chicken wing action. It weighs next to nothing, and because it’s inflatable, the Smart Ball takes up nearly zero space in your bag.
Does HackGolf have it wrong? Is the answer to making more putts to actually shrink the size of the cup? No 3-Putt fits into a standard golf hole and reduces the size of the hole by 68%. If that’s too daunting, use only the outer ring for a 42% reduction. When you practice with a smaller cup, the real cup will suddenly look a whole lot bigger.
The final app on our list, Tour Tempo is the only thing we can offer that’s had its science validated by a Yale University study (for whatever that’s worth). As the name suggest, Tour Tempo (available for iPhone and Android) helps you integrate the same tempo used by Tour Players into your game. Over 100K golfers, including Major Championship winners have used Tour Tempo to improve their games. Why not see if it can improve yours?
2 FOR THE ROAD
While we didn’t feel right including them in the Top 10, several of you mentioned the sharpie (we like the mini), and the classic ball retriever. So here goes…
The Sharpie is almost a gimme. Doesn’t everyone mark their balls with a Sharpie? The Sharpie Mini is available in a wide variety of colors which gives you the freedom to make your mark just about any way you see fit. Toss it in your back, or clip it to the outside with a carabiner. Either way, the simple sharpie is the closest thing to an absolutely must have on this list.
IGOTCHA ULTIMATE BALL RETRIEVER
While some will be philosophically opposed to the inclusion of aball retriever (we’re right there with you…almost) several of you argued their merits on the basis of cost savings. Likely the only gadget on this list that will actually pay for itself, the 18′ iGotcha Ultimate extends long enough to reach into (and probably across) most of the hazards you’ll likely need to fish your precious balls out of. We can’t guarantee you won’t pull out a disproportionate amount of TopFlite’s, but it won’t take many ProV1s before you’ve more than broken even.
The initial Aer Travel Load 1.0 was the outcome of an effective Kickstarter project in 2016, which in impact likewise introduced the San Francisco-based travel equipment manufacturer Aer. The Aer Travel Pack 2 is, as the name goes, its follower, intending to enhance on the initial style.
Minimalistic and appealing style
Superior quality products guaranteeing resilience
Excellent internal company with great deals of pockets
Extra security functions
Laptop computer compartment does not have a ‘hammock’
Side compression straps obstruct of the primary compartment often
This travel knapsack is initially tailored towards “one bag travel”, which suggests it’s best for visitors like me who likes putting whatever in a single carry-on knapsack. The important things is however, the Aer Travel Load 2 isn’t that huge (it’s 33 litres) so if you’re preparing to load heavy, then this travel knapsack may not work best for you. However what I enjoy about this knapsack is its style that fits well in a metropolitan environment and I certainly won’t think twice to bring this in my daily journeys.
What’s got me more thinking about this Aer Travel Load 2 is the variety of company pockets it has — from its external pockets to its interior compartments. It’s certainly a huge aid when it pertains to arranging my things completely, keeping the tiniest yet crucial things such as my passport and visa approximately the biggest prized possessions I have like my clothing and video camera.
I believe a terrific carry-on pack requires to be numerous things: it should be the best size, have a smooth style, and have sufficient pockets to arrange your things. Frequently the 2nd variation of an item takes an essential evolutionary action, exercising the kinks from the initial style — however is that the case with the Aer Travel Load 2? Well, let’s take a more detailed take a look at its functions.
Style and Product
The very first thing I observed is the Aer Travel Load’s style and product. Prior to I even got the opportunity to put my hands on it, it was quite apparent that this is a quality item. Its outside is made from a strong 1680D Cordura ballistic nylon, which need to make this a bag that will last.
The Aer Travel Load 2 carry-on knapsack is likewise offered in 2 colours: grey and black camouflage. Both are certainly a thumbs-up for me, as these elegant however soft colors won’t get a lot of eyes taking a look at it when you bring it on service journeys or travelling in a huge city. Its minimalistic style is likewise a big win, and Aer has actually sensibly picked not to plaster its logo design all over it (unlike other producers like, state, Nomatic). This restraint has actually caused a knapsack that looks excellent however isn’t too fancy either.
What I enjoy about this bag is how its primary compartment opens all the method down. There are likewise 2 extra zippered compartments on its flaps that let you quickly separate a couple of products. The shoe compartment along the bottom is another welcome addition. It can quickly fit anything from some reverse tennis shoes to strong boots, though the good news is it likewise barely uses up any area inside the primary compartment when not in usage. You might likewise utilize this compartment to quickly different utilized clothing or a towel.
Zippers might be a little information however they’re certainly something that matters a lot. Whether it rains or shines, your personal belongings will be well protected behind some YKK AquaGuard Zippers. Definitely, not all knapsacks have weather-resistant zippers (the Tortuga Setout, for instance, lacks them), so this is a terrific function worth pointing out. The zipper likewise have actually little rings connected letting you quickly lock them with a padlock.
Straps and Deals With
In spite of having a number of straps and manages spread all throughout, the Aer Travel Load 2 is marketed as a dangle-free knapsack. It guides its leading and sides so it’s simple to raise the bag and bring it like a genuine carry-on.
On its back panel there’s a pass-through for baggage, making it simple to connect to a rolling travel suitcase. The side straps will let you compress your things if it isn’t packed or if you simply wish to move some things around. Simply one point about these side compression straps: they do hinder access to the primary compartment a bit.
The Aer Travel Load 2 has one zippered external pocket. I’d state it’s in fact amusing to have this additional pocket because a great deal of individuals, like me, would require to access some random products while taking a trip — and searching to the extremely bottom of my bag simply to get a piece of product is the last thing I’d wish to do. The external pocket goes midway through the bag so you can fit medium-sized things such as a boarding pass, little books, or most likely your preferred travel manual.
There’s likewise another pocket on the top of the bag. This comes truly useful whenever you require to get something rapidly. It’s fantastic for keeping treats, or a phone, or a set of sunglasses.
Its interior pockets are excellent as they offer great deals of compartments of differing sizes. You can certainly save little things in here without losing it in simply a huge primary compartment. It’s a lot easier to track your things without needing to purchase additional pouches or packaging cubes simply to have it arranged. There’s a pocket where you can fit sizes of a basic note pad, pens, phone, or maybe a portable power bank. It’s likewise an ideal storage for large things like cable televisions or charges.
Fortunately about its interior pockets is that it doesn’t require you to utilize them. It’s simply there – if you desire it, you can utilize it. If not, it can simply sit there without using up much area.
Laptop Computer Compartment
The laptop computer compartment is put at the back, which in regards to ergonomics and load balancing I’m constantly a fan of. There’s no requirement to stress over unexpected rains since even the zippers utilized, a zipper from YKK Aquaguard is definitely water resistant.
If there’s something I’d explain in this carry-on travel knapsack is its bottom part. Although it does have some sort of cushioning, it doesn’t ensure that my laptop computer is protected whenever it touches the ground. I still choose laptop computer compartment where the bottoms are cut some inches prior to its floor, so it doesn’t quickly can be found in direct contact with the ground. Reasonably, you’d need to toss this knapsack around like a hulk for this to end up being a problem, however it would be great to see such a function included on a future Travel Load 3.
AER TRAVEL PACK 1 VS 2: HOW DO THEY DIFFER?
The Aer Travel Load 2 is quite a development and not a transformation. It does include many variations and enhancements.
Products: The material utilized is the very same as the very first variation. The only modifications are the foams placed that include sponge foam, EPE foam, and EVA foam.
New Straps: This 2.0 variation of the Aer carry-on travel knapsack was upgraded with larger straps making it more comfy when you bring it on your journey.
Outside (bottle holder) pockets: Compared to the two-sides pocket discovered in the front panel of variation 1.0, this upgraded variation has a smoother appearance with just one outside pocket.
Laptop computer pocket: Unlike other knapsacks which have their integrated laptop computer sleeves inside the primary compartment, the Aer Travel Load 2 deals higher availability by having a different zipper.
Lockable zippers: Aside from having actually top quality zippers stitched on each Aer Travel Load 2, it has an extra security worth with its zipper having holes.
Optional Hip Belt: If you’re preparing to load heavy, you may wish to utilize a hip belt for additional convenience. Nevertheless, bear in mind that this one is offered individually.
Baggage Pass-through: It has an integrated strap where you can put your carry-on with another baggage (such as a rolling travel suitcase).
Just How Much DOES IT FIT?
The Travel Load 2 is certainly targeted at those visitors who wish to avoid the trouble of having their bags examined or paying extra baggage costs. However let’s think about the capability of this travel daypack and just how much it can truly fit.
This variation 2.0 of the Aer Travel Load steps 21.5” X 13.5” X 8.5” with a volume capability of 33L. It weighs about 3.7 pounds (or 1.7kg) so it isn’t that much of a light-weight travel knapsack. Technically speaking, its measurements likewise go beyond the requirement for some budget plan airline companies. Reasonably, a lot of airline companies don’t truly pay attention to these information so I’d state you’re excellent to go. I’ve taken a trip with much bigger carry-on bags than this.
The bag’s structure is truly excellent, however bear in mind it’s not optimal carry-on size. Even if that’s the case, it can still fit a great quantity of things. Plus indicate the stiff structure of the knapsack making whatever inside quickly compressible.
The bag is extremely roomy for a commuter bag, best for a vacation, however perhaps a bit tight for a longer journey. While the Travel Load 2 may not be the very first option for any globe-trotting backpackers on a months-long journey, it’s fantastic for the periodic much shorter journey, or as a bigger-size daily bag.
Though the genuine secret is, as I’ve pointed out in previous blog sites too, to load wisely! If you load just the important things you genuinely require, you’ll discover this an extremely flexible knapsack. If you’ll utilize this bag a lot, I extremely advise including the optional attachable waist trap.
Minimalistic and appealing style
Superior quality products guaranteeing resilience
Excellent internal company with great deals of pockets
Extra security functions
Laptop computer compartment does not have a ‘hammock’
Side compression straps obstruct of the primary compartment often
Does not have load lifting straps
Water bottle pocket a little tight.
General, the Aer Travel Load 2 is a terrific knapsack! It didn’t dissatisfy as the follower of the well-liked Aer Travel Load 1; it appears Aer has actually taken all the feedback it got on the initial style and made some little however vital upgrades. The size is best for daily usage or for a light packer, however perhaps not for long journeys.
Looking for the best backpack for travel? Then it can be challenging to find one that ticks all the boxes!
A good travel backpack has to be comfortable, easy to organize, and durable as well.
I’ve been traveling for 8 years, so I know from experience what to look for in a backpack. I’ve also been reviewing TONS of backpacks over the last four years — and will share with you my favorites here.
Quick Overview:Choosing the Best Travel Backpack in 2020
While many retailers will often push you the biggest or most expensive backpacks, I think carry-on size backpacks are often ideal for most trips. It’s better to have something light and convenient, not something that will bog you down. Carry-on size also lets you save time and avoid additional luggage fees on some airlines.
In some cases you may, of course, need something a bit bigger.
Backpack sizes are typically expressed in liters (i.e., the volume they can contain). You’ll notice that travel packs sometimes have this number in their product name. Thinking in liters might not be totally intuitive, so here are my 2 cents on some of the common sizes:
Too small unless you’re going on a weekend trip, or you’re super minimalist. This size is usually for day-packs or commuter bags.
A happy sweet spot! Perfect for shorter trips but equally for trips lasting many weeks or months (if you know how to pack light). Ideal for traveling within one climate and don’t need to pack for every type of weather. This size is usually accepted as carry-on luggage, saving you time and check-in fees when flying.
Good if you need extra space. Not everyone is a light packer so some will prefer these sizes despite the extra weight.
NOPE. Only for trekking and camping expeditions. The internal support frames often already weigh several kilos. This is overkill for most travelers. But if you need to store a tent and other gear, this might be the size for you.
Admittedly, I’m a bit of a light packer. In my guide to packing light, I show you exactly how I pack my carry-on bag.
Carry-ons (around 40 liters) are often the best backpacks for traveling — at least, if you’re staying in hotels, apartments, or hostels and don’t need to bring any bulky gear. You’ll end up with less weight on your back, more freedom of movement, and much less hassle.
BEST CARRY-ON TRAVEL BACKPACKS
TOP PICK for all-purpose travel pack
Maximum carry-on size
Excellent organizer compartments
Laptop compartment at the back (good for load balance)
Adjustable waist & chest straps
Harness can be stowed and waist belt detached
Zippers are weather-resistant but not rubber sealed
The Tortuga Setout is a high-quality, lightweight, and attractively priced backpack, making it my go-to recommendation. The design is quite versatile, making it equally suited to globe-trotting journeys and shorter trips. The main target market is urban/air travel, but I’ve also taken this bag into more adventurous situations (e.g. travel in Asia) and been super happy with it.
As of 2019 there are several Setout editions. The 35L and 45L versions have a larger capacity while staying within carry-on size limits. The Setout Divide is a more compact 26L size, but it can expand up to 34L.
All versions share certain features. Firstly, the clamshell design will give you easy access to all your stuff. The harness has wide straps making it very comfortable, while the back panel comes with proper padding and ventilation space. On the new 2019 editions, you’ll even find load lifter straps. (You can ignore any old reviews that say it doesn’t have one.)
The hip belt is nicely cushioned and has two zipped pockets, which is a handy feature normally reserved for trekking bags. For a traveler, that just means having two quick-access pockets whenever you’re on the move.
Don’t need that hip belt? Then you can detach the whole thing! The entire harness is entirely stowable as well, essentially turning the Setout into a duffel bag if needed. Despite all these features, the Setout weighs only about 2kg or 4.6lbs, making it lighter than many other packs.
The Tortuga Setout currently retails for $199 (via Tortuga’s online shop). Note that Tortuga doesn’t ship internationally, so if you’re not in the US you may want to scroll further and consider other backpacks instead.
Tortuga also sells the Outbreaker, which is aimed at professional travelers. It has increased weather-resistance and its harness can be fully adjusted to your height, but it’s also heavier and bulkier. In the ‘advanced’ backpack category, I think the Peak Design and Nomatic bags are better than the Outbreaker.
This bag may be overkill for budget travelers (if you are, have a look at the Tortuga Setout or Osprey Farpoint) but if you don’t mind spending a bit more, then I think Peak Design’s 45L Travel Backpack is simply the best you can get.
Honestly, it’s close to perfect. Using it just feels good. All the little touches — like the magnetic pouches, hidden straps, and clever storage spaces — create a totally fluid experience.
I love that the design is thoughtful and restrained. Other backpacks I’ve reviewed tacked on too many features, leading to overly tight spaces, too heavy materials, or just too many extraneous elements. But not so with the Peak Design backpack, which has loads of features but is still lightweight and easy to access.
Despite its sturdy 400D nylon shell, which holds its shape when unloaded, this backpack weighs just 2.05 kg (4.5 lb). Its default capacity is 35L, staying well within any airline carry-on size limits. But if you need just a bit of extra space, you can expand it to 45L (by unzipping an expansion area), truly making this an all-purpose travel bag.
To get the most out of this backpack, I recommend getting the Peak Design accessories. The toiletry bag, electronics pouch, and packing cubes are just as thoughtfully designed and fit the backpack perfectly. You can read my full review here.
The Farpoint 40 is hugely popular in the backpacking scene. I see them constantly in hostels around the world. I do think it’s an ideal backpack for traveling on a budget — I myself once took one on a 2-year round-the-world backpacking trip and loved it.
I even took it trekking in the Himalayas for a week and had no issues. (Mind you, I was staying in guesthouses, so I didn’t carry a tent or sleeping bag. Otherwise, I’d have gone with an Osprey Atmos 65.)
Many travel packs come with just a flimsy harness, but not so with the Farpoint 40. It’s super comfortable thanks to a padded back panel, well-padded shoulder straps, and a full-size hip belt. Six different adjustment straps make it easy to distribute the weight along your entire back.
One downside is that it doesn’t have quite as many organizational features as, for example, the Tortuga Setout or Osprey Porter 46. I also wish the laptop compartment was placed at the back, where it’s more secure and better balances the weight. But at this lower price point, maybe you can’t really complain so much.
There’s also the Osprey Fairview 40, which is the exact same bag but with a women’s specific fit and a different color.
The Porter 46 is an interesting alternative to the Farpoint 40. It seems designed from a different starting point; the Farpoint 40 feels almost like a down-sized trekking bag made suitable for general travel, while the Porter 46 feels like a duffel bag that got upgraded to a backpack.
It has padded walls that stand up, whereas the walls of the Farpoint 40 will fold in when not packed. It has more side-pockets and a better built-in travel organizer. But also its harness is thinner and not as well-padded, making it less ideal for heavier loads or walking long distances. It’s basically more of a city bag.
I think the Porter 46 is more suited for urban/general travel, while the Farpoint is perhaps better for adventure travel. The Porter 46’s frame is slightly clunky and wide and it isn’t quite as comfortable on your back, but it’s a lot easier to store your stuff inside and feels more versatile. It also does a better job of carrying a laptop. You can read my full review here.
Quick answer: Best travel backpack overview
Finally, a quick comparison of all the top backpacks mentioned in this post.
The perfect backpacking camping tent is light-weight, roomy, and hard sufficient to deal with any harsh weather condition that you can toss at it. It’s a huge classification, however fortunately for backpackers is that camping tent innovation has actually come a long method even over the previous couple of years and there are a variety of terrific alternatives varying from ultralight to spending plan. Below are our choices for the very best backpacking camping tents of 2020. For more background details, see our backpacking tent comparison table and buying advice listed below the choices.
What we like: Strikes an excellent balance amongst weight, area, and functions.
What we don’t: Thin products need more care than a lot of the non-ultralight camping tents listed below.
For a backpacking camping tent that deftly stabilizes low weight, interior area, and functions, look no more than Huge Agnes’s Copper Spur. This camping tent assisted specify the ultralight classification and still is going strong lots of performances later on. All informed, you get 29 square feet of flooring area for the two-person variation, strong headroom with a hubbed pole style, and 2 doors, at simply 3 pounds 1 ounce.
It’s much lighter than completing designs like the MSR Hubba Hubba and Nemo Dagger listed below, and without the style compromises of Huge Agnes’ Tiger Wall and Fly Creek. And for 2 backpackers who desire a little additional space, the three-person variation of the Copper Stimulate deals a healthy 41 square feet of area at 3 pounds 14 ounces.
For 2020, Huge Agnes has actually launched a brand-new variation of the Copper Stimulate HV UL2. Modifications consist of brand-new vestibule awnings that remains open utilizing your travelling poles, upgraded storage, and a somewhat greater weight at 3 pounds 2 ounces. We are taking the brand-new design to Patagonia for screening this January and eagerly anticipate getting it out in negative conditions, however the older variation presently is on sale while materials last, which is a huge factor we offer it approval here. With either design, bear in mind that the 20-denier flooring material is fairly thin, so make sure when setting it up and entering/exiting the camping tent. For a a lot more trimmed-down camping tent from Huge Agnes, see the 2-pound-8-ounce Tiger Wall listed below… Read in-depth review
Packaged weight: 5 pounds. 5 oz. Flooring location: 35.8 sq. ft. Flooring denier: 70D Capabilities: 1P, 2P, 3P, 4P (all “Plus”) What we like: A sturdy camping tent with great deals of space at an excellent rate. What we don’t: You definitely can go a lot lighter.
If you’re searching for the best mix of rate and efficiency, REI has actually been making a few of the leading budget-oriented camping tents on the marketplace for many years. The Half Dome is downright renowned at this moment, using practically whatever that the majority of casual and starting backpackers require at an affordable rate. The camping tent is very simple to establish and remove, extremely long lasting with a 70-denier flooring, has vertical walls for additional headroom, and sports sufficient mesh for stargazing. Yes, you can conserve with the less expensive REI Path Hut listed below, however there are genuine compromises in regards to weight, interior area, and products. All informed, we believe the Half Dome is an excellent worth for what it is and ought to keep the majority of people pleased for many years of backpacking—it’s the camping tent we suggest most to friends and family.
It’s worth keeping in mind that a number of years earlier, REI moved the whole Half Dome line to the more roomy “Plus” variations (they utilized to use both routine and “Plus” for each capability). The fact is that we valued having the alternative of going non-Plus: the routine Half Dome was around $200 at that time and weighed less. It’s true that the 35.8 square feet of flooring area is rather comfy for 2 grownups, equipment, and even a furry good friend, however we hope REI revives the routine sizes in the future. If anything, it’s more option. This gripe aside, you won’t discover a higher-quality or more flexible camping tent in this rate variety…
What we don’t: Drafty and and set-up can be difficult.
A variety of leading ultralight camping tents make use of Dyneema—the state-of-the-art material typically utilized in boat sails and applauded for its strength-to-weight ratio—and our leading choice is the Zpacks Duplex. With an all-in weight of simply 1 pounds 5 ounces (counting stakes and utilizing 2 travelling poles for assistance), it’s a remarkable 10 ounces lighter and about $200 less expensive than the Hyperlite Mountain Equipment Dirigo 2 listed below, yet still consists of a bath tub flooring for defense from the components. In practice, we discovered the Zpacks to feel decently spacious for this classification with a 48-inch peak height, and you can change the measurements relatively quickly depending upon the camping site and conditions. All in all, no ultralight camping tent is best, however the Duplex is a remarkable alternative that has actually been trusted by major thru-hikers for many years.
What are the drawbacks of the Zpacks Duplex? We’ve had no issues with water entering the tent—even while camping in snow—but the open sides and thin materials definitely can make it feel drafty in certain conditions. Second, the Duplex technically is smaller than the Dirigo 2 in terms of floor area, and like many ultralight tents and shelters, it is a feasible but cramped option for two backpackers. Third, setting up the tent can be a bit more complicated than some single-pole designs, so we recommend practicing before heading out into the wilderness to make sure you know how to get a taut, even pitch…
MSR’s Hubba Hubba NX has never been the absolute lightest on the market nor the most spacious, but it checks just about all of the boxes we look for in a backpacking tent. It’s lightweight at 3 pounds 14 ounces, yet unlike many true ultralight models, offers good livability with two doors and vestibules and near-vertical walls. In addition, compared to the Big Agnes Copper Spur above, you get a relatively strong 30-denier floor that can take more use and abuse. Last but not least, weather resistance is excellent, and MSR honed in the design even further last year with an Easton Syclone hubbed pole that improves performance in windy conditions and a longer-lasting waterproof coating on the fly.
It was a really close call between the Hubba Hubba NX and Nemo Dagger below. To get down to the nitty gritty, the Nemo weighs the same but is slightly roomier with 31.3 square feet of floor space and costs $50 less. On the other hand, the Hubba Hubba has superior ventilation for summer backpacking (the Dagger only vents out the doors) and more complete rainfly coverage (the Nemo leaves small portions of the ends slightly exposed, which can result in some wetness along the interior in heavy moisture). The cherry on top for us: the MSR is extremely well-built and readily available, something Nemo struggles with year after year…
Packaged weight: 5 lbs. 15 oz. Floor area: 31.7 sq. ft. Capacity: 2P What we like: Inexpensive, easy to set up, and tough. What we don’t: Getting up there in weight at nearly 6 pounds.
The Half Dome above is REI’s best-selling backpacking tent, but you can go cheaper with the new-for-2020 Trail Hut. Here’s the good news: for under $200, you get a quality build with two doors, full-coverage rainfly, and ample storage. Notably, the Trail Hut 2 is replacing the old Passage, which was $159 without a footprint included (it’s debatable whether you need a footprint or not). Compared to the Passage, you get a modernized pole design for more headroom along with the option to roll up the sides on warm and clear nights, both of which are nice features.
Who should buy the REI Trail Hut 2? It’s a great option for those new to backpacking or who can only get out for a trip or two each summer. At $30 less than the Half Dome 2 Plus above with a footprint, the value is there but you do sacrifice in terms of weight, interior space, materials, and the amount of mesh (the Half Dome has more). And for those who want to spend even less, the Kelty Late Start 2 below is another viable budget option that costs only $160, although that tent only one has side door, which is suboptimal for two backpackers. See the REI Co-op Trail Hut 2
For weight-conscious backpackers who don’t want to compromise on livability and durability, the Nemo Dagger is a great option. At just 3 pounds 14 ounces for the two-person version, this tent is light, comfortable, and packed with features.
You get two large doors, two spacious vestibules for storing gear, and a roomy interior that saw a 10-percent boost in space last year thanks to the addition of pre-bent poles. Additionally, the floor of the Dagger is symmetrical as opposed to tapered toward the feet like some in its weight class, making it possible for two people to sleep in opposite directions (head to toe) for more shoulder room.
What’s not to like with the Nemo Dagger? As we touched on in the Hubba Hubba NX write-up above, the Dagger gets the edge in interior space but comes up a little short in wet-weather protection. Specifically, the rainfly is raised at each end of the tent, which leaves sections of the tent body vulnerable to blowing rain. And while the fabric is still technically waterproof, you can feel the wetness if you bump your head, hands, or feet up against the walls (granted this was in pretty rough conditions, but it’s something we didn’t experience with the Hubba Hubba on the same trip). Both are undeniably great designs, but the improved protection gives the MSR the advantage for us…
REI’s Half Dome and Trail Hut above aren’t the only good values on the market. At a budget-friendly price of $199, the Marmot Tungsten has a similar 3-season build with durable fabrics and all the features that most weekend backpackers need. The tent has two doors and vestibules, weighs in at a respectable 5 pounds 4 ounces, and offers a roomy 32 square feet of floor space. We also like the mix of solid nylon and mesh on the tent body, which provides both good ventilation and privacy. And unlike the Half Dome, the Tungsten comes with a footprint (the Half Dome footprint is sold separately for $35).
All things considered, we like the Marmot Tungsten and it makes a nice hybrid backpacking and car-camping option. One downside is the tent’s packed size, which is large enough to make it difficult to squeeze into a backpack (it’s much easier to divide up the load between two people). And the REI Half Dome 2 Plus weighs only 1 ounce more than the Tungsten yet offers considerably more floor area and vestibule space. For families, the Tungsten 4 is a popular option and costs $339. Marmot also makes the tent in a lightweight version called the Tungsten UL, which uses substantially thinner materials to trim away about 1.5 pounds from the standard model.
What we like: Very light yet more livable than the Nemo Hornet.
What we don’t: Semi-freestanding build isn’t easy to pitch on rock
Big Agnes has a knack for mixing and matching designs to create a new product, which is exactly what they’ve done with the Tiger Wall UL2. This tent brings together the two-door-and-vestibule concept of the popular Copper Spur above, with the semi-freestanding layout of the Fly Creek below. The net result is a shelter with convenient access and gear storage for two people, while remaining extremely lightweight at 2 pounds 8 ounces. Not surprisingly, the price for the Tiger Wall UL2 also splits the Copper Spur ($450) and Fly Creek ($350) at $400.
We took the Tiger Wall out on a multi-day backpacking trip and were happy to find that it’s yet another quality build from Big Agnes. The large ridge pole across the center of the tent makes it more spacious than the Nemo Hornet below, and the silicone-coated nylon is impressively strong (but it’s still thin and requires gentle treatment). The semi-freestanding design, however, isn’t for everyone. It was hard to get a taut pitch when we camped on rock, and it isn’t as weather-worthy or roomy as the Copper Spur. In the end, there’s a lot to like with the Tiger Wall, but the Copper Spur is the more livable option for two people…
Packaged weight: 4 lbs. 10 oz. Floor area: 28 sq. ft. Floor denier: 50D Capacities: 2P, 3P What we like: Premium build and the biggest vestibule on this list by far. What we don’t: Pricey and long (you’ll need a campsite with a decent amount of space).
Hilleberg is a legendary Swedish brand known for making the finest tents on the planet. Here at Switchback Travel, we have actually tested many of their models and constantly debate which should be included in this round-up. Over the years, the Nallo, Niak, and Anjan have been represented, and all are worthy in their own right. But if we were to choose one for backpacking (there are more Hillebergs in our 4-season tents article), it would be the Anjan GT. The tunnel shape is the best for wind management, and the vestibule is so impressive that it feels like a separate room (people use the Anjan GT for bikepacking, which says a lot). The truth is that almost all Hillebergs are great and have their purposes—the company is like the Arc’teryx of tents—but the Anjan is the 3-season standout for us.
If you’re considering a Hilleberg, here are some key things to know. 1) They’re expensive but worth it in our opinion. If you sleep outdoors a ton, a Hilleberg can be your home away from home. 2) They aren’t great breathers in warm conditions. These tents work best in places like Scandinavia, Alaska, Patagonia, and true alpine conditions in the Lower 48. If you’re camping in 85-degree summer weather, condensation may be an issue. 3) The wind protection is incredible. Most tents bow and howl in strong winds, but with guylines tightened down, a Hilleberg is as stable a camping tent as you’ll find. For extended trips in tough conditions, that sure can have a lot of value. See the Hilleberg Anjan GT
Packaged weight: 2 lbs. 14 oz. Floor area: 18.9 sq. ft. Floor denier: 20D Capacities: 1P, 2P, 3P What we like: Good headroom and a very large vestibule. What we don’t: Materials are on the thin side.
The Half Dome above may be REI’s most popular backpacking tent, however we like the ultralight Quarter Dome too, and particularly the one-person version. At 2 pounds 14 ounces, this tent is all that most solo backpackers need while still coming in at a reasonable $299. REI redesigned the Quarter Dome a couple years ago by adding more headroom and a much larger vestibule, which now offers ample space for protecting you and your pack from the elements. All in all, it’s a comfortable and well-designed one-person tent for everything from fast-and-light backcountry trips to bike touring.
Similar to the Big Agnes Copper Spur above, the Quarter Dome uses a 20-denier nylon flooring, which cuts weight however also impacts durability (take care when setting up the tent and avoid sharp rocks). For those shopping for the 2-person variety, that version of the Quarter Dome comes in at 3 pounds 12 ounces, but is more tapered than we prefer and strangely comes with only nine stakes while 10 are required for a basic set-up. For these reasons, we like the one-person model best. REI also released the Quarter Dome SL last year, which has more mesh in the camping tent body and a simplified pole style that cuts the packaged weight to 2 pounds 6 ounces
No matter where your journeys take you, from national forests to backwoods to back patios, an outdoor camping sleeping bag stays a reliable buddy. Given that area and weight are not at a premium when you can drive to your location, the convenience dial can get turned method up. There’s no requirement to suffer through the night in a restricting mummy bag, so choices in this classification tend to lean more towards a standard rectangle-shaped shape or a roomier mummy. A variety of light-weight choices likewise do a great task pulling double responsibility for simple backpacking journeys. Listed below we rank our leading choices for 2019, and if you require some background info our comparison table and buying advice dive into subjects like fill type and temperature level score. To finish your outdoor camping package, we have actually likewise evaluated and blogged about camping mattresses and camping tents.
When you’re trying to find a sleeping bag or quilt, you’ll rapidly discover that there are a great deal of choices out there. We have actually produced this guide to share our leading trail-tested suggestions which provide an excellent balance of heat, weight, convenience, expense, and performance.
Why Trust US?
We completely comprehend how difficult it is to discover credible equipment guidance, which’s one of the primary factors we developed CleverHiker. We live for outside experience, and we take these guides really seriously. Here are a few of the factors you can trust us:
Our options are entirely independent and based upon individual experience.
We’ve logged over 10,000 trail miles and test outdoor gear for a living.
We own and field test every product we recommend, which is sadly not the norm.
We travel to industry trade shows to learn about upcoming product innovations.
We constantly update our guides when new products launch.
We treat our recommendations as if they were for our family and friends.
We’re lifelong learners and we’re always open to constructive criticism. If you think we’ve missed a product or got something wrong, we’d love to hear your feedback.
Want to know more about which temperature rating to choose, down fill power, quilts vs. sleeping bags, synthetic fill, and a whole lot more? Scroll to the bottom of this post for our Critical Considerations section where we cover everything you need to know.
Type: Mummy Temperature rating: 29°F Fill: Synthetic Weight: 2 lbs. 15 oz. What we like: Roomy, comfy, and priced right. What we don’t: Can’t be unzipped completely and opened up as a blanket.
A spacious fit, quality materials, and 3-season warmth at a sub-$100 price all add up to our favorite camping sleeping bag for 2019. The Trail Pod’s mummy design breaks from traditional rectangular camping bags, but is still roomy enough to roll around, while providing better warmth retention than the open top designs. We also like that the Trail Pod fits in a stuff sack and is a candidate for the occasional short-distance backpacking trip. Weight isn’t excessive, and a 29-degree temperature rating is plenty for most 3-season camping and light backcountry use.
Our one gripe with the Trail Pod is we’d prefer if the zipper continued all the way around the bottom of the footbox to allow the bag to be opened up as a blanket. Look to the Dolomite below for that option. Beyond that, the Trail Pod strikes us as the ideal base camping bag to cozy up in before a day of adventuring. For a warmer alternative with the same basic design, check out the REI Co-op Trail Pod 15. See the REI Co-op Trail Pod 30
A Close Second
2. The North Face Dolomite 20 ($100)
Type: Rectangular Temperature rating: 20°F Fill: Synthetic Weight: 4 lbs. 14 oz. What we like: Great warmth and build quality. What we don’t: You can go cheaper for a rectangular bag.
Mummy bags are popular for both camping and backpacking, but rectangular bags can offer a sleeping experience that hits a little closer to home. This is a competitive category and we have a number of rectangular options on this list, but our top pick is the Dolomite 20 from The North Face. For $100 you get a high quality bag with a very useful 20-degree temperature rating, perfect for 3-season car camping in a variety of conditions.
If you give the listed rating a 10-degree buffer or so, you’re looking at comfortable sleeping down to about freezing. The bag also has a premium feel and build along with nifty details like a full-length zipper that opens it up for use as a blanket.
Keep in mind that a rectangular bag is heavier than a mummy for the warmth and doesn’t pack away nearly as small, so the Dolomite 20 won’t fit in a pack or travel far from your car. But we appreciate the option for a comforter-like system, which gives you plenty of room and flexibility depending on the temperature. For 2019, The North Face has expanded the Dolomite line with the One, which includes a multi-layer system that allows you switch between 15°F, 30°F, and 50°F insulation ratings. See The North Face Dolomite 20
Teton Sports is a value-oriented brand, and their camping-ready Celsius offers a lot of bang for your buck. For just $55, you get a 0-degree temperature rating and a unique construction that attaches a mummy bag’s hood to a rectangular bag. And while the temperature rating is very generous—depending on how warm or cold you run, it may not even be comfortable around freezing—the Celsius does an admirable job sealing out the cold with insulation around your head and a drawcord at the top.
As expected at this price point, the Teton Sports Celsius falls short of more expensive bags in build quality and overall comfort. To start, the shell fabric feels cheap and the zipper can be finicky to use. Further, the polyester fill does not compress well and it can be a real pain trying to stuff it back into the included storage bag. But it delivers on warmth, which is why it’s a top seller year after year. Just be aware that the Celsius runs consistently short, so you may need to go up a length to get a proper fit. See the Teton Sports Celsius
Our favorite crossover sleeping bag, the Kelty Cosmic 20 has cemented a spot on both our backpacking and camping bag lists. This year, the Cosmic got an update with a new 20-denier shell fabric that helps cut its weight to a very impressive 2 pounds 6.6 ounces in a regular size. Along with its mid-range 600-fill down, the bag offers cozy warmth and good compressibility. And considering the typical price of a down bag, the Cosmic Down’s $170 MSRP really stands out.
For improved performance in wet conditions, the Kelty’s down has a hydrophobic treatment, which is a big helper should some water makes its way the tent or if you sleep too close to the wet tent walls. It still won’t insulate as well as a synthetic insulation when moisture enters, and as always, it’s important to keep the bag as dry as possible, but the extra degree of protection and 20-degree rating makes it a great choice for almost any 3-season trip. Compared with the Trail Pod above, the pricier Cosmic is the better buy if you’ll be backpacking more than 1-2 times a year or want to travel light. See the Kelty Cosmic Down 20See the Women’s Kelty Cosmic Down 20
Type: Rectangular Temperature rating: 30°F Fill: 600-fill DriDown Weight: 2 lbs. 10 oz. What we like: Cozy down insulation and a roomy rectangular shape. What we don’t: Less versatile than the Cosmic Down above.
Boulder-based Kelty has been in the camping business for a long time, and we like what they’ve come up with in the Galactic 30. What makes this bag unique is its combination of quality 600-fill power down with a rectangular shape. Most traditional camping bags stick to synthetic fill for cost savings, but lofty down clusters offer a premium feel and warmth that polyester just can’t match. And as we’ve come to expect from Kelty, the Galactic is solidly built and priced right at $120.
What are the downsides in choosing the Galactic 30? First off, even though the down clusters have a hydrophobic treatment, the Galactic will not perform as well as the synthetic Dolomite above in the wet. Further, the rectangular shape and 30-degree temperature rating mean that it isn’t viable for most backpacking trips, which is one of the main reasons to go with a packable and lightweight down bag. As a result, the mummy-shaped Kelty Cosmic Down above is a more versatile crossover camping/backpacking option, but we still love the recipe of cozy down warmth in a roomy design. For a budget-oriented option from Kelty with a rectangular shape and synthetic insulation, check out their $65 Discovery 30.
There aren’t a ton of innovative ideas cropping up in the camping bag market, but we like what Exped has come up with in the MegaSleep Duo 25. The big deal with this design that it addresses our main complaint about double bags: versatility when you need to sleep solo. Exped accomplishes this by including what amounts to two separate sleeping bags (one with a 40°F rating and the other with a 25°F rating). And for trips when you want the double bag functionality, it’s easy to connect the Duo’s two pieces for a cozy and very comfortable set-up.
Where does the MegaSleep Duo fall short? As with most rectangular models, the Exped doesn’t pack down small (even if you’re using just one of the single bags), so if you’re looking for a dual camping and backpacking option, a bag like the Kelty Cosmic 20 above is a much better choice. The MegaSleep Duo also lacks other features of a mummy bag like tapered cut and a cinched hood that seal out cold much more effectively. In other words, the 25-degree rating should suffice for most summer camping trips, but not much beyond that. But with the ability to sleep with a partner or on your own, the MegaSleep Duo gets a spot on our list for 2019. See the Exped MegaSleep Duo 25
7. Marmot Trestles 15 ($109)
Type: Mummy Temperature rating: 15°F Fill: Synthetic Weight: 3 lbs. 6 oz. What we like: Everything you need in a mummy bag from a respected brand. What we don’t: Pricier than the Trail Pod above and many people don’t need the extra warmth.
If you’re in the market for a mummy bag for camping, it’s hard to knock the Marmot Trestles. This synthetic sleeping bag pretty much has it all: a 15-degree temperature rating for true 3-season warmth, a DWR-finish to help keep you dry, and a quality feel and build that Marmot is known for. And at just over $100, that’s a whole lot of mummy bag for your car camping adventures.
We have the Marmot Trestles below the REI Trail Pod for a few reasons. The first is cost: $20 is a notable difference in this price-sensitive category. Second, many people don’t need the extra warmth and the 29-degree rating of the Trail Pod should be enough for most summer camping trips. Third, the Trail Pod weighs less than the Trestles and packs down smaller. Both are excellent bags, and if you sleep cold or need the extra warmth, go with the Trestles. The popular Trestles line also includes the Elite Eco 20 model, which earned a spot on our backpacking sleeping bags article due to its competitive 2-pound 7-ounce weight.
Type: Mummy Temperature rating: 5°, 20°, and 40°F Fill: Synthetic; 800-fill down Weight: 3 lbs. 12 oz. What we like: Three sleeping bags in one. What we don’t: Expensive.
Released last year, The North Face One features a unique layering system that allows you to swap between three different temperature ratings. During summer months or warm nights, you can use the basic synthetic-insulated bag with its 40-degree limit. Then, as the temperature drops, zip on the 800-fill goose down midlayer (to 20°F) or add the third section on top for winter camping (5°F rating). At less than 4 pounds with all layers connected, The North Face design is streamlined, lightweight, and reasonably packable.
What are the drawbacks of this all-in-one system? For starters, at almost $300, The North Face One is very expensive for camping use. Further, the zippers can be finicky and difficult to use—in other words, switching between layers isn’t an entirely seamless process. And although relatively lightweight, the One Bag is on the heavy end for backpacking (it will do the trick for short trips, however). All things considered, The North Face One is a well-executed and highly versatile option for year-round adventuring. See The North Face One Bag
Type: Rectangular Temperature rating: 20°F Fill: Synthetic Weight: 7 lbs. 9 oz. What we like: Very comfortable inside; dual zippers on the front comforter. What we don’t: Expensive for occasional campers.
We get that spending more than $300 on a camping bag is hard to swallow, but the Nemo Jazz Double deserves a spot on our list for its supremely comfortable design. With a 20-degree temperature rating, adaptive comforter, and very roomy interior, it’s a great option for couples that struggle to get a good night’s sleep outdoors. It’s also made with the kinds of premium materials that we have actually come to expect from the New Hampshire-based company.
The comforter on the Jazz is similar in concept to the Frontcountry Bed below, but Nemo includes zippers on either side for a smoother entry and even less restrictive fit. Its rectangular shape is very spacious like a traditional sleeping bag, but isn’t drafty thanks to a built-in hood. The Jazz Double (also referred to as the “Duo”) accommodates two 25-inch wide pads into its sleeve, and for single bag options, there are the standard Jazz (for one 25-inch pad) and Jazz Luxury (one 30-inch pad).
Like the Celsius above, the Teton Sports Tracker is a solid value option. On paper, the bag pretty much has it all: 5-degree temperature level score, 4-pound total weight, and a soft touch, brushed lining. Tack on a compression stuff sack and interior zippered pocket at a cost that consistently hovers around $70, and you have an excellent budget outdoor camping and backpacking sleeping bag.
To keep you comfortable, the Tracker has a generous amount of polyester insulation that performs admirably in cold weather. Further, Teton added an extra layer of insulation around the footbox, which is an area prone to getting cold. It’s true that the mummy shape is a little snug for comfort-focused campers (however roomier than a standard mummy bag), and the main zipper can be a little stubborn, however you’ll be hard pressed to find a bag that puts together this impressive of a stat line, and the convenience to back it up, for well under $100.
Don’t squander your cash on equipment that’s no excellent; I’ve currently done that for you! Below’s my trail-tested finest walking equipment checklist, last upgraded January 2020. I just advise treking equipment that I’ve made use of over numerous miles. I don’t upload any kind of paid evaluations and also don’t squander your time with equipment that I attempt yet isn’t able.
For a lot of equipment on this website, I connect to REI, and also when you click the web link and also acquire the thing, I get an extremely little associate payment. I make use of that payment to spend for site organizing and also various other expenses of running brownlinemedia. So please make use of the web links on this web page to purchase your equipment. Think about it as a simple means to sustain cost-free treking overviews for every person.
At the danger of welcoming Mary Poppins jokes, some thru-hikers make use of umbrellas to secure themselves from the sunlight and also weaken their rainfall equipment. This set makes use of ultralight fiberglass to reduce weight and also Teflon-coated polyester for water repellency.
Utilize this woollen rather—it minimizes rubbing equally as successfully yet remains in area much better when it splashes, many thanks to all-natural fibers that hold on to the within your sock, no stickum needed.
Omeals Chicken Creole ($8)
You can leave your oven in your home when you load among these self-heating dishes. A couple of ounces of water triggered a chain reaction that swiftly creates heavy steam around the secured internal bag. It’s ready to consume in under 5 mins. (As well as yes, if you’re out of water, pee jobs, also. Allow us recognize exactly how it ends up.)
Bears don’t such as shocks, and also usually talking, walkers ought to opt for what births like. Affixing these bells to your footwear or pack will certainly introduce your technique. The ding is pleasurable sufficient, and also if you require a break, magnets silence them for simple solitude.
Below are 4 even more methods to make strides quicker.
1) Establish the Right Rate
The fable concerning the turtle and also the hare was possibly composed by a primitive walker; establishing a regular rate with a stable rhythm and also adhering to it will, gradually, lead to even more miles than bounding down the route and also taking remainder breaks. At the suitable rate, you ought to have the ability to hold a discussion without ending up being out of breath, and also any individual walking alone ought to have the ability to sing to themselves. (Halsey? Truly? No judgment…)
One method for establishing the rate is taking smaller sized actions than typical, which is extra power reliable at elevation too. “Taking smaller sized strides doesn’t make use of as much power, and also maintains pace and also breathing extra constant,” states expert hill overview Dan Timbrell. Jake Gaventa of the Colorado Hill Institution states he in some cases has problem maintaining his pace down. So in the early mornings he’ll put on another layer of garments than is needed. If he begins sweating, he states, he recognizes he’s establishing the rate too expensive.
2) Find Out Just How to Relax
Evaluate your map or manual prior to any kind of journey and also pick remainder factors that accompany forgets, camping areas, or various other great places where you can take a seat, include or get rid of layers, order a treat, and also eye the views. In this way, you won’t be including an unscheduled quit every single time a snow-covered height appears.
On steeper, higher-elevation inclines, where you might shed power quicker, Gaventa recommends using the “remainder action,” an alpinism method where you entirely prolong and also shut out your back leg while the front leg is curved, and afterwards time out. Those micro-rests build up and also will certainly assist you preserve a stable rate, aiding to lessen unintended breaks.
3) Improve Your Equipment
The greatest rate catch on the route isn’t origins or rocks—it’s equipment monitoring. Improperly readjusted packs, footwear that scrub, and also hard to reach canteen cause the unscheduled quits that minimize gas mileage. If treking in a team, see to it every person is utilizing a hydration system (canteen are the adversary of rate) which packs are correctly gotten used to protect against shoulder or hip stress and also chafing. Last but not least, see to it bags are loaded to make sure that often required products like maps, fast treats, sunglasses, and also light layers can be accessed on the relocation.
4) Handle Your Feet
The very best means to guarantee that your feet await the route is to select the right footwear. Entering into the hills suggests picking something cozy, with grippy soles for climbing up rock. Desert walkers require something that airs vent well. Gina Danza, an L.A.-based author, digital photographer, and also devoted walker, has actually placed a great deal of miles on her feet after running track in university. “I require something to support the strike entirely,” she states. Danza lately switched over to the HOKA ONE ONE® SKY Toa, a light-weight, supported boot created with rate—and also convenience—in mind. The Toa’s rubberized EVA midsole assists Danza’s feet remain comfy and also safeguarded on the route. “That’s been amazing for me.”