Backcountry employs over 200 Gearheads, full-time employees whose sole job is to connect Backcountry customers with the best products for their needs. The job qualifications: intimate knowledge of a specific type of gear, whether it be fly-fishing rods, SUPs, or road-bike helmets. Have a question about sizing on a new pair of trail runners or which ski shell to buy? Go to Backcountry.com, then call or chat with one of its Gearheads with a specialty in that sport.
Backcountry is sponsoring this Gearheads series through the holiday season. That means our editors collaborate with their employees to pick the gear you see below. We'll update this page twice a month as new products come in.
Marmot Tungsten 3P Tent ($259)
The 360-degree views are my favorite feature of this comfortable, durable, and sturdy tent, which weighs in at just over five pounds. The size is generous for backpacking, especially considering the weight, so you, your partner, your gear, and your dog will have plenty of sitting and wiggle room—plus two spacious vestibules for additional gear storage. The sub-$300 price is hard to beat, which is why the Tungsten 3P and Limelight 3P have been our two bestselling Marmot tents in 2018.
Gearhead: Emily Jensen
Expertise: Camping and hiking
Favorite Place to Camp: Grand Staircase–Escalante National Monument, Utah
Danner Women’s Mountain Light Boot ($360)
From rainy days in Portland to hikes in Big Cottonwood Canyon, the Danner Mountain Light boots do not disappoint. The Dri-Lex waterproofing not only keeps you dry but breathes in warmer temperatures as well. The full-grain leather and red laces are an iconic style for the trail and hitting the town after.
The women’s Mountain Light pays homage to one of Danner’s most iconic hiking boots from the 1970s, which is widely regarded as the greatest backpacking boot of all time and featured in the movie Wild. Available in three colorways, the Mountain Light continues to be the most popular Danner style for both men and women.
Gearhead: Jean Vandekieft
Expertise: Hiking and snowboarding
Favorite Place to Camp: High Uintas Wilderness, Utah
Simms G3 Guide Stockingfoot Wader ($500)
The G3 waders are the most advanced waders on the market. The 2018 model employs five- and three-layer Gore-Tex throughout to increase underwater breathability by 190 percent while also adding 31 percent more puncture resistance and cutting the weight by 30 percent. They can’t be beat.
Gearhead: Caleb Lecker
Favorite Place to Fish: Hams Fork, Wyoming
Yeti Cycles SB100 Turq X01 Eagle Mountain Bike ($7,000)
The Yeti SB100 is a perfect blend of all-trail and cross-country. Yeti uses its top-tier Turq carbon-fiber construction to create a bike that is both extremely lightweight and outstandingly stiff and impact-resistant. The result is a no-compromise, fully capable ride that dominates downhill trails and crushes climbs. I would actually say it is the best climbing bike I have ridden in a while.
Gearhead: Karissa Lamb
Expertise: Road and mountain biking
Favorite Place to Bike: Captain Ahab Trail, Moab, Utah
Western Mountaineering Alpinlite Sleeping Bag ($540)
The Western Mountaineering Alpinlite is everything you could dream of in a sleeping bag, but with half the weight. At just under two pounds, it is perfect for through-hikers, alpinists, or climbers looking to move fast without compromising a warm and good night’s sleep. This bag’s 850-fill down stuffing boasts an excellent loft-to-weight ratio, meaning it is surprisingly warm for how little it weighs.
Gearhead: Koly Swistak
Expertise: Camping and hiking
Favorite Place to Camp: Glacier National Park, Montana
Patagonia Men’s Down Sweater Jacket ($229)
This classic Patagonia jacket is a must-have from everyday casual wear to technical layering. The down insulation provides plenty of warmth and the lightweight design allows the jacket to pack down easily. I wear it around town as well as under my ski jacket on chilly days—for me, the versatility is key. It’s available in 12 colors, but the variations of the blue Down Sweater are the most popular. A low-key yet awesome feature of this jacket: the internal chest pocket doubles as a stuffsack.
Gearhead: Fritz Hanseler
Expertise: Mountain biking and skiing
Favorite Place to Bike: Park City, Utah
PrAna Women’s Halle Pant ($85)
I don’t think there is a more popular pair of women’s hiking pants out there than the PrAna Halles. They are durable, flattering, and made with PrAna’s famed Stretch Zion fabric for unparalleled mobility while climbing, hiking, or walking around town. These hiking pants are available in seven colors—with the cargo green being the most popular. The men’s version, the Stretch Zion pants, are also a PrAna bestseller.
Gearhead: Hannah Novit
Favorite Place to Climb: Linville Gorge, North Carolina, and Joe’s Valley, Utah