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Sierra magazine
No Boundaries

When you're hiking in the Himalayas, rafting an unruly Alaskan river, or biking European backroads, the only star ratings you'll consult are the celestial kind. Adventure travelers don't seek luxury--they just need gear that gets them where they want to go and keeps them warm and dry along the way. --Rachel Walker


WEAR | La Sportiva FC 3.0 GTX
After days of abuse up and down the dirt trails and boulder fields of Colorado's Indian Peaks, these hiking boots coddled feet without sacrificing support. Their comfort and performance come from recycled components that flex like a running shoe in some areas and stay ski-boot rigid in others. $160;

CARRY | Mountain Hardwear Nalu 60
Strategically placed fasteners compress or enlarge the pack and precisely tweak its fit on the go. Designed so air circulates between your body and the mesh back, it delivered consistent comfort during a week on the trail. $230;

STOW | MSR Reactor Stove
In field tests with two other popular lightweight stoves, this one, weighing just over a pound, reliably brought a half liter of water to a boil in 90 seconds. The 1.7-liter pot is fused to a heat exchanger that sits on a radiant burner to block out wind--and doubles as a container for the parts. $160;


WEAR | Kokatat Paclite Gore-Tex
Paddling Jacket When high winds kicked up whitecaps and spray, this lightweight jacket prevented a soaking with its snug neoprene waistband and adjustable collar and cuffs, while the Gore-Tex shell allowed perspiration to vent. A body-tight cut reduces bulk for an easy fit under a lifejacket. $175;

CARRY | Granite Gear AirVent DryBloc
Even after being submerged for 12 hours, this light, waterproof compression sack kept its contents bone-dry. As the top is rolled shut, the handy bag, which comes in five sizes, squeezes whatever's inside into a nearly solid block by letting air escape through the breathable fabric. $18 to $30;

STOW | Alpacka Yukon Yakv
This portable one-person raft reliably runs Class III rapids, weighs less than five pounds, and inflates easily. Compressed, it's the size of a sleeping bag. Alpacka founder Sheri Tingey's criteria: "It can't fall apart in the wilderness." $790;


WEAR | Specialized Vice Helmet
A quick spin of an adjustable control adds enough room to accommodate a beanie, making this well-ventilated helmet ideal for any weather condition. A brim shields the eyes, and extended rear coverage protects the noggin. $110;

CARRY | Arkel GT-54 Pannier
This well-engineered pannier has multiple pockets exactly where you want them--proof that avid cyclists designed the rugged bag. Made of durable canvas with a waterproof liner, it includes a detachable tube-shaped compartment for tent poles. $379 per pair;

STOW | SteriPEN Journey LCD
Depending on where your bike tour takes you, a water purifier could save your life. This battery-operated model uses UV rays to kill microbes. A "smile" on the screen indicates the 90-second treatment (for 32 ounces) has been successful; a "frown" means filtration is inadequate. Drawbacks: It doesn't work with hydration bladders and is only as good as its batteries. $100;



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