Where gear and products are field-tested and objectively reviewed

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Our review philosophy: Don't blame the product if you didn't choose the right stuff for the objective

All of our gear reviews are independent of any brand or affiliation. If the day comes when this site earns money through affiliate programs, we will continue to try and find you the best deals we can on the gear we review. Part of our philosophy is also to get you the best deal on stuff we find that we actually use. We don't knock a product because we chose it for the wrong application. If you want us to review a product, we will do so honestly. 

When I select my gear, I consider three things. Weight, durability and purpose. I'm sure my third criteria seems obvious to all of you. Think about how many reviews you read on Amazon or elsewhere though that give products a poor rating because the overall problem lied in the product not fitting the user's purpose . I avoid this unfair bias by clearly defining the purpose of each piece of gear I buy. When I buy a pack for climbing in the Cascades, I need a pack that will carry up to 70 liters and since the climbing is rugged and steep, I want to limit the weight. When I climb in the Alps, because of the hut system, I need a smaller pack. This is obvious right? 

 

Shedding weight comes at a cost. In mountaineering and hiking, if you want light, you either need to sacrifice durability or you have to pay premium prices. The same goes for durability. If you want something robust, it will weigh more unless it's designed specifically for the purpose of being lightweight. Those materials and processes are considerably more expensive though. So the trade off is either go with heavy and durable, light and frail or durable and light, but expensive. If you haven't experienced it yet, when the shit hits the fan, you will hope you spent the money on the right gear. And when it comes to climbing mountains, five pounds could be the difference between a successful trip and a miserable if not dangerous outing. So I learned to spend the money on the right gear. I employ you to think the same way.

The Lab