The 2022 Summer Gear Guide
This is a gear guide unlike any other. It is a partnership between five magazines—Outside, Backpacker, Beta, VeloNews, and Climbing, all siblings under Outside Interactive Inc. These pages represent the collective efforts of ten gear editors, 40 category managers, and nearly 150 testers. It is the biggest, most comprehensive, and most exhaustive gear guide any of us have produced. That’s saying a lot, seeing as the editors who worked on it have more than five decades of combined experience.
How did this work? Team members from each magazine spent weeks planning as a group, then divided and conquered. Outside and VeloNews worked together on road and gravel biking. The Beta crew handled mountain biking, including vital data from their week-long bike test in British Columbia (see Mountain Bikes). The Climbing gang logged hundreds of pitches to find the best climbing shoes and equipment. Meanwhile, the Backpacker bunch focused on hiking apparel, footwear, and multi-day gear, and the Outside magazine team handled car camping, watersports, travel, and fitness. Each team then nominated and re-tested Editors’ Choice finalists. The highlight: a four-day trip through Panama’s Parque Internacional La Amistad with Backpacker and Outside. Reviews of award winners like the Deuter AirContact Ultra pack and Box Synergy7 solar panel are the result.
When all was said and done, our family of gear nerds—bigger, more seasoned, and more specialized than ever before—wound up testing more than 1,000 products and covering thousands of miles from high-alpine peaks to lowland forests to coastal waterways, in order to present you, our members and readers, with the best gear for summer adventures. I won’t lie: it was a lot of hard work. But it was also an incredible opportunity for growth. By sharing information on our testing tactics, we learned a lot from one another. We debated gear-reviewing philosophy and evolved our collective understanding of what makes a product writeup useful and engaging. And the learning has only just begun. This first unified Gear Guide is just that: a beginning. We have big plans for the chapters to come, and can’t wait to share them with you. —Ariella Gintzler, editor