Product Reviews

O/B staff and contributors review apparel, backpacks, food, tents, sleeping bags, dog gear, and climbing, biking, paddling, fishing, and hunting gear, so you can find what works for you in your outdoor adventures.

Bike Balls, Gear Reviews
the Editors
Product-review rejects. Read more >>
Emigrant Peak, Fall Gear
the editors
Late-season gear & apparel.  Read more >>
the editors
A roundup of outdoor gear and apparel from the Outdoor Retailer show. Read more >>
Winter Gear Reviews
the editors
Gear you didn't find under the tree. Read more >>
England, Mike
Energy products to supplement the season. Read more >>
England, Mike
Four products to enhance your hunting. Read more >>
England, Mike
Unconventional products to spice up the season. Read more >>
England, Mike
Gear and apparel for summer excursions. Read more >>
England, Mike
Winter is many Montanans' favorite season, and for good reason – the crisp alpine air is nectar to the lungs, while the vast whiteness all around soothes the soul with its serene beauty. And all this underneath a big blue sky grown ever more dazzling by the monochromatic contrast of snow. Read more >>
Leupold RX-1200i
England, Mike
For a compact rangefinder that reaches out past 1,000 yards and doesn't require two hours of prep time with the manual, check out the Leupold RX-1200i TBR/W. That's a lot of letters and numbers, for sure, but the name is as arcane as this product gets. Read more >>
Bozeman Spring Trail Running
the editors
Spring running-gear roundup.  Read more >>
Brittany Wiser at Bohart Ranch. Photo by Ian Roderer.
Slepian, Maggie
A great all-purpose cross-country ski package from Madshus. Read more >>
  • Apparel

    Toad & Co., Boxcan Shirt
    Angie Mangels
    Boxcan Sherpa Overshirt Read more >>
    Arborwear Campbell Hill Jacket
    England, Mike
    The down puffy coat—that ubiquitous anorak beloved by outdoor enthusiasts everywhere—has always suffered two major flaws: one, at any temperature above freezing, it’s pretty much a dry-sauna for your torso; and two, the flimsy nylon skin opens up with the slightest of scratches, spewing feathers Read more >>
    Brooks-Range Alpini Anorak Review
    Tucker, David
    While winter is a ways off, we still have plenty of cold nights and crisp mornings to endure, neither of which is going to keep me inside. Read more >>
    Outdoor Research Helium II Review
    Tucker, David
    No matter what I’m doing, if I’m outside, I need a good storm jacket. Problem is, if there’s no rain in the forecast and room in my pack is at a premium, I usually end up forgoing a shell. Read more >>
    Outside Bozeman, Gear Reviews
    Tucker, David
    Gear for the 4th.This July 4, as you celebrate freedom and the rebellious nature of our forefathers, take a moment to consider some liberating gear options. The items listed here will definitely inject life and liberty into your pursuit of summer happiness.   Read more >>
  • Footwear

    Vasque ColdSpark UltraDry
    David Tucker
    Comfort and function for winter hiking. Read more >>
    Lorpen Precision-Fit Ultalight
    England, Mike
    Two things are paramount in a ski boot: comfort and performance. And the sock you choose to wear affects both significantly. Which is why I’ve switched to the Precision-Fit Ultralight from Lorpen. Read more >>
    LOWA Innox GTX Mid, Montana Backpacking
    England, Mike
    Gone are the days of weighty, oversized hiking boots—those eight-pound clodhoppers that made the ankles invincible but limited one’s pace to a slow, steady walk. Read more >>
    Pearl iZumi EM Trail N3, Bozeman Trail Running
    Tucker, David
    The best part about testing gear in Montana is that you never know what the elements are going to throw at you, and our terrain is so varied that conditions are never certain. Read more >>
    McCarthy, Chris
    Fall trail running can be as unpredictable as a night at the craps table in Vegas. You might encounter ice, mud, snow, or if you’re lucky, a dry trail. You can ask other runners through various forums about trail conditions, but each person’s perception of “good” is different. Read more >>
  • Packs

    Gregory Packs Salvo 24 Gear Review
    Tucker, David
    I used to think having a daypack was unnecessary. “I’ll just use my ski pack or my bike pack,” I’d say. Read more >>
    Patagonia SnowDrifter
    Doar, Melissa
    Finding the right pack for a tour into the Montana backcountry can be frustrating—until now. The Patagonia SnowDrifter20L makes a great sidekick for short excursions. This ultralight, water-repellent pack has a durable Cordura exterior. Read more >>
    Manfrotto's 3N1-35 PL Pro Light
    Krueger, Ryan
    Getting the shot often means having the right gear accessible at the right time—and relying on an average pack will only get you so far. Read more >>
    winter, Outside Bozeman, Montana
    Howlett, David
    In preparation for my first season on the Ridge, I needed a solid snowboard-specific pack that could also carry my backcountry gear. Research led me to the Ridge SB Pack from J.A. Gear. Read more >>
    Mystery Ranch pack, backpacking,
    Hamilton, Felicia
    Two words came to mind when I was deciding on a new pack: quality and comfort. The new Big Mountain pack from Mystery Ranch delivers both. Quality was a no-brainer; Mystery Ranch is known for their top-notch products. Read more >>
  • Skiing

    BCA T3 Avalanche Rescue Package Review
    David Tucker
    Combo packages have pros and cons. Buying everything at once is convenient and mindless, plus manufacturers usually discount product slightly if you making a bigger purchase. But avalanche safety gear isn't necessarily where you want to skimp, and your process should be anything but mindless. Read more >>
    Smith I/O Goggle Women's
    Mio Alt
    ChromaPop, meet the I/O. Read more >>
    KneeBindings Carbon Review
    Chris McCarthy
    We take preventative measures for our health every day: we brush our teeth to prevent cavities; we exercise for ­our hearts; we wear our seatbelts in case of a car wreck. Read more >>
    Salomon Qst Pro 120
    Chris McCarthy
    As much as I picture myself a hardcore skier—the kind that searches for powder stashes well beyond ski-area boundaries—I know that I’m not there yet. I can handle myself in most situations, but when it comes to going out of bounds, I always let excuses stop me. Read more >>
    Mike England
    An all-around nordic powerhouse. Read more >>
  • Fishing

    Montana Fly Fishing, Yellowstone Fly Fishing
    the editors
    Mid-spring fly-fishing gear. Read more >>
    crampons, fishing wading, anti-slip traction
    Howlett, David
    Wading out to my favorite fishing spots has always been a precarious operation, and the swift currents, slippery banks, and mossy rocks of Montana’s rivers have left me upended and soaked more times than I’d like to admit. Read more >>
    Hobie Mirage Revolution 13
    England, Mike
    Hands-free boating for summer adventures. Read more >>
    fly fishing gear, fly fishing essentials, fishing in Montana, fishing ideas
    the editors
    What to take for your day on the water Read more >>
    Tucker, David
    For a while, I was content to fish from the shore or only wade in a short distance in river shoes. This had a twofold affect. One: I didn’t catch fish. And two: I got cold and wet. Read more >>
  • Climbing

    Scarpa Techno X, Montana Rock Climbing
    McCarthy, Chris
    Now I know what Cinderella’s ugly stepsisters felt like trying to cram their feet into the undersized glass slipper. Straight out of the box, the Scarpa Techno X climbing shoe is so painfully tight that I thought I’d grabbed the wrong size. Read more >>
    ice climbing, boots, Outside Bozeman, Montana
    Pogge, Drew
    For climbing ice and mixed routes in southwest Montana, a boot’s fit and comfort are key. Our approaches can be long, and the weather is notoriously cold and fickle, and with the inherent wetness and inactivity of climbing and belaying, it’s a tough job for any piece of footwear. Read more >>
    Reuss, Dave
    When you’re as bad at climbing as me, every single variable can make a difference. That’s why I’m glad I found the Bravo Quickdraw from Metolius. Read more >>
    England, Mike
    Halfway up a 19,000-foot peak, watching one’s ropemates struggle for solid footing on near-vertical ice, a guy naturally starts wondering how good his gear really is. Read more >>
    Keyes, Fletcher
    The Mammut Superflash is the Sherman tank of climbing ropes. At 70m long, 10.5mm thick, and able to withstand up to 14 UIAA-rated falls, this thing is bombproof. Read more >>
  • Camping

    GSI Pinnacle Dualist
    Tucker, David
    Convenience is king these days, and it doesn’t get much more convenient than the Pinnacle Dualist cooking system from GSI, especially if you backpack in pairs. Read more >>
    Nemo Tent
    Mangels, Angie
    I was looking for a tent that could go from car camping to the occasional backpack, that would have a bit of interior room while keeping a low profile, and could handle a variety of weather. Read more >>
    MST WhisperLite Universal
    Tucker, David
    The WhisperLite stove from MSR has been the gold standard of backpacking stoves for years, and now the product is better than ever. Read more >>
    Montana Backpacking, Thermarest EvoLite
    Tucker, David
    Let’s get one thing straight: sleeping on the ground sucks. But it sucks by degrees. Read more >>
    MSR Papa Hubba NX, Montana Camping
    Howlett, David
    When my family outgrew our beloved Mutha Hubbard three-person tent, upgrading to MSR’s larger Papa Hubba NX four-person backpacking tent was an easy choice. Read more >>
  • Hunting

    MountainWorks Montana Hunting Access 2016, Montana Hunting
    McCarthy, Chris
    It’s happened to me a couple times: I do all the planning for a morning hunt on the dining room table and, when I head out, I leave my BMA maps behind. Now I’m stuck searching for a block management area to hunt and I'm unable to locate the sign-in box. Read more >>
    Mystery Ranch Marshall Review
    Hockett, Corey
    Mystery Ranch is at it again with their newest gift to the expedition hunter, the Marshall. Read more >>
    England, Mike
    Hunting by personal watercraft. Read more >>
    Alpen Optics Teton 10x42
    Acosta, Jeff
    I recently had a chance to try out the Alpen Teton 10x42 ED HD (extra-low dispersion, high-definition) and I have to say, I’m extremely impressed with both the feel and function of these binoculars. Read more >>
    Stone Glacier Sky 5100 Review
    England, Mike
    Quivers may be all the rage these days, but a more minimalist approach has its advantages: less money shelled out, less space occupied in the closet, less time spent fixing gear. Which is why I like my new Sky 5100, made by Bozeman’s own Stone Glacier. Read more >>
  • Biking

    RockyMounts TomaHawk Review
    Tucker, David
    If you’re like me and you drive a small car but love to ride, then you’ve probably been faced with the dilemma of what to do with your bike when it’s time to load the car. Read more >>
    Fall Biking, Bozeman, Fall Biking Gear
    the editors
    Fall bike gear. Read more >>
    Dakine slayer elbow pad
    Tucker, David
    Rocks are hard and bikes go fast, so in order to protect my boney knees and elbows, I got a set of Slayer Pads from Dakine. Now when I’m bombing down from Mystic Lake, I don’t have to worry as much about careering off the Wall of Death. Read more >>
    Intense Uzzi
    Peterson, Simon
    Taking freeride mountain biking back to the future, Intense has re-introduced the Uzzi with vamped-up components and a 27.5-inch wheelbase that adds to its outstanding versatility. Read more >>
    Women's Biking Apparel, Bozeman Mountain Biking, Bozeman Pedal Project
    Mangels, Angie
    Women's biking apparel. Read more >>
  • Boating

    Pristine Ventures PR 49, packrafting, packrafting Montana
    McCarthy, Chris
    The idea of packrafting a river deep in the wilderness is exciting. Doing so with a couple hundred pounds of fresh elk meat—now that’s an adventure. The PR-49 from Pristine Ventures makes this type of epic Montana outing possible. Read more >>
    Astral Brewer Review
    Kennedy, Kevin
    If you’re a recreational or professional waterman looking for a do-it-all shoe for the summer season, look no further than the Astral Brewer. Read more >>
    Pelican Coolers, ProGear Elite Cooler Review
    England, Mike
    For those extended summer road-trips deep into the Montana backcountry, you need a reliable ice-chest—when the fishing’s good and the sunsets are even better, the last thing you want is a mandatory town run. Read more >>
    Railblaza C-Tug
    Howlett, David
    One of the most challenging things about kayak fishing is transporting the considerable size and weight of the boat from my vehicle to the water’s edge. When fully loaded, my boat weighs well over 100 pounds, and at 12 feet long, it’s awkward to move around. Read more >>
    Wilderness Systems Fishing Kayak, Wilderness Systems Ride 115 Max Angler
    Howlett, David
    My fishing buddy Mark summed up the Ride 115 Max Angler from Wilderness Systems best: “It’s got all the bells and whistles.” I couldn't say it better, because with a slew of desirable components built in and the Yakattack signature Angler Package, the 115 Max Angler is one of the Read more >>
  • Nutrition

    camp food, Outside Bozeman, Montana
    England, Mike
    When it comes to camp food, convenience and healthiness tend to move in opposite directions—but not so with Good To-Go’s Dehydrated Meals. These slim packets contain loads of healthy ingredients, without all the chemical compounds you’ve come to expect from most packaged foods. Read more >>
    Reuss, Dave
    After a hard day in the mountains, there’s little better than sitting down to an ice-cold beer. And while a fancy, dark microbrew might hit the spot, sometimes you need something a little lighter and more refreshing—and that’s where Montucky Cold Snacks comes in. Read more >>
    Mangels, Angie
    I’ve never been a fan of standard trail bars, but I do like small energy snacks I can easily stash in my backpack—so I was happy to discover Honey Stinger Organic Waffles. These handy treats are based off the energy waffles eaten by professional cyclists all across Europe. Read more >>
    England, Mike
    When packing up for a long day on the trail or river, throw in a Kate’s Bar, a scrumptious blend of all-natural, organic ingredients guaranteed to fill your gut and please your palate at the same time. Read more >>
    Baker, Alicia
    As a nutritionist, I’ve had my share of granola bars. So when an online bakery, Bakery on Main, recently unveiled its newest granola bars, I just had to try them out. Read more >>
  • Just for Chicks

    Mystery Ranch pack, backpacking,
    Hamilton, Felicia
    Two words came to mind when I was deciding on a new pack: quality and comfort. The new Big Mountain pack from Mystery Ranch delivers both. Quality was a no-brainer; Mystery Ranch is known for their top-notch products. Read more >>
    Mangels, Angie
    Whether you ice climb or ski, the Alpine Alibi II will cover your digits in comfort and style. Read more >>
    Mangels, Angie
    You’ll never have to worry about sudden snow flurries while wearing the Salida Hoody from OR. Thanks to the Alpin-wool Plus fabric, you’ll be well protected from finicky Montana weather. Read more >>
    Pollastro, Joyce
    Barefoot running had always seemed to me like a way for companies to sell us creepy hybrid glove-shoes, so I stayed loyal to my cushy sneakers… until I slipped into a pair of Merrell’s Bare Access Arc 2. Read more >>
    Canfield, Sarah
    Let’s face it: a girl can never have too many socks. And if you’re an avid trail runner like me, the Hike/Trek 1/4socks from Darn Tough are sure to stand out as you rummage through your overflowing sock drawer. Read more >>
  • Dog Gear

    Ruffwear Singletrak Pack
    McCarthy, Chris
    I’m in the mountains a lot, running a trail, bagging a peak, or shooting a grouse. Typically, my dog Seamus is with me, but rarely by my side. His off-trail adventures generally leave him thirsty and me short of water—but not anymore. Read more >>
    RuffWear Approach Pack
    Tucker, David
    Most dogs that love trails love accomplishing tasks. That’s why it’s nice having my lab Hank carry his own load in his Approach Pack from Ruffwear. He gets a sense of pride out of the responsibility. Read more >>
    Adventure Medical Dog First Aid
    Tucker, David
    Dogs need first-aid same as people, in fact moreso in many cases. Now that Adventure Medical Kits makes the Me & My Dog Series, you get what you need for people and pooches, all in one package. Read more >>
    ZUKE'S Power Bones
    Tucker, David
    We all need to pound calories if we’re going to be pounding trail, and our dogs are no different. During the hot Montana summer, they’ll be burning energy at a high rate, which is why I’m glad I have Zuke’s Power Bones to keep Hank going strong all day. Read more >>
    Ruffwear Dog Beds
    Tucker, David
    Sleeping gear for dogs. Read more >>
  • Miscellaneous

    Avex 3Sixty Pour
    Tucker, David
    Nothing beats hot coffee, especially on a crisp mountain morning. But all too often, after, I go to drown my work-day sorrows in a hot cup o’ joe and it’s stone cold. Not anymore, as the 3Sixty Pour Thermos from Avex has changed all that. Read more >>
    SMITH Guide's Choice
    Tucker, David
    Few things are more essential to an enjoyable outdoor experience than a good pair of sunglasses. This is even more true during summer in the mountains, so I sprung for a new pair this year and ended up with the Guide’s Choice from Smith. Read more >>
    FuelBelt, Helium 2-Bottle Custom Fit
    Tucker, David
    Staying hydrated on the trail isn't easy, especially in drier ranges like the Bridgers. And since I've been training for some longer distance runs this summer, I've needed to carry water. Read more >>
    Paddleboarding Bozeman
    the editors
    Putting standups to the test. Read more >>
    Gerber Freescape
    Tucker, David
    Nothing is more essential than a good knife. It’s the ultimate tool and when you buy one, you can never imagine when and where you’ll need it. The applications are endless, and this winter, I’m using a Freescape folding knife from Gerber. Read more >>
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