PacSafe Venturesafe X30 Anti-theft Adventure Backpack
Field Test: I used this lightweight pack as an airport carry-on, my backpacking stove and sleeping bag stored at the bottom, my tent and sleeping pad neatly strapped to its side. A cushioned back panel with air flow channels makes for comfortable hauling. For more urban adventures, stow away the hip belt and swap out the hydration bladder for a laptop. If you’ve never been robbed, the security features might seem like overkill: An RFID-safe pocket protects your wallet and passport from would-be identity thieves; a turn and lock security hook allows you to attach the bag to a subway pole or bedframe; eXomesh slashguards and Dyneema webbing deters bag slashers; and all the zippers run through stop loops to prevent pickpockets.
Why It’s Timeless: There’s a built-in rainfly, because a secure bag is worthless soaked. —Kiran Herbert
Hydrapak 1L Stash Collapsible Water Bottle
The Hydrapak Stash bottle not only folds into roughly one-fifth its filled size but it also weighs 50 percent less than a hard bottle. Pop it open, fill to drink, compress when finished, and twist-n-click to close. Compatible with most backcountry filters, an attached bail handle makes it easy to take anywhere. —K.H.
Matador Freerain24 Backpack
The Claim: A backpack suited to real adventure, this 24-liter waterproof bag compresses to fit into the palm of your hand.
Field Test: At 5.5 ounces, the compressed Freerain24 takes up virtually no room in your luggage, but unfolds into a real backpack, with dual side pockets and a front zipper. I’ve used the Freerain everywhere from mountain biking in Park City, Utah, to a week of travels in Muscat, Oman, to a day of rafting in Buena Visa, Colorado. On a recent trip to Alaska, it served as my daypack, with enough room for multiple layers, snacks, a hat, and my hydration bladder (there’s no sleeve or hole, but that’s hardly a ding considering it’s also a drybag). There’s less support and breathability than with typical adventure packs, but the material is durable and puncture resistant.
Why It’s Timeless: After four hours hiking in the pouring rain, the Freerain kept my gear dry. —K.H.
Eagle Creek Cargo Hauler Duffel 120L
Field Test: I live out of duffel bags. In winter, there’s one permanently loaded with all my skate ski gear. In summer, two duffels hold my full road and mountain bike kits for grab and go efficiency. The family keeps more duffels on hand for road trips and air travel. The bags pile up annoyingly in attics and closets. Not so with the Cargo Hauler, which zips into a tight cube when not in use. The lightweight “Armor Lite” material is crazy rugged, but also silky. And the backpack straps work well enough for short hauls.
Why It’s Timeless: Nothing beats the ability to cram a duffel into tight spaces. —Marc Peruzzi
Cocoon Ultralight Air-Core Pillow
The Claim: Cocoon says you’ll sleep in comfort with this lightweight, easily compressed travel pillow.
Field Test: I tried every single camp pillow at the Phoenix R.E.I. (sorry, stock clerk) before settling on the Cocoon Ultalight Air-Core. I use the sleep aid during long drives, on backpacking trips, and at 3.7 ounces (and 13 x 17 inches inflated), I can board flights with the Air-Core in my carry-on. Just a couple breaths inflates to my desired fill and the Air-Core is a breeze to deflate and stuff back into its lemon-sized sack. I’ve yet to find a comparable match when it comes to comfort, size, and price.
Why It’s Timeless: One side is rip stop nylon, the other is a soft microfiber for sound sleeping. —K.H.