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Pace

The remote northern end of the Great Salt Lake in Utah is a stark, otherworldly place. Microbes imbue the water with a rusty red color that’s reminiscent of Mars. Delicate salt crystals grow on black basalt rocks spewed from ancient volcanoes. Signs of life are scarce. Extending from the shore near Rozel Point is a jetty made of black basalt boulders. It’s 15 feet wide and 1500 feet long, snaking outward and bending counterclockwise in great cosmic spiral. This is Robert Smithson’s Spiral Jetty. Smithson helped pioneer the concept of creating earthwork sculptures on a monumental scale, outside the confines [...]

Kim Havell

Last November, Jackson Hole Ski Patroller Pete Linn and I traveled to Peru to explore the Salkantay Trail (ST), an alternate route to the popular and crowded Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. As guides ourselves, we opted to do the trip without an outfitter to have the freedom to move on our terms. It was a last-minute decision, so we only had a couple of weeks of planning and preparation before we found ourselves in Peru, ready to embark on adventure. Part 1: Packing for Purpose Part 2: The Trek We had flown from Lima to Cusco, spent two nights [...]

Kim Havell

Three weeks before I was due to go to Antarctica for my third trip to ski-guide for Ice Axe Expeditions last fall, my plans fell through thanks to last-minute guest changes. I was still itching to go somewhere, so I turned my focus to a new project. The goals were to find an adventure, check out new mountains, do some ski reconnaissance, and embrace and enjoy a new culture. My partner, Jackson Hole Ski Patroller Pete Linn, and I honed in on Peru, and then quickly found the perfect challenge. National Geographic lists the Salkantay Trail (ST) as one of [...]

Griffin Post

When it comes to air travel with ski or snowboard gear, getting there is not half the fun. Usually, flying entails lugging two extremely heavy bags around, paying extra baggage fees, eating overpriced airport food and drinking overpriced beers, all the while wondering if the bags are going to your same destination, or a vacation of their own. As frustrating as air travel can be, however, there are plenty of ways to make your trip less painful. While none of these tips will guarantee that your bags will make it nor that a hottie will be seated next to you, [...]

Austin H.

Avalanche airbag packs are unlike any other safety tool in a backcountry skier’s arsenal. Pull a handle and, in the blink of an eye, you increase your chances of ending up on top of a slide instead of underneath it. The very same technology that enables this survival advantage makes this safety tool unique in the eyes of airlines and regulatory institutions. We distilled the information from airbag manufacturers and airline regulations into a short guide for traveling with an avalanche airbag pack on planes. If you read nothing else in this article, keep one thing in mind: The safest [...]

Lexi D.

Backcountry.com’s online community encompasses a passionate group of wanderers, adventurers, Gearheads, and athletes. Get the rundown on the raddest happenings within the Backcountry community in You Are Backcountry, your connection to the best product reviews, photos, and videos submitted and uploaded by our athletes, our employees, and you! In this installment of You Are Backcountry we’ve compiled the best community-submitted gear reviews with beards on Backcountry.com … and we’re running a contest!  Vote for your favorite Backcountry beard in the comments below – the most votes wins this manly Patagonia Fjord Flannel to complement his facial achievements. Backcountry.com Customer Service [...]

Griffin Post

“Where should I go in Alaska?” I hear the question every season, and for good reason: Alaska is where the proverbial stars of terrain, weather, and snowpack align. The last frontier delivers access to stable, steep terrain more consistently than virtually any other place in the world. World-class athletes and film crews return there year after year and have helped perpetuate a belief that all that stands between you and the runs of your dreams are skill and a big, fat bankroll.  And while partially true–being a good rider and having coin will definitely get you somewhere in AK–the truth [...]

Pace

Lake Powell is a bit of a paradox; it’s a crystal-clear ocean of bath water surrounded by an endless expanse of fiery red sandstone. But nature didn’t make it that way, and Glen Canyon Dam stands as a monolithic testament to what men can do with an infinite amount of concrete. I did get a melancholy vibe when I stopped playing and thought of the shaded canyon bottoms and Native American sites lost beneath the surface, but it’s hard to not be seduced by the place all the same. With 2,000 miles of coastline and nearly 100 side canyons, Powell [...]

Griffin Post

Chamonix, or Cham (pronounced “Sham” if you’re an American), is to skiing what Fenway Park is to baseball. There’s no ski area in the world that has the high profile of Chamonix, and for good reason: the terrain, town and general vibe of the valley is completely different from anything else in the world of winter sports. It’s beautiful, it’s extreme, and it’s a melting pot of cultures from around the ski world. Individually, any of these elements would make Chamonix worth the visit, but it’s the combination of factors that make the north side of Mont Blanc something truly [...]

Jason True

Given my experience in Haines, Alaska in April of 2013, it may have seemed crazy to start planning a return almost as soon as I got back. But as time goes by, you forget the struggles (four days of dumping snow that required eight hours of shoveling a day) and think about the amazing terrain you experienced (or merely saw from a distance); returning has a way of consuming your thoughts. Of course, there’s a lot of planning involved–but that’s part of the fun, at least for me.  I got a couple partners interested in the idea and started scheming. [...]

Kim Havell

Part I Our plane crossed the Arctic Ocean and dipped down towards the Davis Strait. Banking a sweeping right turn towards the short runway, cut between big cliffs and ocean, we got our first glimpse of the minimalist oceanside town of Sisimuit, Greenland. Sisimuit, and most of Greenland, is north of the 60-degree line that traditionally defines the northern polar region. The ruby-red Air Greenland turboprop plane halted at the house-sized airport and, from our seats, we had a window view of five couloirs straight down to the water. The ski terrain and conditions looked promising. Greenland is an autonomous [...]

Griffin Post

What serious skier or snowboarder hasn’t daydreamed of riding pristine powder in August? Massive mountains, friendly people, and lift-serviced terrain–it seems too good to be true. In reality, however, South America serves up just that and is only an overnight flight away. For the intrepid rider, there may be no better adventure than leaving North America’s sweltering heat behind and heading for the Andes. While all this is seemingly at one’s fingertips, there is some legwork that needs to be done before hopping on Delta 147 to Santiago, Chile. Good snow does await powder-starved riders from the northern hemisphere, but [...]

63mph

The idea to live on the road came to me in January of 2013. It was a romantic idea with a backbone of logic – for someone who wants to make a living with words and photographs, the road is an endless source of inspiration. But like most of my best ideas, it was one that I shoved into the crazy box–the home of ideas that were too radical for this 30-year-old Midwestern boy with an expensive education and an office chair softening his ass. A month later, during a boredom-driven Craigslist search, I got a glimpse of the future – [...]

Molly Baker

Although much of the significance of living tiny is getting rid of stuff you don’t need, there are a few gear items that will make life easier, cleaner, and simpler. Here’s to giving away what you don’t need and replacing it with what you do. Illumination Whether you’re in your van or a tiny house you’ll need light for reading, cutting skins, drying gear, making dinner, and generally being efficient during the night hours. Get to know Goal Zero. They make great products like the Light-A-Life LED Lantern. With nine feet of cord and 150 lumens, it’ll be the light [...]

Rob de Luca

What do you really know about Montana? A recent Gallup Poll claims it’s the best state to live in across the U.S.A., which makes it sound pretty swell. Sure, the guidebooks say it’s the home of world-class fly fishing, the nation’s most scenic park, and more elk, pronghorn antelope, and bald eagles than you can possibly eat … but when we left Montana bars off our list of top mountain-town drinking establishments, we were shocked to learn from our neighbors up north that, despite rumors to the contrary, there are some serious downsides to what we thought was basically a [...]

Pace

A reliable stove system is essential to your backpacking setup. After all, it’s only fitting to eat a hot meal while you relax and soak up those well-earned million-dollar views. But with the dozens of stove models available today, it can be difficult to narrow down the options and choose the stove that is best suited to your needs. Of all the available backpacking stoves on the market today, most fall into two basic categories: canister stoves and liquid gas stoves. The exceptions are several hybrid models that can run on either canister or liquid gas, and alternative stove systems [...]

Molly Baker

After three seasons of living tiny, we’ve learned … a lot. Traveling with a 112-square-foot cabin on wheels is only as good as you make it. Here are a few tips for moving into your van, Westfalia, or tiny cabin. Maximum Capacity A small space creates coziness. A natural-born romantic, I love the idea and ambiance of small, warm spaces. It can be the best option for reading a book, playing instruments, and stretching out after a long day in the mountains, and sometimes it’s great to share that space with others, like your ski bum friends… and their friends. [...]

Rob de Luca

We asked our loyal Facebook fans for their top North American ski-town dive bars, and the response was enthusiastic, if not entirely united on what constitutes a “dive” bar. Perhaps y’all are used to the private wet bar in your Gulfstreams, or the lounge at the Four Seasons in Aspen, but some of the spots you suggested as dives are, dare we say, downright nice. It’s true, however, that a real dive can be hard to find in the exclusive, moneyed towns that often sit at the bases of ski resorts, so we’ve suspended our own definition of “dive” and [...]

Rob Story

As freeskiing legend Chris Davenport puts it, “The Antarctic Peninsula is the last great ski location on Earth.” That’s why I joined Davenport a couple years ago on a backcountry ski expedition to the peaks gracing the Antarctic Peninsula. The basic plan: Sail a 78-foot boat named Australis from Argentina; sleep on it by night; ride inflatable, outboard-motored Zodiacs to rocky beaches; climb peaks under our own power; then relish descents that likely have never seen skis, moving cautiously due to the scary lack of paramedics and rescue helicopters. “People have scoured the globe for the next Valdez,” Davenport says. [...]

Molly Baker

As skiers, we either have them or we have friends who have them—those furry creatures that freak out in a snow frenzy anytime they’re let loose on a mountain. We have dogs. They’re Saint Bernards, Labs, Australian Shepherds, Poodles, mutts, and everything in between. They’re big and small with long hair, short hair, tails, and no tails. And no matter what they are, they love you. They adore skiers and snowboarders because they appreciate a day in the mountains just as much as we do. They’re keen to burrow in the snow and play with friends. They enjoy charging downhill [...]

Molly Baker

In ski areas around the world there are stories that live in the parking lot: vans, RVs, buses, and campers host ski bums, families, keeners, and winter road warriors. In an epic conglomeration of winter culture grows the parking lot scene. Pre-powder prep, après celebrations, and late-night snow dancing can be found in these temporary little winter cities with everyone sharing just one common connection, a love for the snow. Everyone knows the guys, gals, and campers that religiously flood their local hill’s parking lot every winter. They know the campers from the outside and the characters within—the frenzied skiers [...]

Lexi D.

Stuffed with high-quality 900-fill goose down, The North Face Super Diez Down Jacket is a warm, lightweight layer well-suited to battling frigid temperatures in harsh environments. The jacket is very thin and packable, featuring baffled construction to eliminate cold spots. I’ve tested this jacket while skiing at Alta when the temperature read -9F, during temps in the teens skiing at Snowbird, backcountry skiing in the Wasatch, and for general use about town and walking outdoors. Tech Spec Fabric Technology – Pertex Quantum GL (10D nylon water-resistant ripstop fabric) Insulation – 900-fill goose down, baffled construction Venting – None Pockets – [...]

Catherine Greenwald

Day three of your ski trip finds you near-crippled with pain and exhaustion, barely able to strap on the boots and clomp up to the lift. And although your body is screaming for you to stop, you press on—it’s your big ski trip of the year, and you want to make the most of it. But skiing when you’re stiff and sore just isn’t as fun. Worse, it may lead to injury when you can’t react to uneven conditions underfoot or turn quickly enough to avoid that big spruce in a tight tree run, earning you a ride down the [...]

Molly Baker

Have you ever jumped on a chairlift with a stranger who changed your day? Someone who wasn’t your age and didn’t like to ski where you do, but made you stoked and smiley because they just love moving over snow? We’ve met so many of these people during the 16,000 miles that we’ve traveled with the tiny house. From folks who could be our grandparents to kids who looked at us as “old,” the people of winter have time and time again reminded us why skiing is so powerful. Alta, Jackson, Whitewater, Myoko, Steven’s Pass, Sun Valley, Valle Nevado, Bachelor, [...]