August is that time of year when folks start appraising how they spent their summers. Was it time well spent, or did most of it go by with you looking out the window? If you’re more of the latter—or if you just can’t get enough of warm evenings outside and backcountry excursions—don’t despair at the waning days of summer. There’s plenty of time left to get outside and hike that trail, camp that campground, and bike that epic road before the chill of autumn creeps into the air.
If you’re thinking more about back-to-school gear, we’ve rounded up great discounts right here for students, parents, and teachers too.
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Only select colors are on sale (Wax Red and Pitch Blue). The Black Hole is one of those stalwart bags that’s been around for years now, and even though the competition has heated up significantly in the past couple of years, it still holds its own. That’s why I gave it an approving nod in my Best Travel Bags guide. Most of the fabric is waterproof, and it’s tough enough to stand up to airline baggage handlers.
This one requires a bit of forward-thinking. While it’s too warm out right now for this surprisingly warm, yet lightweight jacket, we’re not far off from chilly autumn. You won’t find these on sale often. The Micro Puff is my favorite lightweight, synthetic puffy jacket. Its trim fit lets you slip it under a shell jacket, and it has more warmth than Patagonia’s Nano Puff.
For everything from rock climbing to summer hiking to long-distance motorcycle rides, Patagonia’s Capilene tees are my go-to when I need a short-sleeve shirt and casual cotton won’t cut it. That’s why it’s a shirt of choice in my Best Base Layers guide. The thin, polyester fabric dries out far more quickly than cotton, and while it barely traps warmth it also provides sun protection on the order of SPF 50. They don’t feel burly, but I’ve got several that are still going strong four years later.
Only select colors are on sale. The R1 is ideal as a mid-layer during intensive outdoor activities, even when it’s frigid. But it also makes for an excellent casual and low-intensity-activity outer layer when you want just enough fleece insulation to take the bite out of the air without feeling stuffy and overheated. Wait just a few weeks, and you’ll find it’s the perfect thing for the chill of early evening, long before we enter the dread of winter.
Bike Gear Deals
Need a little cush for your tush, but don’t want to go full road racer and drape yourself in Lycra? Slip on a pair of liner shorts under your street clothes for a shot of comfort and endurance. The area that comes in contact with the saddle is padded, but underneath a pair of jeans, it was unnoticeable to passersby. I found it reduced friction burns, as well. While the reviews mention a loose waistband, I experienced no such issues.
Beyond just getting a bicycle closer to eye level when you’re seated, a repair stand that raises the wheels off the ground lets you work on brakes and wheels with much greater ease. If you plan on maintaining your own bike, it’s a necessity. This one, with its wide and heavy three legs, had stability in spades, and the parts that clamp onto the bike’s seat post are burly enough to lift an 85-pound bike. There’s also the Feedback Sports Sport Mechanic Repair Stand for $187 ($33 off), which is 2 pounds heavier at nearly 13 pounds.
Bikes can be awfully convenient—until it comes time to store it. Finding a spot out of the way, whether in your garage or in your apartment, can induce all kinds of headaches. This beefy, hinged wall mount hooks the front wheel of your bike and allows you to store it vertically as close to flush against the wall as possible, making it stick out less than a typical wall mount. Its steel build felt beefy enough for me to hang a heavy ebike off it with zero worries.
Other Great Outdoor Deals
One of the major benefits of car camping—that is, camping in a drive-up-and-unload campground—is that you can be a bit more liberal with what you decide to take when you’re not as worried about weight and space as when you’re living out of a backpack. Having a toolbox’s worth of (miniature) tools in your pocket can head off a great many problems, from impromptu tent zipper repairs to surprise car trouble when it’s time to drive home. Of all the multi-tools I tested in my Best Multi-Tools guide, the Wave+ is my overall number one recommendation. There are 18 tools in this 4-inch (when closed) tool, and it comes with Leatherman’s 25-year warranty.
Tents can cost a fortune. If your plan is to roll up to the campground and unload straight onto a designated campsite, there’s no need to spend double or triple on an ultralight tent, which requires more care to keep from damaging anyway. The Trail Hut series from REI’s house brand is my pick of choice for an affordable, yet durable tent. Ostensibly it sleeps four people, but that’s with everyone snuggling tight. It’s a more relaxed fit for two or three people. It also includes a footprint that saves the underside of the tent from abrasion damage against the ground.
The Core is the rechargeable version of my favorite headlamp, the Actik. While I prefer and recommend the standard Actik for long backcountry hiking and mountaineering trips, where I have easier access to spare AAA batteries than a charging outlet, the Core is a solid choice when you’re looking for a backyard headlamp or when you’re camping near access to a vehicle or battery bank for charging via USB cable. The Core can throw a lot of light, too—up to 450 lumens, which is 100 more than the standard Actik, and the strap is one of the most comfortable I’ve used.
Need a new case to protect your phone, earbuds case, tablet, or smartwatch when you’re outside? OtterBox is running a promotion through August 11 that nets you 20 percent off your entire order when you buy two or more items. We love OtterBox’s cases—check out our case roundups for the iPhone 13, iPhone 14, Galaxy S23, Galaxy S22, and Pixel phones for ideas.