The Gear That Backpacker’s Editors Loved in October 2023

This article originally appeared on Backpacker

Cheddar green chile grits
Cheddar green chile grits

Farm to Summit Green Chile Cheddar Grits ($8.50)

I'm not an instant oatmeal fan, and I like to get out of camp fast, so I usually opt for cold breakfast on the trail (this berry yogurt parfait is my all-time favorite). But on chilly mornings when my crew is firing up the stove for coffee, it's nice to partake with a hot meal. These grits provide a simple, tasty alternative to oats and dehydrated eggs, which rarely hit the spot for me. They rehydrate fast and go down easy--just what I need on mornings where altitude or an early start suppresses my appetite. A hint of green chile keeps these from tasting bland without overpowering the entire dish. At 340 calories per package, they won't keep you feeling full mile after mile, but they make a great base for a cozy breakfast in camp. --Zoe Gates, Senior Editor

Distance 8 backpack
Distance 8 backpack

Black Diamond Distance 8 Backpack ($160)

In Colorado, early-to-mid fall is prime time for long trail runs. The threat of triple-digit heat has receded but the mountain passes are still generally clear, making it the perfect time to grind out a high-mileage day and still get home by lunchtime. The Distance 8 has been my constant companion when I tied on my shoes this month; it's small enough and (thanks to its springy shoulder harness) stable enough to comfortably run with even when it's firmly packed. On a 13-mile leaf-peeping run on the Colorado Trail, I used the UHMWPE main compartment for a thin midlayer, shell, and water filter and stuffed a soft flask of water, snacks, and my phone in the quadruple pockets on the shoulder straps, while a zippered pocket kept my keys and Bluetooth headphones safe. The Distance comes in four sizes--4, 8, 15, and 22--and I'm hoping to try out the larger ones on my Nordic-skiing jaunts when the snow finally arrives. --Adam Roy, Executive Editor

Dark glasses
(Photo: Courtesy)

Eclipse Shades Glasses, $20

This month, I joined thousands of other astronomically-inclined hikers to watch the annular eclipse in Bryce Canyon National Park. We arrived at the rim of the canyon at sunrise to claim a prime viewing spot before the eclipse around 10:30 a.m., and about an hour before annularity, the moon started to overtake the sun in the sky, crawling its way toward the iconic "ring of fire" outline. I could easily watch its progress thanks to my Eclipse Shades glasses. They're not those flimsy paper glasses like you'd get at the theater for a 3-D movie. These plastic glasses are CE- and ISO-certified, and the lenses have an optical density of 5 or greater, meaning they block out 99.999% of intense visible light. Also, the shape of the glasses--with extra-wide temples and a nose shield--blocks out ambient light, so you can focus on just seeing the sun (or lack thereof during an eclipse). I'll certainly be packing these glasses when I travel to the midwest next summer to watch the next eclipse along its path of totality. -- Emma Veidt, Assistant Editor

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