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Paddling Big Sur

Photo: Kayaking guide Bryan Jones at Big Sur

California's Big Sur lives up to its hefty rep, but even a novice paddler can dig in with the right guide.
Kayaking Big Sur primer

Adventure Travel

Planning your next unforgettable trip is easy. These excursions are Adventure-approved.
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Climbing the Gunks

Photo: Rock climbing in New York's Shawangunk Mountains

Climb high in New York's Shawangunk Mountains.
Start climbing the Gunks

Climberville, U.S.A.

These three towns will drive you up a wall, in Colorado, California, and Oregon.
Learn where to climb

Gear: Travel Bags

Photo: Travel bags for long trips

Tried-and-true bags to perfectly portage your gear.
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Read User Gear Reviews

Leaders of the Pack
By Bevin Wallace   Photograph by Alex di Suvero
Photo: Travel bags for long trips
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Packing light is one thing, but how about packing smart? You're not going to bring a gaping duffel on a weekend getaway, and you'd be woefully unprepared if you attempted a Nepalese trek with a carry-on. What you need is a bag that's intelligently designed, easy to carry, and, above all, specific to the trip. Of the scores of bags we tested—some were sent as far afield as Russia—the ones shown here are the sturdiest, best organized, and most versatile on the market. 

The Long Haulers
1. The versatile Victorinox Trek Pack Plus ($299; converts from rolling luggage into a reasonably comfortable foam-padded backpack; plus, the outer pocket zips off for use as a daypack on short hikes or trips into town.
2. Made of virtually indestructible PVC tarp material and featuring a locking zip, daisy chains, and internal mesh pockets, The North Face Base Camp Duffel ($135; is the classic Everest-tested bag for hauling hefty loads.
3. The burly 9,000-cubic-inch (22,860-centimeter) Ground Chauris Expedition Duffel ($130; was designed to be strapped to a yak, so you know it can take a beating. And with compression straps over its length and width, it stabilizes any load.
4. The Patagonia Stellar Black Hole Bag ($170; has water-resistant welded seams, handles that double as backpack straps, and a rounded form to eliminate high-wear corners and maximize packing space.
5. The Samsonite Oyster ($180; is a tough, hard-shell case with gasket seals to keep moisture out, wide-set wheels for increased stability, and stand-out-at-the-baggage-claim colors like purple and citron (shown).
6. With a roof-rack mounting system, side pockets aplenty, and a separate compartment to hold muddy boots and wet clothes, the Kiva Designs 26-inch Rolling BMX ($140; is incredibly well thought-out.

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