Equipped

I have, and continue to use, an original Jetboil PCS stove from the early 2000’s. It has proven to be durable, reliable, and useful in two very specialized ways: it boils water exceptionally fast and it’s great for making coffee. (Other than that, it’s pretty much useless—as far as I’m concerned, the pot is just too…

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Whether you’re hiking, climbing, biking, skiing, or just living in the modern world, you need a way to carry your supplies for the day. The concept is simple, and yet day packs come in multitudinous forms, with bewildering arrays of features to match. Here are the most important elements to consider. BIG DECISIONS Most day packs feature roughly 1,200 to 2,400 cubic inches of volume (or between 20 and…

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Some day-pack features are worth the money; others less so. Here’s what to look for and what to skip: Side straps are useful for lashing gear to the outside of your pack or for compressing an underfilled pack. Bungee systems also let you attach gear to your pack’s exterior, but these tend to be less secure and lose their stretch…

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There’s a general truism when it comes to ultralight tents. As manufacturers shave down the ounces, they often shave inches off the tent’s length. Which is fine if you’re less than 6 feet tall. But if you’re tall like me (6 feet 5 inches), there’s nothing fine about having your head and/or feet pushing directly against…

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Part of an ongoing series on Northeast-based gear companies. I’ve long been attracted to the ultralight offerings of Mountain Laurel Designs, especially their diverse line of pyramid tents and packs. Even better, the company is based in AMC’s region, in Roanoke, Va., where they produce all of their gear. If you’re shopping for ultralight equipment—and want to…

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I went backpacking in New Hampshire’s Sandwich Range Wilderness over Memorial Day weekend. Together with my two young boys (ages 5 and 7), we camped for two nights in the backcountry, climbed 3,500-foot Mount Chocorua, and reveled in the lush woods of summer. The trip marked the third of our two-night backpacking trips to date, following…

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When it comes to backcountry camping, I’m often a base camp kind of guy. I like to hike in to a great campsite, set up for two nights or more, and then spend the intervening days day-hiking to nearby destinations. It’s a method I’ve embraced all the more now that I’ve started backpacking with my…

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Got trees? In the wooded backcountry of the Northeast, the appeal of hammock camping is obvious—you can pitch a comfortable, sleep-worthy hammock in far more places than a tent. But hammock camping has its challenges as well, from learning to pitch one appropriately (and with minimal impact) to protecting yourself from rain and weather. For me personally, one of the…

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There’s a new entry in the world of ultralight backpacks, and it’s right here in the Northeast (Coplay, Pa., to be exact). Appalachian Ultralight is a new one-man gear shop that just opened for commercial sales earlier this year. Its specialty? Small- to mid-sized (30- to 45-liter) ultralight backpacks, including a 6.25-ounce, 30-liter marvel of…

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Tent footprints are cut to precisely match a tent’s floor dimensions. When placed underneath the tent, they provide protection from abrasion, moisture, and general wear-and-tear and are generally recommended when a few extra ounces aren’t a big deal. (It’s a different story when you are counting ounces, however. More on this below.) Nearly every gear…

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