Equipped

You can spend a lot of money on a tent these days, with many styles—especially ultralight models—running well north of $300. But plenty of less expensive tents are available that sacrifice none of the functionality of pricier models. Here are three excellent models to consider. For this round-up, I’ve narrowed the criteria to two-person tents…

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I’ve used an extensive array of outdoor gear over 20 years of hiking, camping, and backpacking. Here are my top five most used, most abused, most durable, and most loved items. Please share yours! Mountain Hardwear Subzero Parka I purchased this ultra-warm, super-sized down parka a decade ago—and still revel in its delicious warmth every…

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My canister stove is simple and convenient to operate, and has long been my go-to three-season option. But it sucks in the winter or any time temperatures start dropping below freezing, when they work poorly to not at all. Why? Why, stove, why??? Photo: Michael R Perry/Flickr Commons It boils down to some basic chemistry…

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Last month, Big Agnes announced its new mtnGLO line of tents, which will feature LED lights built directly into the tent to provide ambient lighting at the flick of a switch. Available in early 2015, the tents’ details are scant at this point, though early product images (see below) show a line of LED lights…

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When it comes to cooking in the backcountry, canister stoves—those that run on a compressed propane-butane blend—have been my go-to backpacking option for years. For me, their convenience and ease-of-use—attach stove, ignite, boil, simmer, done—more than outweighs the minor drawbacks of the canisters’ small additional weight and expense. These stoves do create one significant hassle, however….

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Alcohol stove fuel comes in two principal types: ethanol and methanol. Ethanol (ethyl alcohol or grain alcohol) is what we consume in beer, wine, and liquor. Pure ethanol burns the cleanest of any fuel, but is expensive and hard to find. Denatured alcohol (methylated spirits) is ethanol that has been rendered undrinkable (and thus exempt…

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There’s ultralight backpacking, and then there’s hyperlight. It’s possible for all your backpacking gear to weigh less than 10 pounds (excluding food, water, and the clothes you’re wearing) but accomplishing it requires some notable sacrifices and expense. Here’s what it takes to experience the lightest, rightest, fastest backpacking experience of your life. Shelter: 0 to…

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Chafing on the hips is a common problem, especially with heavier loads and for hikers whose hips have little or no curvature to support a waist belt.  To minimize potential pressure points, wear pants or shorts with a smooth waistband.  For extra padding and waistbelt support, tie a fleece jacket evenly around your waist.  To help…

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If you’re looking for the lightest weight shelter possible, a tarp is the way to go—and these days you can find a range of ultralight options that easily weigh under a pound. Here’s a quick review of some of the available options. Before we get there, however, it’s worth noting that such radical weight savings…

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When it comes to choosing a multiday backpack, forget about pockets, zippers, ventilation, access panels, materials, color, and any other number of design elements. Focus instead on the single most important feature: a good fit. Figuring out how to fit a backpack isn’t difficult, yet it may be one of the most crucial gear skills…

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