Equipped

In 1946, the U.S. Army created N,N-diethyl-m-toluamide. Commonly known as DEET, it is the most widely used insect repellent in the world today. It’s also caustic enough to melt plastic, a concern for many outdoor enthusiasts who regularly slather it on their skin. A variety of alternatives are available, including several natural compounds, but how…

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For years, hikers only had three real options when it came to treating water in the backcountry: boil it, filter it, or add iodine. Now a broad array of weaponry is available to exterminate all the aquatic baddies looking to take up residence in your gut: bacteria, viruses, cryptosporidia, and especially parasitic enemy number one,…

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If you were on the trail for hundreds of days and thousands of miles, what would be your most cherished piece of gear? To help answer this question of packing priorities, we queried dozens of AT thru-hikers for their hard-won thoughts on the matter. Some answers you’d expect. Others may surprise you. Light is right…

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AMC Outdoors, March 2006 The first time you get into a canoe, it’s like the beginning of a love affair. Everything is exciting and new. You can’t get enough time together. All you want is to be alone on the water with your floating friend. But after a while the novelty begins to wear. You…

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AMC Outdoors, July/August 2005 Ah, a sock’s life. Absorber of sweat, keeper of odor, it lives entombed within the dark abyss of your shoes. Toenails prod it, footfalls pound it, and friction slowly wears it away as it dutifully protects your foot from blisters and abuse. Socks definitely take one for the team—and yet when…

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AMC Outdoors, June 2005 There are certain immutable truths about the outdoors, among them: If you don’t ask a first-time tentmate prior to a trip whether he snores, he will…loudly. If you decide to cut pack weight by bringing a lighter bag or insulating layer, it will be freezing. And add this contemporary truth: If…

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AMC Outdoors, May 2005 We skied uphill through fog and falling snow, zig-zagging around crevasses bigger than Olympic swimming pools. We were on a six-day March traverse of the Wapta Icefield, a sprawling starfish of glaciers in the Canadian Rockies. At a pass called Balfour High Col, a frigid wind blew snow sideways in a…

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AMC Outdoors, April 2005 A pair of trekking poles can transform you into a fleet-footed, four-legged, full-body hiking machine. Or a brush-snagging, rock-scarring, hand-encumbered trail beast, depending on your point of view. In most situations, trekking poles improve your balance, and make crossing rushing streams, walking on slippery surfaces, and hiking over loose rocks both…

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AMC Outdoors, March 2005 Recently, I bought a used 15-foot sea kayak. This was my first real kayak, and I wanted the perfect paddle to go with it. So before venturing into the paddling shop, I decided to ask two avid kayaking buddies for advice. Well, these guys started out bickering about ferrules, then debated…

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AMC Outdoors, January/February 2005 Ya gotta love winter in the Northeast. The fourth season transforms our highest peaks into wind-scoured alpine islands of snow and ice, as spectacular as they are challenging. Stepping into the arctic above-treeline world provides great adventure, bringing you into the domain of some of Nature’s most primal forces. Trails sheltered…

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