Lightweight, compressible, and long-lasting, a down-filled sleeping bag is a delightful addition to any camper’s or backpacker’s gear locker. The problem is that down-filled bags are almost always more expensive (sometimes way more expensive) than synthetic-fill options, a trend that has only gotten worse in recent years. Indeed, these days you can easily spend north of $400…

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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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Beside a board, there are two critical items you’ll need for stand-up paddleboarding: a paddle and a PFD. From there, the accessories are endless. A paddle should be 8 to 12 inches longer than you are tall. A longer paddle provides more power and control in rough conditions but requires more effort. A shorter paddle…

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I used to teach people how to stand-up paddleboard, and it remains one of the most satisfying classes I’ve ever led. Why? Most first-timers are anxious about staying upright on the board. Here’s the thing, though: It’s surprisingly easy to balance on most paddleboards—a fact that produced near-instant confidence, enthusiasm, and a sense of empowerment…

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I bike commute nearly 30 miles on most weekdays—and I hate wearing a backpack while I do it. Wearing one turns my back into a sweaty mess, obscures my high-visibility jacket or jersey, and can sometimes restrict circulation to tingling fingertips. So I instead have a rear bike rack and ride with a pannier that carries my…

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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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Hiking and backpacking in the Northeast means that, sooner or later, you’re going to get rained on. So how do you stay dry in the rain? To help keep you a bit less wet than you might otherwise get, here are some simple tips and tricks, organized by type of gear. Rain jacket Look for wrist cuffs…

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There are many ways you can make backcountry water sources safe to drink, from chemical treatments to pump filters to UV light emitters, but these days it appears that one particular variety of water filtration system is cleaning up the competition: the Sawyer Squeeze and Squeeze Mini. (Both are essentially the same; the Mini is just…

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