Frigid fingers are unpleasant. Numb wooden hands are far worse, and potentially dangerous in the chilly backcountry. Prevent the fingertip blues this season and keep your dexterity, enjoyment, and digits intact with these handy tips. IF THE GLOVE FITS In a properly fitting glove, your fingers should almost, but not quite, touch the tips. The…

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You are stranded, injured and alone. Night is falling, conditions are deteriorating, and there is no way out until the next day. Or longer. Are you equipped to survive? Your chances will be vastly improved if you carry these essential items and know how to use them. STAY DRY AND WARM Hypothermia will kill you…

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Sure, headlamps make you look like some sort of cyclopean beambrain. But it’s a small price to pay for the convenience of hands-free lighting, whether in camp, on the trail, or in the depths of your gear closet. Headlamp design has made a quantum leap in recent years, incorporating bulbs and battery-sipping LEDs into an…

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For many of us, heading into the backcountry for a multi-day trip means that we’re carrying more than just a loaded backpack. The monkey of caffeine addiction rides along as well, and you’ve got to feed it or face the logy, headpounding consequences. And, hey, coffee tastes good anyway. So what’s the best way to…

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The final miles of the Appalachian Trail weave through a wild landscape flush with the diversity of northern Maine. Here, along the longest stretch of trail that doesn’t cross a paved road, intrepid hikers can visit sluicing rivers, sheening lakes, monster trees, and airy viewpoints. Two nearby mountains await as well, surveying the entire region. But be aware:…

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Love the beach but hate crowds, traffic, and the oiled masses? In the Northeast, summer mania regularly inundates coastal destinations with sand-loving hordes, making it difficult to quietly commune with the sea. Consider opting instead for these peaceful strands, which offer long stretches of lesser-traveled oceanfront for hiking, exploring, and simply soaking it all in….

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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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May is the best month of the year for wildflowers in the Northeast. As forests awaken from their winter slumber, the ground explodes with spring ephemerals blooming in the brief sunny window before the trees leaf out and seal the woods in deep shade. Explore these choice destinations to see them in their greatest riots,…

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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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