July/August 2009

When I’m out on a long backcountry adventure, I aim to consume around 3,000 calories per day. This means that if my food averages 100 calories per ounce, I’m toting roughly 2 pounds (30 ounces) of food per day. If I’m out on a two-week backpacking trip with no options for resupply, that quickly adds…

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There are a lot of times when a fully waterproof shell is far more than you need. Rather than carry around all that Gore-Tex-ified bulk and weight, you may want to consider cutting your pack weight significantly by going with something as simple (and lightweight) as a basic water resistant shell. Sure, a water resistant…

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When I’m out hiking, I always carry a map of my location. And so should you! It’s one of those no-brainer, don’t leave-home-without-it, Ten Essentials items. But it’s not nearly as helpful if you have to rummage through your pack any time you want to check something—you’re much less likely to use it if you…

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For a long time, there has been no industry standard for setting the warmth rating of sleeping bags. Manufacturers were free to label their sleeping bags as they saw fit, leading to great disparity between companies’ ratings. For example, The North Face is notoriously optimistic; Marmot is generally conservative. Consequently, a +15 degree bag from…

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For nearly a decade (roughly 1997-2006), Suunto produced the best altimeter watch on the market: the Vector (right). And then they replaced it with their Core series. Now they no longer make the best altimeter watch. In fact, they’ve done a good job at seriously damaging their reputation due to some consistent quality control problems…

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As part of my continuing series on Northeast-based gear companies, I wanted to highlight Wild Things. Based in North Conway, N.H., this small operation has been producing top-of-the-line clothing, packs, and gear for technical mountaineering and cold-weather adventure since 1981. Such luminaries as Arctic explorer Will Steger and legendary alpinist Mark Twight, along with many…

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As you have likely heard by now, in March Congress designated The New England National Scenic Trail (NENST), a long-distance route that runs from south-central Connecticut to the Massachusetts-New Hampshire border. You can learn more about the designation—and what it means exactly—in a recent AMC Outdoors article or in the following AMC press release. Or…

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One late spring day several years ago, I was on the upper flanks of Mount Shasta in Northern California in an intense late-season storm. Ensconced safely in my 4-season tent (a bomber Sierra Designs Lookout that still serves me today), I listened to the wind howl and wondered if our cook tent was going to…

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Twice a year, Salt Lake City becomes ground zero for outdoor gear when Outdoor Retailer descends upon the city for four days of gear junkie heaven. The two annual events, Summer and Winter Outdoor Retailer, are the nation’s largest conventions devoted to outdoor equipment. Every outdoor company you’ve ever heard of (plus many more you…

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One of my longest serving gear items is a Campingaz Turbo 270 canister stove. I’ve had it for nearly 15 years as my regular go-to camp stove for three-season backpacking trips. It has performed flawlessly, without fail, the entire time. I’ve never had a reason to even consider replacing it. But now its days may…

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