June 2009

This past weekend I spent a wonderful night at AMC’s Ponkapoag Camp, which is located just a few miles south of Boston in the Blue Hills Reservation. The camp consists of a lodge and series of small cabins nestled along the eastern edge of Ponkapoag Pond, a large shallow kettle pond in the lesser-visited southern…

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I’ve accumulated quite the gear collection over the years, but that doesn’t keep me from drooling over other, better gear! To wit, I currently have four different sleeping bags, ranging from a minus-15 degree down winter bag to a lightweight 20-degree synthetic. But ironically, none of them are from my favorite sleeping bag maker: Marmot….

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There’s a rapidly expanding—and outstanding—contender in the ever-escalating arms race of waterproof-breathability: eVent. Waterproof-breathable (WP/B) materials keep liquid water (rain) out but allow water vapor (your evaporating sweat) to pass through. Gore-Tex has long enjoyed the best name-brand recognition in this category, though there are literally dozens of other versions available from different manufacturers. These…

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2009 seems to be the year of the nesting cookset. A battle is brewing among gear manufacturers to see who can produce the slickest cookset that fits together like a backpacker’s version of a Faberge egg. My personal favorite is the Pinnacle Dualist Cookset from GSI Outdoors. Designed for two people, this 20-ounce, $60 set…

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Over the course of this blog, I’ll be regularly highlighting gear companies that are based in the Northeast region, with a particular focus on those that manufacture in the region as well. It’s a good thing to support local industries and jobs, and I’m hopeful this information will help you do so. Jetboil is first…

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I taught a class earlier this week on ultralight backpacking (or “fastpacking” as the jargon goes), which was designed to help participants identify ways to easily and effectively reduce their pack weight. I focused on five specific items of gear which together tend to account for the majority of weight: Pack Two-person tent Sleeping Bag…

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I’m a bit of a connoisseur of energy bars. I’ve had the opportunity and motivation to try a lot of them: I’ve worked at an outdoor gear store for years and regularly stock and evaluate the energy bar section, plus working there I can buy them at a discount. As a result, several of them…

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Few things can ruin a backcountry sojourn faster than being turned into a fleshy pincushion by clouds of mosquitoes using you as a succulent blood buffet. As I like to say: Mosquitoes bite, but they mostly suck. In June 2006, I wrote a round-up of all the various insect repellents on the market (The Dope…

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In the closing years of the 19th century, annual reports from AMC’s Councillors of Natural History included increasingly frequent mentions of botany collections. “Sufficient space beneath one of the library cases in the Club-room has been appropriated for the Herbarium,” wrote Warren Upham in 1892. “[The collection] now contains a nearly complete set of the…

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Hello and welcome to the brand new AMC Equipped blog! Over the coming months, I look forward to sharing all of the latest and greatest tidbits on outdoor gear, from the coolest products to the silliest, from ground-breaking gizmos to the tried and true stalwarts of the outdoor industry. I also plan on covering the…

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