September/October 2009

I’ve been writing quite a bit lately about ultralight down jackets, tents, and shell jackets. In these ultralight categories, one of the elements that makes a significant difference in weight is the weight of the threads being used to create the fabric. The weight of a thread is measured according to denier, a spec that…

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A lot of new gear is arriving in time for the holiday season. Three items caught my attention this week: Seirus Combodana Face MaskI’ve had a basic Seirus face mask (or “Masque” as their brand name goes) for many years. It works great for wind and winter, and has handled a lot of time above…

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Cooler weather is already here—and winter is just around the corner. In preparation for the upcoming chill, I have been keeping my eye out for the perfect ultralight down jacket. Warm enough to work well as a stand-alone piece in cool weather. Form-fitting enough to function as a layering piece in colder conditions. Small enough…

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Garmin has released its long-awaited nüvifone, the first dedicated GPS navigation device that integrates phone technology. Think of it as an excellent street-navigation unit that also includes a phone—as opposed to a software platform (iPhone) that can run navigation applications and also includes a phone. The iPhone currently includes an inferior GPS receiver when compared…

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The finger-nipping chill of fall and winter is upon us, which means that it will soon be time to start wearing gloves once again. For general information on finding the right gloves, you can check out my Equipped column (Hot Hands) from a few seasons back. As I mention in the column, every manufacturer uses…

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As part of my ongoing series of Northeast-based outdoor gear companies, I wanted to highlight New England Ropes. Based in Massachusetts since its founding in 1967, New England Ropes today produces the vast majority of its product line at their company headquarters and manufacturing facility in Fall River, Mass. New England Ropes produces a wide…

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Hello again from Northern California, where I spent the last three days paddling on Tomales Bay along the Point Reyes National Seashore. My brother and I spent the night on a couple of the beaches along the way, where he pioneered his innovative pillow cage. Finding a good pillow for the backcountry can be challenging….

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Hello from Northern California, where I’m in the San Francisco Bay Area updating one of my hiking guidebooks for a new edition. While here, I’m also taking advantage of the opportunity to go surfing with my brother, a lifer Californian who spends tons of time on or near water, either surfing, fishing, boating, or some…

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Many gear manufacturers consider PrimaLoft to be the best synthetic insulation available, especially for clothing. A number of high-end gear companies like Wild Things of New Hampshire (See my August 13 post) extensively use PrimaLoft in their product line. (You can check out the full line-up of PrimaLoft-using gear companies here.) Like other popular synthetic…

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In today’s post, we have a quick round-up of some new and updated gear that has caught my attention: Jet Boil Flash Jet Boil has released an updated version of their Personal Cooking System, which I discussed in depth in my June 14 post. It’s essentially the same set-up, with a few upgrades: 1) They’ve…

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