July/August 2010

As an admitted and serious caffeine junkie, I’m always on the lookout for new ways to ingest the brain-pumping stuff—especially lightweight and compact delivery systems that pack well on the trail. So when I recently encountered a pack of Jolt Caffeine Energy Gum, I couldn’t pass it up. Produced by the same company that brought…

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For several years now, ultralight tent manufacturers have been shaving ounces by taking advantage of lighter and lighter weight fabrics, primarily siliconized nylon. As these fabrics approach the limits of thin (15-denier and below), the ounce-shaving frontier is now expanding to tent poles. On this front, Easton has introduced a line of carbon fiber poles…

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When the sun reaches its highest point in the sky, it can always be found due south. This is often referred to as “high noon,” although the correct astronomical term is “solar noon.” The precise time it occurs varies depending on the time of year and your location within the time zone. For example, on…

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It takes me almost exactly 2,000 strides to hike a mile, a fact I recently double-checked while hiking out of the Pemigewasset Wilderness along easy-cruising Franconia Brook and Lincoln Woods trails. I also measured how quickly I could hike on the even, level terrain, walking as briskly as possible without breaking into a trot. The…

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A lot of us are carrying around GPS receivers these days, embedded within iPhones and other pocket-sized smartphones. But when it comes to backcountry use, these nifty gadgets fall short on several fronts: durability, accuracy, sensitivity, and battery life. The new Magellan ToughCase attempts to address these issues by providing a more durable, more sensitive,…

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Some of the most interesting, innovative, and cutting-edge new gear was unveiled at the recent Outdoor Retailer show in Salt Lake City. Here are today’s items to watch for. Part 3 of 3. Therm-a-Rest Alpine Down Blanket Similar in design to the Therm-a-Rest Ventra Down Comforter, the Alpine Down Blanket connects directly to your Therm-a-Rest…

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Some of the most interesting, innovative, and cutting-edge new gear was unveiled at the recent Outdoor Retailer show in Salt Lake City. Here are today’s items to watch for. Marmot Variant Jacket A unique hybrid jacket that fuses an insulated core with warm, form-fitting Polartec Power Stretch in the arms and back. It combines freedom-of-movement…

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Twice a year, gear junkie nirvana occurs in Salt Lake City. Known as Outdoor Retailer, this smorgasbord convention of every outdoor gear manufacturer under the sun highlights all the latest and greatest new gear before it hits the retail shelves for the next season. Summer Outdoor Retailer just wrapped up this past week. Over the…

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Compared to us backpack-toting gear haulers, dogs are remarkably self-sufficient. Most come pre-equipped with warm layers, excellent traction, and a capacity to drink whatever water they find. On longer trips, most can even haul their own stuff, plus a bit of yours. So what gear does your hiking Buddy really need? The Essentials You’ll need…

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I had the biggest wildlife encounter of my life last winter on the cross-country ski trails of Anchorage, Alaska. I skied by a moose calmly browsing in the willows near the trail. As I passed behind, it suddenly whirled without warning. Within a ski stride, the moose advanced almost close enough to stomp me with…

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