January/February 2012

Need some new ideas for outdoor fun with your kids? Here are a few simple suggestions gathered from AMC experts. No expensive lift tickets or fancy gear required. Most are also evergreen activities that work well in any season (even one that can’t make up its mind). 1. Feed the birds. Set up a bird…

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UV light kills all the aquatic nasties you might encounter in backcountry water supplies. It’s a common and proven technology that has made inroads into backpacking equipment in recent years, most notably in the lightweight and compact outdoor product line from SteriPen. Now CamelBak, that venerable purveyor of hydration-happy outdoor gear, has jumped on the…

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Part 16 in an ongoing series highlighting Northeast-based gear companies. Equinox Ltd. Designs has been producing lightweight outdoor equipment and custom gear for more than 20 years. It’s all made in the USA, manufactured on-site in Williamsport, Pa., in an old pajama factory on the banks of the Susquehanna River. The company produces a range…

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It’s the sweet season! Where are you headed to get your maple syrup fix? At sugarhouses across New England—and even in cities like Somerville, Massachusetts—you can watch sap being boiled down to syrup and taste the delicious results in the next few weeks. Although the relatively warm winter may be speeding up the sugaring season,…

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Did you know that you sweat and exhale approximately one full cup of water during the night? If you’re out camping, a lot of that moisture goes straight into your sleeping bag. During the summer, this is seldom a problem. A few minutes in the morning sun will quickly dry it out. But during the…

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This week is winter break for our children, as it is for many other schoolchildren around the Northeast. The winter we’re having here calls to mind a line from New Hampshire poet and essayist Donald Hall: “Sometimes the January thaw comes in February, sometimes it never arrives at all, and on the rarest occasions it…

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Yes and no. Yes, the internal electronics will work on most devices, even down into bitter sub-zero temperatures. But no, LCD display screens stop working in the deep freeze, rendering the otherwise functioning device largely useless. This doesn’t mean you can’t carry and use your electronics on cold-weather winter adventures. It just means that you…

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Kids who spend more time outdoors are less likely to be near-sighted, as I noted in a recent post. But it isn’t because they’re spending less time staring at books or computer screens, as I speculated might be the case. In fact, neuroscientist Sandra Aamodt, whose book I referred to in the previous post, explained…

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Do you live in a good “room to roam” community? Do you wish you did? What do we need in our neighborhoods, our towns, and our cities so that children are able to roam freely and safely? Eric Stones and I considered these questions in our conversation last week (recounted in “‘Free-Range Kids’ part 2:…

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It’s a Nalgene-sized wood-burning stove that converts heat to electricity—and then uses it to charge any USB-compatible electronic device. The Biolite CampStove incorporates technology developed to reduce smoke and airborne particulates from wood or other biomass-burning stoves, a major health hazard for the roughly three billion people around the world who cook this way. The…

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