March/April 2012

Last Sunday was Earth Day, and, by tradition, we honored it by picking up litter that’s accumulated along the sides of our road. Actually, because Ursula needed to be in town for the day, “we” this year was just Jim and Virgil. Ursula and I went one direction in the car, our windshield wipers clearing…

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There are three simple things you can do to stuff a sleeping bag with minimal effort and hassle, as well as squash it down to the smallest possible size. First, stuff it tail first. Second, turn it inside out. Third, use a compression stuff sack. Here are the details on these simple, but extremely effective,…

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The better a sleeping bag fits, the warmer it will be. A properly fitting sleeping bag will wrap around you as snugly as possible, but not fit so tightly that it’s uncomfortable for you to sleep in. The basic idea is simple: You want to minimize the amount of air space around your body. This…

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Keep this weekend’s Earth Day excitement going with these simple, free or low-cost ways to help your kids connect with nature. 1. First, a suggestion from reader Larry Parnell: Go on a micro-hike. To do this, lay a string about 1 or 2 yards long on the ground, and get down on your hands and…

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Investing in an ultralight sleeping pad can save a pound or more off your pack weight—and the Therma-a-Rest Z Lite offers one of the best, most durable, most convenient, and least expensive ways to accomplish it. I’ve used the Z Lite as my go-to pad for years—here’s my evaluation of its many advantages, as well…

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Every day should be Earth Day, but sometimes we need a reminder. Want ideas for how to celebrate our planet this weekend? From planting trees to cleaning up parks, there’s something for every family in the following events. If you don’t get to all these places on Earth Day itself (Sunday, April 22, this year),…

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A new long-distance trail is in the works that will span the length of the country. And it’s being named after a corporate sponsor: Gore-Tex. OK, the country we’re talking about isn’t the United States. It’s Scotland, where the 373-mile “Gore-Tex Scottish National Trail” is under development. But I find it a disturbing development in…

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Part 17 in an ongoing series highlighting Northeast-based gear companies. We-Flashy produces casual, stylish shirts and sweatshirts that incorporate high-visibility reflective elements for increased visibility while walking, running, or cycling at night. As the company explains on its web site: “We don’t believe that you need to choose between looking like a crossing guard and…

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In my last post, I highlighted top picks from AMC’s new book Outdoors with Kids Boston. Today, I’m sharing the best locations in Outdoors with Kids New York City, as selected by the authors’ children. The de Jong-Lambert children—brother Riley, age 9, and sister Halina, age 6—are experts on outdoor adventures in and around Manhattan,…

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Floorless pyramid tents are lightweight, excellent in wind and weather, and offer some of the best interior room for the weight of any shelter. (Read more on why I love floorless pyramid tents.) Now Mountain Hardwear has set a new standard for this category: the ultralight Hoopla 4, a slightly modified pyramid design that sleeps…

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