January/February 2013

I continue to be astonished that tent manufacturers keep finding new ways to shave ounces. Surely there’s a limit to how lightweight a tent can get, but these five tents demonstrate that we haven’t yet reached that limit. This ongoing trend was highlighted once again in the new 2013 Gear Guide from Backpacker magazine—perhaps the…

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Snow stakes are designed to anchor a tent in compacted snow. They aren’t absolutely necessary to pitch a winter tent—you can also create anchors by using buried objects in the snow, or “deadmen”—but they are certainly convenient, if a bit heavy. Not a lot of companies make snow stakes, however, and the design is largely identical…

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Part 22 in an ongoing series highlighting Northeast-based gear companies. Living a car-free, bicycle lifestyle has certain limitations. Adding a load-hauling cargo bike to your rack eliminates several of them. Need to stock up at the grocery store with a week’s worth of food for the entire family? No problem. Worksman Cycles manufactures a wide…

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Did you know that alcohol stoves produce only half the heat of white gas or a propane/butane canister stove? Here are the details, plus some thoughts on when the weight/heat ratio tips in favor of a canister stove. As I’ve written about before, alcohol stoves are an incredibly lightweight and compact option for cooking in…

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What exactly is an ounce of fuel? The weight of white gas and alcohol is always listed on containers in “fluid ounces,” which is actually a measure of volume, not a measure of weight. More specifically, a U.S. fluid ounce is defined as 1/128 of a U.S. gallon.  On the other hand, the “standard” ounce…

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Well, it definitely wins the eye-catching product name award. Rocky S2V, a recent entrant into the outdoor gear world, specializes in integrating survival equipment into footwear and apparel. The company is prominently touting its Survival Grenade ($18.99), an ultra-compact bundle of survival equipment wrapped up in 10 feet of military grade 550 cord that is…

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I just spent the morning digging out a snow cave in “Snow Mountain,” a colossal pile of snow I shoveled out of my driveway yesterday following the blizzard that socked the Northeast the past few days. As I squirmed and wiggled my way inside (much to my 2-year-old’s amusement) I was reminded why I greatly…

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I’m always on a quest to pack maximum backcountry calories for minimum weight, especially during the winter season when calorie burn runs particularly high. I’ve detailed the highest calorie trail foods out there in a previous article, Go Power: Tips for a Healthy, High-Calorie Trail Diet, but I must admit that one of my favorite…

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If you want to stay warm in the cold, you need a clothing system that effectively retains and manages body heat. The secret is to understand how heat is lost in the first place—and to choose, and adjust, your clothing appropriately in response… This column originally appeared in the January/February edition of AMC Outdoors. You…

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The great gear bonanza that is Winter Outdoor Retailer took place last week, bringing together every outdoor gear maker imaginable to showcase their latest, greatest, and most innovative offerings for the upcoming season. Here’s what caught my attention this time. MontBell debuted the first down garment that uses 1,000-fill power down—the 5.2-ounce Plasma Jacket—a remarkable…

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