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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It’s maple syrup season, a sweet inspiration to get your family outside. Over the next few weeks, you can watch sap being boiled down to syrup and taste the delicious results at sugarhouses across New England. Combine the visit with a hike or farm tour and you will warm your muscles as well as your…

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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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Has your child touched the tiny pelt of an ermine? Or noticed that the eye sockets of coyotes face forward more than those of deer? “Skins and Skulls” gives them a chance to do this and more. For me and my daughter, the hands-on presentation we recently enjoyed at AMC’s Highland Center Lodge in New…

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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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Writer Avital Norman Nathman recently wondered if her 6-year-old son was ready to hang out alone in a ski lodge. Would he be happy and safe with hot chocolate and an iPad while the parent who brought him skiing got in a last run for the day? Norman Nathman wasn’t just daydreaming about her next…

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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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Do you think hip-hop and hiking don’t go together? Get ready to have your assumptions shattered with this new video about the New England National Scenic Trail, featuring teens from New Bedford, Massachusetts. And if you like it, help out by sharing it on social media (details below). Learn the back storyThis video was made…

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