2017

Some day-pack features are worth the money; others less so. Here’s what to look for and what to skip: Side straps are useful for lashing gear to the outside of your pack or for compressing an underfilled pack. Bungee systems also let you attach gear to your pack’s exterior, but these tend to be less secure and lose their stretch…

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One night last spring, curled in my tent on an island off the Maine coast and lit only by the glow of my iPhone screen, I posted a photograph on Instagram. This was my fifth post on the photosharing site but my first from such a remote location. As I hit “share,” I felt a…

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Grab your tent and your pals for an adventure that combines the best of backpacking and mountain biking: backpacking. I glide to a stop and step off my bike, leaning its considerable weight against a tree. As I amble down to the edge of Bailey Pond, I take in the glassy, bluegray surface, backed right…

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Bright bluebird skies sprawl above a dark, craggy mountain peak. Glistening snow drifts along the shadowy forest’s edge. The same natural contrasts that make outdoor photography so spectacular can create a major technical challenge: How do you capture detail in both the brightest and the darkest elements of a scene? Fortunately, a standard smartphone feature can help you eliminate blown-out skies and dark shadows: high dynamic…

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A search-and-rescue (SAR) mission to locate a missing or injured person can involve helicopters whirring overhead, boats cruising the ocean, trucks traversing back roads, dogs tracking scents, and hikers risking life and limb in the backcountry. For organizations such as Down East Emergency Medicine Institute (DEEMI), based in Orono, Maine, another tool has become essential: drones. More inexpensively deployed than helicopters, drones can reach remote areas…

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AMC’s on-the-ground conservation efforts in Maine extend to the water, thanks to recent successes in aquatic habitat restoration. That’s a fancy way of saying that, over the past seven years, AMC has worked to restore historic brook-trout habitat on the organization’s 115 square miles of land in Maine’s 100-Mile Wilderness. To date, AMC and partner agencies have opened 33.5 new miles of streams, with four separate projects restoring 4.5…

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Untouched by humans for centuries but ravaged by deer and nearby development, an old-growth forest in suburban New Jersey was foundering until ecologists stepped in, revisiting the question of wilderness versus management. You wouldn’t guess from the patchwork of yards, golf courses, and I-95 feeder roads surrounding it, but an ancient forest stands in suburban…

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I just replaced my Suunto Vector altimeter watch after two decades of use. I used it over thousands of miles of trail in outdoor destinations across the United States in all sorts of conditions, temperatures, and weather. It was one of the best, most reliable pieces of electronics I have every owned and provided most…

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Each year the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) compiles stats on how many people attempt and complete a thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail. They recently updated their numbers for 2017, which provides an opportunity to look at some overarching trends. More and more hikers are attempting a thru-hike…. Per ATC’s estimates, the number of hikers attempting  a northbound…

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I was out hiking this weekend with my dog on a warm and sunny day. And I failed to bring any sort of drinking bowl for him. This is often not a problem in the woods and mountains of the Northeast, where streams, rills, and rivulets are everywhere, but this particular hike was almost completely dry. Which left…

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