Gadgets

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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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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My favorite piece of running gear isn’t a perfectly fitting pair of shoes or a well-worn race T-shirt. It’s my running watch. My first running watch was the Timex Ironman: cheap, beautiful in its simplicity, and ubiquitous. A survey of wrists at an early 1990s high school cross-country meet would’ve revealed a lot of trademark…

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Magnetic declination refers to the angle between the geographic North Pole and the magnetic pole located in the Arctic Ocean. You will discover that good hiking and topographic maps always indicate the local magnetic declination via a declination diagram, which includes one arrow pointing to geographic north (commonly labeled as True North, or TN) and…

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A map and compass make up two of the 10 essentials recommended for safe backcountry travel, but they’ll do little good if you don’t know how to use them. Misuse could even turn a situation in which you’re simply confused into one in which you’re totally lost. The bottom line? Learn proper technique before your…

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The worst has happened. You are severely injured. Or profoundly lost. Or dangerously exposed to the elements. You cannot get out of the backcountry on your own. And now you are going to die. Your only hope is that help comes and finds you. Fortunately, you have a personal locator beacon, or PLB. You activate it,…

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Thousands of birds migrate to warmer climates every fall, but not every species packs up ship and leaves New England. Some overwinter in the region, despite the cold temperatures and lack of food. Hang a bird feeder filled with seeds and suet blocks in the fall for migratory birds to enjoy, then watch as winter…

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Fall equinox is this Thursday, September 22. It occurs precisely at 10:21 a.m. EDT.  And it continues a current and rapid trend of diminishing daylight. So…all you hikers out there…it’s time for a friendly reminder to always hike with a light, no matter what time you head out. Remember, it only takes a small miscalculation or mishap—a wrong turn,…

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X marks the spot. As easily as that, you can get a kid interested in a map. Who doesn’t like looking for hidden treasure? But ask that same kid where north is or how far it is to her grandmother’s house, and she might not have a clue. Lisa Gilbert, an instructor with AMC’s education…

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I’m a caffeine-swilling coffee junkie. Coffee in the backcountry is a must. Espresso packs a powerful punch, so I’m intrigued by a new product on the market: The Wacaco Minipresso is a hand-operated design that can generate average pressure of 116 psi. It has a much more elegant design than the Mini Expresso (see below) and would pack…

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