Gear

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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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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Lightweight, compressible, and long-lasting, a down-filled sleeping bag is a delightful addition to any camper’s or backpacker’s gear locker. The problem is that down-filled bags are almost always more expensive (sometimes way more expensive) than synthetic-fill options, a trend that has only gotten worse in recent years. Indeed, these days you can easily spend north of $400…

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There’s a general truism when it comes to ultralight tents. As manufacturers shave down the ounces, they often shave inches off the tent’s length. Which is fine if you’re less than 6 feet tall. But if you’re tall like me (6 feet 5 inches), there’s nothing fine about having your head and/or feet pushing directly against…

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Beside a board, there are two critical items you’ll need for stand-up paddleboarding: a paddle and a PFD. From there, the accessories are endless. A paddle should be 8 to 12 inches longer than you are tall. A longer paddle provides more power and control in rough conditions but requires more effort. A shorter paddle…

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I used to teach people how to stand-up paddleboard, and it remains one of the most satisfying classes I’ve ever led. Why? Most first-timers are anxious about staying upright on the board. Here’s the thing, though: It’s surprisingly easy to balance on most paddleboards—a fact that produced near-instant confidence, enthusiasm, and a sense of empowerment…

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Stand-up paddleboarding, the country’s fastest growing water sport, is expanding from lakes and harbors to whitewater rapids near you. To the uninitiated, upright paddlers running whitewater might look strange or even reckless. But enthusiasts say whitewater stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) makes small rapids exciting and requires only practice and a sound understanding of river safety. A…

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I bike commute nearly 30 miles on most weekdays—and I hate wearing a backpack while I do it. Wearing one turns my back into a sweaty mess, obscures my high-visibility jacket or jersey, and can sometimes restrict circulation to tingling fingertips. So I instead have a rear bike rack and ride with a pannier that carries my…

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Part of an ongoing series on Northeast-based gear companies. I’ve long been attracted to the ultralight offerings of Mountain Laurel Designs, especially their diverse line of pyramid tents and packs. Even better, the company is based in AMC’s region, in Roanoke, Va., where they produce all of their gear. If you’re shopping for ultralight equipment—and want to…

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I went backpacking in New Hampshire’s Sandwich Range Wilderness over Memorial Day weekend. Together with my two young boys (ages 5 and 7), we camped for two nights in the backcountry, climbed 3,500-foot Mount Chocorua, and reveled in the lush woods of summer. The trip marked the third of our two-night backpacking trips to date, following…

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