Hiking/Camping Gear

Part of an ongoing series on Northeast-based gear companies. There was a period in my life when I sold sunglasses. I helped hundreds of people try on thousands of different pairs of shades to find the best-fitting options and styles for their face. Which in turn required carefully phrased feedback to help them find the…

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Whether you’re hiking, climbing, biking, skiing, or just living in the modern world, you need a way to carry your supplies for the day. The concept is simple, and yet day packs come in multitudinous forms, with bewildering arrays of features to match. Here are the most important elements to consider. BIG DECISIONS Most day packs feature roughly 1,200 to 2,400 cubic inches of volume (or between 20 and…

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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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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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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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When it comes to backcountry camping, I’m often a base camp kind of guy. I like to hike in to a great campsite, set up for two nights or more, and then spend the intervening days day-hiking to nearby destinations. It’s a method I’ve embraced all the more now that I’ve started backpacking with my…

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Hiking and backpacking in the Northeast means that, sooner or later, you’re going to get rained on. So how do you stay dry in the rain? To help keep you a bit less wet than you might otherwise get, here are some simple tips and tricks, organized by type of gear. Rain jacket Look for wrist cuffs…

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