Summer Camping

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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I’ve always been fascinated by maps. I can’t go more than a day or two without picking one up and losing myself in the intricate details of a three-dimensional world flattened and scaled to fit on a page. As I was thinning out my stash one day—grudgingly admitting that 50 topographic renderings of Mount Washington…

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It takes about 6 hours to travel from Washington, D.C., to Boston on an Amtrak Acela Express train. In August 2016, I traveled the same distance, but in lieu of fast-tracking my travel plans, I broke up my time on the rails into a 6-night, 7-day odyssey. I spent every night except the last tent…

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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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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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Part of an ongoing series on Northeast-based gear companies. I first profiled Good To-Go last February, back when the small, Maine-based producer of dehydrated meals offered just four options, including one of the best-tasting dehydrated meal options (Thai Curry) I have ever tried. Now the company has expanded its offerings to include six new dishes, each of which hews closely to…

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Got trees? In the wooded backcountry of the Northeast, the appeal of hammock camping is obvious—you can pitch a comfortable, sleep-worthy hammock in far more places than a tent. But hammock camping has its challenges as well, from learning to pitch one appropriately (and with minimal impact) to protecting yourself from rain and weather. For me personally, one of the…

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ULTRALIGHT BACKPACKING GEAR might seem like a modern phenomenon, featuring the latest and lights high-tech materials, but the idea dates back to the very beginning of organized hiking in New England. More than two dozen outdoors organizations attended the first meeting of the New England Trail Conference (NETC) in 1916. These college outing clubs, hiking…

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