I bike commute 28 miles most workdays year-round and have been doing it now for more than six years almost entirely on the same bike, a 2010 REI Novara Randonee touring bike. At this point I estimate that my go-to ride now has somewhere north of 20,000 miles on it, so it needs some regular…

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Picaridin hit the U.S. market in 2005 as an alternative to DEET, the long-time (since 1946) champion of keeping insects at bay. As I wrote back in 2012 (Picaridin vs. DEET: Which Is the Best Insect Repellent?), the evidence at the time indicated that picaridin is at least as good a repellent as DEET. What’s…

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If you’re hiking with kids, the single most important thing you can do is ensure they have fun, enjoy the experience, and continue on a path of  loving the outdoors. Having a few key items of gear can help with that goal, while keeping them safe at the same time. Here are seven things I…

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The Northeast abounds with ponds, rivers, and streams that beckon both aspiring and veteran fly-fishers alike. To get started, it’s important to know the four core components of a fly-fishing rig—rod, reel, line, and flies—and how they work together to match the conditions, and the fish, you expect to encounter. Rods Fly-fishing poles come in…

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Having the means and ability to make an emergency fire is an essential survival skill. It requires two key items: something that generates a spark or flame, and tinder to catch the spark or flame and start your fire. For the latter, I have long recommended Vaseline-coated cotton balls (though a variety of other pre-made…

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There comes a point when insect repellent just doesn’t cut it. Sometimes the biting bugs are just too thick and ferocious to deal with, whether it’s a swarm of black flies, mosquitoes, no-see-ums, or some other collection of flying blood-sucking micro-monsters. Even if you’re using enough insect repellent to keep them from biting, it can…

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It’s one of the most useful and versatile items I throw in my pack: a length of lightweight, all-purpose cord. From guylines to clotheslines, shoe laces to dog leashes, it’s remarkable how many different uses you can find for this simple, inexpensive item. Also amazing is the number of different types of cord available. Here’s…

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Climbing shoes come in three different styles—neutral, moderate, and aggressive—and become progressively more arched, or “cambered,” to take on more difficult climbs. Beginners should opt for the flattest, most neutral style, which offers good all-around performance with a relaxed, wear-all-day fit. More advanced climbers will want arched shoes, which compress your toes and create more…

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Rock climbing can be an exhilarating adventure into the vertical realm. It can also be intimidating, given all of the gear and lingo that comes with it. Just as you’ll want to learn climbing skills from the ground up, it’s helpful to get acquainted with the basic equipment you’ll need. Most climbing gyms rent the…

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Climbing shoes are notorious for retaining hard-to-remove foot odor, especially since they’re usually worn without socks that could help soak up any sweaty stink. To neutralize smells, you’ll need a powerful counteragent. Enter Extra Strength Lemon Eucalyptus Essential Oil Odor Eliminator ($15; lumioutdoors.com) from Utah-based Lumi Outdoors. This shoe spray relies on natural, antimicrobial ingredients…

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