Matt Heid, Author at Appalachian Mountain Club

Merino wool comes from a particular variety of sheep that produces extra fine and soft wool. In the outdoor world, it is commonly used in socks and long underwear, among other uses. A natural fiber, it is warm and comfortable against the skin and a popular alternative to synthetic options like polyester or polypropylene. Smartwool may…

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We’ve finally moved past the swelter of summer and into the glorious days of autumn. That means crisp days, cool nights, and brain-popping foliage all around. It also means darkness comes earlier with each passing day. As you head outdoors on your next autumnal adventure, keep these two tips for safe fall hikes top of…

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When picking out a headlamp that works for your outdoor needs, we recommended four key factors to consider: its primary use (trail or camp), brightness, beam distance, and battery life. But wait — there’s more! Here are some additional specifications—in rough priority order—to consider when choosing a headlamp.  Comfort. Wide elastic headbands are more comfortable and secure than…

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Clocking in at less than 1 ounce, the e+LITE has been the ultralight standard for years and a solid weigh-nothing emergency option that you can keep in your pack at all times. Last year Petzl upgraded the model with a noticeably brighter LED bulb—50 lumens, up from 26—which makes it a viable around-camp option, as…

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A light is one of the 10 essentials—those crucial pieces of gear you should carry on any hike. This is particularly true in the fall, when daylight fades earlier, and the odds of finding yourself outside after twilight increase.  When it comes to choosing a light, it’s hard to beat a headlamp for convenient, hands-free illumination that…

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Fat bikers roll with much lower air pressure in their tires than mountain bike or road riders. In loose snow or sand, cyclists typically aim for tire readings of less than 10 pounds per square inch (psi). But many tire gauges fail to accurately measure pressure at such a low range. Instead, you’ll want a specialized instrument, such as the Accu-Gage Low Pressure Bicycle…

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Crowds can be intensely heavy on the trails of the White Mountains. Or not, depending on where you go. If you’re looking for solitude and tranquility on your next hike, here are some of my go-to locations, based on my experience researching AMC’s Best Backpacking Trips in New England. Where NOT to go First, though,…

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Carrying a chair with you into the backcountry isn’t exactly an ultralight essential, but it is a delightful luxury after a long hard day on the trail. If you’re willing to pack in a bit more weight for a comfortable seat around camp, here are some of the current best backpacking chairs. Helinox Chair Zero…

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If you’re planning on backpacking with young kids, you really want them to enjoy the experience so they’ll keep coming back for more. After multiple trips taking my two young backpackers into the woods over the past two years (when they were between the ages of 4 and 8), here are a few key tips…

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This post is part of an ongoing series on Northeast-based gear companies; see a running list below. Based in Standish, Maine, Rogue Industries produces distinctive leather wallets made in Maine that are remarkable for several reasons. First, they feature an odd design that is square on one end and curved on the other. Why? They’re…

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