Ultralight backpacking quilts have been around for years. Now they are one of the leading items of gear used by Appalachian trail thru-hikers. One company in particular, Minnesota-based Enlightened Equipment, has become a go-to for ultralight hikers. What is a backpacking quilt? Backpacking quilts are essentially down blankets that have been modified to perform in…

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If you’re out adventuring in sub-freezing conditions, you should be regularly stuffing calories into your face. You want to ensure you have ample energy to generate body heat and sustain the level of exertion that is required to snowshoe, ski, or otherwise tromp through a snow- and ice-covered landscape. The challenge is that many common hiking…

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With time and use, those factory-applied durable water repellent coatings on your outdoor equipment slowly wear off. But did you know you can use an after-market treatment at home to help restore your gear’s water resistance, without restoring the PFCs? Several options are available, but only Nikwax produces its entire line without PFCs and has…

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The outdoor gear industry has used PFC-based coatings for decades, but only in recent years have the associated risks brought increased scrutiny. Most notably, in 2012 Greenpeace launched its Toxic Threads campaign, which tested gear from a range of manufacturers for PFCs and then called out companies with the chemicals in their products. In response…

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Ever wonder about the magic substance that causes water to bead up and roll off your rain jacket? In most cases, that water resistance comes from a toxic and long-lived class of chemicals known as perfluorinated chemicals, or PFCs. Now a growing backlash is driving gear manufacturers to look for safer, more eco-friendly alternatives. Here’s…

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I bike commute year-round on a 28-mile round-trip journey just outside of Boston, much of it on the Minuteman Commuter Bikeway. In winter, when snow and ice coat the bike path, I switch from my regular commuting bike to a 29er mountain bike with fully studded tires. And it’s this bike that takes the brunt…

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Down is amazing stuff, a natural miracle material that we strive, in vain, to replicate using synthetic materials and insulation. I’ve written before about its incredibly intricate structure, but one of its other remarkable qualities is its longevity. Properly cared for, down will last for decades without losing much of its loft or insulating powers….

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A sleeping bag is a voluminous piece of gear that requires large swaths of polyester or nylon. If it contains synthetic insulation as well, you’re talking about snuggling in a substantial amount of man-made material. Which is fine, but better if it comes from recycled sources. That can really narrow your search if you’re looking…

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Dress in layers. It’s a mantra repeated ad nauseam whenever the temperature plunges. In general, it’s good advice. But it’s also easy to take it too far and cause yourself more sweat and irritation than fun. Here are two key recommendations to keep your layering under control. Three Long-sleeve Layers, Max First, don’t try and put on…

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Not confident in how to winter camp? We’ve got you covered with these tips for setting up your tent in the snow and cold—and loving it. Vibrant. When picking a tent, go with a yellow or orange fabric over green or gray. Research shows cheerier colors are friendlier to your psyche if you’re tent-bound for…

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