July/August 2012

For more than 50 years, DEET has reigned as the undisputed champion of insect repellents. No longer. There’s now a potentially better alternative on the market: picaridin. Both DEET and picaridin are proven to be effective at fending off mosquitoes—and are superior to other repellents when it comes to protection time. But which one is…

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The end of summer is coming all too soon. Make the most of the season and help your kids connect with nature with these simple, free or low-cost activities, suggested by AMC authors, parents, and naturalists. 1. Take an ice cube bath. When it’s too hot to move, bring a bowl of ice cubes outside…

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You’d think wearing compression clothing was akin to donning Superman’s cape. “Increases power!” “Activates your muscles!” “Boosts energy!” Such claims are commonplace from compression-clothing purveyors like Under Armour, Nike, and SKINS, to name a few. Professional athletes, who routinely wear these garments, add a high-profile endorsement to such statements. But does compression clothing provide any…

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Last summer I took a cabin full of 11- and 12-year-old campers on a hike. Most of them had never hiked before, so we went to nearby Sabattus Mountain in Lovell, Maine. The 1.4-mile loop gains just over 1,000 feet of elevation. The hike was so easy that I almost felt guilty for being rewarded…

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The 27-ounce Sierra Designs Mojo UFO Cuben fiber is increasingly appearing in high-end ultralight gear, from the featherweight tarps and shelters of Hyperlite Mountain Gear to gram-counting stuff sacks from Zpacks to the just-announced 27-ounce Sierra Deisgns Mojo UFO two-person tent. But what exactly is cuben fiber anyways? And why does it cost so much?…

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Part 20 in an ongoing series highlighting Northeast-based gear companies. Wild blueberry season is upon us. Now you can harvest these succulent blue fruit quickly, easily, and by the gallon with the help of a specialized “blueberry rake” from The Hubbard Rake Company. ZeusHubbard Rake Production Manager If you’ve ever spent time hunched over, combing…

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You don’t have to go swimming in the ocean to have your very own shark encounter. Just hop in the Chumbuddy sleeping bag and enjoy sweet dreams of being devoured whole. Sharks have been in the news a lot this summer in New England, especially on Cape Cod. There have been several great white shark…

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About 100 young people camped out on Georges Island, one of Boston’s Harbor Islands, last weekend. Their purpose was bigger than just a fun night under the stars; these campers were part of Outdoor Nation, a three-year-old national group that works to increase youth participation in the outdoors. The Boston “signature summit,” which drew a…

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The Hexa Pot is now availablefor purchase. Earlier this year, I profiled the Hexa Pot, a prototype half-ounce pot made entirely of paper that safely and easily boils water over an open flame. A little over six months later, it is now available for pre-order through August 1, at which point it will be available for…

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The 5.8-ounce Petzl Sirocco A new ultralight species of climbing helmet will arrive in spring 2013—one made entirely of foam. The Petzl Sirocco uses expanded polypropylene (EPP) to create a climbing helmet that weighs radically less than traditional helmets yet still provides the durability and impact resistance necessary for climbing activities. EPP has a range of…

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