March/April 2013

Patagonia has just unveiled a radical new species of goose down that provides more puff per ounce than anything else on the market. How did they do it? With some serious R&D and high-tech wizardry that prominently features the (suitably sci-fi) phrase “silicon-based plasma-bonding process.” The chemistry and science is undoubtedly complex, and involves all…

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Imagine stargazing or making s’mores with your kids, then getting up the next morning to paddle along streams and around ponds, pointing out painted turtles or an old beaver lodge. Such experiences are easy to organize at the following campgrounds, which offer paddling options on site. Say good-bye to hassles getting a canoe or kayak…

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How much weight will a tent add to your pack? It depends. Manufacturers list two weights for tents, trail weight and packed weight. Neither is truly accurate. Packed weight refers to how much the entire tent package weighs when you purchase it, including tent body, fly, poles, stakes, guy lines, stuff sacks, and other accessories…

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Three high-tech materials—aerogel, cuben fiber, and waterproof down—have recently begun appearing in a growing array of tents, shelters, footwear, sleeping bags, jackets, and more. Incredibly lightweight, warm, and durable, they have the potential to revolutionize outdoor clothing and equipment in the coming years. But will it happen anytime soon?… This column originally appeared in the…

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Appalachia’s first report of a major paddling trip appeared in 1889: “Canoeing the Penobscot,” by Miss M.E. Hardwick and Miss E.L. Sampson. The authors detailed a month-long trip across Moosehead Lake and down the West Branch of the Penobscot River. “The canoes were of canvas, which in these waters has superseded birch almost entirely,” they…

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I leaned into the wind and pushed toward the dark shape materializing in the fog, squinting to keep my eyes free from blowing snow. Tears streamed across my cheeks, and my beard froze. Ice-coated stones stacked to eye level slowly came into focus. Then another blurry silhouette appeared in the distance. Reassured by their presence,…

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I continue to be astonished that tent manufacturers keep finding new ways to shave ounces. Surely there’s a limit to how lightweight a tent can get, but these five tents demonstrate that we haven’t yet reached that limit. This ongoing trend was highlighted once again in the new 2013 Gear Guide from Backpacker magazine—perhaps the…

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