Respect My Lane: Cyclists’ Rights Get High-Visibility Treatment in Mass.
I love high-visibility gear for cycling. I also support cycling advocacy efforts that make streets and roads safer for all users. A new set of products from Respect My Lane does both at the same time. Respect My Lane is a small local operation based in Boston (the same traffic-tough cycling area that brought you one of […]
How to Choose the Best Trekking Poles for You
A pair of trekking poles can transform you into a sure-footed, four-legged hiking machine—or a brush-snagging, hand-encumbered trail beast. Here’s what to consider as you evaluate the options for trekking pole use, features, and functionality. POLES OR NO? IT DEPENDS Trekking poles are a boon in many hiking situations. By adding two additional points of […]
Leave No Trace (LNT) for Trekking Poles
Extensive use of trekking poles on popular trails can tear up soft soil, damage trailside vegetation, and scar rocks. The good news is, you can reduce those damaging effects by following a few best practices. Be mindful of the potential environmental and visual impacts where you plant your poles. Don’t use trekking poles when you […]
Want Warmer Feet on Your Winter Adventures? Try Vapor Barrier Liner Socks
One of the bigger challenges in winter hiking is keeping your feet warm and comfortable, especially if you’re out in the chill for prolonged periods of time. Proper winter footwear is essential, of course, to keeping warm, but there’s another challenge that you may not be considering: foot sweat. Your feet are the second sweatiest part […]
The Best Backcountry Snow Shovels? Here Are My Top 3.
If you’re out winter camping or backcountry skiing, you need to carry a snow shovel. Among other uses, it’s essential for setting up camp, constructing a snow cave, excavating snow pits to evaluate avalanche hazard, and digging out an avalanche victim should the worst come to pass. When it comes to choosing an option, there are […]
When Do You Need Snowshoes? Gaiters? Crampons? A Winter Traction Primer
You can strap a lot of different gear to your feet for winter adventure. But do you really need to? There are obvious benefits to avoiding the hassle and weight of equipment like snowshoes, gaiters, and crampons—so here’s my advice for evaluating whether you need them in the first place. For this exercise, I’m going to […]
How to Reuse and Recycle Outdoor Gear
The climbing rope my husband, Pete, purchased in 1993 never saw a harness after 1998, but we still have several pieces of it around the house. It has kept kayaks fastened to car roofs, held drying laundry on camping trips, and even towed a stuck car. In the warm months, it is a makeshift tree […]
The Best Sleeping Pads for Kids? Think No-Slip.
This summer I introduced my two boys, age 4 and 6, to the fun and excitement of backpacking. After several long and squiggly nights over the course of two trips, here is one of the most important things I learned. Based on my highly unscientific sample size of two, it’s clear that young sleepers move […]
The Best Way to Attach a Tent Footprint
Tent footprints are cut to precisely match a tent’s floor dimensions. When placed underneath the tent, they provide protection from abrasion, moisture, and general wear-and-tear and are generally recommended when a few extra ounces aren’t a big deal. (It’s a different story when you are counting ounces, however. More on this below.) Nearly every gear […]
Replacement Bike Tires: A Buyers Guide
Got a bike? What about the right tires for your ride? Understanding the basics of tire sizing, tread selection, and a few other common features will help you choose wisely when it comes time to shop for replacement tires. Measure Twice Bike tire dimensions are indicated by two numbers, such as 26 x 2.0 or […]
Understanding Flotation: What Snowshoe Size Do You Need?
Spoiler alert. Strapping on a pair of snowshoes does not give you the power to skim magically across the surface of the snow like you’re walking on frozen water. Snowshoes just reduce how deep you sink, a feature known (somewhat misleadingly) as “flotation.” The exact equation for how much you sink—er, float—depends on three basic […]
The Best Winter Gloves: How to Keep Your Fingers Warm in Any Conditions
Cold fingers are no fun. So I avoid them by wearing the right pair of winter gloves for the conditions at hand (ha). Over the years, I’ve accumulated quite an array of winter hand wear, which I detail below. But before we get there, it’s important to keep in mind that proper fit is one […]
Sharpening Crampons in 3 Easy Steps
“Sharp crampons are like sharp knives: They are safer and work best when sharp,” says Steve House, a climber and the author of Training for the New Alpinism. Trekking on ice, snow, and especially rock will eventually dull crampons and make them less effective— particularly early in the season, when ice and snow are light. […]
Get Your Winter Gear in Gear: An Annual Checklist
Don’t wait for the first snowfall. Trek down into the basement, out into the garage, or deep into the closet and pull out all of your winter gear—tonight. A thorough preseason evaluation of everything from clothes to skis to crampons will help preserve your gear, keep you safe, and prevent problems once you do head […]
How to Choose a Camping Stove
Hot food. Hot drinks. Hot coffee. Yum. To enjoy any of these in the backcountry, you’re going to need a stove, of which there are three fundamental types: canister, alcohol, and liquid fuel. Which one is right for you? Your backpacking style and needs will help you decide. CANISTER STOVES A solid choice for most […]
Duck vs Goose Down: Which Is Superior?
The price of goose down has soared over the past few years, a trend clearly evident in the world of sleeping bags and puffy jackets. And, while exact numbers are hard to come by, I’ve noticed that many gear manufacturers have begun to use duck down instead of goose down in some of their sleeping […]
How to Turn Trekking Poles into Snowshoe Poles
There’s only one meaningful difference between a trekking pole and a snowshoe pole—and it costs as little as $7 to upgrade your summer poles for snow-tromping fun. The key item you need? A snow basket that prevents your poles from piercing deeply (and uselessly) into the snowpack. Most trekking poles come with a small basket […]
The Pros and Cons of Studded Bike Tires
Studded bike tires provide remarkable traction on snow and ice but don’t fully replicate the regular all-rubber grip you experience on dry asphalt. Think of riding with studs as the biking equivalent of walking on sand-covered ice. You can walk or bike as you normally would, but any abrupt or sharp turn can cause you […]
One Simple Trick Makes Hand Warmers Last a Lot Longer
Use the heat when you need it. Photo: Heat Factory Most disposable hand warmers provide several hours of quality heat, but what if you only need warmth for a limited time? Don’t waste perfectly good heat by throwing out a hand warmer after only a short use! Save it for when you need it with […]
How to Use an Ice Ax
The ice ax is an essential mountaineering tool— arguably the essential tool—when climbing large, glaciated peaks or when ascending steep routes on any mountain in the winter. When exploring peaks like Maine’s Katahdin or New Hampshire’s Mount Washington in winter, using an ice ax—along with crampons—is not only recommended, it’s a necessity. STRUCTURE OF THE […]