Gear

Climbing shoes come in three different styles—neutral, moderate, and aggressive—and become progressively more arched, or “cambered,” to take on more difficult climbs. Beginners should opt for the flattest, most neutral style, which offers good all-around performance with a relaxed, wear-all-day fit. More advanced climbers will want arched shoes, which compress your toes and create more…

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Rock climbing can be an exhilarating adventure into the vertical realm. It can also be intimidating, given all of the gear and lingo that comes with it. Just as you’ll want to learn climbing skills from the ground up, it’s helpful to get acquainted with the basic equipment you’ll need. Most climbing gyms rent the…

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Climbing shoes are notorious for retaining hard-to-remove foot odor, especially since they’re usually worn without socks that could help soak up any sweaty stink. To neutralize smells, you’ll need a powerful counteragent. Enter Extra Strength Lemon Eucalyptus Essential Oil Odor Eliminator ($15; lumioutdoors.com) from Utah-based Lumi Outdoors. This shoe spray relies on natural, antimicrobial ingredients…

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‘Tis the mud season in the mountains of New England, a good time to review how to keep stuff—including mud and slop—out of your footwear when you’re hiking. A key way to do this is to wear ankle gaiters over your hiking footwear, which blocks mud, grit, and other debris from getting inside, because hiking around…

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If your boots have been languishing in the closet all winter, or you’ve been using them to stomp through the snowy season, it’s time to get them cleaned, conditioned, and ready to go. Here’s the three-step process I recommend. (And while this post is geared toward all-leather hiking boots rather than boots constructed from fabric…

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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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