Gear

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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How essential is it to put your food in bear boxes even if there aren’t any bears in the area? While bears can be a major concern, they’re not the only wild animals that pose a risk. We see it all too often. Campers arrive after a long slog overs hills and rivers to finally reach home. In an effort…

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Getting home safely while winter hiking means knowing when to call it quits. The mountain, the trail, the journey: They’ll all still be there another day. A responsible hiker sets a turnaround time before hitting the trail, especially in winter, when daylight fades much earlier than other times of the year. But there are also…

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Fat bikes draw attention. Tricked out with bulbous tires measuring 3, 4, even 5 inches wide, they’re more dune buggy than mountain bike. And while those tires allow cyclists to roll over just about any terrain, they also elicit comments from bystanders. Which means I’m more than a little self-conscious as I adjust the seat…

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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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You can always anchor a tent by tying your guylines to a log or a rock buried in the snow (also called “deadmen”), but why not invest in a set of good snow stakes? For a secure hold at a minimal weight, consider the 0.5-ounce Olik Titanium Snow Stake from Suluk 46 ($90 for four;…

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