Hiking/Camping Gear

‘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…

Read More....

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…

Read More....

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…

Read More....

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…

Read More....

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…

Read More....

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…

Read More....

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…

Read More....

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…

Read More....

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;…

Read More....

Spending a night outside in winter requires a different shelter than in warmer seasons. To stay safe and comfortable when the wind howls and the snow piles up, you’ll want to choose a tent that’s as tough as the conditions. But what makes a tent truly winter-worthy? A reliable four-season tent is built to withstand…

Read More....