Packing

  I’m standing in the dining room at AMC’s Madison Spring Hut, and even though it’s late August, I can’t get warm. Two friends and I have just returned from Mount Madison’s 5,366-foot summit, where a sturdy gale-force wind battered our sweat-soaked bodies already weary from a climb that covered 3,500 feet of elevation in…

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The following is an excerpt from AMC’s Mountain Skills Manual. To reduce shoulder and hip discomfort, as well as to better organize and care for your equipment, it is best to load your pack by following some basic packing principles. We call these principles the ABCDs of packing. In this mnemonic, “A” stands for accessibility,…

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Aerogel is a nearly weightless super-insulator, used by NASA in satellites and other space technology. A commercial version, Primaloft Gold Aerogel, first hit the outdoor gear market in 2017 as a synthetic and ultra-warm insulation. L.L.Bean had exclusive rights to use it during its first year of release, notably in the company’s Packaway Jacket ($169,…

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Winter transforms a trail. The hiking is beautiful, and snow can cover and even out rocky, rooty paths, sometimes making them easier than in the other seasons. At the same time, deep drifts make some areas impassible without snowshoes, and steep slopes can become icy slides. Hikers should venture out with the season’s beauty, and its…

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Picaridin hit the U.S. market in 2005 as an alternative to DEET, the long-time (since 1946) champion of keeping insects at bay. As I wrote back in 2012 (Picaridin vs. DEET: Which Is the Best Insect Repellent?), the evidence at the time indicated that picaridin is at least as good a repellent as DEET. What’s…

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Well, we did it. On Friday, August 23, two friends and I finished the adventure for which we’d been training for more than a year: we completed a single-day Presidential Traverse in New Hampshire’s White Mountains, running as much of it as we could. I’ll save the more harrowing tales for the magazine feature, scheduled for…

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Terri Werning’s biggest fear while hiking isn’t elevation, bears, or losing the trail. It’s men. Werning, 47, who has completed several sections of the Appalachian Trail (AT) over the past four years, says that were she to be attacked by a man while hiking in a remote area, she easily could be overpowered. It’s why,…

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After nearly a year of planning and training, the big day is almost here: In a few weeks, two friends and I will wake up early and make our way to the Appalachia trailhead for the beginning of our attempt at the Presidential Traverse. The Presidential Traverse (or Presi) is a roughly 20-mile journey that…

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A lot more goes into planning a day hike than choosing your target elevation. Here’s a starter checklist. Consider the group. When choosing a route, think about the companions with whom you’ll be hiking. If you’re hiking with a novice, choose a trail that’s beginner-friendly; if you’re hiking with an experienced mountaineer, choose a hike…

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Backpackers will go to great lengths to maximize every square inch of real estate in their packs. When it comes to food storage, taking the time to vacuum-seal those zip-locked bags not only saves space but also keeps food fresh over the long haul. But who wants to carry a vacuum sealer into the backcountry?…

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