Rain Gear

Waterproof-breathable materials like Gore-Tex sound great in theory. But the marketing hype obscures the damp realities of it all, especially the inevitable loss of a jacket’s durable water repellency, or DWR. DWR is the chemical treatment applied to a fabric that causes water to bead up and roll off. It is essential for maintaining a…

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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…

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If you’re hiking in a steady downpour, you will eventually get soaked, no matter what you’re wearing. But you can stay drier longer with these simple tips: Push up your sleeves. If you’re wearing long sleeves under your rain jacket, push them up your forearms or above the elbow to prevent cuff-leaking water from wicking…

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After a day of rain-soaked hiking or water-logged paddling, few things are as satisfying as a set of dry clothes and a cozy sleeping bag. And few things are as unpleasant—and potentially dangerous—as soaking wet gear. To avoid the latter, solutions range from the simple and inexpensive to the high-tech and fancy. Here is a…

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It’s simple. Rain gear should keep you dry. The best rain gear keeps water out while allowing moisture on the inside (read: your sweat) to escape. The former is straightforward. The latter is often difficult to nearly impossible, a fact obscured by the marketing hype that surrounds many waterproof-breathable materials. Understanding both features is essential…

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Over time, dirt and body oils steadily permeate your sleeping bag and rain jacket, decreasing their warmth and breathability. Practicing some basic outdoor gear maintenance can extend the life of your equipment. Wash them once every season or two, depending on how often you use them. Apply leather conditioner to your hiking boots at least…

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As a general rule, most outdoor equipment is built to survive significant use and abuse over many years and adventures. By using these five simple tips, however, you can quickly and easily damage your equipment to the point of near uselessness. With a little additional effort, you can then resuscitate it for more abuse in the…

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There’s ultralight backpacking, and then there’s hyperlight. It’s possible for all your backpacking gear to weigh less than 10 pounds (excluding food, water, and the clothes you’re wearing) but accomplishing it requires some notable sacrifices and expense. Here’s what it takes to experience the lightest, rightest, fastest backpacking experience of your life. Shelter: 0 to…

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It’s raining, it’s pouring, and despite your best efforts water is leaking into your tent. To keep you and your gear dry, you need to get it out. And the only way to do that is to mop it up. You could use a camp towel, sock, T-shirt, or bandana—and I’ve used them all over…

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