Sleeping pads

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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Carrying a chair with you into the backcountry isn’t exactly an ultralight essential, but it is a delightful luxury after a long hard day on the trail. If you’re willing to pack in a bit more weight for a comfortable seat around camp, here are some of the current best backpacking chairs. Helinox Chair Zero…

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If you’re planning on backpacking with young kids, you really want them to enjoy the experience so they’ll keep coming back for more. After multiple trips taking my two young backpackers into the woods over the past two years (when they were between the ages of 4 and 8), here are a few key tips…

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When you’re out in the winter cold, one of the fastest ways to lose body heat is to come into contact with a cold surface. Physics being physics, heat will begin flowing from the warmer object (you) to the colder object, a process known as conduction. And more often than not, your rear end is the chilly recipient of…

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This summer I introduced my two boys, age 4 and 6, to the fun and excitement of backpacking. After several long and squiggly nights over the course of two trips, here is one of the most important things I learned. Based on my highly unscientific sample size of two, it’s clear that young sleepers move…

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Cold weather arrived over the weekend in the Northeast. The season’s first frost crisped many an area in northern and interior New England. On the high peaks of the White Mountains, temperatures on Sunday didn’t even crack 30 degrees. If you’re out camping or backpacking in this shoulder season, you need to prepare for some…

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Let’s face it: Outdoor equipment can be ridiculously expensive. Outfitting yourself from scratch for a backpacking trip can run you hundreds—even thousands—of dollars, especially if you invest in high-end gear. And if you’re gearing up an entire family? Ouch. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be this way. You can get away…

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If you’ve ever packed an inflatable sleeping pad, you’ve almost certainly discovered how challenging it can be to fully deflate it. Even a small amount of residual air increases the pad’s size when it’s rolled up, which can result in an intense wrestling match between you, your still-slightly-puffy sleeping pad, and the pad’s stuff sack….

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I’ve used an extensive array of outdoor gear over 20 years of hiking, camping, and backpacking. Here are my top five most used, most abused, most durable, and most loved items. Please share yours! Mountain Hardwear Subzero Parka I purchased this ultra-warm, super-sized down parka a decade ago—and still revel in its delicious warmth every…

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It’s hard to sleep well when you’re cold. A few simple techniques can make all the difference. You need fuel to keep your furnace burning all night. In case you wake up chilled, have a quick energy, high-calorie snack at the ready for a middle-of-the-night refuel.  Use a thick, full-length sleeping pad; what works in…

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