Summer Camping

As J.R. Harris likes to tell it today, the first time he saw grass, he tried to smoke it. He’s joking, of course, but the rib illustrates how shocking an introduction to the backcountry can be for a 14-year-old city kid. Climbing off the bus at Ten Mile River Scout Camps in Narrowsburg, N.Y., Harris…

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One of the most frequently visited shelters in the White Mountain National Forest will be out of commission this September. Guyot Shelter, which housed 3,513 guest overnights in 2018 alone, will be razed and rebuilt following years of accumulated damage from rain and snowstorms. With construction planned for the busy fall hiking season, the closure…

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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…

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Crowds can be intensely heavy on the trails of the White Mountains. Or not, depending on where you go. If you’re looking for solitude and tranquility on your next hike, here are some of my go-to locations, based on my experience researching AMC’s Best Backpacking Trips in New England. Where NOT to go First, though,…

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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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Trick question. They’re the same thing. Last year, Dyneema acquired the Cubic Tech Corporation, the primary manufacturer of cuben fiber, and rebranded the material as Dyneema Composite Fabrics. So if you’re interested in shelling out for the very lightest weight fabric currently being used for outdoor gear—and have been confused by this name change on gear specs…

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A 100th birthday only comes around once, and when it does, a major blowout is in order. This year, 2018, marks the White Mountain National Forest centennial, and knowing a little of the forest’s history will make your celebrations all the sweeter. (Don’t worry: We’ll get to the party part in a minute!) When the…

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When you gotta go in the woods, it’s crucial that you follow proper Leave No Trace (LNT) practices to minimize your impact. I’ve included a refresher video at the end to review this essential skill, but here wanted to highlight one of its most critical aspects: digging a proper hole. Per LNT guidelines, it should be 6 to…

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I have, and continue to use, an original Jetboil PCS stove from the early 2000’s. It has proven to be durable, reliable, and useful in two very specialized ways: it boils water exceptionally fast and it’s great for making coffee. (Other than that, it’s pretty much useless—as far as I’m concerned, the pot is just too…

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Lightweight, compressible, and long-lasting, a down-filled sleeping bag is a delightful addition to any camper’s or backpacker’s gear locker. The problem is that down-filled bags are almost always more expensive (sometimes way more expensive) than synthetic-fill options, a trend that has only gotten worse in recent years. Indeed, these days you can easily spend north of $400…

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