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Lightweight Backpacking: Stove Systems

Consider the pros and cons of different lightweight backpacking stoves and how to think about stoves and cooking from the perspective of a lightweight backpacker.

Q&A with Feathered Friends Designer Brent Zwiers

Brent Zwiers is one of the design minds behind Feathered Friends' handmade down sleeping bags and clothing. He recently shared some of his gear designer experiences, skills, and secrets with Trailspace.

Choosing Your Canoe: Shapes and Curves

Tumblehome, flare, and rocker. Flat, round, vee, shallow arch. A canoe's shape and curves directly affect its stability, speed, and tracking. Understand the basic design principles to understand what canoe(s) will perform best for you and the waters you paddle.

Minimal Toe Shoes Banned by Army

Minimal toe shoes, like Vibram FiveFingers, have caught on among running and fitness buffs. But if you're in the Army, forget 'em. The funky toe shoes are now banned for official Army training, because they "detract from a professional military image."

Gear Explained: Parts of a Canoe Paddle

To help you differentiate your grip from your tip, here are the basic parts of a canoe paddle.

Choosing a Paddle: Selecting Your Personal Propeller

You need something to make your canoe go. Choosing a paddle is a bit like a black art. Science is a good beginning, but feel makes the final determination.

CamelBak lets you hydrate just like an astronaut

CamelBak bite valves can be found on everything from hydration packs to water bottles for toddlers to NASA spacesuits.

Lightweight Backpacking: Backpack Makeover

Consider a backpack that weighs between 1 and 3 pounds and can carry 20 to 30 pounds of gear. Learn how to size one, how to choose a pack made with durable fabrics, and how backpack suspensions work.

Choosing a Canoe: How Long?

What length canoe to get? Depends on how and where you'll use it.

Gear Explained: Parts of a Canoe

Don't know your keel from your yoke? Even a seemingly simple canoe can have a confusing number of parts, features, and terms. Here are the basic parts of a typical canoe, from bow to stern:

FDA Issues New Rules for Sunscreen Labels

It took more than 30 years, but this month the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) finally announced changes to confusing sunscreen labels and claims.

Lightweight Backpacking: Sleeping Bag Makeover

Lightening your load? Learn how to choose a sleeping bag under three pounds. Evaluate different sleeping bag and quilt designs, insulation, temperature ratings, sizing, and more.

Lightweight Backpacking: Shelter Makeover

Learn how to reduce the weight of your current tent and what to look for in a new tent if you decide to replace yours, in this second piece from our introduction to lightweight backpacking. Also, consider some alternative ultralight shelters.

An Introduction to Lightweight Backpacking

Is your backpack so heavy that you need help lifting it off the ground? Do you let out a cougar scream when you finally get it onto your back? If so, perhaps it's time to learn about lightweight backpacking and how to reduce the weight of your pack to a more comfortable 10 to 15 percent of your body weight.

Avoid Ticks On and Off the Trail

Avoid ticks and prevent tick bites while hiking. Search for ticks on your body after being outside, especially in wooded and grassy areas. Read the CDC's advice on avoiding ticks and preventing tick bites.

Celebrate outdoors with Clif Climber pouch wine

Fancy a drink to pair with your favorite energy bars on the trail? Husband and wife Clif Bar co-owners Gary Erickson and Kit Crawford have produced such...

How to Run or Hike Barefoot on the Trail

Interested in trail running or hiking barefoot or with minimal footwear? Consider the following information to determine how to start safely, where to go, and whether to go truly barefoot or minimally shod.

Choosing Your Canoe: Materials

From natural birch bark to modern composites, a wide range of materials are used to build canoes today. Each has its advantages and disadvantages and no one material does it all well.

Video: Building a Wood and Canvas Canoe

Today we published the first in a series of articles by Erich Volkstorf on canoes and paddling. Erich's initial piece explains the various materials —...

How to Cross Streams and Rivers

Though steam and river crossings deserve special consideration in spring, crossing moving water is not only inconvenient, but also potentially hazardous, year-round. Here are some basic tips for getting across moving water when hiking and backpacking.

CAMP Carabiners and Quickdraws Recalled

CAMP USA has announced a voluntary recall of its Photon carabiners and Photon and Mach Express quickdraws. The recalled products were sold nationwide from February 2011 through March 2011.

Video: Deploying an airbag in an avalanche

Avalanche airbags have become increasingly popular among backcountry skiers the past few years. When heli-skier Jeff Wyshynski was caught in an Alaskan...

Guide to Sleeping Bags

Down or synthetic? What temperature rating? Mummy or rectangular? Extra-long or women-specific? With the range of sleeping bag shapes, sizes, fills, and...

How Green is My Pack? Eco Index to assess outdoor gear and apparel

Survey your outdoor gear: your base layers, fleece, go-to backpack. What’s it all made of? Where did it come from? The Eco Index will assess your outdoor gear, apparel, and footwear's overall environmental impact, eventually.

Sleeping Bag Construction: Baffles, Layers, and Shingles

Baffled by baffles? Confused by shingles and layers? Here's your guide to the various construction techniques that keep down and synthetic insulation in the right places, and you warm in your sleeping bag.

SPOT Satellite Communicator Recalled

Spot has issued a recall on the SPOT Satellite Communicator, which is bundled and sold exclusively with the DeLorme Earthmate PN-60w. Intended messages may not be transmitted when the SPOT Satellite Communicator is used at temperatures below 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

Gear Explained: Synthetic Insulation

To pick the right insulation — synthetic or down — for your backcountry adventures, you need to understand what each insulation is, its properties, and its pros and cons. Start with our synthetic insulation primer.

Gear Explained: Down Insulation

To pick the right insulation — down or synthetic — for your backcountry adventures, you need to understand what each insulation is, its properties, and its pros and cons. Start with our down insulation primer.

Yet another hard shell: Pactiv enters outdoor market

Pactiv, a leader in the consumer and food service industries, is entering the outdoor market. The company’s new flagship line of super affordable, ultralight, waterproof shells are aimed at budget backpackers, families and leaders of large youth groups, and anyone with a disdain for outdoor logos, fashion, or decent fit.

Time for Spring Gear Cleaning

Despite the snowpack you may see on the ground, spring is officially here. Whether you've been using your gear hard all winter or it's been sitting in...

New Barefoot and Minimalist Trail Footwear

Barefoot and minimal footwear is growing in popularity, including among the outdoor set. Whether you’re interested in going all in (barefoot) or want to ease into the idea (minimalist or lightweight), here are the latest trail offerings for 2011.

Gear Explained: Sleeping Bag Shapes, Sizes, Fits

Mummy, rectangular, and semi-rectangular, specialty bags, liners, and covers. Choosing a sleeping bag requires understanding the different shapes, sizes, and versions available.

Good Outdoor Books for Children

Outdoor kids books can be doubly rewarding: You share time reading, learn about the natural world, and help inspire kids to get outdoors and connect with nature. In honor of Read Across America Day March 2, here are some favorite outdoorsy children's books.

Gear Explained: Parts of a Sleeping Bag

Even a seemingly simple piece of gear like a sleeping bag can have a confusing number of features, parts, and terms. Here are the basic parts of a typical mummy bag.

Petzl warns of counterfeit climbing products

In February Petzl discovered identical-looking counterfeit Personal Protective Equipment with the Petzl logo. The four counterfeit products found — a carabiner, pulley, and two ascenders — do not meet Petzl's safety requirements and are potentially dangerous.

Mountain Hardwear's Dry.Q enters waterproof-breathable battle

Mountain Hardwear developed its Dry.Q technology with some help from the folks at GE, owners of eVent. The waterproof-breathable outerwear debuted at Outdoor Retailer, along with a host of competitors.

Outdoor Retailer: Interesting Hydration

In addition to the numerous water bottles and bladders on display, a few other interesting hydration options stood out at Outdoor Retailer Winter Market.

Outdoor Retailer: Seen at the Show

Because with 900 exhibitors at Outdoor Retailer Winter Market, we're bound to see things that make us stop and take a second look.

Outdoor Retailer: Fashion Worthy meets Outdoor Styling

There's plenty of technical outdoor apparel that's also stylish and can do double duty from trail to town. That's not what this photo blog is about though. It's a peek at a few of the outdoor-inspired fashionable duds I saw, and occasionally fondled, at Outdoor Retailer Winter Market in January. These pieces are for when you just want to look and feel outdoorsy.

Outdoor Retailer: Hardgood Gear Highlights

Outdoor Retailer abounds with enough models, styles, and price points of outdoor gear to equip every flavor of outdoors guy or gal. Here are a few more highlights from January's show.

Outdoor Retailer: Fun lights, all about the blink

Whether they were lights to decorate your hammock, a battery-powered lantern that flickers when you "blow" it out, or a light reminiscent of a light saber, there were a number of interesting lights at Outdoor Retailer.

Outdoor Retailer: Illuminating Lanterns and Hybrid Lights

Things have come a long way since a hissing old gasoline lantern illuminated your camp. Multifunctional and hybrid lighting was popular at Outdoor Retailer with products from Joby, Snow Peak, and Mammut combining area lighting with focused linear lighting in one product.

Outdoor Retailer: Dean Cummings launches H20 ski line

Big mountain skier, extreme ski champion, and H2O Guides founder Dean Cummings has launched a line of big mountain, backcountry skis. We spoke with Cummings at Outdoor Retailer and he showed us the line.

Outdoor Retailer: Flashlights from Fenix

Flashlight manufacturer Fenix had some of the most powerful lights at Outdoor Retailer, plus a multifunctional camp light that weighs less than two ounces.

Outdoor Retailer: Headlamp Highlights

It may be the dark days of winter, but there's no shortage of illuminating products to light your way on the trail, the road, or in camp. Here are a few highlights from the headlamp category shown at Outdoor Retailer Winter Market last week.

Outdoor Retailer: Avalanche Airbags Expand

Only a few years ago avalanche airbags were unavailable in the United States, and until now it’s been a limited market. But in 2011, the options available to backcountry skiers, riders, and others venturing into avalanche terrain will expand.

Outdoor Retailer: Clothing highlights from head to toe

Judging by the quantity and variety of technical apparel shown at Outdoor Retailer last week, no outdoorsperson should complain that he or she can't find something appropriate to wear for their favorite backcountry activity. Here are a few clothing highlights, from head to toe, culled from the masses of wool, down, softshell, and other fabrics on display.

Outdoor Retailer: Soto's Muka atomizing liquid fuel stove

Trailspace gets a first look at the Japanese stove manufacturer Soto's Muka (Japanese for "atomize") liquid fuel stove. The unique Muka stove atomizes fuel rather than evaporating it.

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