Traveler's Gear Box

Traveler's Gear Box: What Protects Your Foot From Your Boot?

What you put between your foot and your boot when hiking, say, down the Appalachian National Scenic Trail, is just as important as the boot you slip your foot into. Which is why I wanted to update you with what's out there on the sock market.

Traveler's Gear Box: Hiking Boots For A Variety Of Needs

What you put on your feet when you're out and about in the national parks goes a long way towards ensuring your comfort. Of your feet, at least. With that in mind, we've put a few pairs of boots through the rigors of walking on trails and pavement and have the following thoughts.

Traveler's Gear Box: Trekking Poles

A set of sticks is a handy thing to have when you're hiking in the National Park System. They take some of the load off your knees, can offer you greater stability, and, in a pinch, can help you pitch your tent. But which set of trekking poles is right for you?

Traveler's Gear Box: Water Vessels, Steel And Otherwise

With warm weather already here in some parts of the Southwest, and with disposable water bottles on their way out from a number of national parks, what's the best way to stay hydrated in the parks?

Traveler's Gear Box: Adventure Medical Kit's SOL Escape Bivvy

None of us ever wants to be caught out in the backcountry in an emergency, but we should nevertheless plan for that scenario by being prepared for the unexpected. And one good piece of gear, along with the usual matches, snacks, compass and mirror, is something to keep you warm and dry in an emergency.

Traveler's Gear Box: Jetboil's Sol Ti Cooking System

A reliable cookstove is an essential piece of gear for campers, and if you're heading into the backcountry, a system compact in size and light in weight is ideal. Jetboil's most recent offering in that category meets those needs.

Traveler's Gear Box: Icebreaker's GT 200 Series Offers Durable Merino Wool Base Layers

Icebreaker's GT 200 base layers offer you a durable, and comfortable, merino wool "second skin" well-suited to backcountry travel, whether for a day or a week.

Traveler's Gear Box: KEEN's Erickson PCT, A Hiking Boot For Long-Distance Trekkers

Soggy meadows and mile-heavy days in Yellowstone National Park were the perfect testing grounds for KEEN's Erickson PCT, a hiking boot best suited for cranking out backcountry miles with a full pack.

Traveler's Gear Box: Therm-a-Rest's NeoAir XTherm Sleeping Pad Wards Off Cold Nights

Perhaps it comes with age, or inadequate sleeping pads, but in recent years I've often found myself shivering through the night during fall backpacking treks. But the arrival of a revolutionary pad from Therm-a-Rest carries the warm promise of making those nights distant memories.

Traveler's Gear Box: Merrell Women's Verta Shirt: Practical Function & Flattering Fit

Merrell is definitely more than their distinctive shoes. The Merrell Women's Verta shirt offers a fit that truly is classy as well as utilitarian.

Birding in the National Parks: Lowepro's Optic Series For Wildlife Viewing

Birders and wildlife watchers are starting to get used to the fact that gear manufacturers recognize us and want to make equipment specifically for us. So it wasn’t a surprise, but definitely great news, when Lowepro came out with their Optics Series for wildlife viewing.

Traveler's Gear Box: Merrell Women's Barefoot Pace Glove

Is the "barefoot" running craze for you? Check out this review of Merrill's entry in the market.

Traveler's Gear Box: Hummingbird Gear Cargo Carrier

Spend time playing in the water during your national park excursions? If you paddle in the parks or slither through slot canyons that might offer water hazards, the Hummingbird Gear Cargo Carrier is a pack you might want to consider.

Traveler's Gear Box: Brooks-Range Mountaineering's Cirro Hoody Jacket

How will a backcountry user honed on down garments react to synthetic insulation? Our intrepid backcountry guide gave the Cirro Hoody Jacket from Brooks-Range Mountaineering a field test. Read her thoughts.

Traveler's Gear Box: Osprey's Manta Hydration Daypack

OK, let's get right to the point: I'm a bit disappointed with Osprey's Manta series daypacks. In the end, I'm probably being overly picky, but considering the competition out there, Osprey could have done just a tad better.

Traveler's Gear Box: Would You Add The SteriPEN Journey To It?

It's lightweight, easy to use, and gets the job done both quickly and efficiently, according to testing data. But would you add SteriPEN to your gear box?

Traveler's Gear Box: What's Covering Your Feet?

Treat your feet well on the trail, and you'll have some happy dogs come sundown. Ignore them and, well, let's just hope you can treat blisters. While good boots go a long way to keeping feet happy, what stands between your toes and your toe box is just as critical.

Traveler's Gear Box: Here's A Pack to Help You Get to A National Park

As backpacks go, you probably wouldn't want to head off into the backcountry of a national park with Tom Bihn's Aeronaut on your back. But it sure is a handy bag to use to get to the park.

Traveler's Gear Box: Moab Trails Illustrated Explorer

One CD-Rom that works with either Mac or PC. Mapping software that let's you zoom in and out, pan right or left, and take a bird's eye 3-D view of the lay of the land. And the ability to load the map onto more than a few GPS units. Has National Geographic hit upon something with its Trails Illustrated Explorer series?

Traveler's Gear Box: When It Comes To Base Layers, Do You Opt for Wool or Poly?

For years it's been hammered into us to dress in layers when we head outdoors for extended periods. But should your base layer be wool, or polypropylene when you set off into a national park's backcountry?

Traveler's Gear Box: Something To Hold Your Favorite Bevvie...

There are times when you don't need a hydration system for a walk in the (national) park, or when you're looking to pack a beverage other than water on your day hike or longer adventure. One option I recently came across offers a great solution: clean lines, food-grade materials, durability, and great insulation.

Traveler's Gear Box: For Women, A Handy Accessory for When Nature Beckons in the Outback

There are times when the call of nature can be downright inconvenient for women who head down the trail. The temperature might be too cold, or the mosquitoes too thick, to drop your pants. For those times, there's GoGirl.

Traveler's Gear Box: When You Need Good Footing, Consider YakTrax

Walking through many national parks in winter can be tricky. In Yellowstone National Park, for instance, the boardwalks through geyser basins can be snow-and-or-ice-covered, hiking trails in Grand Canyon National Park can be icy, and trails in countless other parks that experience snowy winters can be slippery. These are definitely instances when you need good footing.

Traveler's Gear Box: Can A Shoemaker Build A Decent Daypack?

I've long been a fan of Keen, the shoemaker. I find that their shoes fit me as if they made the lasts from my foot. But when I heard Keen was getting into daypacks, I raised an eyebrow. Can a shoemaker make a decent daypack?

Traveler's Gear Box: How Do You Cook Your Food in a National Park's Backcountry?

When it comes to cooking a meal in the backcountry of your favorite national park, there are more than a few options. Of course, those options quickly narrow when you're hauling food, shelter, and clothing in your backpack. So what are your options when it comes to cookstoves?

Traveler's Gear Box: A Tent For Every Occasion

Tents are one of the most important pieces of gear you need if you take extended treks into the national parks' backcountry. They truly can make a life-and-death difference in extreme conditions. While they also used to be one of the more expensive pieces of gear, there is a trend to make quality backpacking tents more affordable.

Traveler's Gear Box: Hauling Your Gear Around

Gear junkies know that there are two general categories for gear: The items that you use when you're off playing, and the items you need to get the aforementioned items you use to the starting point. That's why, if you paddle or ski or bike, you need a good rack system.

Traveler's Gear Box: The SoftBottle From Platypus

Hydration systems will continue to evolve as long as humans head away from the kitchen sink. One of the latest innovations for hikers is the SoftBottle from Platypus, which carries good, and not so good, aspects.

Traveler's Gear Box: When You Need To Stop Bleeding Fast....

May all your trips into the national parks be with the wind at your back, the sun overhead, and without mishaps. Sadly, we can't always ensure that accidents won't happen, and that's where some key First Aid items are nice to have on hand.

Traveler's Gear Box: Take A Stick When You Go For a Hike

How far things have come since the day when a simple stick served the job of balancing you on your hike through the woods. Today's poles are so wonderfully handy. They take the load off your knees on downhills, can be used to shoo snakes off the trail if you don't have patience for them to slither off, and can even be used to pitch a tent!The latest innovations from LEKI with its trekking poles are subtle, but nevertheless welcome.
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