Outdoors equipment has come a long way from the days of hemp ropes, rain slickers, and hobnail mountain boots. But despite the leaps, I often find my gear lacking when truly pushed in the outdoors.

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RailRiders - Eco-Speed-T

My quest to find the ultimate summertime T-shirt for outdoor activity has led down many avenues. This month, the route took a turn and accelerated when it hit upon a shirt made by RailRiders, a Belmont, Mass., company with roots in the world of sailing.

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Traveling the world with a bike in tow is a challenge. But for cycling enthusiasts who need their wheels on site for a trip, most major airlines have policies in place to make it happen. To be sure, there are often big extra fees to pay. In recent years, I have flown to international and…

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The twice-annual†Outdoor Retailer trade show, held in Salt Lake City,†is an exhibition of to-be-released outdoors equipment from manufacturers around the world. After six days in Utah last week — demoing new gear, skiing powder, walking the trade show floor — a few items began to surface as the best new products from the show. Here…

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Sometimes in life, as well as in the outdoors, it’s the small things that count. These six items below, all inexpensive, common products, have helped me endure and work through bad breaks, gear malfunctions and pain. Equipment can break. Your body can wear down. My advice: Keep these items always at the ready and in…

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The insanity of “Black Friday” is mercifully past. “Cyber Monday” was this week. Still in need of something for an outdoors lover on your list? Here are a half-dozen holiday gift ideas, ready to wrap and Gear Junkie approved. Seasonal Energy Food, $1 and up — Energize for the outdoors and stay true to the…

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The Origins of the Swiss Army Knife

A red handle, a small white cross, a blade or two, and fold-out tools for the job— a Swiss Army Knife is an icon of utility and smart design recognizable the world over. Invented in the 1880s, and today still made exclusively in only two factories in Switzerland, the pocket knives are produced in dozens…

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It is obscenely huge. It fastens shut and watertight with a roll-top closure. A backpack harness system lets you strap it on and hike, ferrying immense loads through airports and down backwoods portage trails alike. The SealLine Pro Packs are essentially giant vinyl duffel bags. They open wide to reveal a capacious hold that can…

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In a previous column, I covered two major companies, Kelty and JanSport, who will introduce retro-style, external-frame backpacks in 2011. The article pitched external-frame packs as throwbacks—bulky, exposed and skeletal products that were left behind two decades ago by anyone serious about carrying loads in the great outdoors. But the external-frame lives on, and it’s…

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The twice-annual Outdoor Retailer trade show, this summer held in Salt Lake City from August 3 – 6, is a peek at the future of outdoors gear. From shoes and gadgets to mountaineering tents, the pre-release equipment on display is a look at what gear shops will stock in 2011. Here are a few highlights…

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A million little needles work a million strands of yarn. Gears shift. Machine arms adjust and spin, the mechanized anatomy of a knitting machine pulls raw yarn in one side and spits out a sock from the other end. It is a Thursday afternoon in Sheboygan, Wis., the factory floor at Wigwam Mills Inc. buzzing…

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Over the past few years, reviewing equipment for camping, hiking, biking, and other pursuits, a few products and a few ideas have stood out. These five innovations in gear have literally changed the way I do things outside. 1. Merino Wool Base Layers — The fine wool of the merino sheep happens to make a…

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