Once a month we throw our contributors for a loop with a different question about their lives in the outdoors. This month we had them tell us about their worst gear mishaps.


Bettina Freese

We brought the EZ-up since we didn’t want all five of us holed up in the tent due to rain. The relentless deluge created a hanging swimming pool that had to be periodically dumped. My 11-year-old and I were brushing our teeth when the EZ-up became an EZ-down, the cheap aluminum frame creaking and cracking before quickly collapsing and dumping 50 gallons of water onto our heads as we struggled to prevent it from flowing into the front door of the tent.


Evans Pratter

My Gregory pack’s shoulder strap disconnected from the main pack 1600 miles into my A.T. thru-hike in the middle of nowhere in Vermont. Thank God for p-cord and Eastern Mountain Sports being understanding enough to trade out the pack.

Matt Kirk 1_FIX

Matt Kirk

My shoes take a beating. Most go out with more of a whimper than a bang. But every so often, a shoe will implode spectacularly on the trail. One such memory lingers on a trot to Hot Springs, N.C. with a couple friends. My toe caught a root and the next thing I knew, I was wearing a sandal with many floppy miles ahead.


Jess Daddio

As a lady kayaker, once you’re geared up to paddle in the winter, you usually don’t gear down unless you’re off the river, which makes pee breaks particularly cumbersome. Tired of wrestling layers of neoprene for the sake of sparing my bladder, I invested in a Go Girl. You can imagine what happened the first time I used it.

Johnny Molloy 2015 _FIX

Johnny Molloy

We flew up to Maine and rented camping gear and canoes from an outfitter while paddling the Allagash Waterway. The supplied tarp was full of holes and we got dumped on by rain for 5 of the 7 days of the trip!


Jennifer Pharr Davis

Jumping into a lake with GoreTex boots is like trying to swim with ankle weights. Just saying. Also, drying my wet shoes by the campfire once resulted in hiking 100+ miles on a half-melted sole.


Will Harlan

My biking shorts ripped straight down my crack during a century ride. My cheeks were flapping for about 50 miles.