More worthy “Adventurer of the Year”: Jurek or Anish?

Earlier today National Geographic announced its Adventurers of the Year for 2016. Of most interest to the backpacking community will be the decision to recognize Scott Jurek — who in July set a new supported speed record for the Appalachian Trail, in 46+ days — but not Heather (“Anish”) Anderson, the other obvious choice this year. If you’re asking, […]

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Battery life comparison: GPS sport watches

What are the most important considerations when deciding which GPS sport watch to buy? Features, fit, and price — most definitely. But don’t overlook battery life, especially if your workouts, competitions, or adventures often exceed the duration of a long workday, as is the case with ultra marathons, Ironmans, expedition adventure races, 24-hour mountain bike […]

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Alan Dixon on the SPOT Global Phone, getting a water level update for Alaska's Yanert River. In my experience, the Global Phone has had excellent call quality and service throughout the lower 48 and in central Alaska.

FREE: SPOT Gen3 Messenger & SPOT Global Phone

Through December 31, the SPOT Gen3 Satellite GPS Messenger, SPOT Trace, and SPOT Global Phone are FREE after mail-in rebate. These devices normally retail for $150, $100, and $500, respectively. Product commentary For starters, read my in-depth comparison of PLB’s, satellite messengers, and satellite phones. Last month I published a long-term review of the Gen3 Messenger. It’s ideal […]

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A screenshot from CalTopo, of the Kings Canyon High Basin Route displayed on the USGS 7.5-minute layer

The future of CalTopo || Interview with founder Matt Jacobs

For several years my go-to platform for topographical maps and imagery has been CalTopo. It has fully replaced — and far surpassed — National Geographic’s TOPO! desktop software, which was discontinued in 2012 and is no longer supported by NG; and, overall, its trip-planning features are unmatched by other online platforms and apps. I use CalTopo most often […]

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Insulation geekiness: specs, pros & cons, optimal uses || SD LIVE (September 8, 2015)

Live recording SD Live: All Things Insulation from Sierra Designs on Vimeo. Episode overview In the September edition of SD LIVE, we focused on the insulation materials most commonly used in outdoor apparel and sleeping bags, specifically fleece, down, and synthetic fills. Frank Kvietok, who manages the Advanced Development Center at Exxel Outdoors and who was the […]

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