March 20, 2020

Just How Warm Is That Sleeping Pad?

sleeping pad on the floor of a tent

When you’re shopping for a new camping or backpacking sleeping pad, it’s tempting to assume that a thick, cushy one is going to keep you warmer than a thinner one. But advanced designs and types of insulation mean this isn’t necessarily the case. You need a reliable way to know how well a pad will […]

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March 9, 2020

Night Hiking Basics

Two hikers on a trail wearing headlamps at dusk

When the sun takes its daily dive below the horizon and delivers nighttime to your doorstep, there’s no rule saying you have to stay in for the evening. If you’re looking to extend your daily window of time for getting outdoors, here’s some inspiration and information to get you started on your after-dark adventures: Why […]

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March 9, 2020

How to Choose Headlamps

Climber wearing a headlamp

When you’re setting up your tent at night, trail running at dusk, or just looking for something in your attic, you can't beat the hands-free lighting convenience offered by a headlamp. Headlamps today use LEDs almost exclusively as their light source. LEDs are rugged, energy-efficient and long-lasting. So, what sets one headlamp apart from another? […]

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February 26, 2020

How to Find Less Crowded Trails

Two hikers taking a break on a trail in the mountains

Searching for a peaceful wilderness experience only to end up feeling like you’re at an amusement park is a serious buzzkill. With hiking rising in popularity around many high-density metropolitan areas and in national parks, popular and easily accessible trails are getting overrun. If you’re looking to escape the hordes but aren’t sure how to […]

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December 18, 2019

You Don’t Need Anything to Play These Word Games

Games are fun (unless you’re dating). But what happens when you and your pals are social distancing and your favorite board games gather dust?  Fear not. We consulted with REI staff members and general subject-matter experts (aka fellow equipment-free game fanatics) to create a nowhere-near-exhaustive list of games that only require words. These 12 games […]

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September 11, 2019

How to Use Bear Spray

A person holding a can of bear spray at the ready

If you spend time outdoors in bear country, particularly grizzly bear country, bear deterrent spray should be on your never-leave-home-without-it list. But, carrying it is not enough to keep bears away. You need to know how to use bear spray effectively, and without hesitation, because an up-close encounter with an aggressive bear is no time […]

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July 17, 2019

Do I Need Cycling Socks?

Cycling Socks

If you enjoy riding your bike but don’t consider yourself a hard-core cyclist (yet), you might wonder if you need cycling-specific socks. Can’t I just wear basic workout socks and be done with it? Yes, you absolutely can. But, just as there are welcome details like subtly padded zones in hiking socks, certain characteristics in […]

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July 10, 2019

How to Diaper on the Trail Like a Pro

A mom putting a diaper on a smiling toddler wearing a purple fleece

When I first started hiking with my infant son, I quickly learned that the farther we went, the more poop became a problem. Digging a cat hole or finding an outhouse is one thing, but when you’re hiking with a kid in diapers, it’s another story. Trust me when I say there are a million ways […]

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June 11, 2019

What Is a Hammock Underquilt and How Do You Use One?

Hammock underquilts are the best way to stay warm during cold campouts.

If you’ve grown to love hanging out in your hammock, perhaps you’ve contemplated sleeping overnight in your outdoor cocoon. Two obvious needs for overnight comfort are bug netting and a rain tarp, which you can buy separately or may come included as parts of a hammock tent system. One often overlooked issue, though, is how […]

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