How to

How to

How to Buy?

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Buying A Better Bag

Theres nothing like a good nights rest. Follow these 10 essentials to make sure your sleeping bag is up to the challenge.

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How to

How to Repair


Gear Rx: Sleeping Bags

Can Fix

    • Dirty bag. Ship your bag to a repair shop for a professional laundering.
    • Unraveling seams or holes. Most outdoors stores sell patch kits, and repair shops can easily fix separating seams and patche torn shells and liners.
    • Lost loft in a down bag. Ask your repair shop to inject new down (550 fill power or higher) in your bag.
  • Broken hardware. Shops can mend or replace zippers and slip new drawstrings into hoods.

Can’t Fix

  • Lost loft in a synthetic bag. There’s no way to restore loft to synthetic fills.
  • Ruptured baffles. If you ran your sleeping bag through your home washing machine only to find that all the fill material gathered in the foot, it’s time to buy a new bag.

Gear Rx: Boots

Can Fix

  • Torn seams or holes in uppers. Cobblers can usually repair a torn seam or patch holes caused by chewing critters.
  • Separating toe guards and rands. If the rand separates at the glue line, a permanent adhesive will stick the pieces back together. See Gear Works
  • Broken lace hooks or lost eyelets.
  • Hot spots in otherwise well-fitting boots. Cobblers use several techniques to stretch toe boxes and other areas to improve fit.
  • Worn soles. Cobblers can replace most soles on high-quality hiking and climbing boots.

Can’t Fix

  • Damaged leather uppers. If the leather has worn thin or has abrasions covering more than a third of the upper, you should replace the boots.
  • Worn soles on lightweight hikers. Resoling lightweight, inexpensive boots isn’t cost effective.
  • Degraded leather. Mildew and mold usually means replacement. Treat your boots with conditioner or waterproofing regularly, and put them out to dry immediately when you return from a trip.
  • Broken midsole or shank. If the shank breaks, you’ll need to replace the entire outersole unit, or more likely, the boot.

Gear Rx: Tents

Can Fix

  • Broken tent poles. A repair shop can usually replace an old, broken pole or fix just the busted section. See Gear Works, September 1996.
  • Bad shock cord. Most outdoors stores carry shock cord, and repair shops can easily replace a broken or worn-out section.
  • Torn mesh or fabric walls. Repair shops can stitch in a patch over a hole burned into a tent wall or replace an entire mesh panel.
  • Broken zipper. One of the most common repairs for tents is zipper repair or replacement.
  • Broken hardware. Lost grommets, ripped guy anchors, and unraveled seams are all easily repaired. See Gear Works, May 1996.
  • Mildew. Repair shops can clean mildly-effected tents.
  • Delaminated seam tape or durable water repellent (DWR). Repair shops can retape seams and reapply DWR finish on most fabrics. See Gear Works, See Gear Works,

Can’t Fix

  • Heavy mildew. Extensive mildewing can’t be removed without damaging the tent itself. Brittle tent or rainfly. Ultraviolet light breaks down fabric structures irreversibly.

Gear Rx: Clothing

Can Fix

  • Broken zipper. See Gear Works, August 1996.
  • Unraveled seams, small tears. An easy fix at most repair shops or at home.
  • Delaminating seam tape on raingear. This fix requires a special machine, so find a certified repair shop.
  • Raingear that doesn’t repel. Restore the durable water repellent (DWR) finish at home or send it out.

Can’t Fix

  • If an item is old or worn thin to the point that new holes are constantly appearing, repairs will be expensive and marginally effective.

Gear Rx: Stoves And Water Filters

Can Fix

  • Clogged stoves. When gunk clogs jets and burners so thoroughly that you can’t clean them at home, send it to a stove expert for complete disassembly and cleaning.
  • Lost or dried out O-rings, gaskets, or hoses.

Can’t Fix

  • Broken pump housing. That component must be replaced. Broken stove generators/preheat tubes.
  • The stove is unsafe to use. Discard it.


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How to

How to Choose a Summer Camp for Kids


Summer camps have a significant impact on a child’s life. It is important for parents to learn how to make an informed decision when choosing a camp. Many issues must be considered before locating the perfect camp. Summer camps offer children an opportunity to learn and make new friends. Careful planning will ensure that your child’s summer camp is enjoyable and memorable.

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How to



Kersplat! The first fat drop splashed against my forehead with a sound usually reserved for cartoons. But there it was, bigger than life, a breach in the outer defenses of my new tent. The rainfly eventually sprung leaks in seven spots, showering my sleeping bag and gear. Cursing myself for doing such a poor seam-sealing job, I pulled a jacket over my head and prayed for a sunny morning.

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How to

How to keep boot and sole together for the long haul.


We were deep in the Canadian bush, 70 miles from the nearest road. Gallons of water spilled off a cliff, and beneath the falls stood a lone pinnacle of great presence and power. Its midstream location could not deter Dave, who simply had to scale the thing. He portaged the canyon, paddled up-current, found his route, and eased his way up the 80-foot stone tower. At the summit, where he expected divine inspiration, he instead found…an old, weathered boot sole.

How did that sole-less explorer get down off the needle? Better yet, how did he get back to civilization without what’s arguably the most important part of any hiking boot? Well, two things are certain: It couldn’t have been a pleasant hike out, and you don’t have to wind up in a similar situation.

These days most boot soles are bonded, rather than stitched, to the uppers, and the likelihood of sole loss is pretty slim. However, excessive weatherproofing treatments or temperature extremes can cause glued-on soles to peel off.

Inspect your footwear before each trip because it’s easier to deal with separated layers at home. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself flip-flopping around the wilderness, and you’ll have to resort to duct tape or baling wire, which are uncomfortable and ineffective for the long haul. Note: If your boots have a Norwegian welt (the sole is stitched, rather than glued, to the boot’s upper), reuniting sole to boot is best left to a cobbler.

9 Steps Toward Sole Reclamation

1. Prepare the boot. Just like you’d clean a gash in your hand before sewing it up, make sure your boot is clean. It’s the difference between a never-healing infected wound and a quick-healing injury. Wash the boot with a stiff brush, water, and a touch of mild soap (like Dr. Bronners) or leather cleaner. Rinse thoroughly, then let dry.

2. For better adhesion, lightly sand the spot to be glued.

3. Stuff the boot with newspaper. This provides structure and helps the boot retain its original shape.

4. Wipe the gluing surface with denatured alcohol to remove any oils. Don’t touch that spot again because the oils on your hands will rub off onto the leather.

5. Spread an even and thin layer of contact cement (like Barge brand) on each prepared surface and let set until almost dry, or until the wet, shiny film has evaporated.

6. Align and mate the parts carefully. You only get one chance with contact cement.

7. Clamp together with a C-clamp or wrap with strong tape. Avoid duct tape, though, because it can be difficult to remove. Try to equalize pressure using several rubber bands. Remember: Secure mating of the sticky parts is important.

8. Let it dry or cure completely-usually 24 to 48 hours, depending on temperature and humidity. Ideal curing conditions are low humidity and 55° to 70°F temperatures.

9. Finally, seal all the joints with a liquid seam sealant applied with a syringe.


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How to

How to Cooking over a Camp Stove


It’s hard to beat the aesthetic appeal of a crackling campfire. But there are times when a campfire isn’t in the picture. As more people flock to the back country to enjoy the outdoors, many campsites are becoming denuded of accessible wood. Campfires also take a long time to start, and need to burn a while before they are ready for cooking. There are ecological concerns about campfires as well. Last year saw record dry conditions in many states, with forest fires burning thousands of acres; even in areas where campfires were not banned, prudent campers chose to prepare meals using campstoves rather than open fires.

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