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SealLine--How to Choose Waterproof Gear

Marjolein Pawlus

Should you use a dry bag, or a dry sack? What goes in a dry case? Why would you use a dry backpack instead of a dry duffle? What is the best waterproof protection for a sleeping bag?

We routinely hear the above questions, and with so many choices when it comes to selecting waterproof gear, we certainly understand—to help ease the process of choosing waterproof gear, we made the below guide for identifying and choosing between our waterproof dry bagsdry sacksdry packs & duffles, and protective cases & accessories. We hope this helps you choose the right waterproof option for your next journey!


Advantages of Liquid Fuel

Marjolein Pawlus

Canister or liquid fuel? It’s a debate we can run into as we get ready to hit the trail. Which one burns hotter? Which is more efficient? Which weighs less overall? Which is better? Truthfully, there is no black and white answer here. However there are distinct differences between the two fuel styles, and with them unique pros (and cons).

To help iron out this fuel conundrum, MSR Category Director of Stoves Doug Sanders is helping us take a look at liquid fuel, addressing five of its key advantages as they relate to our adventures in the outdoors.

Consistent heat in all conditions

While canister fuel performance is directly affected by ambient temperature, liquid fuel offers consistent heat at both cold and warm temperatures. Canister fuels tend to sputter in colder weather, but a liquid fuel will still perform, removing one of the variables that can make backcountry cooking tricky. Some people may not imagine themselves winter camping, but even a frosty fall morning could hinder the effectiveness of a canister fuel. That being said, it is important to note that liquid fuel itself doesn’t actually burn hotter (both are capable of producing the same level of output), but canister fuel performance will vary, where liquid fuel’s is remarkably consistent.


Article by: Kade Krichko

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The Best Backpacking Sleeping Pads announced by

Peter Pawlus

By: PRZen | Jun. 19, 2017

The Winners are:

Editors' Choice - Therm-a-Rest Z Lite Sol Mattress

The Z Lite Sol is a classic design and has been around for years and perfected the Therm-a-Rest to be comfortable while being lightweight. The "egg-crate" foam construction of the pad folds up into a compact package that clips on the bottom of a backpack. The tried and tested Z Lite wins the Outside Pursuits "Editors' Choice" award.

Top Pick - Therm-a-Rest ProLite Mattress

The ProLight sleeping pad is another excellent offering from Therm-a-Rest and has a very different design. The ProLite is a "self-inflating" backpacking sleeping pad. This type of pad inflates itself by simply unfolding it. It features a very lightweight and packable design and wins the "Top Pick" award.

Review: Vasque Breeze III

Peter Pawlus

Now on its third version, the Breeze is one of Vasque’s most popular hiking boots. It features a rare combination which merges a ruggedness needed for long days on the trail and a sneaker-like comfort that’ll keep your feet happy for miles. Through the years, the company improved the Breeze boot, adding a slew of new features while retaining the staples that made the boot a market leader. This consistency is evident in the  Vasque Breeze III, the latest iteration of Vasque’s signature hiking boot.

Ample ankle support and toe protection

Known for packaging backpacking-worthy features into a boot that fits like an athletic shoe, Vasque’s Breeze III continues this tradition by offering ample ankle support for day and multi-day hikes. We walked through slippery, slushy snow and root-filled trails with no concern of turning an ankle.

That’s the beauty of the Vasque boots — they manage to stay comfortable on the ankle while providing sufficient rigidity for most trail conditions. The metal lacing system, especially the hooks in the ankle, aid in this stability by allowing you to pull that part of the boot tighter if needed. It also allows you to lock your ankle securely in place to prevent slippage while ascending steep terrain.


Darn Tough Vermont Factory Tour

Peter Pawlus

Positioned among the quiet, rolling hills of Northfield, Vermont—a stone’s throw away from some of finest ski areas in New England like Mad River Glen and Sugarbush—some of the best socks on Earth are being knit by the good folks at Darn Tough Vermont. It’s here, in a massive and impressive mill, that up to 20,000 pairs of top-notch socks are produced every day by hundreds of passionate employees who keep the Darn Tough boat afloat. - See more at:

 Left: Co-Owner Marc Cabot. Right: Co-Owner and CEO Ric Cabot. Photo courtesy of Darn Tough Vermont. - See more at:

Left: Co-Owner Marc Cabot. Right: Co-Owner and CEO Ric Cabot. Photo courtesy of Darn Tough Vermont. - See more at:



Keep in mind that the photos above provide just a glimpse of the insanely complex and commendable process Darn Tough goes through to make its socks. This is a company that exemplifies hard American work—resulting in some of the best ski socks we’ve ever slipped our feet into. 


Vasque Lost 40 Boots Worth Whatever Drawbacks They Have

Peter Pawlus

Traditional mukluks wrap the foot and lower leg. Their flexible uppers cinch tight around the calf, laces crisscrossing on leather up almost to the knee.

This winter, Vasque adds to the genre with its Lost 40 winter boot. A hybrid mukluk, the boots have a Vibram sole and modern add-ons like softshell material and aerogel insulation in the midsole.

I tromped in them for a month for this review. Temps ranged from below zero to a slushy, 35-degree day.

At $180, this made-for-winter boot is fairly priced. It comes in a men’s and women’s model and can stand up to conditions in wild, cold places where snow piles deep.


This is not a mountain boot. Don’t expect to kick steps or add crampons. Instead, rolling trails and frozen lakes are the venue for the comfortable, flexible Lost 40.

As day-to-day footwear, the aesthetic is fun and good-looking. You can rock the Lost 40 as a style move in some cities. They do fine navigating the urban landscape. Sledding with the kids is a yes in these cozy calf-highs.


First Look: Vasque Lost 40 Boot

Peter Pawlus

The traditional mukluk-style boot wraps the foot and lower leg. Its flexible upper cinches tight around the calf, laces crisscrossing on leather from the ankle before wrapping up high.

This winter, Vasque adds to the genre with its Lost 40 winter boot. A hybrid mukluk, the boots have a Vibram sole and modern add-ons like softshell synthetic material and aerogel insulation in the midsole sandwiched with EVA foam.

I tromped in them for a month for this review. Temps ranged from below-zero to a slushy, 35-degree day. Overall, I like the boot, though with a few significant caveats around performance and fit.

Vasque Featured In Men's Journal

Peter Pawlus

Vasque Coldspark UltraDry

Light but sturdy, this leather-and-soft-shell kick is ideal for wearing with snowshoes. Weighing in at a svelte one pound, two ounces, each boot still packs in 200 grams of Thinsulate, which will keep your feet toasty in frigid temperatures. Add in a membrane that leaves moisture on the outside and you have the perfect shoe for traversing the powder. 

Outdoor GearLab Reviews Gregory Baltoro 65 Backpack

Peter Pawlus


The Gregory Baltoro 65 is a Top Pick award winning pack that is rich in features and one of our higher overall scoring packs. This award winning pack excels at carrying massive loads (60+ lbs) and was certainly one of the most comfortable packs that we tested, especially for extended or laden trips. While the Baltoro is slightly on the heavier side, this newest version is noticeably lighter than previous models and is now very close in the running in terms of weight (and when compared to other contenders).


This pack is easily one of the most comfortable packs in our review and is comparable to our other top performers, such as the Osprey Xenith 75, Arc'teryx Altra 65, and Osprey Atmos 65 AG. This model utilizes extremely well-designed and nicely articulated shoulder straps that use high quality foam, while the face fabric is among the best in the review and performed above average, even if the user was wearing light clothing (or was shirtless). 

One of the biggest reasons that folks love this pack (and really, Gregory packs in general) is that impressive lower back support is present; the lumbar support is the most substantial in the review and most of our testers loved it. However, one in seven of our testers thought the lumbar support was a little much; fortunately, the lumbar support is removable, which makes the pack fit a broader range of consumers. When we used the lumbar pad, it felt like a classic Gregory; once we took it out, the level of lumbar support felt like most of the other packs out there. 

Backpacker Magazine 2015 Editors' Choice Awards - Gregory Baltoro/Deva

Peter Pawlus

"Sometimes we cringe when a company announces a complete overhaul of a product we already love. We’ve seen some “redesigns” go in the wrong direction. But Gregory managed a tricky feat: preserving the essential DNA of the original, while improving every detail. The Baltoro’s organization makes it easy to live out of on weeklong trips, and it has some features we’d like to see on every pack—like a waterproof hipbelt pocket that fits a smartphone and a clever hydration sleeve that converts into a daypack. “No need to think about it, you always have a summit pack with the capacity and comfort for shoulder-season, full-day hikes,” says one tester. It’s easy to get bottles in and out of the angled water bottle pocket without awkward contortions or enlisting a friend (though bottles can fall out if you bend all the way over; cinch the drawstring to secure them). Since 2008, we’ve loved the Baltoro’s carry-anything dynamic suspension, which subdues big loads with uncommon comfort. “The well-padded hipbelt wraps wide around my hips,” says a tester. “Hiking into the John Muir Wilderness in November, I loaded this guy with 48 pounds of cold-weather gear and group food, and felt good the whole hike in—my hips weren’t even sore the next day.” Bottom line: At more than 5 pounds it’s a Cadillac, not a Ferrari, but for hikers who want a big-trip, big-comfort pack that’ll last for years, the extra ounces are worth it. The Baltoro is available in 65-, 75-, and 85-liter models. Deva, the women’s version, comes in 60, 70, and 80." - See more at: