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Adirondack Explorer

Archive for the ‘Gear Reviews’ Category

September, 2018

New Map Of Adirondack Mountain-Bike Trails


The Barkeater Trails Alliance (BETA) has published a full-color map of more than 75 miles of moutain-bike trails in Saranac Lake, Lake Placid, Wilmington, and Elizabethtown. In all, the map shows trail networks in 10 locations: Mount Pisgah and Dewey Mountain in Saranac Lake; Brewster Peninsula, Henry’s Woods, and the woods near the Lake Placid Club and Craig Wood golf course in Lake Placid; the Flume and Hardy Road trails in Wilmington; and Blueberry Hill and Otis Mountain in Elizabethtown. Trails are color-coded: green for easy, blue for intermediate, black for advanced, red for expert only. Perhaps it’s my eyes, >>More


July, 2017

Dan Crane Reviews The Solo Stove Lite


Cooking stoves are crucial backcountry gear. They allow for cooking those high-calorie meals, the lifeblood of any hiker after spending hours trudging through forest, field and/or wetlands. However, stoves are only as good as their fuel, for without some type of combustible material, they are just a useless trinket cluttering up your backpack. Determining the amount of fuel to carry is often more art than science – not enough, you have to force down soggy uncooked oatmeal, too much, and you beat yourself up for carrying the extra weight. Fortunately, Solo Stove has » Continue Reading. View original post.


December, 2015

Preparing For Winter Adirondack Adventures


What follows is a guest essay by NYS Forest Ranger Julie Harjung a Lead Instructor for Wilderness Medical Associates and contributor to the Adirondack Forest Preserve Education Partnership (AFPEP). I have been a Forest Ranger for over 15 years and have spent all of it in either the Catskills or the Adirondack Mountains. Rangers respond to just about every emergency you can think of and probably a few you haven’t thought of. Many of the incidents are true accidents, a slip on the trail causing a broken leg, a dislocated elbow, a fall causing a concussion etc. Accidents can and >>More


October, 2015

12 Short Hikes Near Keene Valley


Keene Valley was, the first time I saw it, jaw-droppingly astounding. All those peaks and ridges, jagged, monumental, stretching high into the sky, more and more dramatic as we drove up from the south. It was a beautiful day, many years ago, and a friend and I had a vague idea about scaling a mountain or two. Maybe we’d go over The Brothers to Big Slide and down. Well, we hiked and climbed a long way, but we were greenhorns, rather unprepared, and we never made it all the way around. One of us injured a leg; the other had >>More


August, 2015

Review: ADK’s New Topo Map Of The High Peaks


The Adirondack Mountain Club has largely stopped making maps, with an important exception: it recently published a color topographical map of the High Peaks that is waterproof and folds to fit in your pack or back pocket. ADK used to put paper topo maps in the backs of its guidebooks. For the past several years, however, it has instead bundled its books with waterproof maps produced by National Geographic. So now we have two High Peaks maps: National Geographic’s “Lake Placid/High Peaks” and ADK’s “Trails of the Adirondack High Peaks.” Both maps are designed to accompany ADK’s guidebook, High Peaks >>More


February, 2015

Driving An Electric Car In Winter


Back in September I wrote a series of three articles about the efficacy of driving electric cars (EV’s) in the Adirondacks. My overall conclusion was that electric cars had a definite, practical future in the Adirondacks. All of my driving experience however, was in summer and early fall, which accounts for only about a quarter of an Adirondack year. The $64,000 question then, was how would an electric car perform under real winter conditions? With the January we’ve had in Wisconsin I’m ready to report. The bottom line?   I find that the standard critique of electric cars in the winter, >>More


January, 2015

Backcountry Photography: Which Camera To Carry?


Imagine hiking for hours alone through an idyllic Adirondack setting, the sky is an azure blue, the birds are singing, the sun is shining, the black flies are biting, ideal conditions for spending time in the great outdoors. When the trip’s destination finally appears, whether it is a seldom-visited lake, marsh, swamp or mountaintop, the thought of capturing this rarely glimpsed view becomes overwhelming. If only you’d brought that camera. The cameraless scenario is increasingly rare as cameras become smaller and are included in all sorts of devices that many find essential to modern living. It was not always like >>More


January, 2015

Solo Canoe Comfort And Quiet Waters


The year after I bought my Hornbeck Canoe in 1991, my friend, Linda, rented a camp on Third Lake, near Old Forge. One weekend I loaded my new canoe on top of my car and drove to her camp, excited that I could spend the weekend in the Adirondacks. I thought, Oh, Great. This is my opportunity to test out my solo canoe on the Adirondack waters. I wanted to learn as much as I could about my new canoe and how it handled in different situations. In a solo canoe like mine, the paddler sits on a seat in >>More


December, 2014

Backcountry Gear Choices: Tent Or Tarp?


Few backcountry gear decisions seem as daunting as picking a shelter. Some prefer to sleep John Wayne style (under the stars), others prefer lean-tos, but most carry a shelter of some sort on their back – tents or tarps. Tents are easier to set up (though I’ve seen exceptions), but are often heavier to carry. Compared to tarps tents offer less ventilation, critical when sharing the space with an aromatically challenged companion. Free standing tents are easier to set up and move – an important consideration in locating a good tent site while bushwhacking.  On the other hand, tarps are >>More


October, 2014

Backpacking Gear Choices: Which Knife?


Youth, inexperience and ignorance were in abundance when I first started backpacking in the Adirondacks many years ago. My knowledge of the proper gear and foods was seriously lacking, not to mention the total ignorance of how to pack effectively all that stuff for a multi-day backpacking adventure. I was not completely clueless though, as I could hike and identify birds. So there was that. In those early days, my pack weighed in at nearly one-half my meager weight. The pack was too big for me, and it was overflowing with overweight gear. Its weight made my first trip an >>More