Doug Gantenbein

Author's Bio

Doug Gantenbein is Outside's Gear Guy. You can follow him on twitter @outsidegearguy.

How do I choose an ice axe?

I’ve done a small amount of mountaineering and have been trained on how to use an ice axe. But now I’m getting more into the sport and would like to buy my own equipment. How do I pick out an ice axe?

Can I make my own tent?

I want to make a tent by myself. Any advice on where to buy ten feet of gray or blue polyester taffeta fabric that will suit my needs?

How can I wash the stink out of my pack?

After pulling my large backpack out of storage in my attic, I was dismayed to find that it stinks to high heaven. Are there some big guns that I can pull out to deodorize it without daging the pack?

How can I stop my sunglasses from fogging up?

I wear sunglasses for mountain biking, both for sun protection and shielding my eyes from flying branches and stuff, even during night riding. The climate here in the Bay Area has my glasses fogging up most of the time. I've tried the Smith No-Fog cloth and Cat Crap, with no real success. Do you have any suggestions to prevent this problem?

How do I decide the boot fits?

I'm in the market for a summer hiking shoe. I've previously bought and returned pairs that felt comfortable in the store but not on a long hike. How will I know if a pair fits correctly?

How can I keep my shell from waterlogging?

Last month I purchased an older Climb Light rainjacket from The North Face, but the fabric "wets-out" as soon as rain or snow hits the surface. I treated it with Nikwax TX-Direct wash-in solution, but to no avail. It's not the first time I've had such a problem with a TNF jacket, either. What can I do?

How can I prevent condensation inside my tent?

Every time I wake up in my new Marmot Swallow tent the condensation is so bad that my sleeping bag and clothes get wet, so much so that I'm considering taking the tent back and exchanging it for a Mountain Hardwear Skyview or MSR Fusion. I have searched the Internet and read many positive reviews about the Swallow, so is this just a common problem in three- to four-season tents, or did I just get the one defective tent in the batch?

How can I keep my toes warm while snowboarding?

So, the winter snow will soon be upon us. As a snowboarder, my feet always seem to get extremely cold. I wear SmartWool socks, and I sometimes need to wear two pairs of socks (though not necessarily both SmartWool). Do you think my feet are just overly sensitive to the cold, or is there something else out there to keep my tootsies cozy?

How do I get the stench out of my backpack straps?

During a week's hiking around the High Sierra Cps of Yosemite, my backpack began to reek! Even though I washed myself and my clothes regularly, my husband, who is normally a very sweet man, insisted I hike behind him so as not to be asphyxiated. How, oh how do I get the stench out of my backpack straps?

How do I clean my hands in the wilderness?

What's the best way to clean my hands in the wilderness prior to handling contact lenses? My waterless hand sanitizer warns against eye contact and I don't want to use stream water.

How do I know if a bike fre fits my body size?

I'm a big guy (six feet five, 270 pounds) who's interested in buying a hybrid bike for some urban biking and trail riding (nothing too extreme or competitive). So I need a bike that fits but doesn't cost a fortune. Also, can you explain mountain- and hybrid-bike sizing conventions, especially as there doesn't seem to be a standard way of measuring hybrid bikes?

How can I reduce the weight of my backpack for an overnight trip?

While preparing for a recent overnight backpacking trip in the Adirondacks, I was surprised at the weight of my loaded pack. Despite having modern "lightweight" gear such as a Western Mountaineering down sleeping bag and the Sierra Designs Clip Flashlight CD, my pack probably weighed 50 pounds. The pack itself, an Arc'Teryx Bora 80, is somewhat heavy, but I needed its size to fit all my gear, including a bear food canister. Do you have any advice for reducing the weight of my pack for an overnight trip?