Gear Guy

Is there a reliable water filter that produces clean-tasting water?

Is there a reliable water filter that produces clean-tasting water?

This July, I’ll be doing a five-day, 50-mile hike on Oregon’s Pacific Crest Trail. I need to purchase a good water filter for the trip—one that’s very reliable in removing giardia and crypto, and durable enough to be used everyday by multiple people. Also, if I need water-purifying pills, it would be nice to have a filter that removes the iodine or chlorine taste. Is there such a beast? Henry ity, Oregon

Can I lighten my pack by trading a fleece and shell for a soft shell?

Can I lighten my pack by trading a fleece and shell for a soft shell?

I going climbing this summer in Switzerland and looking to shed a few pounds off my gear. My idea is to dump all my fleeces (except maybe a vest) and heavy-duty shells in exchange for a soft shell. I’d like to find one with a hood that actually moves well with the head and allows for a helmet, too. What would be a suitable soft shell for Alpine mountaineering and rock climbing that is warm enough to not need fleeces, and waterproof enough to handle a Southeast Asian monsoon? Matthew Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

What gear does a newbie cyclist need for a 100-mile ride?

What gear does a newbie cyclist need for a 100-mile ride?

My five-foot-tall wife has decided to support a sick relative by doing a 100-mile ride for the erican Cancer Society this fall. She has zero experience with this kind of thing, she has no gear, and it's not clear that she'll ever want to ride again when this is finished. Hence, she wants gear that is functional for the ride and the training, but that's not too expensive in case she doesn't fall in love with cycling. Do you have any advice about a bike for a petite woman, plus other gear items? Michael Baltimore, Maryland

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