Gear Guy

Can I get away without plastics on Aconcagua?

Can I get away without plastics on Aconcagua?

I'm planning on climbing Argentina's Aconcagua in January '05 and could do with some advice on gear, particularly what sleeping bag and boots I will need. I've been considering getting a Superlight zero-degree down bag from The North Face, to be combined with a Thermalite sleeping pad. As for boots, I'm looking at the Scarpa Freney Pro GTX. (I'd like to stay away from the plastics unless absolutely necessary, as I unlikely to get much use of them again). Do you know how suitable this proposed gear setup will be for Aconcagua? Ciaran Dublin, Ireland

Ne-brand sleeping bag or one from a discount maker like EMS?

Ne-brand sleeping bag or one from a discount maker like EMS?

Can you help me, Gear Guy? I'm looking for a light, compact three-season down sleeping bag (rated between 20 to 30 degrees Fahrenheit). I've looked at the EMS Mountain Light 20 ($160 on sale), but I don't really know much about EMS bags. I've also been considering Feathered Friends bags, and like the idea of a foot vent. I'm a side sleeper so like to have a little extra legroom. My hope is to spend $200, but I would go higher in the pursuit of good gear. Josh Royalston, Massachusetts

What running shoes will be best for a marathon?

What running shoes will be best for a marathon?

My sister Teri is running her first marathon in Florence, Italy, this November, and the Adidas Twin Strike shoes I bought her for a semi-marathon four months ago have already had their day. She has flat feet, a low arch, and needs support plus extra cushioning on her forefoot. This is vital here, and I have been doing research for her because she has little knowledge of computers and the world of online resources. Help! Tina Languedoc-Roussillon, France

What can I do to keep my ass dry on wet road rides?

What can I do to keep my ass dry on wet road rides?

I live in the wet and mild Northwest, where I cycle to work five days a week, preferring to be in the rain than inside on a stationary bike! Here's my dilemma, though: My ass gets wet from the rain or my own sweat if I wear rain pants. I've been told by sales folk in cycle shops that most clothing manufacturers are based in places that aren't even particularly wet. How do you pedal at 15+ mph on your road bike and keep your rear end dry? Steven Portland, Oregon

Can a water filter render urine drinkable?

Can a water filter render urine drinkable?

This theoretical question was inspired by the incredible courage of Aron Ralston. In his account of his ordeal, he mentions thinking that maybe he should save his urine for possible consumption when all his water had run out. My question, then: In the event of a life-threatening situation, could one use a water filter to filter the impurities out of one's urine, thereby rendering it fit to drink? I realize this is kind of a gross question, but the theoretical alternative (dying of thirst in the wilderness) is even grosser... Bill Charlottesville, Virginia

What jacket will perform on the ski slopes and look sharp around town?

What jacket will perform on the ski slopes and look sharp around town?

Can you suggest a few jackets that can multitask for snow sports, short hikes, and the commute to work? I like the hard-shell feel but don't need expensive Gore-Tex; I'd like adjustable cuffs and a removable hood; I would prefer something without a powder skirt but with a zip-out style that's not parka length; I like a simple jacket in solid colors without oodles of pockets and zippers. Hope I didn't overload you. Suggestions? Jim Ann Arbor, Michigan

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