Gear Guy

Why invest in a Nalgene bottle when cheap plastic works just as well?

Why invest in a Nalgene bottle when cheap plastic works just as well?

It seems that hard plastic Nalgene containers are something of a standard in the backpacking arena these days. However, what's to prevent me from simply refilling empty plastic water bottles? They are considerably lighter, less expensive, and really very durable. They can even be crushed when empty to preserve space, and later be un-crushed for refilling. Is there some other reason why I should pitch the five-cent CRV and invest in a $6 Nalgene bottle? Brian Glendale, California

Why are nearly all backpacks internal-fre?

Why are nearly all backpacks internal-fre?

Dear G-squared: Why are 90 percent of backpacks internal- as opposed to external-fre? Is their comfort and performance really that much superior to justify the price difference (yes, I cheap, but I try not to be stupid)? My son and I will be carrying about 50 pounds for ten days in the New Mexico mountains. Also, can you get a good fit on a pack you buy on the Internet, or is it better to deal with a local shop? W.B. Nako Cincinnati, Ohio

How can I transport a kayak overseas?

How can I transport a kayak overseas?

We're heading south this November for a last-ditch attempt at tropical paradise before winter strikes. The Caribbean island we'll be staying on is about 18 square miles, and uninhabited. During our three-day stay, we'd like to use kayaks to get around but we don't have any way of getting them there. The charter boat from the mainland just isn't big enough. Short of purchasing a full-blown collapsible kayak ($1,000 and up), do I have any other options? Mark Brick, New Jersey

What's the best rack to transport different-sized bikes?

What's the best rack to transport different-sized bikes?

I looking for a bike rack to transport four bikes from L.A. to the Sierras on my Ford Expedition SUV. One bicycle is an oddly fred full-suspension Diondback XSL Comp, one a standard mountain bike, and the last two kids' bikes. I figure a roof rack is too high off the ground to be practical so I thinking hitch-mounted. My dilemma is that it seems you must choose between a fre clp (works for all but the full-suspension rig) or a tray type that secures the wheels (not sure if it will take a kid-sized bike). I would prefer something that does not require tools or steroids to remove. Sean Los Angeles, California

Is it worth sacrificing waterproofing in a tent for less weight?

Is it worth sacrificing waterproofing in a tent for less weight?

I've been looking into the new Superlight series of tents from Black Diond, specifically the Lighthouse. The listed weight is astonishing, but I have concerns with the merely "water-resistant" fabric and the long-term durability and water repellency of such a lightweight tent. What's your take? Would it be smarter to get something like Mountain Hardwear's Waypoint 2, which offers a similar weight while being waterproof? Bryan Manhattan, Kansas

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