Gear Guy

Where can I find a do-everything tool?

Where can I find a do-everything tool?

I have been searching online for the past few hours for piece of equipment that I believe I saw in some gear magazine (the mail order kind). I will describe it: digital watch, with a compass, stopwatch, etc., and a lighter, signal mirror, and small knife blade with various other attachments. It hung from a lanyard and cost around $100.00 or so. Can you help me find a name for this product or where I might be able to order one? Thanks for the help. Bradford Hammar Charleston, West Virginia

Can you help me choose a family-friendly winter tent?

Can you help me choose a family-friendly winter tent?

My family of five—myself, wife, and three decent-sized kids—plus the dog would like to go snow camping, and I think I've got everything covered except the tent. As for cost, we'd prefer to be comfortable and broke over rich, frozen, and miserable. Unfortunately, I can't seem to find a suitable five-person tent—MSR's StormKing comes close, but only allows 12 square feet per person. I have concerns about splitting the family into two tents in potentially nasty weather. Do you have any advice? Nathaniel Nevada City, California

How do I know if my rope is safe?

How do I know if my rope is safe?

I just returned from Mount Rainier with a rope I had bought specifically for this trip but with the intention of using it for rock climbing. I hate to think of the number of times I saw it go under foot. None of my ropemates put a crampon into it, but I sure don't see myself taking a lead fall with it now, especially 100 feet up. But what about glacier travel? Certainly the guides on Rainier leading newbie mountaineers don't replace their ropes after every trip. Is there anything I can do to physically check the condition of my rope and feel comfortable using it for glacier travel? I truly hate to toss a rope after one trip.

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