Gear Guy

Do sleeping bag

Do sleeping bag "add-ons" really improve the bag rating?

I'm planning a trip to Tibet, and I'm looking for a bag in the zero to ten degrees Fahrenheit range. In addition to struggling with the age-old down versus synthetic issue, I'm also confused by the suitability of those Sierra Designs' down bags that include add-on top layers, such as their Buddy Rad. (They even suggest stuffing clothing in between the layers if it's cold.) Will this setup keep your whole body warm if the add-on layer only goes on top? Overall, I place great value on lightness and even more on compressibility, but I'm always wigged out about getting down wet. Matthew Boston, Massachusetts

What's a good ultra-light raincoat for international travel?

What's a good ultra-light raincoat for international travel?

I'm looking for a raincoat that is lightweight and very packable, while also being waterproof and fairly breathable. I travel internationally a lot and need something that will look decent while in a major city yet also work while on the trail the next day. I'd like a jacket that doesn't have huge zipper covers or too many excessive components. I want something simple in a neutral or dark color so I don't stand out in foreign countries as much. Any suggestions for a durable, multi-functional, and ultra-packable raincoat that is lightweight and not terribly expensive? Jonathan Achter Minnetonka, Minnesota

Is there a hiking shoe that won't overheat my feet?

Is there a hiking shoe that won't overheat my feet?

I considering buying a pair of hiking shoes for day hikes with a light load (usually my 30-pound daughter in a child carrier). I have a pair of Merrell hiking boots and tennis shoes and I find both too warm (I don't know if its just me but I find tennis shoes very warm even though I don't have a tendency to sweat). Hence, I always end up using my Teva sandals, which don't give me enough support and don't protect my feet. Can you propose a closed hiking shoe that won't make me feel like my feet are in a furnace? Thanks in advance. Guillaume Frechette Columbus, Ohio

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