Gear Guy

What are the best boots for a professional dog hiker?

What are the best boots for a professional dog hiker?

I trying to find the best boot setup for my job. I a professional dog hiker. My job entails hiking five to six miles a day three days a week with 13 dogs throughout the winter in mountainous terrain. Generally I moving so much that I sweating and warm, but after I start my descent my feet are sweaty and start to freeze. I use sock liners and hiking socks with my Vasque Sundowners or Asolo's with Outdoor Research gaiters and Yaktrax Pros. Is there a special winter boot out there or setup you recommend? John Missoula, MT

What's the best midlayer jacket for winter backpacking?

What's the best midlayer jacket for winter backpacking?

Hi! I'm trying to decide on a jacket to use as an insulating midlayer for backpacking this winter. I want one that's warm while sedentary, but really breathable while doing aerobic activity. I’m not sure what to go with: fleece, soft shell, or down? The Arc’teryx Hercules jacket seems to be promising because of the high loft fleece interior and superior breathability, although I'm concerned it might not be warm enough. The mercury usually dips into the low teens here in late winter. Any advice? Matt Birmingh, AL

I’m an aspiring cycling racer... on a budget. What kind of wheels should I get?

I’m an aspiring cycling racer... on a budget. What kind of wheels should I get?

I'm convinced there's no objective info out there about bike wheels anymore. I want a set of lightweight aero road-bike wheels for racing, but do real people actually pay $2,000 bucks for carbon deep-dish wheels? In other words, are carbon wheels disposable, are budget carbon wheels worth a look, and would an aluminum clincher wheel really be just as good for crits and road races? What's an aspiring racer on a budget to do? John Lexington, KY

What’s the most rugged and reliable camera for whitewater kayaking and canyonering?

What’s the most rugged and reliable camera for whitewater kayaking and canyonering?

I need a camera tough enough for whitewater kayaking and canyoneering (i.e., water- and shock-resistant), one that can handle expedition trips off the grid (i.e., takes AA batteries). Last year we did an 18-day trip down the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon, and my boyfriend brought along a 12-pound solar power pack for recharging camera and camccorder batteries?no kidding! Problem is, it didn't work (long story). Oh, and if I could ask for one more thing, it would be a viewfinder in addition to the usual LCD screen. I've been looking in vain for this camera since my very old beloved Pentax Optio died. Does this camera exist, or I doomed to having only my memories to remember my adventures? Sharon Notre De, IN

The temperature ratings on sleeping bags confuse me. Can you help?

The temperature ratings on sleeping bags confuse me. Can you help?

I?m looking to invest in a sleeping bag and want to know how to choose the proper temperature rating. You?ve said that it must be rated ten degrees warmer than the coldest temperatures expected. Why is that? And is that in degrees Celsius? Also, I will be purchasing a tent, so how much do I rely on the tent and how much on the sleeping bag? Is the tent only for the wind and rain, or can it be really warmer? Vladimir Tokyo, Japan

What’s the best old-style boot that’s rugged and repairable?

What’s the best old-style boot that’s rugged and repairable?

A few years ago, I bought a pair of hiking boots with a molded sole. Spent $250 for the things. I have to admit that they were comfy. They lasted less than a year; the sole ce off both boots, and because of the way the sole was attached there was no way to repair them. I just had the third sole put on a pair of Lowa's that I bought in the late ?70s. As far as I'm concerned these new boots are for the throw-away crowd who face all the adversities of hiking across the parking lot of the local mega box. I'm looking for a new pair of boots with the good "old" style welt and a similar rugged construction. Or, at least, something that can be repaired. Leroy Fayetteville, AR

Are gaiters really necessary or just another piece of equipment to spend money on?

Are gaiters really necessary or just another piece of equipment to spend money on?

Are gaiters really necessary or just another piece of equipment to spend money on? If gaiters are needed, then what should I be looking at to find the best functioning/performing gaiter for the price? It seems from everyone I've talked with, or reviews I have read so far all speak to the band/tie that goes under the boot always failing. What is your experience with gaiters? Matt Stevens Point, WI

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