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Embrace your baggage

The 10 Best Daypacks for Every Adventure

While the lifetime warrantee on your North Face pack from grammar school is meant to be honored, there’s something to be said for retiring before things unravel. Today’s daypacks will haul your climbing gear or your laptop over mountains and through airports. These are our favorites.

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Proving Big-Brand Isn't Bad

Tested: Under Armour Speedform Apollo

Under Armour takes its first shot at a race-weight running shoe with the Speedform Apollo. We took a pair for a spin to see how they stack up.

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Light shoes, fast hikes

The Best Hiking Shoes for 2014

If you’re traveling light and fast in the mountains or just need something to walk the local trail system, you can skip a full-fledged hiking boot in favor of a hiking shoe. These are our five favorites.

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Chasing Sun in the Southwest

Photo Essay: Running the Zion Traverse

Mountaineer and ultra runner Ben Clark shares photos from his single-day run across Zion National Park, also known as the Zion Traverse.

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The fitness tracker that refuses to fit in

Tested: Misfit Shine

What makes a good wearable? Comparing a laundry list of features is one way to start the conversation. The Misfit Shine proves, however, that there’s still something to be said for keeping it simple.

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Lighting the way, from Yellowstone to Haiti

Tested: Goal Zero Lighthouse 250

Goal Zero’s latest rechargeable lantern, the LightHouse 250 ($80), is a versatile light source suited for all regions of the globe. But does its on-paper usefulness translate to the real world? We tested it, from hand-cranking to device charging.

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Workers of the world, unite!

The Cubicle Workout

Even the cubicle-bound among us want, and can achieve, a basic level of fitness without waking up for 5:30 a.m. brick workouts or going for a long post-work run. We suggest a combination of simple high-intensity interval workouts, stretches and easy lifestyle changes that can make you a relatively fit person.

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Two paths diverged in a deli

Up Your Lunch Game with this Healthy Plan

Most of the time we don’t take a full hour out of our workday for a methodical lunch, instead finding ourselves at the corner store, collecting what we can to fill our stomachs. This is where two paths diverge: some go for a fried cutlet sandwich followed by dessert; others cobble together a reasonably healthy meal followed by an average life expectancy. Read on to find out how to get a healthy lunch next time you’re eating on the go.

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The Handiest of Tools for Under $350

Everyday Carry Essentials: The Knife

A man’s everyday carry (or “EDC” in web-speak) is a fascinating window into the soul. Seeing what someone keeps close at hand can speak in obvious ways to their lifestyle, interests and values. Everyday-Carry.com is the leading community for all things EDC-related, so when it came time to find an expert on the best pocket knives to own under $350, the answer was obvious. If you’re in the market for a new blade without blowing your inheritance, their guide on The Best Pocket Knives Under $350 is an excellent resource worth checking out.

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Now Hiring: Performance Coach

Breakdown: Wilson Smart Basketball

We break down a basketball designed by Wilson and SportIQ, which knows whether your last shot was a miss or a make and provides an in-app map of your game, showing you exactly what part of your game needs the most work.

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Spidey senses are tingling

Time on Our Hands: Linde Werdelin SpidoLite + Rock

When it comes to high-end mechanical watches, racers, pilots, and divers are all spoiled for choice. Unfortunately, skiers can’t say the same. One brand though, has been giving them a taste of what could be. Launched by two Danes in 2002, Linde Werdelin went straight after the skiing niche by introducing mechanical timepieces with digital clip-on devices meant for the snow. But today, the technology that made the brand stand out faces major questions. We tried out the SpidoLite Titanium Red ($11,900) and the brand’s latest Rock digital device on the slopes.

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15 essentials for 26.2

Kit: Marathoning

While running is by nature a sport with minimal gear requirements, having a combination of the right soft goods plus some accoutrements for comfort can make the whole experience more enjoyable. Pick from this Kit and you’ll be furnished with everything you need to succeed — minus grit and determination. That’s on you.

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Salomon's Running TV on the Western States 100

The Original

Salomon’s Running TV reaches back to the history of the 20th Annual Western States 100 in “The Original”. The year was 1974, and the Western States (also known as The Tevis Cup) was a 100-mile endurance horse ride in Placer County, CA. Colfax-native Gordy Ainsleigh had been competing for several years. “When my horse went lame in ’73, [race organizer] Drucilla invited me to do it the next year on foot”, he says. “I said, ‘well maybe’, and I was thinking: I’ll have a better horse by then. I didn’t get around to it, so in ’74, as the spring rolled on, I ran.”

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Bottles that chill, filter and fold

Water Bottles for Every Activity

Choosing a water bottle is like buying bar soap: you can penny-pinch and get a three-pack of Dial for two bones, or you can upgrade to Dr. Bronner’s and enjoy the marginal benefit of bathing in citrus oils every morning like a refined gentleman. Your old Nalgene Silo? Dial. Fortunately, the options for an upgrade are abundant, ranging from straightforward bottles for the gym to handheld bottles for marathon runners to double-walled glass vessels that could double as flower vases.

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May God have mercy on your quads

Photo Essay: The Jerusalem Marathon

Every religion has its pilgrimages, many of them to Jerusalem. Christians visit the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Muslims, the Dome of the Rock. Jews pray at the Western Wall. Running, while not an official religion, is nevertheless a sport of the pious, and its acolytes meet once a year at the Jerusalem Marathon. We were on hand at this year’s race to take in the struggle and the glory of the scenic 26.2-mile course.

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To and From, safely and in style

Kit: Bicycle Commuter

If you’re thinking about joining the bike commuter set, you’ll need the essentials: bike, helmet, lights, lock and a handsome leather wine bottle carrier. We’ve got it all in this Kit, plus much more.

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Wheels for the working man

Best Commuter Bikes

Long gone are the days when the commuter bike was an old-school mountain bike with a potpourri of parts and a rear wheel that was only roughly true. A rise in people looking to build fitness, lower their carbon footprint or simply have fun while getting around has created a big market for commuter bikes. Here are some of our favorites for 2014.

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Kids ride (almost) free

Tested: Weehoo iGo Bicycle Trailer

If you’re looking to introduce your kids to cycling, the Weehoo iGo Pro bicycle trailer ($400) is just the tool for the job. We got our hands on one and put it to the test with a five-year-old and a 15-month-old in tow.

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Warm, Dry, and Comfortable...that's far from base

Second Skin: 5 Best Base Layers

Whether you’re training for a ski mountaineering race or just sick of shivering on your morning commute, staying warm and dry is objective number one. The base layer you choose to wear while doing battle with the elements can’t guarantee success, but it sure as hell can guarantee ruin. But have hope. New synthetic fabrics offer amazing moisture-wicking properties, while merino wool is experiencing a renaissance with temperature regulating properties that are borderline miraculous. We’ve done the leg work to find the best base layers for every outdoor activity and situation for upcoming winters, falls and springs.

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Professional grade

Tested: F-Stop Camera Backpacks

F-Stop is a relative newcomer to the camera bag scene, and its St. Louis headquarters is incongruous with its focus on packs for mountain sports photography. But don’t let that fool you. Their packs show a design maturity that could only stem from experience and a smart use of user feedback. We tested both the light-and-fast Kenti ($249) and the sturdier, larger Satori EXP ($379) in conditions as varied as multi-day hikes in New Zealand and peak bagging in New Hampshire.

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Earn Your Turns

Kit: Ski Mountaineering

Ski mountaineering is the ultimate punishment tour in the mountains — moving uphill with heavy gear through deep snow and ice — with a perfect payoff when it’s time to go down. We spent this winter testing the best winter mountaineering and ski gear on some of the biggest peaks in Utah and Colorado as we trained for the Power of 4 Ski Mountaineering Race. If you’re looking to start going further in search of deep powder, look no further for the best extreme-condition gear for any winter climbing mission.

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The Forecast Calls For Pain

Photo Essay: Power Of 4 Ski Mountaineering Race

The basic premise of the sport is to ski up and down a resort or backcountry course as fast a possible — think trail running, but with ultralight ski gear, winter conditions, and powder turns on the downhill. After spending most of this winter chasing deep powder in Utah’s Wasatch Range, we decided to put our months of dawn patrol and long ski weekends of training to the test in one of the sport’s most prestigious North American races, the Power of 4 in Aspen, CO.

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Armoring up for battle with frigid surf

Kit: Winter Surfing

When it comes time to hit the surf and temps are in the 30s rather than the 70s, the right gear is the difference between channeling Bodhi and becoming intimate with the symptoms of hypothermia. While it’s admittedly tough to be toasty in water less than half your body’s normal temperature, with the right kit you can at least pursue your hobby and live to tell about it. Below are our picks for the gear you’ll need for winter surfing.

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A caving expedition in Belize

Descending into the Mayan Underworld

We’d been underground for five hours, as deep as 600 feet below the surface of the jungle in a cave the Belizeans call the Mountain Cow Cave. The cavern has been rebranded for tourists as the more picturesque-sounding Crystal Cave, though few tourists make it here. Unlike the more famous and accessible Actun Tunichil Muchnal cave, which sees thousands of visitors per year, Crystal Cave only sees a few hundred, most only peeking into its impressive foyer. I could see why. It was not for the faint of heart.

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Five Oceans, Five Cameras

Buying Guide: Underwater Imaging

Nowadays, there are many options for underwater photography and videography available to the avid diver and occasional vacation snorkeler alike. These five underwater imaging options — everything from custom-machined metal housings to cameras that don’t need a housing at all — will serve you well on your next dive trip. What you shoot is up to you.

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Get wet, stay warm

Tested: Patagonia R1 Wetsuit

Patagonia has always been a company with one foot in the mountains and one in the sea — climbing and skiing one day, surfing and paddling the next. When they introduced wetsuits to their lineup a few years ago, it was a big leap for the company, but not one they were unqualified to make. In fact, their experience building warm, lightweight and bombproof alpine gear transferred well to wetsuits, which we found out recently while testing the R1 wetsuit during a week of diving in Belize.

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Gear for the jungle and the reef

Kit: Underwater and Underground in Belize

Packing for a tropical getaway usually only involves deciding what color swim trunks to pack. But when your plans include jungle hiking, cave exploration and scuba diving, things get a little more complicated. The key is versatility — you need gear that works underground or underwater just as well as it does topside. For our week in Belize we made sure everything we took did more than just one thing well. This saved space in our luggage and let us be nimble yet well prepared. Here’s a sampling of what we took.

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An Offshore Account

Photo Essay: Diving and Decompressing in Belize

After a long and fairly uneventful dive on an unnamed reef out in South Water Caye, I clambered aboard Splash Belize’s dive boat, shed tanks and weights and stripped off my wetsuit. The big diesels rumbled to life and Captain Malcolm steered toward a small island in the distance. As we drew closer, I could make out a few small panga boats and some activity on the beach. Then came a distinctive smell: barbecue.

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Big Races, Fat Bikes

Big Wheels Keep on Rollin’: Fat Bike Destination Races

Fat bike races are a great tool for carrying fitness into the winter, building your base for the coming year, or letting out your inner nutso cyclist. During some of the longer hauls, riders should expect to carry everything from sleeping bags and tents to locator beacons and cooking infrastructure. Just a few years ago your race options were limited, but the rapid growth in the category has created a number of race options and formats to choose from. Here are some of our favorites.

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Gear for the diehard winter rider

Kit: Fat Bike Racing

Fat bikes can effortlessly glide over snowy conditions like a set of snowshoes, and they’re cushy enough for riding in frigid temps without shattering your frozen tuchus. But the bike can only take you so far. Staying warm and dry — and returning home with all your fingers and toes — requires the right set of gear for when the weather decides to take a serious turn for the worse. These winter fat biking essentials will help you battle the worst Mother Nature can throw your way.