Ask the Gear Guy

    • Q. Dear Gear Guy, Whenever I get a new pair of shoes the stuffing in the backside of the ankle goes away. I just got a new pair of boots about a month ago, and it’s already happened. Why is that? I have no idea. Please help?

    • The Vapur Element has to be the coolest, handiest new water bottle we’ve tested. But, here’s the catch: It’s not actually a bottle.

    • Q. I like to go small-boat sailing. I think that it is fun and educational. What kind of boat do you recommend for use on a lake?

    • Q. Hi Gear Guy, I like skateboarding. I think it is fun. Do you have a skateboard? If you do, is it a longboard or a regular board? I live in Indiana; where could I get an inexpensive longboard? Thanks for your time.

    • Q. Hey Gear Guy, which devices (other than a traditional whetstone) can I use to sharpen my knife? How well do they work?

    • Q. I'd like to buy a mountain skateboard. What kind of board would you recommend for me?

    • Finally, there's a global positioning system receiver with a bright, full-color screen and an affordable price tag.

    • Q. Hello Gear Guy, I just got a new tent. What can I do to make sure it lasts me the longest amount of time possible?

    • Q. Dear Gear Guy, I’m going on a Bluenose camping trip and was having trouble finding the right gear. What are some good brands for warm clothes that are also affordable?

    • If you and your buddies have ever dreamed of turning your tent into a disco, this is exactly what you need!

    • Q. What's the best and easiest way to tie something down? My dad is always showing me different knots, but they are so hard I can never remember them.

    • Q. How do I properly store and care for my camping equipment?

    • Q. Which is better for camping, a duffel or a backpack?

    • Q. We were on day two of a six-day backpacking trip when my buddy badly sliced the tip of his finger. The injury probably needed stitches, but we were a two-day walk from the trailhead. I know we were supposed to be prepared, and we got him bandaged up pretty well, but I know we could have done more. What, Gear Guy, would you have done?

    • Q. I’ve heard of sleeping bags that have arms and legs, so you can move around in them. Are these bags worth it?

    • Q. I am a Scout from New Zealand, and we struggle with keeping our Scout group’s canvas tents waterproof — they are pretty old. How can we make them waterproof?

    • Q. Hi Mr. Gear Guy. I saw a sleeping bag in Boys’ Life. It is called Cub Scout lightweight bag and says Cub Scouts on the actual sleeping bag. Where can I purchase that bag? Thanks!

    • Q. I have a 45-degree Lafuma mummy sleeping bag and a 15-degree liner to go with it, so it becomes a 30-degree bag. My dad says I’ll be fine in the cold, but I’m not so sure. It gets pretty cold in the tri-state area. What do you think I should do?

    • Q. When I get a new traditional lock-blade knife, it often messes up within the first hour. When I close it, the blade flips in and out and will not completely shut. Why isn’t it working?

    • As high-tech gadgets like smart phones, digital cameras, and GPS devices continue to find their way into the outdoors, we have to find ways to protect them. One of the best, and most affordable options is the Pelican 1020 Micro Case.

    • Q. Should I get a mountain bike or a road bike? Where I live the roads are bad and uneven and have potholes. I would prefer a mountain bike but I do go on casual, medium cycles and I like to go fast enough. Which one should I get?

    • Q. Hello Gear Guy, My friends wear Under Armour with shorts and a T-shirt and say they are warm when it is 30 degrees out. Meanwhile I’m freezing with long johns and my uniform and a jacket on! I was considering buying Under Armour. They give me a choice of silk or polyester, which one keeps me warmer? Do you have suggestions of any other products besides Under Armour?

    • Q. I can't seem to find a good pair of convertible synthetic pants for hiking/backpacking. Could you point me to where I should look? I'm looking for something that doesn't cost more than $45 to $50.

    • If you love pancakes as much as Gear Guy does, then you'll love Batter Blaster, the easiest pancake option we've ever used for camp cooking.

    • Q. I'm shopping for a tent and am confused by the way the tents are labeled for weight. Most seem to list two weights, a trail weight and a packed weight. What's the difference?

    • Q. I need (OK, I want) a helmet camera. I like the GoPros but I don't know which model to get for filming while skiing. What would you recommend?

    • Q. How are the camping backpacks at Philmont made so lightweight?

    • HitchSafe attaches to any standard 2-inch receiver hitch on a truck, van or SUV and provides a small storage space locked securely by a combination of your choosing.

    • Sometimes when you're backpacking, the last thing you need is something else to carry. So leave the bulky hand-held global positioning system unit at home and take along the Foretrex 301.

    • Unlike most space blankets, which are clammy and sweaty to sleep in, The Escape Bivvy is waterproof and breathable. That means experienced backpackers who like to travel fast and light can use this as a minimalist bivvy sack