Ask the Gear Guy

    • Q. I have a 20-degree-rated sleeping bag that I use with a fleece liner, but in late fall and early winter, I'm still cold. I've tried everything -- what should I do?

    • Q. I have a lantern that has a removable glass covering, and it has soot all over it. How can I get it off?

    • Q. I've been camping for years but am still having trouble getting comfortable when I'm sleeping. I can only sleep on my side with my right arm under my pillow but that can be trouble on cold nights when my mummy bag is cinched up tight. Any help Gear Guy?

    • pole-200x148Q. I'm going on a backpacking trip and am wondering if I should get hiking poles or not. I think they would help with balance, but my dad says they are a waste of money. What do you think?

    • stio-200x148The Seeker is one of my favorite new fleece jackets on the market.

    • snowboard-200x148Q. I'm going snowboarding and need to know: What's the correct way to pick the right-sized snowboard for me?

    • Q. I have been reading Boys’ Life longer than most Scouts, but I saw the question about “I have a 20 degree bag…but still cold.” His problem might be that he is going to bed in the clothes that he has been wearing all day. Your body sweats, even in the coldest weather, and that moisture will keep you cold even in the warmest sleeping bag. My advice is to change into fresh dry clothes, at a minimum, change into dry socks and long johns. Try it. Dry means warm.

    • Q. Whenever I go on a camping trip my sleeping bag gets all smelly from me sweating all day. How do I make it smell better — besides taking it into the cleaners?

    • Q. Hello Gear Guy, My son will be attending a Freeze-O-Ree next month. We need to get some good thermal underwear for 30-40 degree temps. What can you recommend?

    • sleepingbag-200x148Dear Gear Guy, I have a 30-degree rated backpacking sleeping bag but still get cold in above freezing temperatures. Can you recommend a good bag that is light enough to carry and will still keep me warm? Thanks!

    • skateboard-200x148Q. I'm saving up for a new skateboard and don't know a thing about the prices and the brands. Can you help me out?

    • backpack-200x148At first glance, Black Diamond's ergoACTIV backpack suspension system seems like a gimmick. But it really works. The hip belt has a unique rotating ball joint that pivots as your body moves. The result is a much more comfortable pack that does a really good job of transferring the pack's weight to your hips.

    • sack-200x148Q. Every single time I go camping, I have trouble rolling up my sleeping bag and can never get it back in the bag. Help!

    • cheapgear-200x148.jpgLast weekend my dad took me to the local outdoors store, but we both couldn't believe how expensive camping stuff is. Please help! Where can I get good outdoor equipment without paying huge prices?

    • backpacks-200x148.jpgI need a new backpack. What's better: Internal or external frame?

    • thermarest-200x148Q. Hey Gear Guy! I need something to keep me off of the ground at campouts, a cot or just a simple ground pad. However I don’t have much money. What’s something cheap that works well?

    • pillow-200x148Q. My camping pillow is always getting smelly and gunky on campouts, but when I wash it, the material inside lumps up and it takes forever to get the pillow comfy again. What should I do?

    • backpack-200x148Q. Dear Gear Guy, I want to train for my backpacking trips with a loaded backpack, but I don’t want to have to pack all my gear every time I want to train. Is there any way to add weight to the backpack in a simple but accurate representation of a full backpack?

    • kayak-200x148Q. Hi Gear Guy! I am a huge fisherman and I want to know about a cost-friendly boat. My budget is $500. Thank you.

    • sunscreen-200x148Q. Hey Gear Guy, I’m going to the beach this summer, and I was wondering what would be the best things to get for my personal needs, such as my face, skin, etc. I’m going to buy my own personal stuff this year to go, such as my sunscreen lotion, etc. I was just wondering what I need to buy. Any good selections? Thanks.

    • actionshot-200x148Finally, an affordable wearable video camera! With this new Action Shot Camera, you don’t have to drop a lot of cash to start filming your adventures.

    • convertiblepantsQ. Gear Guy, We’re going to Philmont Scout Ranch. Need suggestions for hiking pants (convertible to shorts) and hiking shorts for both me and my 15-year-old.

    • kayak-200x148Learning to paddle is great but it’s even more fun when you have a kayak that actually fits.

    • smell-200x148I play soccer and football. I sometimes wear my cleats six days a week. Is there any way to rid my equipment (cleats, shin guards, shoulder pads, etc.) of that everlasting smell of fresh body odor?

    • When I go camping I often have trouble sleeping. I toss and turn and always end up rolling off my sleeping pad. What can I do to sleep better?

    • boots-200x148Q. I'm going to the 2013 National Scout Jamboree, and I've been told that there's tons of hiking. That might be a problem because my feet sweat a lot and give me blisters. Any suggestions for preventing and treating this?

    • Q. Hey Gear Guy, I’m debating on whether to buy a Gerber pocketknife or a Swiss Army knife. My friend says Gerber; but I’ve heard Swiss Army my whole life. Which one should I buy?

    • Q. My son wants a fire-starter. Which is the best and easiest?

    • revivex-200x148Q. I have a two-person tent that I really like, but when it rains, it leaks badly. I applied seam sealer as you had said in a previous answer, but now it's like the rain is coming through the tent itself, not the seams. I think the rain fly that came with the tent is not big enough. Can I buy another type of rain fly? I was thinking a tarp would not allow air to come through and I will get hot. Do you have any other suggestions?

    • flipflops-200x148A bit pricey, for sure, but they'll last longer than most cheaper brands, and you can be confident your money is going toward a good product -- and a great cause.