Multipurpose ToolsSix Products, More Than 25 UsesGetting away from it all doesn't mean taking it all with you. When you've got a truck stuffed to the gills with family members and gear, no one is going to like your idea of drawing straws to make more room. You don't need to carry tools for every job you might encounter off road. Minimalism is the goal, so we've put together this list of tools or kits that fit into one hand yet still manage to do a variety of tasks. Bring 'em all and you know you're prepared for anything.
Boot CampTreat Your Feet Before Hitting The TrailEssentials. On the short list of must-have outdoor gear, proper footwear is vital. Quality boots that keep your feet warm, dry, and well protected are as important as a trusty pocket knife when venturing off the beaten path.
Modern outdoor boots come in an almost overwhelming range of styles and materials. The key to finding the right boot is to first consider the application, conditions, and season in which they will be worn. It may be advantageous to own more than one pair of boots, especially if you enjoy year-round outdoor adventures in a variety of terrain. The proliferation of activity-specific footwear provides many choices; narrow the options by reflecting on how you plan to use your new boots.
Boot uppers can be made from a wide range of materials and construction techniques. The factors to consider are weight, breathability, protection, and water resistance or waterproofing. Nylon and split-grain leather are good choices if light weight and foot ventilation are important, but they also tend to be less water-resistant. Full-grain leather is much more water-resistant, durable, and supportive, but it won't breathe as well and adds weight to the boot. High-tech waterproof barriers like Gore-Tex (and other brands) are designed into many boots to protect feet from moisture. Advanced boot designs are also engineered to wick moisture away from feet. Advanced insulating fabrics, like Thinsulate, help keep heat in and cold out. Hunters can also benefit from the latest in odor control materials that are designed to contain human scent and keep from tipping off sensitive noses in the wild.
Once you find the ideal pair of boots, be certain the fit is right. It's critical that you try on the boots and actually walk around in them. Shopping at a specialty outfitter or large outdoor superstore will allow you to get a feel for the fit before buying. Proper fit starts with socks. Make sure you try the boots on with the style of socks you will be wearing on the trail. Next, have your feet measured to find a starting point for the fit. Boot sizing varies widely from manufacturer to manufacturer and even from style to style from the same manufacturer.
The right width is just as important as the right length. A boot that is too narrow will pinch your foot, cramp your mobility, and cause blisters in short order. Finding the right size requires lacing up more than one pair of boots. Go a half size up and down and try on various widths if they are available. Lace them up, stand, walk around, stretch, and bend. Your foot should be held snug around the instep and ball, yet feel loose enough to allow proper flexing of the boot. Your toes should not touch the tip or sides of the toe box, and your heel should be held comfortably in place and not lift easily when the boot is flexed forward. Pay attention to anything that doesn't feel right inside the boot. A noticeable pinch or rub inside the store may become a real pain when you are miles from nowhere.