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Science & Technology
Dive into the "how things work" side of lightweight backpacking gear and techniques. Our S&T articles include summaries of testing reports, research projects, and more. Discover the validity of manufacturer claims, the scientific basis of design, or how and why equipment performs differently in response to various environmental conditions.
A look at several different chemical techniques for treating water in the backcountry.
Part 3 of this series takes a critical look at several water treatment technologies available to backpackers
Remove, kill, or inactivate? Part two of this series analyzes the legal and technical definitions as well as the practical significance of water purification and filtration.
The first part of this series provides an overview of the threats that can exist in untreated (and in some cases treated) water sources. Squeamish and hypochondriac readers be warned.
A method for measuring insulation in quilts, sleeping bags, and other gear.
Part 1 in a two part series analyzing some of the claims made by stove manufacturers about pressure regulation technologies. Marketing spin or proven performance? ***Updated with Addendum on 6/12/12***
Evaluating the wind and snow loading of shelters for ultralight backpacking in inclement conditions.
In this final part of the series we assemble the information gleaned from our field testing into an informative discussion with down to earth conclusions. We also present field test data for each individual jacket, comment on its utility, and identify standouts.
Manufacturers make lofty claims for the enhanced breathability of the new fabrics. I tested ten jackets under challenging and forgiving backpacking-type conditions, while recording temperature and humidity inside and outside the jackets, and reported my findings. Perhaps I didn’t experience “air and water vapor permeability so shocking you’ll swear it’s magic,” but I did identify some standouts and some promising trends of interest to backpackers.
When it comes to assessing things like air mats, foam mats, and other insulating things, the common measurement is called an R-value – meaning thermal resistance. We describe equipment designed and built to provide calibrated measurements of R-value for BPL articles.
Cutting-edge solar-powered UV water purification or simple gravity filter? I took both on the CDT to compare/contrast their performance, durability, and usage.