Thru-Hiking New Zealand: The Fabled Tararua Ranges

In our quest to conquer Te Araroa, New Zealand’s 3,000km tramping trail that runs the length of both islands, one last challenge lies between us and the end of the North Island: the Tararua Ranges. The first real mountains on Te Araroa, the Tararuas are fabled to be one of the toughest hikes yet. From steep climbs and descents to hazardous weather blowing in from the Antarctic, we are in for a real challenge, whether we’re ready for it or not. By now, my dad and I have been on the trail for nearly two months and have already conquered some challenging terrain: steep and muddy rain forests, rocky volcanic scree, and the concrete jungle of Auckland. Though the Bluff, the end of the trail, is still over 1,300 km…

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A Recon Mission in Patagonia

The crew from MSR sent me a quick note asking if I would share details from my recent reconnaissance trip to Patagonia. They were specifically wondering about my gear,

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Field Testing MSR Snowshoes in Switzerland

Designing gear can’t happen in a cubicle. Sure, there’s a lot of computer work that goes into creating CAD drawings and engineering specs, but the real solutions—the big ideas—come from the field. Chris Barchet, category director for MSR Water & Winter products, is a perpetual field tester. He recently headed to the Andermatt region of Switzerland on a snowshoe R&D trip to reacquaint himself with the terrain and chat with mountain guides and users to find out what works best for them. Here’s a quick look at one of the many professional recon missions Chris takes in the world’s most incredible places.

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New Zealand’s Te Araroa Trail: Tramping vs. Hiking

Perhaps it was the face plant into ankle deep mud, my feet ensnared in slippery roots and grasping vines, my pack pressing me deeper into the sludge. Or maybe it was bushwhacking through a tunnel of needle-prick gorse, my arms and face cut by a thousand tiny, green swords. Or, no, it could have been the time an electric fence was stretched directly across the trail—when I realized New Zealand’s famed Te Araroa might not quite be what I was expecting.

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Hit the Trail: Five Great Hikes to Explore in the New Year

With the New Year comes new opportunity for adventure. Where will your wanderlust take you in the coming months? We asked five MSR reps to divulge their favorite hikes—near or far—to get your bucket list off to a great start. Make these treks part of your new year’s resolution and make this year one for the books.

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Winter Escapes: Eric Larsen’s Top 5 Places for Snowshoe Adventures

Some people look at winter and see bone-chilling cold, bad driving conditions and more, but if you’re anything like me you see winter as the great leveler—literally. Snow evens out the bumps, stumps, roots and rocks of any trail, and covers up undergrowth and shrubs, making the wintry landscape beautiful and perfect for snowshoeing. Still, some places are better than others and here are my top five picks for places to plan snowshoe adventures.

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