Top Ten Equipped Posts of 2011

Happy New Year to all! Before I move on to another year of great gear, let's look back one last time. Here are the top 10 most viewed posts from 2011.

1) Avalanches in Tuckerman Ravine: Best Videos
A collection of four videos culled from YouTube that highlights the very real risk of avalanches in Tuckerman Ravine, especially in the spring. Let these be a reminder to always check the current avalanche forecast from the Mount Washington Avalanche Center.

2) Why Does Cotton Absorb So Much Water?
You've heard it before. Cotton Kills! Cotton Kills! Why does it kill? Because it absorbs lots of water—up to 27 times its weight—which rapidly wicks away body heat and can lead to potentially life-threatening hypothermia in cool or cold conditions. But what is it about cotton that allows it to absorb so much water in the first place?

3) Hyperlite Mountain Gear
The most viewed entry from my ongoing series highlighting Northeast-based gear companies and a must-read for any ultralighter—er, hyperliter—out there on the trail.

4) One Pound Sleeping Bags
The lightest of the light for sleeping warm all night—at least in the mild temperatures of summer.

5) Spare Your Pieces: Noseless Bike Saddles
Standard bike saddles are bad for you. The protruding front piece, or nose, compresses against your perineum, that small section between your, ahem, front and back equipment. This reduces blood flow to your genitals and can cause decreased sexual function and sensation in both men and women. There is a solution, however: noseless bike saddles.

6) How to Dress a Cat on Top of Mount Washington
Eastern Mountain Sports is the official outfitter of the Mount Washington Observatory. Last winter the company even provided the resident summit feline, Marty, with his own insulated "jack-cat" (pictured at top).

7) Winter Traction Systems
There's a growing new category of winter traction devices out there for walking in snowy, icy terrain that spans the middle of the crampon/traction spectrum between a pair of heavy-duty, indestructible steel crampons and a lightweight (and much less durable) system like YakTrax.

8) Tincture of Benzoin and Blister Treatment and Prevention
There are a lot of blister prevention and treatment products out there for your feet. There's only one problem: All of them must stay in position to protect the blister or hot spot. The best blister product on Earth won't do your chafing heel any good if it slips off. The stickiest, best solution to this challenge? Tincture of benzoin.

9) Google Earth Mountain Layer
Daydreaming about the summits you'll climb this summer? Google Earth has added several new features to further inspire your desktop plotting, including aerial tours of most major peaks, elevation profiles, and quick links to related images.

10) Take Better Pictures
This is a four-part series designed to help the novice photographer take significantly better pictures by Understanding White Balance, Exposure Compensation, the Rule of Thirds, and Using a Polarizing Filter.

Equipped” is an AMC Outdoors blog, written by Matt Heid.