Bob Laney

  • 05/04/2016

    MSR Guardian Purifier

    The well known outdoor gear manufacturer Mountain Safety Research has developed a newer, better pump water filter. It is the Guardian Purifier. This equipment garnered the 2016 Backpacker Magazine gear of the year award.

  • 01/15/2011

    Scuba Buoyancy Control

    Before you make a first dive with new gear, try to find a way to get in the same kind of water (salt or fresh), wearing your dive suit & all your gear, and adjust your weights to the least amount possible. If you are wearing an exposure suit with no neoprene, and are skinny with little natural flotation, it may be as little as 6 pounds ' which is the buoyancy your air tank will add when empty at the end of the dive. Even with a full neoprene suit and endomorphic body [how is that for a polite way to avoid saying 'fat'!], more than 18 pounds of lead should be suspiciously heavy and re-calibrated.

  • 01/14/2011


    Humans evolved over a half-million years with body chemistry that produces breast milk for babies that is far superior to any nutrient that can be made in a factory. Mother's milk not only provides food and drink, it is also loaded with vitamins, minerals, antibiotics, enzymes and all kinds of other requisites for a baby's growth and health. Of course, the same thing applies to all mammals.

  • 01/13/2011

    Schoeller fabric

    I like my products as natural as possible. That is why I have advocated down over Polarguard sleeping bags, leather over nylon boots and fires over gas stoves for years. So it is with some chagrin that I report the greatest development I have found in outdoor clothing since Gore-tex. Schoeller fabric is the way to go. It is most often seen in mid-weight pants. But it has recently been cropping up in gloves, hats and coats.

  • 07/15/2010

    Water Sources and Treatment in the Back Country

    A recent Backpacker magazine article about research by Wilderness and Environmental Medicine in many national parks was enlightening. It studied outdoor water sources and back country illnesses.

  • 04/05/2010


    How do we stay motivated in the face of adversity? When the trip is going poorly, you are way too hot, or cold, or exhausted, or half-way lost, or scared, how do you keep a strong outlook and good attitude? Think of your position as having three components.

  • 04/05/2010

    Healthy Appetite

    The healthiest creatures are those with the biggest appetites. A person who runs marathons will have twice the capacity to consume calories and not gain weight than a couch potato. Satisfying yourself and doing what you please not in a selfish way or to the detriment of others, but keeping your own physical, mental and emotional needs in mind makes you a happier person and more fun for other people to be around.

  • 04/05/2010


    When we think of really smart people, we usually identify with a physicist (Einstein), an inventor (Da Vinci), a mathematician (John Nash) or some other learned profession. Maybe a rocket scientist, or a brain surgeon. For high intelligence, we do not often think of geography and the American pioneers. The earliest explorers who settled the west, like William Sublette, John Fremont, Jedediah Johnson and others are mostly remembered as rough, tough bear skinners and Indian fighters. Got brains? They probably dropped out of the third grade if they went to school at all.

  • 04/05/2010

    Let the System Work

    When scuba diving, a long boat ride or high waves can make a passenger sea sick. He or she may feel nauseous, dizzy and weak. The diver wants things to stabilize and be given lots of fresh air. The last thing he wants to do is put some complicated gear on his body, cover up his face with a mask and regulator and go under water. He believes that those choices will make him even more disoriented and sick. Except that he will be wrong. The real cure for sea sickness is to get out of the up-and-down heaving waves. The only way to do that while on in the open ocean is to put on his scuba gear and get under the water. The diver has to let the system work in this case, the system of scuba gear.

  • 01/25/2008

    Satellite Personal Tracker

    Here is a cool new electronic gadget for the outdoorsman. It's called the satellite personal tracker, or SPOT. It can be found on the web at The company is affiliated with Google Maps. The device allows the user to be in the backwoods and call out to civilization for help, or just to keep someone else informed of the user's whereabouts.