Ask the Gear Guy
Q. I have a two-person tent that I really like, but when it rains, it leaks badly. I applied seam sealer as you had said in a previous answer, but now it’s like the rain is coming through the tent itself, not the seams. I think the rain fly that came with the tent is not big enough. Can I buy another type of rain fly? I was thinking a tarp would not allow air to come through and I will get hot. Do you have any other suggestions?
– Alex Almost-Dry, Raleigh, N.C.
A. There are a couple of things you can do. First, for waterproofing the tent fabric, use something like ReviveX Air Dry Waterproofing Spray ($10, mcnett.com). Just spray it on the fabric, and let it air-dry. That should help with some of your leakage issues. Next, get a tarp. Yes, if you draped it directly on top of your tent that would severely limit your air flow. The better choice is simply to string it up just above your tent, so it’s not touching it at all. The tarp will protect your tent from rain and keep your stuff dry.
Yes, Hari Mari flip-flops ($60, harimari.com) are the most comfortable we have ever worn. Yes, they come in a bunch of cool colors. Yes, they are made with recycled and sustainable materials and have a solid one-year warranty. But here’s why we like our Hari Mari flip-flops so much: We know that with every pair sold, the company donates part of the sale price to help fight cancer in children. Now that’s a cause worth sinking your feet into. A bit pricey, for sure, but they’ll last longer than most cheaper brands, and you can be confident your money is going toward a good product — and a great cause.
Q. Dear Gear Guy, I have been looking for an affordable camping hammock that I can use in all seasons, preferably under $200. Any suggestions?
– Hammock Harry, Merrimack, N.H.
A. I love camping in a hammock, too. It’s tough to camp on hard ground after you’ve spent a night sleeping up off the roots and rocks. Check out the Scout Classic from Hennessy Hammocks. It’s priced right at $100 and is a good-quality basic camping hammock with built-in mosquito netting and a detachable rain fly. It’s lightweight too, at just 2 lbs., 10 oz., and fits inside a stuff sack about the size of a bag of potato chips. This might not be the best choice for winter camping, though. During the winter the ground itself provides much-needed insulation, while the thin nylon bottom of the hammock lets the cold air zap away your body heat much more quickly. Now, don’t get me wrong, there are definitely ways to do winter-hammock camping right (including layering a sleeping pad and down winter bag inside your hammock), but you really have to be well prepared.
Q. What’s the best gear for fishing in rivers for catfish?
— Adam the Angler, Fox River Grove, Ill.
A. Now that’s the perfect summertime question. To answer it, I called my buddy Jimbo Meador, a legendary fishing guide from Point Clear, Ala. Here’s what he had to say:
“I grew up catching catfish on limb lines. Just find some low hanging tree limbs that hang right out over the river. Tie one or more lines on the limb and bait the hooks with cut bait. Cut up fish, eel, crawfish, or even cheese will work.
“If there’s current in the river put a little weight on your line, like some splitshot. Then let it sit. When you see the limb shaking you know you’ve got a catfish.
“I’ve caught plenty of catfish on a pole and line but you catch them way better at night, and with the limb line you can set your lines then be off doing something else while you’re catching fish — like maybe even sleeping. Then you can wake up to catfish and grits!”