You learn to put up with lots of inconveniences while camping, which is half the fun of it for some. But the other half of us can do without an uncomfortable, too-tight sleeping bag that gives you sweaty feet on a not-so-cold night, a ground pad that makes you lightheaded while blowing it up, a lantern that inevitably gets placed too far away to do much good and the increasing risk of Lyme disease hanging over the proceedings. That's where these four innovative products come in. Some revolutionary, some just practical, they are sure to make some happy campers a little happier.

If you feel the symptoms of shin splints, don't try to run through them, doctors say.

At Macey Lakes in mid-June, wind reigns supreme.

Trainer Maria Neff's original goal, when she named this exercise "The Matrix," was to be able to bend all the way backward from a standing position, as Neo did when evading the agents' bullets in the first movie by that name, in 1999.

You knew it was only a matter of time: Clif's Bars latest venture is for the gluten-free crowd - the soy- and dairy-free, as well. So much for what it doesn't have. What's in the bars? Flavors range from coconut and sesame seeds to cherry and pumpkin seeds. Our favorite: lemon vanilla and chia seeds. It's one of the rare gluten-free products that's tasty.

Socks aren't usually something to rave about. A good pair will wick sweat, reduce the likelihood of blisters and keep feet from smelling too bad. But the 1000 Mile Ultra Performance Walk Sock is worth a little hype as it does that and then some. With specially designed padding to protect feet and a copper fiber-enhanced material that fights odor-causing bacteria and fungus, it's an asset for any dedicated hiker or walker.

Think back to your favorite childhood memory. Whether it was building a fort out of sticks, splashing in the creek behind your house or playing capture the flag, chances are good that it didn't involve the latest video game or TV show. Studies continue to show the benefits of outdoor play on children's physical, intellectual, social and psychological development. But, says Susan Sachs Lipman, author of "Fed Up with Frenzy" and creator of, "Parents are often so busy involving kids in organized sports and academics that they don't put an emphasis on unstructured play outdoors."

Despite it being prime camping season, Eliott Kroll and Lauren Trail relaxed in camp chairs in Banner Creek Campground and had the place all to themselves.

Tons of folks will take to the trails for the upcoming long July 4th weekend. That's a good thing, considering walking is the best exercise value available.

Breathing seems like a simple thing: Inhale, exhale, repeat. That may be true if you're sitting down watching television, but it isn't true if you're an athlete, not even if you're merely doing something athletic. If you're active, the secret to success is to work on your breathing.

Kids are messy. Really messy. And supposedly spill-free sippy cups are no match for a determined or clumsy toddler. MAM's Sports Cup is changing that with a cup that has a specially designed mouthpiece for little ones to sip from without needing to snap or pop open. No need to flip up a straw or hand-adjust an opening that could introduce unnecessary and potentially harmful germs. Your child just has to suck the mouthpiece to drink.

Juan Carlos Gil is soaked. He has sailed in rainy conditions before, but nothing like this recent morning.

In three months on the Appalachian Trail, Jim Parkins has met a federal judge, a doctor, countless Boy Scouts, marijuana-smoking college graduates and a married couple who celebrate their anniversary each year by feeding hikers for a week.

Smoothies are synonymous with breakfast and post-workout recovery, but did you know that a little spike can turn your healthy blends into an adult beverage perfect for poolside sipping and summer evening unwinding?

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