How to wash down sleeping bags or quilts

After extended periods of use, down gear tends to lose some of its loft. This is due to the body oils and dirt that begin to cover the down feathers. With reduced loft, your bag can lose a significant amount of warmth and comfort. Washing your down sleeping bag or quilt is a great way to restore this loft and therefore restore your warmth. Though how often you clean your bag or quilt depends on how much you use it, a good rule of thumb is to clean your down gear at least once a year (especially after a thru hike!). Keep in mind though, special care must be taken when cleaning any down gear! Continue reading “How to wash down sleeping bags or quilts”

AT thru hike vs. PCT thru hike: A comparison between the two most popular long trails in the world (Part 1)

Having thru hiked both the AT in 2012 and PCT in 2014, I am frequently presented with requests to compare the two trails to each other. I’m often hesitant to do so, as I have very strong feelings for both of the trails and believe that they are both incredible experiences that should be viewed individually. In my mind, I see the trails as a set of complimentary colors, you shouldn’t have to choose between them. That said, if you’re deciding which trail to start with, or which trail to focus your limited time on, or maybe your just curious as to how the trails differ, this info may help. Keep in mind, most of this information is based on my experiences (Nobo thru hikes on each trail) and opinions. What follows is part one of what will likely be a two (possibly more) part post. Please ask any questions you might have and I’ll do my best to answer them. Continue reading “AT thru hike vs. PCT thru hike: A comparison between the two most popular long trails in the world (Part 1)”

Sawyer Squeeze Mini: A comparison with the original Sawyer Squeeze

You’ve probably heard about the Sawyer Squeeze filter. It’s been making waves through the backpacking and thru-hiking worlds since its debut several years ago. Unlike the heavy, fragile dinosaurs of filters that backpackers had been using (I’m looking at you Katadyn Hiker Pro) the Squeeze offered an extremely light weight, long lasting, and durable filter for a fraction of the cost. Not to mention how easy it is to use. I’ve highly recommended (and still do) the Sawyer Squeeze for a backpacking filter in previous Youtube videos (See Here). Not too long after realizing their success with the Squeeze filter, Sawyer sought to offer a similar filter for backpackers, but at a reduced weight, size, and cost! Enter the Sawyer Mini. Continue reading “Sawyer Squeeze Mini: A comparison with the original Sawyer Squeeze”

Backpacking tips: Frequently adjust your pack!

Think about the last time you were out backpacking. How often did you adjust and readjust your pack? Once, before you headed out to the trailhead? Maybe you readjusted once just before heading down the trail the final day out? Most people tend to think of backpacks as a sort of “set it and forget it” piece of gear. Unfortunately, this leads many people to suffer through backpacking trips with an uncomfortable and poorly fitted pack. I can’t recall the number of times I’ve seen someone lumbering down trail with a loose hip belt and their pack listing dangerously to one side. This is no way to hike! Want to know the secret to efficiently and comfortably carrying a load on your back? Continue reading “Backpacking tips: Frequently adjust your pack!”

Choosing YOUR backcountry eating utensil

The shelves at your local outfitter are likely loaded with a vast selection of eating utensils designed for use in the backcountry. Sporks, spoons, forks, knives, chopsticks, aluminum, titanium, plastic, lexan… It can be a bit overwhelming to say the least. Which utensil is best? Well, it depends on what your needs are. What follows is a breakdown of some of the more common choices and how they can benefit your load out. Continue reading “Choosing YOUR backcountry eating utensil”

Critics questioning John Muir’s legacy and relevance in modern times

Take a look at this recent article published by the LA Times (Linked to here).

To briefly sum it up, a group of environmentalists are questioning whether John Muir’s ideas and conservationist mindset are relevant in today’s world. They imply that in this age of rapidly expanding populations, urban sprawl, and demographic changes, John Muir’s idea of maintaining undisturbed “pristine wilderness” simply doesn’t apply. Jon Christensen, a historian at UCLA’s Institute of Environment and Sustainability, says, “Muir’s a dead end, it’s time to bury his legacy and move on.” It is proposed in the article that, “Rather than accessing Muir’s beloved Sierra Mountains as backpackers, skiers or rock climbers, Californians would benefit more from the creation of urban parks, additional roads and trails in wild lands.”  Continue reading “Critics questioning John Muir’s legacy and relevance in modern times”

Quote of the Week: Emerson

Nature says thou shalt keep the air, skate, swim, walk, ride, run. When you have worn out your shoes, the strength of the sole leather has passed into the fibre of your body. I measure your health by the number of shoes and hats and clothes you have worn out. He is the richest man who pays the largest debt to his shoemaker.”

~Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1851