How To Make An Ultralight Windscreen & Heat Reflector

When I am on a thru hike, I do my best to make every piece of my gear and my habits as efficient and effective as possible. When it comes to cooking, a small 100 gram fuel canister can last me upwards of a month on trail. How is this possible? Quite easily actually, I combine several techniques and pieces of gear that make my stove as efficient as it can be. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be spilling all of my thru-hiker stove efficiency secrets to you so stay tuned… Today, I’ll be showing you how to take the first step towards stove efficiency by making your very own DIY ultralight windscreen and heat reflector! Continue reading “How To Make An Ultralight Windscreen & Heat Reflector”

How To Size & Buy A Backpacking Quilt – Guest Post on Massdrop.com

Once again, I’ve made a guest post over on Massdrop.com. This time I’m focusing on how to properly size and eventually buy a quilt for backpacking. One of the biggest questions I get now (especially after releasing this video on why you should switch to a quilt) is, “What size/type/brand/features should I look for in a quilt?” Well, hopefully this article will help to guide any of you that are struggling with buying a backpacking quilt and what to look for. I’m sure that I’ll eventually make this article into a video, but for now you can find it here on massdrop.com: https://www.massdrop.com/talk/1091/how-to-size-buy-a-backpacking-quilt

The Ultimate Ultralight Kitchen – Only 4 oz!

When I’m not on trail, my mind is… I often find it wondering why I’m not out hiking all day every day, coming up with ideas for new pieces of gear and DIY projects, and figuring out ways to improve upon my existing gear. This article/video stems from the latter and is the best system I could come up with for the weight/functionality. I present to you the Ultimate Ultralight Kitchen. Continue reading “The Ultimate Ultralight Kitchen – Only 4 oz!”

On umbrellas & rain skirts and why you should try hiking with them – Massdrop.com blog post

Recently I posted a guest-article on Massdrop.com’s ultralight talk forum. It focuses on using umbrellas and rain skirts on trail and the plethora of benefits that this system offers. Check out this link for the article and more details: https://www.massdrop.com/talk/965/on-umbrellas-and-rain-skirts-and-why-you-should-try-hiking-with-them

Long story short though… You should give hiking with an umbrella and rain skirt a try, it’s the bees knees!

The $20, 1lb. Ultralight Down Summer Quilt – A Gear Review/DIY Tutorial

Though I tend to be quite picky about the quality and reliability of the gear I take with me into the backcountry, there is a side of me that loves finding decent gear on the cheap. While it may be nice to have the latest and greatest gear when heading out into the woods, cheap gear is an unsung hero of the backpacking world. Whether you are starting off, or just can’t justify spending $400 on a new sleeping bag, cheap gear helps you get out there and enjoy the mountains, which is all that matters. Gear, while shiny and cool, is a means to an end… and in that light, cheap gear is a doorway to adventure. Continue reading “The $20, 1lb. Ultralight Down Summer Quilt – A Gear Review/DIY Tutorial”

Klymit x Massdrop Ultra Light Static V Insulated Sleeping Pad – Gear Review

Recently, the community based gear purchasing site known as Massdrop has been releasing some interesting new products based on feedback from the ultralight and hiking communities. The latest product of these efforts presents a partnership between the website and well known sleeping pad manufacturer Klymit. Historically, Klymit has made some acceptable sleeping pads, but never anything that was outstanding. This new offering, the Ultralight Static V Insulated, is a huge step in the right direction for Klymit, featuring very competitive specs and a superb price point. Check out the video below for all the info and a comparison to my favorite pad, the Thermarest Xlite. Continue reading “Klymit x Massdrop Ultra Light Static V Insulated Sleeping Pad – Gear Review”

How to make a rain skirt (step by step) – DIY Gear Tips

Rain skirts are a quick and easy way to keep your shorts dry while hiking in the rain. Far more breathable and at a fraction of the weight of rain pants, they are my go to rain gear for much of the hiking season. Though there are a few places that sell rain skirts, they still aren’t quite mainstream yet and prices are not cheap. This means that you’ve got two options: buy an expensive rain skirt from one of the few vendors, or make your own! Continue reading “How to make a rain skirt (step by step) – DIY Gear Tips”

Respect your elders – The 1983 Kelty Sonora III backpack

Recently a customer at the gear shop I work for, brought in a relic from the early(ish) days of backpacking. He told me of the great adventures he and his Kelty backpack had shared since it’s original purchase date in 1983. Regretfully, he said, it was time for him to move on. He had been using this pack somewhat frequently since day one, but no longer gets to backpack as frequently; he longed for a lighter and smaller pack to bring him into the modern backpacking scene. He kindly donated the pack to the shop, as he didn’t have any room to keep it stored at home any longer. Upon first inspection, I was amazed at the great condition and build quality of the pack. This got me thinking… maybe it’s time we look back at where backpacking once was. Sure, it’s easy to see that modern backpacking has changed for the better, with lighter, more comfortable loads, but let’s not forget how we got here. The early backpacks may have been heavy by todays standards, but they were beasts of design and craftsmanship. Continue reading “Respect your elders – The 1983 Kelty Sonora III backpack”

How to make a stuff sack (Step by step) – DIY Gear Tips

Though I’ve done a few tutorials and videos on DIY gear in the past, I’d like to start doing more. With the price of gear creeping ever higher (I’m looking at you Dyneema), a lack of reliable and lightweight gear from large manufacturers, and the wait times we often find with the cottage companies we love, DIY is a great way to get the gear you want for much cheaper than retail. Let’s not forget about how incredibly fulfilling it is to be out in the woods alone, using gear that you have made to survive too! To kick off this new wave of DIY videos on my channel, I figured I’d start with one of the most simple projects around. A project that makes a great intro into the world of DIY (Do it yourself) and MYOG (Make your own gear): A stuff sack. But not just any ol’ stuff sack. A reinforced, cinching, quality stuff sack. Continue reading “How to make a stuff sack (Step by step) – DIY Gear Tips”

Why you should switch to a backpacking quilt – Ask A Thru Hiker

If you are unfamiliar with my “Ask a thru hiker” series, the basic premise is that I attempt to answer some of the more common questions I receive from various hikers and backpackers. This week I am focusing on one, very frequently mentioned topic. Quilts. Although there are a myriad of questions that most people have about backpacking quilts, today, I’m going start simple and explain some of the advantages that backpacking quilts have over the sleeping bags you’ve probably been using. We’ll get to the deeper questions in future posts, though if you do have questions, please leave them on the video. Continue reading “Why you should switch to a backpacking quilt – Ask A Thru Hiker”

Continental Divide Trail – New Mexico

While hiking the Continental Divide Trail this last year, I produced a youtube series (Found here) from the trail, both shot and edited on my iPhone. While I did my best to edit and assemble the footage into a cohesive video, this is not the easiest task to be done solely on a phone. Though I am pleased with how the trail videos turned out, I couldn’t help but wonder what I could do with a little more time and editing power. Enter this new project. Continue reading “Continental Divide Trail – New Mexico”

Tenkara USA Sato Fly Rod Review

Despite having a love for fishing, for many years I considered it out of the question on backpacking trips. Even with the lightest fly fishing setup around, it was still just too weight prohibitive. I couldn’t afford to take a pound and a half of extra gear with me on most of my hikes, and thru hiking and fishing might have well have been mutually exclusive. This all changed this summer on the CDT. With the discovery of the Tenkara style of fishing, where rod weights are often under 3 ounces, I was entering a whole new realm of possibility. Continue reading “Tenkara USA Sato Fly Rod Review”