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  1. Today
  2. What is minimalism? Perhaps you’ve heard of some of the more famous minimalists. Marie Kondo and The Minimalists have convinced people around the world to abandon clutter and shed personal possessions. They promise physical, financial, and emotional freedom. The Minimalists define minimalism as, “… a lifestyle that helps people question what things add value to their lives. By clearing the clutter from life’s path, we can all make room for the most important aspects of life: health, ... The post How minimalism prepared me for thru-hiking appeared first on The Trek. View the full article
  3. Section B of the Great Divide Trail This is the second in a series covering various sections of the Great Divide Trail (GDT). For Section A, please see my post here. Coleman to Kananaskis Section B of the GDT runs North from the town of Coalman (on the number 3 Crowsnest Highway) to Peter Lougheed Provincial Park in Kananaskis. This part of the trail runs mostly through Crown Land (roughly equivalent to National Forest Land in the US) and has little in the way of developed campgrounds and facilities. ... The post Section B of the Great Divide Trail appeared first on The Trek. View the full article
  4. Yesterday
  5. ADK


    Region: Adirondacks Type: Chapter Outings Activity: Trail work Posted by: Albany Chapter Trip rating: B Leader: DavidPisaneschi Contact Phone: 518-227-5630 Contact Email: dapadk@gmail.com Starting from the Route 8 trailhead, we’ll hike into the lean-to on the East Branch of the Sacandaga and beyond to the ponds. We’ll brush out the trail near Diamond Brook and clear out water bars. Nothing is going to be difficult or physically demanding, but this is a work trip.
  6. Stretch your money a little further this backpacking season by taking advantage of REI's Outlet sales in the off-season. Here's a roundup of our favorite deals this week. The post REI Outlet Round-Up: Best Deals for Backpackers appeared first on The Trek. View the full article
  7. I was just curious one day as I strolled down the faces of my family. The husband, the daughter adopted from foster care, the son made ward of legal guardianship and our half feral crazy dingo dog and it hit me- am I crazy to tackle this PCT alone? Short answer yes. Long answer is still yes. I thought I would find some security in research and looked up PCT thru hiker demographics. I quickly found Halfway Anywhere with “The Pacific Crest Trail Thru-Hiker Survey (2018)”. ... The post PCT demographics and me appeared first on The Trek. View the full article
  8. Note: there is a link to donate to Parkinson’s research at the conclusion of this article. I was excited to learn about the Badger Sponsorship and what it stands for. Rewarding a small group of people for their courage and dedication to making the world and the trail a better place. I didn’t win, but it wasn’t really ever about that. It was about taking the time to think about what kind of impact I want to have during my time on the trail, ... The post Trust The Path. appeared first on The Trek. View the full article
  9. My start date is fast approaching It started as three years. Then five months. Now a mere 45 days away. The anticipation and excitement for long awaited dreams to come true. Now, the fear and anxiety have set in. Like most thru hikers before me, it started as an idea, which then festered into full blown obsession. I grew up in a family that encouraged hiking and camping, but fell out of it as an adult. ... The post My Thru Hike is approaching: Why am I scared? appeared first on The Trek. View the full article
  10. Thru-hiking and recovering from an eating disorder seem like two totally different worlds, but are they really? The post Four Reasons Why Thru-Hiking Is Like Recovery appeared first on The Trek. View the full article
  11. Last week
  12. The darkest night can give way to the brightest dawn The post Evolution Revolution appeared first on The Trek. View the full article
  13. I planned to use one of my first posts to share the reasons why I have decided to hike the PCT. It seemed like a sensible thing to do. It’s usually one of the first questions that comes up when I tell people about the hike. Once we have got the initial queries out of the way of course (The Pacific Coast Trail? The film with Reese Witherspoon? Five months??). It is also the content of the pro and con columns in my notepad, ... The post Don’t sweat the big stuff: Why I’m hiking the PCT appeared first on The Trek. View the full article
  14. Foreword I first wrote this text as a brainstorm over on the Ultralight subreddit, hoping that it would be added to the information side bar or wiki section. But it didn't seem to pick up enough steam and it would have given the moderators there extra work when they are busy enough as it is. So I figured that since I put some work into it anyhow, why not post it here on my blog. Not everyone is on Reddit and some of my followers might find this useful, or better yet maybe someone new to UL that is Googling one or more of these classic UL pro vs con debates might stumble upon this and find it helpful. I will include some improvements and more solid info from some of the feedback I got from the UL forum. So thanks to anyone that gave constructive criticism that might be reading this! Unfortunately, I also got trolled by one rather mean spirited member of that forum, and won't be getting into all the absurd semantics that were thrown my way that were neither constructive nor helpful for someone trying to understand the basics of these UL issues. What was lost on this troll is that this pro vs con list and discussion is intended for general points (as most pro vs con lists are) particularly helpful for those who are not as familiar with these UL debates. This was not intended to be an exhaustive meditation on each and every aspect of these issues and points. Yes, there is quite a bit of nuance for veterans to jump down the rabbit hole and get into. And yes things like UV radiation and its effect on fabric can be quite complicated. But that is a story for another time, not for an easy to read introduction to common UL pros vs cons when it comes to certain common gear choices. Which brings me to my next point: this list is also for UL gear intended for use by UL or perhaps more lightweight backpackers. For example, there is no need to bring up say 70D fabric for a tarp when it comes to UL backpacking. The grand majority of UL backpackers and UL cottage gear manufactures stick to 7D to 40D when it comes to tarps and tent rain flies. That's not my opinion, that's just a fact that anyone can confirm by checking out the current state of affairs of UL tarps. Nor do I think bringing up heavier and more robust stoves meant for deep winter/cold backpacking is very useful here--one should start with 3 season before moving on to more advanced conditions, like say alpine trekking in Alaska in the winter. Thus the point of this text is to cover some main points that are the most relevant and useful for someone that has little to some knowledge of UL backpacking. While it can be interesting for UL veterans to read as well, and maybe a few vets could learn a thing or two as well, again, this is mostly for noobs. So with all that being said, below is the final version of the text that was originally posted on Reddit. I will go through and edit it to make some improvements and such, and may do more updates on it in the future. Feel free to email me with constructive feedback and if I have time I'll be happy to get back to you. Introduction The purpose of this text is to give a good general summary of what are recognized by many veterans of the UL community as the major advantages and disadvantages of certain core gear choices. I've personally been discussing, researching, and experimenting with all these choices for about a decade now. It is common to find these choices discussed and debated on UL forums like on Reddit or BPL, but for those unfamiliar with these conversations, it can be easy to be confused or not up to speed with all the details. Hopefully after reading this, you will have a better understanding of some of the various nuances of specific choices when it comes to dialing in your gear. And hopefully this post will make things easier for UL veterans so they don't have to explain things again and again. Just send a noob a link to this text! Please note that personal preference as well as conditions and location of a given backpacking trip can and should tip the scales in favor of a choice (or even combination of choices) of gear, and always remember that personal safety and commons sense should always come first. A gear list for a teenager going on a weekend trip in the summer in California will be vastly different than a retired person in their 60s going on a thru-hike in the winter in Scandinavia. Three of the most common gear debates will be examined: fabrics for tarps/rain flies, stoves for cook kits, and the all-in-one big sleep system debates (bag vs quilt, synthetic vs down, and air mat vs foam mat). Each debate will also have some definitions of some terms in question that outside the UL loop people might not be aware of. 1. Choice of fabric for UL tarps or rain flies: which is best for you for protection from the elements? The three fabrics that are by far the most common for this purpose are DCF, silnylon, and silpoly. Definitions: Hydrostatic Head (HH) is a term used to describe how water resistant or waterproof a fabric is based on testing. It has been generally accepted by outdoor communities that water resistant enough for use as a tarp or tent rain fly is around 1,500mm. For this reason, many mainstream, big brand UL tent flies have around 1,200-1,800mm HH. For example, the popular brand Big Agnes (used by UL'ers and and more traditional backpackers alike) has several tents with rain flies that have 1,200HH. Denier is a term used to describe how thick a fabric is (or technically I have read that it refers to the yarn weight), and fabrics will often be described with a number followed by a "D" which is shorthand for this term. For example, when you look at the specifications tab of a tarp or tent online, it might say something like "Fabric: 30D silnylon" or "Fabric: 15D PU coated nylon," etc. Various types of high and low deiner fabric exist, but for this purpose 7-40D are by far the most common--feel free to check various UL cottage companies (Mountain Laurel Designs, for example, which uses 20D or 30D silnylon) to see this in action. DCF is short for Dyneema Composite Fabric (AKA Cuben fiber), which is a waterproof, non-woven composite material made out of Dyneema threads laminated between two sheets of Mylar (plastic). Various thicknesses exist, but for this purpose, the 0.51oz, 0.67oz, and 0.75oz versions are the most common. UL'ers have been using DCF for this purpose since roughly the mid 2000s. Silnylon is ripstop nylon fabric that has been impregnated/treated with silicone to make it water resistant or water proof to various degrees. Higher denier for UL (20-40D) silnylon is generally more water resistant than lower denier, and different manufacturers produce different quality fabric. This has caused the water resistance of silnylon to vary wildly depending on both denier and quality, with a HH from under 1,000mm to over 5,000mm. UL'ers have been using silnylon for this purpose since roughly the late 1990s. Silpoly is similar to silnylon in many regards as far as what it is in theory, but uses polyester fabric rather than nylon. It is relatively newer on the market compared to silnylon and DCF, with it becoming more common around the mid 2010s. Some silpoly on the market is not ripstop (e.g. Membrane silpoly), while nearly all silnylon is made with a ripstop. Pros vs Cons: DCF Pros: lightest weight of the three, inherently waterproof/high HH (independent tests have shown over 4,000mm), does not soak up water, does not stretch after it is pitched, high tear resistance, easy to repair in the field (with DCF patch or even duct tape) DCF Cons: expensive, low abrasion resistance, as of now limited number of companies use it, bulky/not very compressible, does not unfold or unfurl on its own (AKA has a fiddle factor), snow and slush tend to stick to it more than the other two, low UV (i.e. sunlight) resistance, louder when it rains Silnylon pros: affordable, higher quality versions have high HH (3,000-5,000mm), moderate tear resistance, high abrasion resistance, many companies (including mainstream brands) use it, unfolds/unfurls on its own, less bulky and is compressible, snow and slush don't stick as much, moderate to low UV resistance Silnylon cons: 20D and up usually have the highest weight of the three, lower denier (under 20D) not as light as DCF, lower quality and/or lower denier versions have lower HH (under 1,500mm), soaks up water when it gets saturated, it stretches and pitches often need to be readjusted in the field, more difficult to repair in the field Silpoly pros: affordable, high quality versions have high HH, high abrasion resistance, unfolds/unfurls on its own, less bulky and is compressible, snow and slush don't stick as much, has very low stretch, polyester is hydrophobic so it is difficult to saturate the fabric and easy to dry off, usually lighter than silnylon, high UV resistance Silpoly cons: heavier than DCF, low tear resistance, more difficult to repair in the field, as of now not many companies (including mainstream brands) use it Yama Mountain Gear also has a good pros vs cons list that you can also check out that confirm some of the above observations. 2. UL stoves: what's best for you to cook outdoors? Before we get to stoves, let's quickly cover what you'll need to cook over them. When it comes to UL pots, they are a less complex discussion than stoves. There are two main UL choices: titanium vs aluminum (hardened or regular). Titanium hands down beats aluminum in nearly all major categories: stronger, higher melting point, and is non-toxic. They have roughly the same or similar weights when compared, so the big difference that separates the two is cost: titanium is more expensive. But note that the price of titanium pots is within the realm of affordable. Decent UL titanium pots can be had for roughly the same price as a case of decent beer. The following five choices are a pretty comprehensive guide to the UL stove choices, with canister and alcohol generally being the two most popular. Definitions: Canister stoves use compressed gas as fuel and attach to a can of this fuel to burn the gas. There are a wide variety of these types of stoves, but they have generally two parts: a burner and a regulator. The burner and regulator are often built together into the same unit, which is what attaches to the can of fuel. Some of these stoves have a built in ignition to get the fuel burning, while others require users to ignite the flame themselves (e.g. with a mini-Bic lighter). Note that this post will only cover upright canister stove, which are by far the most common UL canister stoves being used. There are other types of canister stoves that have their own pros and cons and distinct features, such as remote canisters, integrated canisters, etc. Many regular canister stove users will weigh their cans of fuel to estimate how much fuel is left in the can, and often will mark the number of times used on the bottom of the can with a Sharpie to keep track of fuel. Alcohol stoves use denatured alcohol (AKA methylated spirits) as fuel. Technically the grand majority of UL backpacking alcohol stoves use denatured alcohol, but there are rare exceptions that use isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol). In the USA a common, more readily available brand popular with UL backpackers that use an alcohol stove are bottles of HEET, which can be found at gas stations and many big shopping centers. There are a variety of stoves made specifically to burn alcohol (often made out of titanium), as well as many DIY stoves used by ULers (do a Youtube search), including some of the most well known and used DIY stoves such as the soda-can stove and the cat food can stove. Esbit stoves use solid fuel tablets made of hexamine, which burns smokelessly, has a high energy density, does not liquefy while burning, and leaves no ashes. While these tablets are essentially concentrated, solid chemicals, they are non-toxic (from the Esbit official website): "According to Regulation (EC) No. 1272/2008 Esbit solid fuel is not classified as a toxic product." So they are safe to handle and burn outside or in a well ventilated area. There are a variety of stoves made specifically to burn Esbit (often made out of titanium), as well as many DIY stoves used by ULers, much like alcohol stoves. Wood stoves use wood sourced directly from the field--like sticks, twigs, bark, etc.--and other natural debris such as dried leaves, dried grass, resin, etc. for fuel. There are a variety of stoves made specifically to burn wood (often made out of steel or titanium), as well as many DIY stoves such as the classic hobo stove (often made with a tin can) that has been used for well over a hundred years (hence the name "hobo"--hobos literally invented these stoves). No stove simply means not using any kind of stove at all. This means only eating food that is ready to eat (e.g. food bars) or food that can be cold soaked with water (e.g. cooscoos, ramen, etc.) in a waterproof container. Recycled, plastic peanut butter or gelato jars are popular choices of containers. Pros vs Cons: Canister pros: fastest in terms of set up and boiling water, ease of use, wide variety of UL stoves with many options (ignition, simmering, etc.), affordable stove options exist, stoves themselves are often pretty lightweight, fuel is self-contained (e.g. can't be spilled), burns clean (little to no soot on pot), many stoves are small and easy to pack, easiest to extinguish Canister cons: fuel cans not as readily available, fuel cans can be expensive (especially from one location to another), difficult to measure fuel and know how much you have left (e.g. uses should count number of times used and make estimates), fuel cans are bulkiest and heaviest containers, difficult and potentially dangerous to repair stove or fuel can in the field, complications when used in cold temperatures (weaker flame), stoves not as lightweight as alcohol or Esbit, fuel cans are difficult to dispose of and should be recycled in town, overheated fuel cans can explode (though this is rare) Alcohol pros: usually the lightest stove (roughly tied with Esbit), fuel is the most readily available (aside from wood if you are in a woodland terrain), fuel is usually the cheapest, easy to measure and see how much fuel you have left, DIY stoves are easy to make and practically free, easy to repair in the field, stoves are small and easy to pack, fuel containers for shorter trips are less bulky and are lightweight (e.g. a small, recycled plastic soda bottle weighs around 0.5oz/15g) Alcohol cons: a good and leak-proof fuel container is required, fuel containers on longer trips are bulky, fuel can be spilled/wasted, most stoves difficult to extinguish, difficult to use in colder temps (requires priming or warming up of fuel before it can ignite), leaves some soot on pots, slower boil times than canisters Esbit pros: usually the lightest stove (roughly tied with alcohol), easy to measure and see how much you have left, can't be spilled and difficult to be wasted, DIY stoves are easy to make and practically free, easy to repair in the field, stoves are small and easy to pack, fuel is least bulky (aside from wood sourced in the field), fuel is easy to store and lightest container (e.g. small ziplock bag weighs around 3g), easy to extinguish (just blow it out), easier to use in cold weather Esbit cons: fuel not as readily available, fuel smells bad, leaves a lot of soot on pots, much slower boil times than canister and usually slower than alcohol, most expensive fuel in the long term, stoves become fairly dirty and a separate container for them is recommended (e.g. small ziplock bag) Wood pros: free fuel, no fuel bulk if going to woodland area, DIY stoves are easy to make and practically free, easy to repair in the field, easier to use in cold weather Wood cons: usually the heaviest stove, stove is by far the bulkiest and dirtiest, separate container for stove is pretty much a must (e.g. big ziplock bag), difficult to extinguish, limited application (i.e. only can be used in woodland areas), if it rains it is at best difficult or at worse impossible to get a fire going, may be illegal in certain areas or conditions (e.g. dry seasons, fire banned areas, etc.), most soot on pot of any stove, wood smoke from stove can irritate eyes and is generally not good for you to inhale (technically carcinogenic) No stove pros: least amount of weight and bulk (you pretty much just need a spoon and a plastic jar), no fuel to worry about or carry, no need to repair anything, spoons and jars are easy to replace, more and more no cook foods are available now a days, least amount of time needed to prepare food, cheapest option available as far as gear goes No stove cons: no warm food or drinks, less options for meals, it is pretty much universally accepted that it is not at all as pleasant to eat cold soaked food in cold temperatures compared to warm food, one less option available to treat hypothermia, some no cook food is expensive (e.g. fancy bars), it takes planning to buy and prepare cheaper no cook meals 3. Ground UL sleep systems: what sleep system is best for you to sleep on the ground outside? The two main parts of a ground sleep system are: a cover for your body plus a sleeping mat underneath you. You can also sleep above the ground in a hammock, but this involves other complications and gear that would require a separate discussion. For this discussion I will also only go over professionally made choices that one can buy, not any DIY/MYOG projects, which also would require a separate discussion. This discussion will also ignore the ethical/moral issues of using synthetic vs down insulation, which is yet another big complication. This comparison will go over covers and mats, and obviously it is up to the individual to mix and match the best cover and best mat for your own personal wants and needs. Blankets and sleeping bag liners will be ignored, as their use is far more specific and uncommon compared to bags and quilts. And also keep in mind that you can even combine different types of both covers and mats in different situations. For example in extreme cold you may want to consider using a synthetic quilt, a down quilt inside the synth quilt, an air mat, and a foam mat under or over the air mat. Definitions: Sleeping bags are the most well known and most popular outdoor sleeping cover. They generally cover a sleeper's entire body from head to toe, the grand majority of them have zippers to fully enclose sleepers aside from their face. Most sleeping bags for backpacking (UL or otherwise) are "mummy" style, which means they are made with a general outline of the human body covering the head as well. Bags come in a variety of temperature ranges, and most of them have either synthetic or down insulation (more on this later) inside of them for insulation. Sleeping quilts are more popular in the UL community compared to other outdoor enthusiasts. Quilts do not have a hood, and instead have a drawstring at the top to cinch the quilt around the sleeper's neck. The majority of quilts also do not have insulation under the sleeper, instead focusing the insulation on the top and sides. Like sleeping bags, the grand majority of quilts have synthetic or down insulation, and they also come in a variety of temperature ratings. Under the sleeper quilts usually have zippers, snaps, straps, or a combination of these features, all of which are intended to keep the quilt securely in place on the sleeper and keep out drafts. Some quilts have a sewn up foot box, some have a zippered foot box, some quilts can be opened up into a rectangular blanket, and a more rare type of quilt is sewn up on the bottom completely (think of it like a big tube). Some quilt users attach their quilt to their sleeping mat, others don't, and still others do one or the other depending on the conditions. Synthetic insulation is made out of various types of plastic fibers, and the most popular synthetic insulation in the UL community is Climashield Apex (often called just "Apex" for short). UL quilt makers such as Enlightened Equipment and MLD exclusively use Apex as their synthetic insulation choice, for example. Down insulation is made of bird feathers from either goose, duck, or a combination of the two. The most popular down in UL is goose down because it is generally lighter and warmer than duck down. Down is measured in fill power, with the higher the fill number, the more loft it will provide. The more loft you have, the warmer you will be. UL bags or quilts made with down usually range from 750-950 fill power. Covers made with higher fill down will also weigh less in providing the same amount of warmth as lower fill down, e.g. an 800 fill quilt rated at 30F/0C will weigh more than a 950 fill quilt rated at the same temperature (both being the same size, of course). It is now common for down to treated with hydrophobic chemicals, which is called "dry down." Air mats are sleeping mats that are filled with air. There are generally two types of air mats: inflatable and self inflating. Inflatable mats need to be blown up with air (with your lungs, a mechanical pump, or an electric pump), while self inflating mats fill with air on their own but still need to be topped off with air after they expand fully. Air acts as the insulation, but many air mats also have other types of insulation inside of them to make them warmer. Air mats usually come in either rectangular or mummy shapes. Foam mats are made out of various types of insulating, plastic foam, and come in various thicknesses. Most come in rectangular shape, and some have coatings or layers of aluminum to make them warmer. R value is the term used to measure how efficient/effective a sleeping mat is at insulating you, i.e. how well it keeps you warm. It has a more technical, scientific definition, but for the purposes of this text this simple definition is sufficient. Generally the higher the R value, the warmer you will sleep, and higher R values (around 4 and up) are recommended for extreme cold (i.e. below freezing)--but everyone is different, so this takes personal experimentation to find your comfort level, much like a sleeping bag or quilt temperature ratings. Pros vs Cons: Sleeping bag pros: full body coverage, no drafts, lower learning curve to use compared to quilts Sleeping bag cons: heavier and bulkier than quilts, active sleepers can roll their face inside the hood of the bag which can cause issues (e.g. discomfort, condensation inside the hood from breath vapor), zippers can get jammed/stuck Sleeping quilt pros: less weight and bulk than bags, no hood complications, no zipper complications if the quilt has no zipper, more adaptable to temps (e.g. quilts that are rectangular can be opened up and used as blankets to adjust to warmer temps) Sleeping quilt cons: drafts or at the least drafts require more experience to deal with, fiddle factor if strapping to a sleeping mat, requires users to wear hooded clothing or warm hats/hoods to keep head/neck warm, requires user to experiment with different methods of use with a quilt to find their ideal comfort/sweet spot, in short a higher learning curve to use properly compared to bags Synthetic insulation pros: cheaper than down, deals with humidity/dampness/condensation/getting wet much better than down, dries off far quicker than down, easier to clean, easier to repair and less potential to lose insulation from severe damage (i.e. a big rip) in the field Synthetic insulation cons: much heavier and bulkier, looses loft after repeated use and doesn't maintain temp rating in the long term as well as down Down insulation pros: much lighter and far less bulky, looses less loft after repeated use and keeps temp rating better than synthetic (with proper care) in the long term (e.g. down bags can be used for over a decade with nearly the same temp rating) Down insulation cons: expensive, untreated down deals with humidity/dampness/condensation/getting wet poorly, dry-down deals with wetness better but still not as good as synthetic, highly recommend that down users have dedicated dry bag and/or waterproof pack liner to keep bag or quilt as dry as possible, difficult to clean, difficult to repair and severe damage (e.g. a big rip) can cause down to literally get blown away/lost for good in the field Air mat pros: some decent air mats are affordable (limited to lower R values, however), far less bulky and easier to pack, same size mats (torso vs torso, regular vs regular) usually the air mat weighs slightly less or the same (with the exception of thin foam mats), softer, highest R value mats are dominated by air mats Air mat cons: high quality and higher R value air mats are expensive, difficult to repair, generally fragile, provide little to no warmth/comfort if they are damaged and go flat, difficult to modify (e.g. cut down a mat), require users to inflate and deflate mats as part of camp routines Foam mat pros: affordable to very cheap, very durable, easy to repair, will provide warmth even if damaged, easy to modify/trim, ease of use in camp (just roll/fold or unroll/unfold), if you can sleep comfortably on a thin foam mat this is the lightest choice possible Foam mat cons: very bulky, usually weighs either the same or slightly more unless you really trim them down and/or use thinner mats, firm, lower R values in general, foam mats with higher R values are the heaviest and bulkiest choices, can't compete with high end (4 and up) R values of air mats Afterword Hopefully this has given you a better understanding on the pros and cons of common UL gear choices. While this list is not a definitive list that covers all of the many nuances of these choices, and other complications like location, conditions, and personal preference should be taken into account, I think this post does give a good general overview of these hot topics in the UL community. Happy trails! View the full article
  15. A friend recently pointed out that I don’t update my blog for The Trek as often as I do social media. The truth is, my depression affects my writing and I struggle to write sometimes. I feel pressure to express myself solely in a positive light, and I fear the darkness will cast a shadow over my writing. I’ve learned the best way to face fear is head-on. Growth begins at the end of our comfort zone; ... The post Apples to Oranges: The Florida Trail appeared first on The Trek. View the full article
  16. This persistent feeling that I was doing something all too familiar but not familiar at all. I’m currently laying in my tent after a long hike through the tall grassy farm fields of New Zealand. The familiarity of laying in this tent gives me comfort. I listen to the sound of the birds and insects as they sing me a sweet lullaby. My eyes fall heavy and I smile because I was blessed with another day out here. ... The post Two Trails Are Better Than One: Why Everyone Should Hike A Second Thru Hike appeared first on The Trek. View the full article
  17. You need power. This headlamp has it—for 30% off. Sometimes, all you need is a light headlamp to illuminate the ground in front of your feet. For those other times, when you're scouting far down the trail or looking for that next belay ledge in the dark, the Black Diamond Storm is a reliable friend. With a max output of 350 lumens and red, green, and blue lights for reading maps, it has more than enough power for most active pursuits. Instead of a rechargeable battery, three AAAs power this torch, making it easy to juice up again without a power pack. Buy Black Diamond Storm Headlamp now for $35 (30% off) now. View the full article
  18. until
    Region: Genesee Valley Region Type: Chapter Outings Activity: Hiking Posted by: Genesee Valley Chapter Trip rating: C Leader: Jim Bishop Contact Email: adk.gvc.trpldr@gmail.com Join us for a 2 hour, 4 mile hike with approximately 600' of ascent/descent on the east side of Durand Eastman Park. Meet 9:45 a.m. at the kiosk near the Durand Eastman Park Office/Maintenance Bldg (43.23196, -77.55616) at 100 Zoo Rd off Lake Shore Blvd for a 10:00 a.m. hike start.Please dress for the weather, bring some water to drink, and wear boots or trail shoes with good traction. Depending on winter trail conditions microspike traction devices or snowshoes may be needed. Hiking poles would be useful on the steeper sections. Contact: Jim Bishop at adk.gvc.trpldr@gmail.com with any questions. Additional Information: The SaturdayHikes are offered as a benefit to current and potential new members of ADK. All our hikes have a steady pace, so are not "nature strolls" but they are also not "endurance tests" although we do at times hike at a brisk pace. You'll always want bring plenty to drink. Equally important, is the proper footwear, gear and clothing for changing conditions. Our hikes our planned by our leaders to last two hours, but many times unexpected delays can occur, so if you are pressed for time, this hike may not be a good fit. We're always looking for new places to go and additional leaders. Minors are welcome when accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. If not, the responsible adult must have the signed release which is available on our website. Dogs are not allowed on this hike.
  19. For backcountry chores, these seven knives and multitools will have you covered for slicing, dicing, paring, chopping, repairing ... you get the idea. A good knife is one of the most essential backcountry tools you can carry. On everyday hikes, it can open food packets, cut twine, and shave kindling; in a survival situation, it can help you do everything from built a shelter to catch fish. We've picked out 7 perfect knives and multitools for everyone from the most minimalist hikers to full-on forest dwellers. View the full article
  20. A change of Plans I originally planned to hike the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) in 2018. I spent most of 2017 planning, prepping, and purchasing gear for the trip. In August of 2017, I learned that my husband’s job was relocating to Nashville, TN and my dreams of hiking the PCT were put on hold. I experienced conflicting feelings about our new circumstances; I was excited to live in and explore a new place, but was mourning over the loss of my family, ... The post Introduction to Backpacking: My Fears,Therapy, and Friends appeared first on The Trek. View the full article
  21. THE WEEKEND STARTED OUT SIMPLE ENOUGH We made a trip to Springer Mountain this weekend and drove up to the trailhead to check out the road conditions and do some hiking in the area. I was raining on Saturday but that was ok we hiked in the rain and had a good day. Sunday we decided to drive up to the trailhead via Forest Service Roads 28 and 42 which was how Google directed us to go. ... The post Google maps doesn’t understand Forest Service Road appeared first on The Trek. View the full article
  22. When I decided to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail back in April 2019, I didn’t realize how much work goes into preparing for your first thru-hike. I quickly realized I was vastly unprepared for what was ahead. Luckily, I had 11 months to prepare for this crazy adventure. Gear: When I made the decision to attempt my thru-hike in 2020, I had absolutely no gear. I didn’t even have a sleeping bag, I needed everything. I started doing research on what previous thru-hikers used, ... The post My Preparation As A Newbie Backpacker appeared first on The Trek. View the full article
  23. This versatile, comfortable jacket is on sale starting at 68% off. A versatile puffy is an essential layer in winter. It can work as a standalone jacket on mild days, or sit under a shell as a midlayer on colder adventures. If you're looking to add a new jacket to your collection, the Sierra Designs Tuolumne Sweater is a good place to start. This synthetic puffy (stuffed with PrimaLoft Silver) is light enough to use as part of your layering system and features two stretchy fleece side panels for added flexibility. The best part? It's cheap as heck right now, thanks an REI $10 off $50 sale running through January 25th. Buy Sierra Designs Men's Tuolumne Sweater for $41 (68% off) now / Buy Sierra Designs Women's Tuolumne Sweater for $66 (49% off) now View the full article
  24. The latest generation of satellite communicators is better than ever, ensuring that you can stay informed, connected, and safe wherever you go. Here are our favorites. Do you need a satellite communicator to go hiking? Not usually. But when trouble strikes and you're out of cell service, one of these devices can mean the difference between a relatively quick rescue and a long, difficult wait. The latest generation does more than just issue SOS's: From weather reports to text messages, they also help you get and stay out of trouble in the first place. After months of testing, these are our four favorites. View the full article
  25. In Forest and Crag, the authoritative history of the mountains of the Northeast, authors Guy and Laura Waterman introduced their “Superhiking” chapter with an observation that rings true today, 31 years after this book was published. “From time to time in every age and mountain range, individuals of exceptional strength or determination set out to show what they can do in that most rugged of physical testing grounds, the mountains.” No strangers to strength and determination themselves, ... The post A History of Northeast Superhiking, Part I: Non-Winter Peakbagging appeared first on The Trek. View the full article
  26. I have been moving toward hiking the PCT for over a year. I took a contract that would finish around the right time; applied for the permit during a nerve-wracking evening in front of my laptop; turned down a job offer for the Spring; attended the visa interview in an outfit I hoped signalled that I am a responsible human (despite evidence to the contrary); told friends, family and colleagues that “yes” I would be doing it. ... The post Being a Pacific Crest Trail Commitment-Phobe appeared first on The Trek. View the full article
  27. “It’s official,” I told my friend on the phone as I stepped outside and braced against the cold. “I just blew up my life.”The day was January 6, 2019, and my words felt appropriately dramatic. That morning I’d told my boss I was leaving a great job of 12 years to go hike the Appalachian Trail. As in thru-hike: 2200 miles from Georgia to Maine. When you blow up your life, one hopes it’s in order to build back something new. ... The post How the Hike Changes You: Reflections from 2019 Appalachian Trail Thru-Hikers appeared first on The Trek. View the full article
  28. n today’s episode of Backpacker Radio presented by The Trek we are joined by legendary PCT trail angel, Donna, L-Rod Sauffley of Hiker Heaven. Donna comes by her trail name, L-Rod, short for lightning rod, very honestly. She’s exceptionally outspoken, a ball of energy, and has a deep passion for the Pacific Crest Trail and its community. We hear all about her time serving as a trail angel to PCT hikers for more than two decades. ... The post Backpacker Radio 58: Donna L-Rod Sauffley of Hiker Heaven on Her 20+ Years as a PCT Trail Angel appeared first on The Trek. View the full article
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