For much of the US hammock camping is fantastic & arguably the best way to sleep in the backcountry. This is true anywhere with trees—nearly all of the eastern US & much of the Mountain West. As such, hammocks are a key element of our 9-lb Full Comfort Gear List. In addition, this post contains Our [...]
I've been an REI member since the mid 70's. Still, when an REI sale comes around, I get overwhelmed trying to find the best lightweight gear among the vast inventory. I've done a bit of homework on the REI July 4th Sale and have tried to find some great lightweight gear at good discounts. Many [...]
This article proposes a more realistic 13 Essentials that will better keep the modern hiker safe. This is because the Classic 10 Essentials (first proposed in the 1930's) need an update for the 21st Century given the realities of a modern day hiker. First, a major conceptual trap of the traditional 10 Essentials is that they are all gear. I would [...]
Keep it simple, nutritious and save weight: I take inexpensive trail foods which are both tasty and nutritious. Specifically, foods that give you calories, protein, good fats, vitamins and other micro nutrients. This keeps you healthy and cruising along the trail with a spring in your step. Just as important are foods (and meals) that can be quickly prepared. My [...]
It's no mystery that Gaia GPS is the best hiking navigation App. But the Next Gen GAIA GPS Hiking App is vastly improved. The new maps are stunningly sharp and legible. It is much faster, and easier to use. And possibly the best feature of Next Gen GAIA GPS is the full line of National Geographic Trails Illustrated Maps...
The vast inventory at the Big REI Anniversary Sale can be overwhelming. This year I've done a bunch of research to select some of the best lightweight gear at the sale. In particular, I list some good items to use your "Members Save 20% Off One Full Priced Item. Plus Save an Extra 20% Off one Garage Item." Shop early for best selection...
Down quilts are far and away the best sleep value for most backpacking trips. They are half the cost and substantially lighter than sleeping bags. For example, a +20°F down quilt like the one above weighs just over a pound and can cost as little as $150, far less than $460 for a +20°F sleeping [...]
Drink When Thirsty debunks the many myths about hydration and dehydration like "If you are thirsty, it's already too late" and "If your urine is yellow, you are dehydrated." This article suggests that Drink When Thirsty is the best and healthiest strategy for hydration during exercise.
The best backpacking camera is the camera you can quickly pull out and shoot. Many superb photos have been taken on iPhones. Being in a beautiful area and taking a photo in the right place at the right time matters far more than the camera. That being said, if you are in the right place at the [...]
See a Cuba tourists never see. Hike la Ruta de la Revolución trek which follows the historic route of Fidel Castro and Che Guevara that started the Cuban Revolution—from landing in Cuba in a foundering boat to their famous hideout deep in the Sierra Maestra Mountains. Walk for days on wooded trails and mountain roads—see no cars, [...]