About Alan Dixon

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So far Alan Dixon has created 92 blog entries.

Trail Designs Kojin Ultralight Alcohol Stove Review

Based on extensive field and lab testing, I believe that the Trail Designs Kojin Ultralight Alcohol Stove  is the best alcohol stove system for ultralight backpacking (when paired with a Caldera or TriTi Cone). The new Kojin stove is incredibly fuel efficient and easy to use but best of all it boils water fast! And that's rare [...]

By | 2018-02-22T09:25:39+00:00 February 21st, 2018|cooking & stoves|4 Comments

Best Satellite Messenger inReach vs SPOT?

Last year we had a local backpacker freeze to death. They'd likely be alive today if they had brought a Satellite Messenger & activated its emergency signal (by the time they were reported missing and the search crews went out, they had frozen to death overnight). Of course, there are many other good reasons to carry a [...]

By | 2018-02-04T20:51:56+00:00 January 28th, 2018|Emergency & SOS, Recommended Gear, Skills|54 Comments

How to use your Smartphone as the Best Backpacking GPS

Smartphones like an iPhone 8+, X or Samsung Galaxy S8 outperform a conventional GPS in almost every way. This post has all the information you need to use your smartphone as a the best backpacking GPS, including getting up to 7+ days of battery life without recharging. Best of all, you can do this for less [...]

By | 2018-02-04T20:57:28+00:00 January 24th, 2018|Navigation|1 Comment

Quick and Efficient Training for Backpacking and Hiking

We use this common sense, 2-day-a-week training program to prepare for hiking 30+ mile days on the AT. But it's also excellent training for the John Muir Trail, PCT, CDT or even the GR20 in Corsica, considered “the toughest long distance trek in Europe.”

By | 2018-01-23T15:19:11+00:00 January 16th, 2018|Skills|34 Comments

Review of Sawyer Select S2 Water Purifier – fast, effective virus & chemical removal

Viruses, pesticides & harmful chemicals in water are a concern for international hikers, and even areas in the US! Sadly, until recently there were no inexpensive & lightweight water purifiers that could handle all these contaminates. But a few months ago Sawyer solved this dilemma with their new Sawyer Select S2 Water Purifier Bottle. It removes viruses, [...]

By | 2018-01-09T15:17:50+00:00 January 7th, 2018|Hydration, Water Purification|2 Comments

Hyperlite Mountain Gear Daybreak Daypack Review – Fantastic Do-it-all Pack

While the Southwest 2400 is our favorite backpacking pack, the Hyperlite Mountain Gear Daybreak Daypack is our favorite pack for every other need. It is the waterproof ultralight daypack that we trust with $5K to $10K of camera gear in rain soaked places like Iceland or the Northern Coast of Ireland. It is our under-seat [...]

By | 2018-01-03T23:40:20+00:00 December 26th, 2017|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Best Backpacking Cameras 2018

This post takes the BS & mystery out of finding the right camera. A camera that meets YOUR needs & YOUR budget. And you don't need an expensive camera to take superb backpacking photos. Some of the best lightweight backpacking cameras cost far less than you think. You might already own one! The best backpacking camera [...]

By | 2017-12-22T15:08:04+00:00 December 19th, 2017|Beginners, Camera - Photography, Gear List|112 Comments

10 hacks and accessories for better smartphone hiking photography

Many stunning outdoor photos are shot with smartphones. BUT most are no accident. The photographer used good basic techniques & inexpensive gear to get that great photo. The good news is that you too can do this with the 10 following hacks and accessories for better smartphone hiking photography. The Newest Smartphone Cameras Kick Ass! The [...]

By | 2017-12-20T00:20:31+00:00 December 17th, 2017|Camera - Photography, Skills|6 Comments

Rain Jacket Durability 101 – How to Select the Best Durable Rain Jacket

Rain jacket “durability” is a complex topic not well understood by most people. This post debunks some durability myths and clearly lays out what to look for in a durable rain jacket. Finally, we list some of the very best durable rain jackets on the market that are also light! If you can't wait, jump to [...]

By | 2017-11-21T13:07:16+00:00 November 16th, 2017|Uncategorized|12 Comments

Lightweight Hiker’s Guide to REI Gear Up Get Out Sale

I've been an REI member since the mid 70's. Still, when a REI sale comes around, I get overwhelmed trying to find the best lightweight gear among the vast inventory. This year, I decided to prep by going for a 2 hour visit to my local REI Store, and then doing research online selecting more great lightweight hiking [...]

By | 2017-11-17T03:14:40+00:00 November 10th, 2017|Uncategorized|9 Comments