Archive of ‘Gear’ category

Nite Ize GearLine Organization System – Gear Review

GearLineThe Nite Ize Gear Line Organization System is a light weight creative way to keep things organized.  I have found them useful for keeping things organized in my tent hanging it from the loops at the top of the tent where a gear loft might attach. I find it useful to keep my glasses and other important items off the tent floor. They are also super hand to hang pretty much anything anywhere. In your vehicle, garage, house, and so many more places. The possibilities are endless.

The GearLine Organization System is made of high quality, wear-resistant webbing, the Gear Line Organization System features sturdy S-Biner double-gated carabiner clips in alternating sizes, each attached to its own individual sturdy loop, along with Gear Tie Reusable Twist Ties on each end.

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Columbia Men’s Bugaboot™ – Gear Review

boots The Columbia Men’s Bugaboot boot was given to a few of the #omniten guys to test out during the #omnigames. I was one of the lucky guys who got a pair. A very comfortable medium weight super warm water proof boot.

We were told by Columbia that we would be given a pair of boots but I honestly had no idea which ones we would be getting. I had done some research before the #omnigames to see what was out there. I was honestly rather skeptical about a “lifestyle” company who also makes boots. I will say that I am very particular about boots mostly because I have found more that I do not like wearing than I do like to wear. I have owned several pair of Columbia shoes like the Conspiracy and the Master of Faster. Both of which are comfortable and fit great. (more…)

Columbia TurboDown – Gear Review

TurbodownJacket

On the first day of the #OmniGames in January Columbia unveiled a brand new type of insulation and products that use that insulation.  The new insulation is called TurboDown. A mixture of Columbia’s Omni-Heat Thermal insulation and premium down.  If that was not enough they then added their Omni-Heat thermal reflective system. Below you can see how the products are layered and a short explanation of of the technology behind it all. (more…)

Hiking The Trail’s Top 25 Posts from 2013

Here is a look back at the 25 most popular posts of 2013.

1. 35 Reasons to Hike The Appalachian Trail

2. 2014 Backpacker Gift Guide – Hydration

3. Whats inside my emergency Kit

4. Asolo FSN 85 Boot Review

5. Armchair adventures 50 great documentaries 1 – 10

6. Gear Review – Hi-Tec Sierra Trek WP Boots

7. Adventures in Dehydrating – ground beef

8. Gear Review: RIBZ Front Pack

9. Timberland Radler Camp Shoe Review

10. 5 Reasons Why Hiking is Better Than Going to the Gym

11. 7 Types of Campers [InfoGraphic]

12. Backpack has been chosen: ULA Catalyst

13. Appalachian Trail Thru-Hike Videos

14. A Guide To Cold Weather Winter Camping

15. Alps Mountaineering Lynx 2 First Look

16. 10 things I learned about and from the Appalachian Trail

17. Gear Review: Big Agnes Fly Creek UL 2

18. Gear Review – Columbia Conspiracy™ OutDry Shoe

19. Gear Review: Big Agnes Fly Creek UL 1

20. 2014 Backpacker Gift Guide – Gadgets

21. On The AT Day 3

22. Trail Ready Fancy Raman – Recipe

23. My Tent and Sleeping Kit

24. On The AT Days 8 and 9

25. On the AT Days 24 – 25 – Headed Home

 

A beginners guide to base layers.

As the name implies a base layer is the inner most layering of the layering  system that helps regulate your core temperature in both warm and cold conditions. A base layer helps regulate your core by pulling or wicking the moisture away from your body. It is worn so that the layer is touching your skin and is typically tight or form fitting. Base layers can be used in both cold and warm conditions.  One thing to note is that each persons tolerance to the elements is different so this post will provide some simple general information. Depending on your level of activity as well as your tolerance to the elements will determine how many and what types of layers you might need.

Base Layer Materials

POLYESTER/POLYESTER BLENDS

  •  CoolMax® or Polartec Power Dry®.
  • Breathable and moisture wicking.

POLYPROPYLENE

  • Wicks moisture away from skin
  • A durable polyester-based fabric available in several weights

CAPILENE®

  • A polyester-based wicking fabric that is treated with chemicals to help spread out moisture to help it evaporate.

MERINO WOOL

  • Natural fibers
  • Wicks moisture away from skin
  • Has a natural antimicrobial called lanolin which prevents stink.

Suggested synthetic base layers  

Columbia

Patagonia

Suggested Merino base layers

Terramar Sports 

Icebreaker


I have both Merino Wool and synthetic and will use them independently or together depending on the weather or activities I am doing. Which type and brand of base layers do you use and why?

10 Tips for surviving a winter backpacking trip.

wintertripsurvival

As a warning these are simply tips.  The author of this site is not responsible any damage, personal injuries or death as a result of the use of any advice, gear or techniques discussed on this blog. All outdoor activities are carried out at your own risk.

1. Always take toilet paper with you.
If you are one who like to pack only baby wipes with you to clean once completing natures calling you might want to reconsider during winter trips. Baby wipes will freeze, and once thawed they will most definitely wake you up in the morning.  I once had to hold my pack of baby wipes in my armpits to thaw them out in order to wipe.  True story. This is why I recommend always taking toilet paper and baby wipes to use just in case your wipes get frozen.

2. Take water into your tent at night.
Some say that you take your water in with you at night. Some people will even sleep with it in their sleeping bags.  This is all fun and games until you forget to tightly close your hydration bladder and it leaks everywhere.  There is always one person in every group that this has happened too. Thankfully it was not me.  I typically will place my water bladder or bottle up near my head as that is the safest place for items in my tent as I tent do roll and shift a lot in my sleet.  If you are using a hydration system that has hoses also take those in with you. Having frozen hoses is also no fun.

3. Take your water filters into your tent at night.
Many of the filters on the market today if frozen can cause harm to the filter. A frozen filter is not what causes problems but instead it is what happens when it thaws. It can seize up or crack  creating the potential for you to become sick after drinking contaminated water. If you use a chemical treatment make sure that freezing does not harm its effectiveness.

4. Pick up fuel canister immediately after turning off.
When you are in near freezing or below freezing temps fuel canisters can become frozen to the ground or objects after use.  These fuel cans  are used by many light weight backpacking stoves and contain isopro gas cool down instantly after use. When in cold temps they cool down so much that any air or moisture that might be trapped under the can will create a seal against the object it is sitting on. I have seen them get stuck to the ground, wood tables, and metal objects.  To fix the problem simply remove your pot of boiling water and sit it down. Pick up the stove and fuel canister before turning it off. Turn off the stove and hold for 30 seconds or so. The canister will quickly accumulate to the outside temps.

5. Start Moving it will warm you up.
We wake up all warm in our sleeping bags and dread having to get up and out. Just remind yourself that the more you move the more you will warm up. You might be silly dancing around waiting for your water to boil in the morning but you are creating body heat.  Do several pushups, run in place, or even do a little dance. All will get your blood pumping and your body warming up.

6. Eat a cold breakfast and stop to have a warm snack down the trail.
Many backpackers will have some type of cold breakfast such as a energy bar or a pop tart. They will then hike long enough to warm up some let the water thaw out and then stop  on the trail for a warm beverage and warm food.  This can get you out of camp and onto the trail quicker since there is no time needed to prep food and boil water.  This is not a strategy for everyone. Some folks simply do not like to stop and cook once they have started.

7. Use your body heat to thaw out water or keep items warm.
Similar to taking your water into the tent simply place any item you need to keep warm or thaw out inside your inner most layer against your skin. It is going to be super cold at first but as you continue to move whatever you are warming up will gradually thaw or stay warm. Keep in mind however that you need to make sure that your core is warm because if it is not this could push you into hypothermia if you are not careful.

8. Electronics can freeze keep them warm.
Batteries and your electronic devices can freeze and exposure to the cold can cause them to stop working. A large percentage of the time the devices stop working  due to the energy being sucked out by the cold.  Keep your electronics especially ones you may need to reply on in an emergency such as phones, GPS devices, or locator beacons in pockets closest to your body. Make sure to put them in waterproof bags to ensure your sweat does not hurt them. Also keeping them with you at night in your tent or even inside your sleeping bag is also a good idea.

9. Layers are you friend.
Layering your clothing  is a must for cold weather activities especially backpacking and hiking.   Each persons natural thermostat is different so you will have to experiment with which layers work for you. The most common layering system is to use is broken down into 3 parts. A base layer, mid layer, and shell.  I typically will use the following:

Base layer:  merino wool or synthetic base layer pants and shirt.
Mid Layer:
A long sleeve hiking shirt and hiking pants
Mid Layer:
A light weight down jacket or fleece.
Shell:
hard shell / rain coat to shield from wind and moisture.

10. Keep yourself hydrated and full of energy.
No matter the time of year or the temperature you need to keep yourself hydrated and your gas tank full of much needed calories. Many people think that because it is cold you will not sweat or become dehydrated but it is very easy to become dehydrated during the winter months. You will need to also stock up on those much needed calories during your meals and snacks because your body is working overtime to keep your body warm and your blood pumping.

Do you have any winter backpacking and hiking tips?  How do you keep yourself and your gear warm during the cold months?

2014 Backpacker Gift Guide – Hydration

1. Geiger Rig Hydration Systems
geigerrig
The award-winning pressurized GEIGERRIG Hydration System allows you to spray water to hydrate, share, clean, cool, etc.–anything you need. The pressurization enables convenient in-line plug-and-play filtration for on-the-go access to natural fresh water sources. When you are done, simply flip your Hydration Engine inside out and place it on the top shelf of the dishwasher for easy cleaning and drying.

Made with Ballistic Nylon material that was built to handle anything you can throw at it.  Put it to the test buy one today.

 
2. Platypus Gravity Works
gravityworks
Using revolutionary Hollow Fiber technology and a little physics, the Platypus CleanStream™ microfilter system treats 4L of water in less than 2.5 minutes – all without a single pump stroke. Need a lot of water? Just refill the Dirty side – even before the Clean side is empty and you’ll be automatically refilling as you go. A quick-disconnect fitting allows for easy removal and filling of the Dirty reservoir and back flushing for optimal performance is as easy as changing the height of the reservoirs. It’s lightweight enough for two, and efficient enough for a whole group. Learn more about this awesome filter system.

3. LifeStraw
lifestraw
LifeStraw is the award-winning personal water filter, designed to provide you with safe, clean drinking water in any situation. An ideal water filter for hiking & camping, travel, emergency preparedness & survival, the LifeStraw makes contaminated or suspect water safe to drink. LifeStraw surpasses EPA guidelines for E. coli, Giardia, and Cryptosporidium oocysts, rigorous standards for water filtration. Learn how you can buy a LifeStraw and donate clean water.

 
 

4. Purify Cup Filter
purifycupPurifiCup eliminates more than 600 kinds of bacteria, providing you safe and clean drinking water worry-free.  PurifiCup is a portable water filtration system perfect for travelers or for outdoor enthusiasts such as hunters, hikers, campers, boaters and anglers. PurifiCup’s world-patented design uses a silver membrane filter to eliminates up to 99.99% of bacteria, parasites, and pathogens such as E.coli, giardia, crypto, etc.  Read my review of the PurifiCup  and add one of these to your backpackers emergency kit today.

 

5. Humangear capCAP
capcapcapCAP is the civilized 2-in-1 accessory cap for Nalgene, CamelBak, and other popular wide-mouth drink bottles. Most wide-mouth bottles are easy to fill and clean, but the standard opening is too big to drink from easily without spilling.

capCAP offers the best of both worlds. Drink spill-free through the small spout, and then clean and fill easily with the large cap. The rubberized small cap (available in green or blue) is easy to grip, even with gloves on. Slim down all those wide mouth bottles this holiday season with a capcap.

6. Jetflow Hydration
jeflow
Jetflow Hydration System, simply attach your favorite beverage’s bottle directly to the hydration system, and you’re ready to hit the trail. There is no bladder to clean and maintain. And because you’re drinking directly from the beverage bottle, you’ll enjoy clean, fresh contaminate-free water or sports drinks. Made in USA.

Read this awesome review and get your Jetflow Pack today!

 
 

7. Camelbak All Clear UV Bottle
CBUV
CamelBak All Clear™, is a powerful  UV purification system. All Clear uses proven UV technology that turns any tap or clear natural water into potable drinking water in just 60 seconds. Fast, effective and backed by the Got Your Bak™ Lifetime Guarantee, CamelBak All Clear maximizes UV exposure for drinking water you can trust.

The All Clear UV Purification System is perfect for Aid Workers, International Travel and Backcountry Travel.  Check out the CamelBak website for more tech specs and watch it in action!

8. SteriPen
steripenWe all like to draw our water from nature when camping or hiking, but even a stream that looks clean may not be. Microorganisms most often come from animal and human waste and are spread by water run-off. SteriPen utilizes the latest in UV filtration technology to kill those harmful organisms allowing you to drink harm free water. Check out the entire line of SteriPen Products today.

 

 
 

9.”The Original” Klean Kanteen Water Bottle
kleenkanteenThe original 18/8 stainless bottle designed to be the healthy alternative to polycarbonate and lined-aluminum reusable bottles. From the onset; free of BPA, Phthalates, lead or other toxins. Today, our Classic line continues to be revered by many for its iconic place in history and for it’s durability and prolonged performance.

The Classic is safe and toxin-free, and doesn’t retain or impart flavors. No matter how many times it is filled, or what is put into it, these Kanteens keep drinks fresh and clean tasting. With a variety of cap and color options. Check out the entire Klean Kanteens today!

10. Vapur Anti-Bottle Element
vaporanti-bottleThe Element is a performance water bottle created for running, climbing and even the most extreme sports. The widemouth of the flip-top SuperCap equips it for even greater gulp-ability. With a stronger, integrated attachment clip built into the cap, the Element hangs on tight during high adventure and variable ground. The lightweight, portable, ultra-durable design of the Element makes it a favorite of both urban and outdoor runners. Check out the entire line of Anti-Bottles now!