5 reasons why every backpacker should own a sleeping bag or travel liner!

Sleeping bag liners can be used for so many more things than just adding warmth to you sleeping bag. A sleeping bag liner is made of either silk or cotton. You can use them like a sheet or you can use them inside your sleeping bag. Some of insect repellent, some are made for warmth, while others are made to keep you cool. Here are a list of five creative ways you might not have thought to use a sleeping bag liner for. Read More….

YKS Adjustable Beam Focus LED Headlamp – Gear Review

The YKS Adjustable Beam focus led headlamp is a powerful little light with a small price tag. This Ultralight headlamp weighs in at only : 2.6oz and is very comfortable to wear. You might even forget you are wearing it at times. It has four modes a high, low, emergency flashing and sos mode. So what makes this headlamp different than many others on the market you ask. The differentiator is its adjustable beam.
Read More….

Outdoor Products Shasta Weather Defense™ 30L Day Pack – Gear Review

The Shasta Weather Defense™ Backpack by Outdoor Products is a great all around pack. It is tough, weather proof, comfortable and you can pack up to 30 liters of your gear into it.

Outdoor Products for whatever reason is a highly overlooked brand of gear that should not be anymore. A stigma has been assigned to the brand simply because of the stores that the products are sold in. Just because the brand is sold in a general big box location as compared to one that is more focused should not matter. Read More….

Jambu Tundra – First Look

I really like testing new technologies especially when it pertains to footwear. The Jambu Tundra is a new shoe that is full of innovative tech. Fit for a trail running shoe but strong enough to be considered for long distance backpacking. So a mesh shoe is not considered new tech however the traction on this pair of shoes is something I have never seen before and I have tested and looked at my share of outdoor footwear over the years.

Read More….

Ahnu Men’s Mount Tam Air Mesh – First Look

Over the past few weeks I have been testing out the Ahnu Men’s Mount Tam Air Mesh shoes. Ahnu has been overhauling their shoe designs to allow the shoes to be worn in the city, but be rugged enough to hold up to anything the trail might throw at them. The Mount Tam Air Mesh shoes have the Numentum® Hike system.  “This platform provides stability, security and comfort for spending all day on your feet whether you’re hitting the trails or walking around in a city.” Read More….

What to do with your used outdoor gear!

With lighter weight gear and new technology changing gear all the time, what do we do with our old gear? We have used and abused our favorite gear but some of it just does not measure up. We spent the time researching it, finally purchased it, and it was not what we liked.

More and more people are trying to go green and downsize their lives to focus less on stuff and more on the experience.  The up-cycling and recycling movement is growing stronger every day. Even big gear companies have joined and are now buying back used gear and reselling it or recycling it into new gear.

It seems silly to just throw it in the trash and move on. Someone else out there could use that right? So what do you do? Where do you offload a bunch of gear that will not just end up in a dumpster a few days later?

Have you ever thought about recycling, up-cycleing, repurposing, donating, or selling? We have put together a list of places or ways you can do all of this.


There are lots of places where you can sell your slightly used gear.


  • Pass down to your younger siblings, your children, or friends children as they grow.
  • Freecycle.org
  • Many companies have or are starting a recycling program. Many of the local outfitters and gear stores have donations boxes.
  • Give the gear to programs like Boy Scouts, Big Brothers Big Sisters, and other youth oriented organizations. Make sure you contact them about their policies and what products they accept before showing up with a box full of stuff.
  • Give the gear  to local Sierra Cubs, Hiking or Climbing Clubs.
  • Give the gear to local non profits that sell products and then use the money to help others.

Recycling, Up-cycleing, Repurposing

The opportunities for these are only limited by your imagination. How many of you are already thinking of things or headed to Pinterest for ideas?  What can you reuse from the tents the packs, etc. Can you create your own gear or simply create something useful for around the house?

How would you reuse your gear?


Tips for choosing a proper fitting backpack – Part 2 Packing and Adjusting

In part one we discussed how to measure yourself or a friend to help choosing a properly sized pack. The next step in making sure the pack fits is to fill the pack with weight and adjust the straps.

Packing the backpack!

When packing a backpack especially for long hikes you will want to make sure that the weight is distributed evenly so that when wearing the pack it is not top heavy.  Here is a handy diagram for packing  a backpack to ensure comfort.


Your most heaviest items such as water and food need to be packed so that they are the closest items to the middle of your back. Sleeping bag, clothes and lighter items are best packed furthest from your back. Also make sure that if you put weight on one side of the pack the other side has the same amount of weight. If your pack is heavier on one side you will notice that there is more weight on one shoulder strap than the other. Having a lopsided pack can cause shoulder pain, back strain and even muscle and joint discomfort in your hips and legs.  Many gear shops will allow you to pack up a backpack full of weight bags or even test gear to help you find out if the pack you are looking at fits your frame and needs.

Adjusting the straps for a comfortable fit.

Before you put the backpack on your back make sure to loosen all of the straps. Hip belt strap, sternum strap, shoulders, load lifters and any other straps that you find. Put the pack on and you will instantly feel all of the weight on your shoulders. To get the pack seated properly on your back following these adjustment steps.

Step 1. Clip and adjust the waist belt.
Step 2. Adjust your shoulder straps to bring the pack up against your back.
Step 3. Clip and adjust the sternum strap.
Step 4. Locate the load lifter straps.
Step 5. Pull the load lifter straps out and down. This will shift the entire load from your hips to your shoulders.
Step 6. Release both load lifter strips until you feel the shift of weight from your shoulders to your hips. (There will be a noticeable shift if the pack has weight in it)


If you try to adjust the pack while empty, you will end up adjusting it again once pack it. It is also recommended that you adjust all of your straps before any big trip. However, it is not necessary to adjust the straps daily unless you find hot spots from the straps. As you use your pack more often you will learn and adjust to the pack’s quirks.

When you pack your backpackpack do you find you pack certain items in the same places all the time? What do you find works the best when packing your backpack?

United by Blue The Ultimate American Sock – Bison Down Socks – Gear Review

In the middle of winter it seems that I can never keep my feet warm. Also if you have been reading my blog for a while you will know that I really like my footwear and socks. The past several years we have seen a big surge of small cottage companies who are making socks. High performance socks are being made from more than just standard wool. We are all familiar with the synthetics and Merino Wool but Alpaca Wool and Bison Down are latest additions. The newest product to hit the shelves is made of Bison down. Yep! BISON! United By Blue has come out with the The Ultimate American Sock. These socks have been gaining popularity following after the completion of a successful Kickstarter Campaign.


The socks are 100% made in the United States. One of the coolest things is that United By Blue does is that it shares the journey of the socks.

The Journey
Philadelphia, PA: Socks and packaging are designed
North Dakota: Bison down collected from ranchers
Uxbridge, MA: Bison down blended with American Merino Wool, combed, carded and spun into sock yarns
Osage, IA: The Ultimate American Socks are knitted and packaged

Everything from packing materials to the socks themselves lives up to a high standard that United By Blue has for all of its products.  Made from 56% Merino Wool, 24% Bison Down, 18% Nylon, and 2% Spandex these socks will keep even the coldest of feet warm.  I have had to take off the socks on several occasions because my feet were getting too hot.


United by Blue claims that the socks are “Softer than cashmere and warmer than wool, we created a sock from Bison down that will keep your feet warm and dry all winter long.” They do exactly as advertised and they are incredibly comfortable. One thing I will warn you is that you will want to wash the socks before wearing them. I found them to be a little itchy for the first couple of times worn but after several washes this has since gone away. Also you may want to wear a thin sock liner if you are prone to having itchy skin.

Washing and Drying Tip: Wash in cold water and do not use bleach or fabric softeners. Hang dry is preferred but drying on low without a dryer sheet is will keep the socks from wearing out quicker.

At present the socks come in several different colors and two sizes. The socks sell for $38 and will begin shipping in March 2015. To learn more about these socks please head over to the United by Blue website.

Full Disclosure: The Ultimate American Socks used in this review were provided to me by United by Blue at no cost to me. This did not influence my review in any way. The views and opinions expressed on this blog are purely my own and were not guided in any manor.

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