Category Archives: Expeditions

The Ten Hidden Gem National Parks

We here at Lightload Towels are always looking for that ultimate get-away from it all place. So when we ran across this article in Esquire we just had to check it out. How does 400+ square miles all to yourself in some of America’s most pristine and remote wilderness sound to you for a total get-away? According to Esquire these are 10 of North Americas least visited National Parks.

1) Kobuk Valleykobuk-valley-national-park-new-lg

Far and away (no pun intended) the least visited of our national parks system, Kobuk Valley National Park attracted only 847 visitors in 2007. Located in the Arctic Circle, accessible only by foot, dogsled or snowmobile, and featuring exactly zero designated trails and roads, the park’s title of least visited isn’t really that surprising.

What Kobuk Valley lacks in user-friendliness, however, it more than makes up for in sand dunes and caribou. The park is also a great place to experience the anomaly of 24-hour daylight (but only for one month a year).

 

2) Lake Clarklake-clark-np-lg

Concentrating all the best that Alaskan wilderness has to offer into a single park, it is surprising Lake Clark National Park and Preservation had only 5,549 visitors in 2007. Lakes, active volcanoes, three mountain ranges, glaciers, waterfalls, arctic-like tundra and even a rainforest comprise this majestic park outside of Anchorage. Sled dog teams were the best way to travel around the area until the 1960s, but they have recently faced competition from snowmobiles.

At 6,297 square miles, Lake Clark National Park provides plenty of open space for your personal enjoyment. With an average of only 15 visitors per day, this means each visitor has 419 square miles of pristine national park to him or herself every day

 

3) American Samoaamerican-smoa-np-lg

How many national parks can boast a rain forest and a coral reef? The National Park of American Samoa is unlike any other park, and if you weren’t one of the park’s 6,774 lucky visitors in 2007 (which, statistically, you probably weren’t), we suggest you check it out.

The park, which spans three islands, offers a chance to see some great wildlife, from flying foxes to humpback whales. Admission to the park is free, which is good news because you’ll probably need to book a couple flights to get there — and don’t forget your passport. Sure, it’s basically three-quarters of the way to Australia (a nonstop flight from Los Angeles takes about 10 hours), but the National Park of American Samoa is way cooler than one of those overcrowded touristy national parks.

 

4) Gates of the Arcticgates-arctic-np-lg

Don’t let Into the Wild scare you away from the almost-untouched-by-man natural beauty of the Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve. Considering it’s roughly the size of Switzerland, it’s surprising that only 10,942 people ventured through this Alaskan park in 2007.

Millennia of glaciation and erosion have carved out a breathtaking array of valleys, rivers, mountains and crystal-clear lakes. For an opportunity to enjoy tranquility like you’ve never experienced before, head north — far, far, north — to this park, where you’re more likely to encounter a moose or caribou than another tourist

 

5) Isle Royaleisle-royale-np-lg

Isle Royale is a true hidden gem — perhaps this is why Michigan’s state gemstone (Isle Royale greenstone) is named after the remote little island that’s closer to Canada than it is to the States. Isle Royale is the largest island in Lake Superior, the greatest of the Great Lakes. Accessible only by boat or seaplane, Isle Royale National Park attracted 15,973 visitors in 2007.

Due to its remoteness, the island is populated by only about one third of the mammals that are found on the mainland. Interestingly, it is the only known place where wolves and moose live together without bears. If you don’t like crowds (or bears) pack up the seaplane and head to Isle Royale National Park.

 

6) North Cascadesnorth-cascades-np-lg

Considering its size and location (which is inconvenient, to say the least) it’s no surprise Alaska has so many parks on this list. While Alaskan national parks feature some truly amazing stuff, North Cascades National Park in Washington provides an opportunity to experience Alaska-like wilderness closer to home. In addition to bears, moose and cougars, the park has the most glaciers (more than 300 of them!) outside of Alaska. Sadly, that number is steadily decreasing as global warming continues to claim its victims, so go see them while you can.

Located in northern Washington, the park is popular among backpackers and hikers. Its 400 miles of trails also make it accessible to less-adventurous outdoor lovers. North Cascades National Park was enjoyed by 19,534 visitors in 2007.

 

7) Dry Tortugasdry-tortugas-np-lg

Looking for sunken pirate ships and lost treasure? Civil War history buff? Really into masonry? If any of these apply to you, then Dry Tortugas National Park is the park for you. Seventy miles west of Key West are the Dry Tortugas islands, so-called because they lack surface fresh water (“dry”) and Ponce de Leon caught a lot of sea turtles (“tortugas”) here in the 1500s.

The centerpiece of the park is Fort Jefferson, a behemoth brick fortress originally intended to protect the U.S. from Gulf Coast invaders (namely pirates), but also used as a Union stronghold during the Civil War. The fort, although never completed, is comprised of more than 16 million bricks, making it the largest masonry structure in the Western Hemisphere.

Dry Tortugas is also a great place to watch migratory birds in the spring. With almost 300 bird species in the park, birdwatchers are in for quite a treat. As the 60,895 people who visited the park in 2007 can attest, Dry Tortugas National Park offers some great history in an idyllic setting.

 

8) Wrangell-St. Eliaswrangell-st-elias-lg

The largest of all the national parks, Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve is actually larger than nine states. It is almost impossible to understand the scope of this park without experiencing it firsthand. Glaciers and mountains — many of which could support their own national parks — are the only ones crowded here. The park’s 13 million acres provide a sprawling remote destination that is actually pretty accessible, as far as Alaskan national parks go. With 61,085 visitors in 2007, the park is increasing in popularity so enjoy its majesty before the Yellowstone crowd catches wind of it.

For those who just need some room to breathe, Wrangell-St. Elias National Park offers an average of 124 square miles per visitor, per day. That’s the size of the country of Malta — and it’s all waiting for you at Wrangell-St. Elias National Park. Smoky Mountain National Park, the most popular in the national park system, only offers a measly 0.03 square miles to each visitor each day.

 

9) Great Basingreat-basin-np-lg

Think of tourist destinations in Nevada and the first place your mind likely goes is Las Vegas. But our 36th state has so much more to offer than just strippers and slot machines. Head toward the Utah border and you’ll find Great Basin National Park, which attracted 81,364 visitors in 2007.

Thanks to an almost complete lack of civilization in these parts, the night skies of Great Basin National Park are among the darkest in the country. Think of the park as the yin to Las Vegas’ yang. Flashing neon lights are replaced with awesome, naked-eye views of the starry night — a rare opportunity for many. It’s estimated that two-thirds of Americans cannot see the Milky Way from their backyards, and as light pollution continues to worsen, chances to observe the cosmos as nature intended might be running out.

 

10) Katmaikatmai-np-lg

Katmai National Park in southern Alaska provides thrill seekers an opportunity to hike among 14 active volcanoes and the world’s largest population of protected brown bears. Active volcanoes and thousands of brown bears not extreme enough for you? Well the National Park Service Website also warns visitors to expect only “some sunshine” and to “be prepared for stormy weather.” And here’s the kicker: it also offers the caveat that “light rain can last for days.” Consider yourself warned.

With 82,634 visitors in 2007, Katmai National Park is the most visited of our least visited national parks.

All of these places are truly the “hidden gems” of North America, remote and unfettered by man or machine, so if you are planning a visit to one of these locations make sure you pack plenty Lightload Towels for the trip!

Escape the City with a Towel

Urban Escapes is a great way to get away from the city and do outdoorsy stuff like hiking, climbing and boating. Lightload Towels is a proud sponsor. Urban Escapes Founder Maia Josebachvili says:

I brought a three-pack of lightloads with me while backpacking in the Himalayas in Nepal for a month. They were awesome! Didn’t weight a thing (which I really appreciated at 18,000 ft) and were just as effective as a regular towel. I’ll be using them again for sure!’

Check out National Geographic’s Urban Escapesuggestions. http://on.natgeo.com/1lsNQXO

Please contact Urban Esapes if you are an outdoorsy person living in the New york city area

-Maia J.
Maia Josebachvili
Founder and Guide
Urban Escapes
212.609.2547

Check out www.urbanexcapenyc.com

Lightload Towels Bug Repeller Video Demo

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZSmteFWTVYU

Lightload Towels  are the only towels that are survival towels.  View this demo of the lightload Towels as a bug repeller.

Lightload Towels Superabsorbency Video Demo

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZSmteFWTVYU

Lightload Towels  are the only towels that are survival towels.  View this you tube video demo of the lightload Towels superabsorbency.

Cycling Around the World blog Reviewed the Lightload Towels

http://bikeblog.cyclingaroundtheworld.nl/?p=85

This morning I received a set of three Lightload Towels. The manufacturer claims  that these towels are the lightest( 5 oz. or 140 gr.)  and most versatile towels around. Even better, they say these are not just towels but can be considered as a multi-pupose survival tool. The towels are made of 100% viscose, quick drying and wickable.

For a travelling cyclists one of  the rewards after a long , and hot adusty day on the road is a (hot) shower. To dry yourself you’ll need a towel. A towel that is as lightweight as possible but on the other side can absorb plenty of water. Can the Lightload towel stand ” The Cycling Around the World Test” ?

Lightload towel in use
My initial reaction after unpacking, what initially looked like a set of three  pill boxes, was: “Are these towels, where are my towels?”  It took me a little while to figure out that dipping in water softens the towels up and gets the wrinkles out.  The “pill box” quickly then transforms into a 30 x 60 cm towel that absorbs a lot of water. The towels dry quicky and feel soft on your skin. According to the FAQ pages on the Lightload Towels website, they last for about two months.

The initial package The initial package

But are these towels useful for cyclists travelling and trekking around the world? Well, on a very long trip I would typically use a more durable towel. But as an extra “emergency supply”  these towels could be useful. The manufacturer claims that the Lightloads can also be used as “pot holder, seat or pack padding, water of coffee filter, First Aid supplement or even as fire starter”.

Add some water and seconds later your towel is ready Add some water and seconds later your 30 x 60 cm towel is ready

I wouldn’t use it as a serious water filter but for the rest it’s probably ok.  And of course you could use it as a pot holder or pack padding, but anything soft can do such a job. I also tried my luck to use it as a fire starter. I was not too impressed. Ok, I was able to set in on fire but it petered out after a few minutes.  I’ve had better results with dry paper and a few drops of (car)gas from my camping stove to get a fire going.

So what’s the verdict?
Good for use as an extra disposable towel (very lightweight and very compact) on bike and camping trips. The Lightload towels seem less suitable for the alternatives mentioned on the pack.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B2-hVudVMe0

Days Of Bulky Towels Are Over Demonstration

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qB-iPiqGQ0c

Days of Bulky Towels are over.Please click on above link to see the demonstration.

 Lightload Towels(www.ultralighttowels.com) the premier outdoor towels are featured in this video by Swamp City Productions  in their TV show “What the Stuff Outdoors. “

Toronados Ultralight Backpacking Gear Review of Lightload Towels

Toronados ultralight backpacking site did a review of the lightload Towels. ” I
got
to test it out on a recent backpacking trip in Ojai, California where I put it through the not-so-tough paces of drying off my wet pot after cooking a meal and mopping up some spilled water on my groundcloth.

After arriving home, I threw the lightload towel in the washing machine and dryer with my other gear. I found the result was a much softer version of the towel…and we’re talking feathery soft. There is minimal fraying, but nothing that would affect performance. It also results in a slightly larger size — 12.5 in by 22 in,” says Toronado.

Toronados ultralight backpacking site
is an extension of Tornado’s Ultralight Backpacking, a website dedicated to ultralight backpacking: the pursuit of great outdoor adventures with minimal weight on your back. Here you will find trail recipes, homemade gear info, gear reviews, cool new products, and inspiring outdoor musings. Enjoy!
Toronados
“philosophy is to go backpacking as light as possible without eliminating important items like a toothbrush or a first aid kit. I aim toward minimalism to lighten my pack, eliminating unnecessary items and keeping everything as simple as possible. I prefer low-tech bare essentials so that my gear is able to handle the abuse of the outdoors without constant coddling or repair.

I don’t necessarily chase after the most recent breakthrough in ultralight gear or fabrics, but rather wait for ideas to prove themselves. Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to have my pack under 5 pounds, but I don’t want to break the bank, and I want my gear to be reliable.”

Please visit
htp://litetornado.blogspot.com/2009/05/gear-review-lightload-towels.html