Tag Archives: backpacker gear test

What to wear for fall hiking a check list

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The following is a clothing checklist for fall hiking. It applies both to children and adults. Once people are experienced with what their bodies require in various weather conditions, we allow individuals to tweak it according to their needs. This list also assumes that you will be spending the entire day outside without the luxury of easily being able to go indoors to warm up. If you are only going out for a couple of hours, you can adjust as necessary.

Head

  • Winter hat – a light fleece beanie works great
  • Balaclava or Buff (optional) – not required if you are bringing a hoodie (see below). We have found Buffs to be highly versatile pieces of clothing and highly recommend them.

Torso

  • Wool/synthetic undershirt – For more info on what we like to use, read our article onunderpants.
  • Wool/synthetic t-shirt
  • Wool/synthetic long-sleeve undershirt
  • Light-weight fleece hoodie (preferred) or fleece sweater
  • Windbreaker – the lighter weight, the better
  • Rain jacket (optional) – whether or not you need this will depend on the forecast. For fall we prefer to bring something waterproof, breathable, and durable. I.e. I wouldn’t recommend a rain poncho.
  • Insulated jacket (optional) – Something light-weight and windproof and preferably with a hood. This jacket is meant to be worn at rest stops. If you have to wear this to stay warm when hiking then you aren’t bringing enough other layers. In early fall or late spring when the temperatures are mild we don’t bother with this. In colder weather this becomes essential.

Hands

  • Wool/Synthetic light-weight gloves or glove liners
  • Mitts (optional) – in early fall or late spring when the temperatures are mild we don’t bother with these.
  • Light weight hand towel for accidents and wipe downs.

Legs

  • Wool/synthetic underwear – as with the undershirts, for more info on what we like to use read our article on underpants.
  • Wool/synthetic long underwear
  • Fleece pants (optional) – some people get cold more easily than others and long underwear isn’t enough.
  • Synthetic hiking pants – make sure they are highly wind resistant and durable.
  • Rain pants (optional) – whether or not you need this will depend on the forecast. As with the jacket, we prefer to bring something waterproof, breathable, and durable.

Feet

  • Wool/synthetic liner socks (optional) – in colder weather, these can add a little extra warmth
  • Wool socks – the warmer the better
  • Waterproof socks (optional) – in cold/wet conditions these are VERY helpful
  • Hiking shoes – we like to wear light-weight trail runners
  • Gaiters (optional) – we will bring these when we think there might be snow and/or ice
  • Crampons (optional) – we will bring these when we think there might be snow and/or ice

If you are going to be hiking in the fall during hunting season, make sure that one of your clothing items is blaze orange. You should also always bring along at least a basic first aid kit.

 First-Aid Checklist

Be prepared! Outdoor enthusiasts should always carry either a prepackaged first-aid kit or a DIY kit created using our comprehensive list as a guide.

Basic Care: Prepackaged first-aid kits available at REI typically contain many of the following items:

Aspen Road and Mountain Bike Tours

Aspen and the surrounding area provide spectacular and sometimes quite challenging terrain for mountain and road bikers. You will want to keep in mind, a good part of Aspen is comprised of wilderness area – The list below will provide you with information for available rides. You can also call the local Forest Service office at 970-925-3445 or visit the National Forest website. Keep in mind: Mechanized vehicles are not allowed within the Wilderness boundaries and this includes Mountain Bikes –

Recommended Mountain Bike Rides

Smuggler Mountain Road – Follow Neal Street to King Street to Park Street to smugglersSmuggler Mountain Road where the trip begins.  At the fork in the road (approximately 1 ½ miles), take a left.  This road travels uphill for one and a half miles to the Smuggler Observation Deck. Going left will connect you with an entire network of trails:  Smuggler Mountain Road to Hunter Creek Trail andSmuggler Mountain Road to Lenado Trail.

rio Grande trail

Rio Grande Trail – This trail begins behind the Post Office on Puppy Smith Street. The first two miles are paved.  The trail then crosses Cemetery Lane becoming a dirt trail at that point.  The trail proceeds northwest to Woody Creek. For more information on this trail and a map please visit Lay Some Tread. (EASY) We recommend biking to Woody Creek Tavern for lunch in our Day to Defy Ordinary Itinerary.

sunnysideSunnyside Trail – The trail begins on Cemetery Lane.  Follow Cemetery Lane from Hwy 82 where the road crosses the Roaring Fork River.  Approximately ¼ mile beyond this point, you will see the trail beginning on the right.

brush creek trail

 

Brush Creek Trail – The trail begins behind the tennis courts on Maroon Creek Road.  It crosses Buttermilk Mountain and finishes in Snowmass.  As this trail crosses private property, it is VERY important that bikers stay on the trail only.  Failure to do so could jeopardize future use of this trail.

The town of Snowmass has a variety of mountain bike trails to offer, some of our favorites include the Rim Trail, Tom Blake Trail, and the Government Trail. Click here for a link to their trail map.

Mountain Biking Essentials list

Spare Tubes or a Patch Kit
Even if you’ve gone tubeless, I usually have at least one tube and patch kit in my pack on a long ride. It’s a little quicker and easier to replace a tube than patching a tube on the trail. If the popped tube is worth salvaging, I’ll patch it up later when I get home from the ride.

Bike Pump
You can’t fix a flat tire without a pump. I use the Blackburn Airstik 2 Stage Pump because it’s very small and lightweight, but still powerful enough that it won’t tire you out just pumping up your tube. Or for an even more minimalist and time-saving option, a CO2 inflator is worth checking out. I’d recommend keeping a couple of full cartridges on hand if you’re going this route.

Tool Kit
You can assemble your own, or pick up a pre-assembled kit. At minimum, it should include the following:

  • Tire levers
  • Allen wrenches
  • Bike-specific multi-tool
  • Chain tool. A multi-tool does in a pinch, but if you need it, you’ll be glad to have the specific tool. And speaking of chains …
  • A few links of chain and a quick-link

First Aid Kit
You’ll probably need it when you don’t have it. Keeping a bike-specific first aid kit stowed away in your pack enables you to be at least somewhat prepared for the unexpected. One item that has come in handy time and time again is a towel. I like to throw a couple Lightload Towel pucks into my pack. They are as the name implies light 0.01 lbs, they take up almost no space and are surprisingly durable. Check them out here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qB-iPiqGQ0c

Light
On a long ride, one setback can leave you racing to beat sundown. A headlamp or handlebar light is good to throw in the pack. If I know I’ll be cutting it close, I’ll bring my NiteRider Pro 1200 along for the ride.

CLOTHING

As many of us know from staring at forecasts all winter long, the weather won’t always turn out how you expect.  When heading out on that all day ride, there are a few things I always try to carry with me.

Extra Layer or Jacket
A long sleeve jersey or a light cycling jacket with a bit of weather defense is a good choice. Depending on where you ride you may opt for more or less wind or water protection. For my longer rides I like to pack my Norrona Fjora Aero 100 Jacket because it is lightweight, packable, and breathable, yet still provides enough protection for the random storm.

Extra Socks
Are you expecting a little mud or water on your ride? Socks are easy to throw in the pack and would be nice to change into on your lunch break or when things dry out.

Gloves
It seems like every time I forget my gloves, I crash and cut up my hands.  Keep them in your pack so you don’t make the mistake I’ve made too many times!

Sunglasses
Even if it’s not a sunny day, glasses with clear or light-colored lenses are essential protection, coming in handy when you roll through a cloud of gnats or are banging through an overgrown trail. No-slip nosepads and grippy temples on sunglasses are kind of a must so they’re not slipping or bouncing around on your face. Interchangeable or, better still, photochromic  lenses are ideal for changing light conditions over the course of a long ride.

FUEL

Water
Hydration packs are the best option for these long rides. But if you already have a regular pack and aren’t looking to get a new one, you can do what I did and just purchase a hydration bladder separately.  For long rides, you’re probably going to want a three-liter one.

Drink Mixes
To go all day, it’s good to have more than just water.  An extra water bottle with a Skratch Labs mix will keep you replenished and less fatigued so you don’t get sloppy at the end of the trail.

Food
Aside from packing a sandwich for lunch, energy bars are good to throw in the pack. I usually bring a couple Clif Bars with me, but protein bars and energy gels will also keep you pedaling.

GEAR HACKS

Your pack is stocked and ready to go, but there’s always that off chance you’ll need to get creative to in order to make it down the trail. Zip ties are at the top of the list when it comes to bike gear hacks—they’re small, lightweight, and can be used to fix all kinds of things—like busted derailleur hangers, flapping fenders, and broken shoelaces—well enough to get you down from the mountain.

Be sure to bring along the other gear hack hall of famer, duct tape. If a zip tie can’t fix it, duct tape probably can, from sticking things onto your bike to bracing or splinting injured body parts like wrists or ankles. There’s no need to weigh down your pack with a huge 60-yard roll; bring along one of these emergency-sized rolls or wind 4-5 feet around a golf pencil or small stick and throw it in with the rest of your gear.

My own personal don’t-leave-home-without-it item is my wallet. And not only for the obvious access to emergency funds; a business card tucked into my wallet once came in handy on a ride on the Wasatch Crest Trail. After a second flat on the same tire, I discovered a small slash in the sidewall (the replacement tube blew out because of that hole).  It was a long way back in either direction, so we needed a quick fix.  I took the card out of my wallet (which I just happened to have with me), folded it up, and placed it on the inside of the tire against the slashed sidewall.  I aired up the second tube inside of that, and it held for the remainder of the ride. Since then, I’ve always made it a point to bring my wallet along instead of leaving it in the car, because it just might save the day.

– See more at: http://www.backcountry.com/explore/whats-in-the-pack-mountain-bike-essentials#sthash.Hn56Onn4.dpuf

Fun Facts for Hikers

 

What is it about hiking that has us on our feet?Hiker

There are more then few folks who just don’t get it. After all it is an awful lot of work and in the end it’s not like your getting anything from it. Of course I totally disagree, the rewards for all that toil is often a view that can be seen from no where else but the top of that next rise, or a sunset that is beyond beauty. The more tangible benefits are of course an elevated heart rate (in a good way), fresh air and open skies and a chance to explore places not everyone gets to see. Still, not everyone buys into that. So we thought we would look at a bigger picture of hiking, and find the following nuggets of hiking facts, stats, averages, and other numbers:

7,325: Miles. Sum length of the Triple Crown (Appalacian, Pacific Crest and Continental Divide trails combined)

420,880: Feet. Elevation change in the 2,663 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail.

46:11:20: Time, days:hours:minutes. Record set by Jennifer Pharr Davis in 2011 for the fastest through-hike of the Appalachian Trail.

5: Pairs. Shoes used up by Davis on her record-setting trek. That’s a new pair every 9 days.

31 million: Americans. According to the American Recreation Foundation this is the number of Americans who hiked a trail in 2007.

4,600: Miles. Longest hike in the U.S., North Country National Scenic Trail. From Lake Sakakawea, North Dakota to Crown Point, New York.

16,368,000: Feet. Length of Continental Divide Trail. That’s 3,100 miles.

734: Miles. Sum of the length of all hiking trails in Glacier National Park.

10: Essentials. As dictated by The Mountaineers, a climber’s organization, in 1930 for establishing what you need to react positively to an accident or emergency, and to spend an unexpected night outside. In order: Map, Compass, Sunglasses and sunscreen, Extra clothing, Headlamp/flashlight, First-aid supplies, Firestarter, Matches, Knife, Extra food.

2003: Year. The Mountaineers updated their 10 Essentials in the 2003 edition of Mountaineering: The Freedom of the Hills to the following: Navigation (map and compass), Sun protection (sunglasses and sunscreen), Insulation (extra clothing), Illumination (headlamp/flashlight), First-aid supplies, Fire (waterproof matches/lighter/candles), ulta-light towels/blankes, Repair kit and tools, Nutrition (extra food), Hydration (extra water), Emergency shelter

1989: Year. A river guide started a little company that makes sandals. Chaco. You know the one.

10-20: Percentage. Suggested backpack weight for children as a percentage of their body weight. For example, a 50 lbs child should carry backpack that weighs 10 lbs — or until they start whining about numb arms. Which ever comes first. Keep the peace. Try bribery with candy, then move on to reducing weight.

31: Satellites. The Global Positioning System (GPS) operates on a constellation of 31 satellites that orbit the earth on 6 orbital planes at an altitude of 12,600 miles in a fashion that puts nearly all points on the planet in line of sight with at least 6 satellites at any given time.

14,505: Elevation. Mount Whitney is the tallest peak in the 48 U.S., and also the tallest “hikeable” peak (vs climbable) by a trail 22 miles round trip.

6,288: Elevation. Tallest hikeable peak in New England, Mt. Washington.

13: Length. Miles of longest slot canyon, Buckskin Gulch in Utah.

800: Approximated average. Number of hikers who would hike Half Dome on a busy holiday or weekend day in Yosemite before the current permit system went into place. The NPS now allows just 400 people on the trail in a day, and a permit is required.

21: Distance. A rim-to-rim hike of the Grand Canyon using South Kaibab and North Kaibab trails is 21 miles long. A hard 21 miles.

517: Calories. Man weighing 190 lbs will burn this in one hour of hiking.

440: Calories. A woman who weighs 163 lbs will burn this in an hour of hiking.

Hut-to Hut Backcountry Bike Treks

Camp Towels for Bike Treks
Camping has never been easier with a three pack of lightload Towels. Use one towel for the cook-set, one for the first aid kit and the other for general use. “Pack it in and Pack it Out” so the next campers can enjoy a good clean site.

I have been looking for different types of overnight/longer then a day biking treks when I happened on this one. Now I have done the winter hut-to-hut cross-country treks so I am not sure why this never crossed my mind, but I have to say now that I have seen it I am obsessed.

This was presented as a non-camping option and given some of the regions there is good reason to opt for the hut overnight.  Hut-to-hut touring is an activity of which Colorado is king. There you can tackle a fat-tire adventure beginning in the southwest corner of the state (in either Telluride or Durango), and wind up a few days later in Moab (okay, that’s in Utah, not Colorado). The trips are organized by San Juan Hut Systems, whose mission is “to provide low-impact, human-powered, lightweight backcountry travel opportunities for the independent, health-conscious adventurer at a practical price.” The distance from one hut to the next is generally about 35 miles; the terrain ranges from dirt roads and trails in the alpine vastness of the San Juan Mountains, to desert canyons and slickrock. Each hut is stocked with food and utensils, water, a cookstove, and sleeping gear.

Another Colorado option: Take one of the trips organized out of Fruita by “The Hut Guy,” who, according to the Colorado Backcountry Biker website, “spent years scouring hundreds of miles, identifying the premier mountain biking trails in western Colorado.” As a result, it says, Colorado Backcountry Biker offers self-guided, budget-friendly bike trips on which you can spend two or three nights in fully stocked huts, and by day experience some of the best mountain biking in the West. Options include riding on the storied Tabeguache Trail, with baggage transfer from hut to hut and other amenities that are somewhat luxurious, considering the backwoods setting.

If you are more of a do-it-yourselfer — or haul-it-yourselfer (your own food, sleeping bag, etc.) — there are some great trail rides to the huts maintained by the 10th Mountain Division Hut Association. Not all thirty of the system’s huts are reachable by mountain bike, but a lot of them are. These huts are relatively large, sleeping an average of sixteen people, and come equipped with wood-burning stoves and propane burners, cooking and eating utensils, and mattresses and pillows.

Up in the great Pacific Northwest, Cascade Huts offers self-guided multi-day trips in Oregon’s Mt. Hood National Forest. Again stocked with supplies to enable lightweight riding, the huts line a loop around Mt. Hood that ranges from 135 to 160 miles in length, depending on the exact route chosen. And to the north of there, in Washington state, the five Rendezvous Huts in Methow Valley offer rustic but cozy accommodations for summer cyclists in a location that, come winter, is one of the premier Nordic skiing destinations in North America.

In Washington’s geographical counterpart on other side of the country, Maine Huts & Trails has big plans over the coming years to enhance the mountain biking possibilities it makes available. As it says on their website, “we envision offering mountain bikers a wide array of trails, from short, easy riding along our hut access roads and other dirt roads to technical singletrack deep in the backcountry. Riders will eventually be able to ride for several days along a variety of trails, staying overnight in the Maine Huts … [and, in fact] cyclists are already finding some great riding along and proximal to the MH&T system.”

Gear List

The Basics for Camping:

  • Sleeping bag
  • Camp pad
  • Small tent, bivy sack, or camp hammock
  • Food (or a nearby dining establishment)
  • Personal items: toiletries, hand towels and camp towels etc

Deluxe Gear List:
Perhaps you’re not a minimalist. Just remember: everything you bring adds weight to your bike. If you have much hill climbing or a lot of mileage planned, you may want to reconsider how much you take along.

Deluxe Camping Gear List:

  • Route map(s)
  • Sleeping bag
  • Camp pad or air mattress
  • Small tent, bivy sack, or camp hammock
  • Camp pillow or stuff sack, bath, hand and cook towels
  • Cooking equipment (small stove, cookware, utensils) including food, camp towel
  • Camp chair
  • Headlamp or flashlight
  • Pocketknife
  • Waterproof matches

Deluxe Personal Gear List:

  • Toiletries
  • Two sets of bike clothes
  • Two sets of off-the-bike clothes
  • Raingear
  • Cold weather gear
  • Shoes/sandals
  • Bathing suit
  • Towel

Other possibilities:

  • Books
  • Camera
  • Playing cards
  • Sports equipment
  • Fishing gear
  • Radio/iPod/MP3 player
  • And more!

This about wraps up the hut-to-hut riding opportunities my research turned up. If you know of others, feel free to add them to this list.

 

Travel Review: The World’s First Towel to Function as a Survival Tool

Travelwriters.com — Press Release Distribution 6/11/2008
===============================================================— [ FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE ] —
THE WORLD’S FIRST TOWEL TO FUNCTION AS A SURVIVAL TOOL
For a sample please contact:
George Wheeler
Dyna-E International
917- 922 -0154
info@lightloadtowels.com

BIODEGRADABLE, POCKET-SIZE TOWEL SAVES LIVES, FILTERS Water, AND KEEPS THE KIDS BUSY THIS SUMMER

July 10, 2008 – (Jamaica, NY) – After thousands of years of “regular” towel use, Lightload Towels presents a towel that functions as a real survival tool. The multi-purpose towel that will fit in your pocket and leave room for keys and pocket change is quickly becoming a must-have item in every outdoorsman’s survival kit as summer approaches.

The eco-friendly, biodegradable towel is essential for any survival kit due to its many uses, which range from functioning as a coffee filter, fire starter, emergency signaling flag, blanket, warming scarf, or as a good old fashioned towel. Unlike the traditional towel, the Lightload Towel absorbs nine times its weight in water and is equivalent in size to two normal-sized towels.

In addition to being the only survival tool of its kind, the Lightload Towels beach towel is a must for every surfer who enjoys a super-absorbent, pocket-sized towel during an active day at the beach. Lightload Towels is the only beach towel that can fit in your pocket with room to spare.

The waterproof packaging can also be used for entertainment purposes during a rainy day indoors, either as a checkers piece or a hockey puck. The towels are reusable, but will not harm the environment once disposed because of their biodegradable material.

About the Founder:

The brain behind Lightload Towels is George “Wideload” Wheeler, an avid long distance hiker who completed the 2160-mile Appalachian Trail in 1999. The year after, he hiked the 540 miles of Virginia to West Virginia on the same trail.

“As an outdoorsman who loves hiking and camping in the wild, I realized the necessity of an easily-portable, space-saving, multi-purpose towel that would be eco-friendly,” said Wheeler. “It’s essential to any first-aid kit and is great to have handy whether you are hunting and fishing or just playing golf.”

Wheeler spent eight years living in Asia, where he took and led hikes in Taiwan, Nepal, Pakistan and China. During this time he also learned how to speak Chinese. Moreover, Wheeler has hiked and camped in many of America’s national forests including the Ochoco and Willamette in Oregon, Davy Crockett in Texas, San Francisco in New Mexico, Piedmont in Alabama, Desoto in Mississippi, Allegheny in Pennsylvania, and the Green Mountain in Vermont.

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Lightload towel Vs. A MSR Pack Towel of the Same Size.

I recently led a hike in the Bear Mt. area with two of my teenage nephews. We field tested a small Lightload towel against as MSR pack towel of the same size. Both towels absorb the same as we found while drying off tent flies after a rainy night. But a distinct advantage of the Lightload is that you can ring much more water out of the fabric than the MSR, therefore making it more absorbant after the initial use, which allowed it to dry much faster than the MSR.

The Lightload was used, dryed by hanging on pack, and then re-used 4 times, while at days end, and after only 1 use, the MSR was still damp and heavy. The Lightload also, obviously packs smaller. Time and again, when we needed to dry something, such as ourselves after cooling off in a stream, we reached for the Lightload. Also, the LL is a fraction of the price of the MSR. The only catagory where the MSR may be superior is durability, but we can continue extended field tests to determine the durability of the Lightload.

 

Gear Test:Lightload Towels for the Impulsive Minimalist

Greetings,

Recently I purchased a Lightload Towel at REI. The impulsive minimalist in me couldn’t resist the tiny package! My only hesitation came from doubts about its durability and life. Boy, have those reservations been swept aside. I’ve taken it to the beach every day since (I’m on vacation in San Diego), where I’ve laid out on it, toweled off, used it to wipe clean my gear and strung it up for shade. Sadly, my towel mistakenly made it into the washing machine this morning and now resembles a hairball my cat may have regurgitated. Oops!

 

The 36″x60″ towel is sufficiently large to keep sand off my body while I’m laying out, but I’d like more space for my gear or a companion. I suggest your firm offer a larger size–perhaps 72″x72″–to be used as a ground cloth. I certainly would buy one!

 

Truly,

Erik Borman

Ulta Light Towels