Author: TheBackPacker

TheBackPacker October 2, 2012 0

Deer Ticks Yikes!

Each year thousands of would be hikers/backpackers explore the beauty of the backcountry. We go to great lengths to filter our water, carry first aid kits, and take great pics. However, one can’t say enough about the Lyme Disease caring Deer Tick.

This video by National Geographic is an excellent example of how pesky these guys can be. Our point being. Check and double check your entire body after a hike in the woods, especially where dear roam, (which is just about everywhere).

From the CDC website.

Lyme disease is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi and is transmitted to humans through the bite of infected blacklegged ticks. Typical symptoms include fever, headache, fatigue, and a characteristic skin rash called erythema migrans. If left untreated, infection can spread to joints, the heart, and the nervous system. Lyme disease is diagnosed based on symptoms, physical findings (e.g., rash), and the possibility of exposure to infected ticks; laboratory testing is helpful if used correctly and performed with validated methods. Most cases of Lyme disease can be treated successfully with a few weeks of antibiotics. Steps to prevent Lyme disease include using insect repellent, removing ticks promptly, applying pesticides, and reducing tick habitat. The ticks that transmit Lyme disease can occasionally transmit other tickborne diseases as well.

TheBackPacker August 30, 2012 0

BioLite CampStove Review

. BioLite stoves make cooking on wood as fast, clean and easy as petroleum fuels while generating electricity to keep your gadgets charged off-grid.

This video produced by BioLite shows exactly how the stove works. However, a complete review done by explains the substance beyond the hype. Watch the video, then read the gear review ”

The BioLite CampStove received a huge amount of media attention this summer for being the first camping stove that can burn wood for cooking and recharging USB-enabled electronic devices.


BioLite CampStove – The Substance Beyond the Hype

How does the BioLite CampStove Work?

How long does it take to recharge a cell phone?

How long does the wood in BioLite Stove take to burn?

TheBackPacker August 16, 2012 0

Thermarest NeoAir Trekker Pad Review

Thanks to  for testing out the Thermarest NeoAir Trekker Sleeping Pad.

The large size measure 25 inches wide and 77 inches tall, with a 2.5 inch depth. It weighs in at 1 pound 10 ounces for the large size. Overall a good buy if you go on overnighters often – but maybe too expensive for a casual camper.

A better choice for backpacking in warmer climates, the Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Trekker sleeping pad adds a level of comfort and durability to this already lightweight air mattress.

  • Therm-a-Rest combines advanced, patent-pending technology and material with decades of experience to offer a lightweight, warm and incredibly compactible sleeping pad
  • Offering twice the warmth of other uninsulated sleeping pads, internal baffling reduces convection heat loss between a warm body and cold ground much like a dual-pane window
  • Innovative baffling also creates an internal truss system that minimizes the movement of air; shift less and rest better!
  • Supple, yet rugged 75-denier? textured polyester fabric on top and a durable 100-denier? polyester on the bottom provide a quiet sleep surface
  • Thermal efficiency without added down or fiber insulation saves weight and allows the Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Trekker to pack down small; stuff sack is included

You can buy this at almost all outfitters. Check it out here at Altrec

TheBackPacker March 18, 2012 0

Choosing the Best Gaiters

Hiking gaiters can be an essential piece of gear when your backpacking in the Spring or Winter. I find in early Spring when it’s still wet, muddy, and cold, gaiters can keep my boots and socks pretty dry.

Hiking Gaiters are normally a synthetic type material that covers the top of your boot and the lower part of your leg.  Gaiters can protect you in many ways:

  • Keeps your legs warm when hiking in snow (especially snowshoeing)
  • Keeping your feet warm and dry when crossing small streams, or hiking in really muddy conditions.
  • They are great when hiking in tall blade grass, or ferns.

Another big advantage is during tick season. Ticks generally leap onto your leg or sock. Gaiters can be a huge benefit to make sure you don’t bring those pesky guys into your tent. 

Hiking Gaiters come in two heights, low and high.

  • Low Gaiters, 8” to 12” tall, are designed to mainly keep debris and water out of your hiking boots. These are recommended for basic hiking conditions.
  • High Gaiters are 15” to 18” tall. These are the workhorse Gaiters. They protect you during more extreme conditions, like bushwacking, deep snow and bad weather.

What kind of Gaiters should I get?

What’s the Activity?

  • Mild-Weather Hiking Trips – Trail Gaiters are your best bet. These have basic protection against some rain, rocks and grit. These are normally breathable and lightweight.
  • All-around Hiking, Mountaineering and Snowshoeing – Alpine gaiters are what you need. These provide better abrasion and water protection than the Trail Gaiters.

Good Gaiters can be costly, but well worth the investment. Nobody likes hiking in wet socks. Look for Gaiters that are waterproof. Gaiters that have a waterproof and breathable material are going to cost a bit more, but can be worth it for comfort.

Durability is the key. Keeping your legs free of abrasions is of utmost importance. Make sure the material is strong.

I wear the Outdoor Research Gaiters. These guys have never let me down and have always kept my feet dry.

TheBackPacker February 16, 2012 0

Clean Water Everytime by UV Light

Bottled water is a bit of a fad and a strange thing to pay for, considering water makes up majority of our planet (yeah yeah, it’s purified and all that).

Wait a second – now you can get purification without having to fork out money for every little 250ml! Camelbak are bringing you a nifty little water bottle that will clean up your water in just 60 seconds. A brilliant innovation into purifying water, the All Clear bottle contains a UV light installed in the cap that’s proven to eradicate 99.9999% of bacteria, 99.99% of viruses and 99.9% of protozoa. That gives you a pretty good chance of not coming down with Delhi Belly if you ask me!

You can fill it from any stream, tap, or spigot and even has a pre-filter accessory to filter out sediments as you fill it up from a natural source. It would be great for a camping trip or if you’re travelling to a country where the water isn’t purified. It treats 80 cycles (16 gallons) with each charge (so if you drank three bottles a day, it would last about 25 days), and the cap is protected from wear and weather so that you can take it anywhere and everywhere. The bulb itself should last 10,000 cycles – that would be the equivalent of drinking 3 bottles a day for 9 years – so you’re unlikely going to need to change that. It’s powered by two lithium batteries, rechargeable via USB (that’s pretty cool).

The only thing that I think would make this bottle a super-green alternative to bottled water would be to include a solar panel to augment the lithium batteries and reduce energy expenditure. But all the same, a pretty darned nifty gadget. If anyone has tested this in the backcounty would love to hear about it.

TheBackPacker December 19, 2011 1

How to Choose Snowshoes

REI put’s together a great article on how to choose Snowshoes.  Of course one of the important things to consider is; what am I going to use the snowshoes for.

With a little knowledge, buying the right snowshoes is a walk in the park.

Flat Terrain

  • Designed for easy walking on flat to rolling terrain; ideal for families.
  • Includes entry-level models that offer good value.
  • Easy-to-adjust bindings and less aggressive traction systems.

Rolling Terrain

  • Designed for hiking on rolling to steep terrain; suitable for all but very steep or icy conditions.
  • A step up from entry level, good for hiking off the beaten track.
  • Designed with more aggressive crampons and beefier bindings.

Mountain Terrain

  • Designed for icy, steep terrain.
  • Aimed at snowshoers who want to blaze their own trails for day hiking, winter summiting, backpacking or backcountry snowboarding.
  • Made with climbing-style crampons and rugged bindings that can withstand harsh conditions and terrain.

While most snowshoes fall into these 3 categories, a few models are designed specifically for trail-running, fitness or climbing.

Find the Right Snowshoe Size

Aluminum-frame snowshoes come in multiple sizes, usually 8″ x 25″, 9″ x 30″ and 10″ x 36″ or something similar. Composite snowshoes come in one size (typically 8″ x 22″) and offer the option of adding 4″ to 8″ tails to help you stay afloat on snow. Why does size matter? It’s a key factor in getting the right amount of flotation.

Step 1: Narrow by Gender (or Age)

Snowshoe sizes and shapes vary as follows:

  • Men’s snowshoes are designed to accommodate larger boots and heavier loads.
  • Women’s snowshoes tend to feature narrower, more contoured frame designs and sizes down to 8″ x 21″. Their bindings are sized to fit women’s footwear.
  • Kids’ snowshoes vary by intended age. Smaller sizes are intended for casual snow play, while larger models offer the same technical features found on adult snowshoes.

Step 2: Consider Snow Conditions

Recommended loads are based on light, dry snow conditions. But consider that on powder snow you need bigger snowshoes to stay afloat than you would on compact, wet snow. In other words, a powder-happy Utah snowshoer may want a larger size than a same-sized snowshoer in the wet snow of the Pacific Northwest.

Packed trails, brush and forest call for more compact shoes, which are easier to maneuver in tight spaces. Steep or icy terrain is also best explored with smaller snowshoes. Open areas with deep drifts require larger snowshoes.

Tip: Get the smallest size that will support your weight for the snow conditions and terrain in your area. As long as you have adequate flotation, smaller snowshoes will be much easier to handle.

Step 3: Determine Your Weight with Gear

Your weight, including equipment, is referred to as the recommended load or carrying capacity on snowshoe specs. This is a major factor in determining the right size. In most circumstances, a heavier person or one with a heavily loaded pack will require larger snowshoes than a smaller person or one carrying gear just for the day.

Read the rest of the article at

TheBackPacker December 13, 2011 0

Snow Peak Mini Solo Combo Titanium Cookset

Saving space and weight in your backpack, the Snow Peak Mini Solo Titanium Cookset has features that will appeal to any ounce-counting solo backpacker or hiker.

The Snow Peak SCS-004T Mini Solo Titanium cook set includes a 28 oz. (0.875 quart) pot with lid, a 10 oz. cup, and a stuff sack.

Like other Snow Peak products, the Mini Solo Titanium Cook Set is designed to save space in your pack. The pot stows inside the cup, and the pot will hold a pair of 7 oz. Snow Peak fuel canisters, or a single canister and a GigaPower stove. This nesting results in a nice compact cooking kit.

Titanium is an advanced, lightweight metal that is more corrosion resistant than stainless steel and more heat resistant than aluminum. The result is a durable cook set that weighs only 5.5 oz.


Key Features

  • Titanium construction
  • 28 oz. (0.875 quart) pot with lid
  • 10 oz. cup
  • Mesh stuff sack included
  • Nesting design
TheBackPacker February 13, 2011 0

Panther Creek Loop in Cohutta Wilderness

The United States Congress designated the Cohutta Wilderness (map) in 1975 and it now has a total of 36,977 acres. Georgia contains approximately 35,268 acres. Tennessee contains approximately 1,709 acres. It is managed by the Forest Service. The Cohutta Wilderness is bordered by the Big Frog Wilderness to the northeast.

The Panther Creek Loop Trail can be found off of Hwy 411 at the intersection of Rt 2 in Georgia. Be prepared for some off road driving to get to this trailhead. The trail (Hickory Creek Trail) starts off as Moderate and in about 6-7 miles you’ll get to camp next to Conasauga River. Day 2, you’ll cross the Conasauga River on to the Conasauga River Trail twice and start your climb up Panther Creek Trail to East Cowpen Trail. The climb up on the East Cowpen trail is a pretty steep climb.

Bryan Delay once again does a great description of this backpacking trip.

Video Shot by YouTube User: Bryan Delay

TheBackPacker February 8, 2011 0

Best of TheBackpackerTV 2010

Since starting this website, I’ve gotten to backpack all over the Country. So many more places I want to go, but just can’t find the time. But each year I compile a video on some of my favorite places I went that year. Of course being going back and editing my video’s reminds me of what a great time I have being out in the Wilderness.

Hear is a video of the 2010 year.

See you on the Trail

TheBackPacker January 26, 2011 0

30 Mile Loop in Big South Fork

Bryan Delay makes another great video of a 30 mile backpacking loop in Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area.

The Big South Fork National River and Recreational Area was established by Congress in 1974 to protect a unique scenic and cultural area. The Big South Fork more than 521,000 acres in Tennessee and North Carolina. The Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area encompasses 90 miles of scenic gorges, dense forests, and free-flowing river. The main gorge was formed by the Big South Fork of the Cumberland River.

This video was shot by YouTube User: Bryan Delay

TheBackPacker January 25, 2011 0

Mt. Rogers National Recreation Area

Mount Rogers National Recreation Area is a United States National Recreation Area located in southwestern Virginia near the border with Tennessee and North Carolina. The centerpiece of the recreation area is Mount Rogers, the highest point in the state of Virginia with a summit elevation of 5,729 feet (1746 m). Most of the recreation area is under the jurisdiction of the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests, except for a 5,000 acres (20 km2) section near Mount Rogers that is managed by Grayson Highlands State Park. The recreation area was established by an act of the United States Congress on May 31, 1966.

The Appalachian Trail runs right through the Grayson Highlands State Park. This is one of the most scenic parts of the whole AT. Wild Ponies graze through the park, and the odds are good you will encounter one. I did a 22 mile loop hike in and around the Park which included the Appalachian Trail

TheBackPacker January 25, 2011 0

Backpacking the Charles Deam Wilderness

The Charles C. Deam Wilderness was designated by Congress in December 1982. It was named for the first State Forester in Indiana, who was a pioneer in the forest conservation and an author of books on the trees and flora of Indiana.

The area is a fine example of Karst topography, with its flat-topped ridges, geode-laden streambeds, and occasional caves. Squirrels, deer, and other game are plentiful, attracting many hunters every fall. Hikers, backpackers, and horseback riders are also drawn to the wilderness and its 39 miles of trails.

In contrast to relatively virgin wilderness areas elsewhere in the country, the entire area now known as the “Deam” was once inhabited by white settlers. Most of the trails follow old roadbeds, and a bit of exploration off the main trails will bring visitors past other shadows of the past, including house foundations, domestic plants, old fences, and the occasional cemetery (five cemeteries exist within the wilderness boundary). The narrow, rocky ridges made for marginally productive farmland, but the inhabitants were able to scrape by until the Great Depression. As the economy forced them out, the U.S. Forest Service acquired their property and, with the help of the Civilian Conservation Corps, began rehabilitating the area and managing it for recreation. “Improvements” included constructing ponds, replanting trees, and building the Hickory Ridge Fire Tower that still stands, open to the public, at the Hickory Ridge Trailhead. After it was designated as wilderness under Ronald Reagan, the only improvements came in the form of trail maintenance and nature’s own management plan.

I did a 13 mile loop including a 5 mile loop on the Sycamore Trail. The trailhead starts at the Firetower on Firetower Road. I looped back, then drove to the other trailhead and did an out and back.

TheBackPacker May 6, 2010 1

Backpacking Point Reyes National Seashore

Point Reyes National Seashore offers year-round backcountry camping along Drakes Bay and amongst the hills and valleys of the Phillip Burton Wilderness, and boat-in camping on the west shore of Tomales Bay. Because of its location near the Metropolitan San Francisco Bay Area, the campsites at Point Reyes are in great demand. Reservations are strongly suggested.

All campsites are accessible only by hiking, biking or horseback for the backcountry sites, and only by kayak or boat for the Tomales Bay.

The National Seashore has about 150 miles of hiking trails to explore. Trail maps for the north district trails and south district trails are available at the Bear Valley Visitor Center.

This video was shot by Vimeo User: SurvivorJEB