Category: Blog

Scott and Ariane October 12, 2017 0

Exploring the Badlands

Exploring the Badlands National Park is like visiting another planet. It’s vast, remote, and wild. But what makes it really amazing is the pinnacle like mounds that do NOT look like anything you will ever see.  The Badlands National Park is over 200,000 acres and has a ton of wildlife.  Bison, bighorn sheep, prairie dogs, and black-footed ferrets all roam the prairie.

When we first got there, it was really windy. In fact winds were gusting to about 60 mph, so they had closed the campground. YIKES! After talking to one of the Rangers, he agreed to give us a discount on one of the little cabins in the campground so we could wait out the winds. The cabins were cozy and super comfortable. We were really grateful for the hospitality the Ranger showed us. 

The next day we were out to explore the Badlands. We had downloaded a GPS route and were eager to see if we could keep up with the route.

The Route started at the Conata Picnic Area. There is a sign at the very end of the picnic area. The Trail starts out like a normal trail for about 200 yards and then disappears. You are on your own after that. You follow Southwest for about 2 miles then turn Northwest towards a large open grassy field. Deer Haven is way in the background. We headed right towards Deer Haven. You can’t miss it. We ducked under a Cattle Fence and I was off to climb up and over Deer Haven. If you want to really see the park, climb up to to Deer Haven and camp under the Full Moon. It’s amazing.

Climbing Deer Haven is pretty simple. Follow Deer Trails. They almost look like a regular trail, and they won’t let you down. They will take you right up to the top exactly where you need to start your decent. From there, it’s all creek bed. Followed some amazing Buffalo hoof prints and saw some spectacular scenery.

The park’s main visitor center, the Ben Reifel Visitor Center, is open daily all year, except Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day. During the summer months, ranger-led programs are offered throughout the day. Check at the visitor center for more information on these programs.

This is a spectacular place if you want to Boondock with your RV also. In fact, probably one of the more peaceful and beautiful places we’ve seen for an ultimate place to park your RV and just gaze out into the Badlands. It’s  located about 5 miles south of Wall, just before the entrance to Badlands National Park.

The Ben Reifel Visitor Center is located at Cedar Pass on the Badlands Loop Road (Hwy 240), 9 miles South of I-90, exit 131 Phone (605) 455-2878

Scott and Ariane October 12, 2017 0

Meet & Greet Peoria Backpackers

When the Peoria Backpackers Meetup Group asked us to do a Backpacking Basics along with a Q & A we jumped at the chance. After all Scott lived there for almost 8 years. In fact, Scott started that backpacking club when he was looking for others to go hiking with. Now 9 years later, the club is going strong.  Not only did we get a chance to see some old friends (and meet new one’s) we were able to go on a 3 mile hike afterwards on a gorgeous day.

Peoria, Il isn’t just another town in central Illinois. Peoria offers some very cool places to explore and spend a lot of time outdoors. For example, the Forest Park Nature Center, (where we all met for the event) has over a 3 mile hiking trail that can get anyone’s blood pumping for some good exercise while in a beautiful forest setting.

If you are looking for even more adventure, than take a hour drive Northeast to Starved Rock State Park and explore waterfalls, caves, and small canyons.

A huge thank you to Becky (one of the Organizers) who let us crash at her house and who cooks amazing breakfast potato’s.

 

Trust the Trail Podcast
Scott and Ariane September 22, 2017 0

Episode 33: The Trail Down Below

On this episode we are talking about the trails that run deep below the surface, we are talking caving. Ariane is an avid caver, and there is no way we could get away WITHOUT doing a podcast about the trails that traverse underground. Talk about Trust the Trail….We also discuss Ariane taking me on my first caving expedition while holding a few details back and how I had to face my fear.

Trust the Trail Podcast
Scott and Ariane September 7, 2017 0

Episode 31: You Inspire US

On this episode we share with you the people that have inspired us throughout the years. In the 10 years we have been taking people outdoors we have been so inspired by how they overcame their fear of the outdoors.  People that had never dared to go outdoors and spend the night, let alone going solo on a backpacking trip. They share their notes, txt’s, and messages with us…In return, they inspire US.

Scott and Ariane September 4, 2017 0

How I infected myself with the Norovirus

It makes no difference whether you are traveling, backpacking, playing sports, or just living your everyday life. The Norovirus is something you do NOT want to get. Yet, thousands each year become infected.

When I was asked (Ariane writing here) to take part in a Norovirus Research Study, I jumped at the chance. Yea, I laugh just thinking about my enthusiasm. (what’s wrong with me)?  As an Outdoor Guide and after hiking 300 miles of the Appalachian Trail this year, I witnessed myself how brutal getting sick outdoors really is. At least 5 people I was hiking with dropped off the trail because of the Norovirus.  The bunkhouse I stayed in had to completely bleach everything because staff members were going down.

After spending 5 days in the hospital and logging every single “issue” I had while infected. It’s important to share what I learned to our outdoor friends. People I know that are planning a Long Distance Hike on the AT, or traveling across the country in their RV (as we are getting ready to do) We felt obligated to put together a PDF file that you can keep with you on your smart phone and reference it. Or at least think about how exposed you can be while out there.

How to prevent getting the Norovirus when you spend time in the outdoors is only the first step. Understanding how it spreads is crucial.

The most common cause of acute gastroenteritis and food borne disease outbreaks in the United States, norovirus, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is responsible for 19-20 million illnesses, leads to 1.7–1.9 million outpatient visits and 400,000 emergency department visits, primarily in young children, and contributes to 56,000-71,000 hospitalizations and 570-800 deaths annually in America.

Norovirus is a very contagious virus that can be contracted from an infected person, contaminated food or water, or by touching contaminated surfaces. -CDC

The virus causes acute inflammation of the stomach and intestines leading to abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, which usually last 1-3 days. Patients can also remain contagious for up to 3 days after the acute symptoms resolve.

I was genuinely surprised at the abrasive hastiness in which the virus appeared, perhaps I thinking it would have been a more gradual introduction of discomfort, slowing introducing it’s fowl play. – Ariane Petrucci

 

NOTES I took at the Hospital: Approximately every ten to fifteen minutes I’d have to remind myself to cite a promise “no regrets”: 10:48 – 11:36 – 1:09 – 1:11 – 2:12 – 2:25 – 2:32 – 2:44 – 2:56 – 2:59 – 3:17 – 3:40 – 3:56 – 4:15 – 4:46 – 4:49 – 5:25 – 6:13 – and finally tapering of at a final clocking of 8:05pm. At its pinnacle, I only had to endured less than seven hours of unspeakable hell before flipping the mend.

After it was all said and done. I was glad it was over. For those who would like to subscribe to a special e-mail outlining the Norovirus and how to prevent it. Just fill out the box below.

Get the Scoop on Noro
Including personal Podcast of how I infected myself..on purpose
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Scott and Ariane July 21, 2017 0

Outdoor Common Sense Safety Tips

It’s Summer and you want to get outdoors and have fun. So many places to go and visit. Planning that amazing vacation or trekking out into the Wilderness for some long over due quiet time. But sometimes in planning the fun stuff, we forget to have a PLAN for real stuff. What do we mean by “real stuff”? The stuff that you don’t think of until that moment of “what do I do now” happens.

Real Stuff like being prepared for some circumstances that happens ALL the time. We call it a “safety plan” Let’s take a look at some of the common issues people have while enjoying the outdoors.

FALLS – Falls while hiking in mountainous terrain typically account for more fatalities than any other direct cause. A fall can result in a few scrapes minutes from the trailhead or life-threatening injuries miles – and hours – from help. This is why it’s especially important to never hike alone.

HEAT: Overexertion on hot summer days can lead to heat-related injuries.

COLD & HYPOTHERMIA: The lowering of your body’s core temperature below normal can lead to poor judgement and confusion, loss of consciousness and death – even in summer! We have seen this first hand when temps are in the 90’s and people get wet from a cold rain. Wind starts howling, clouds block the sun, and the next thing you know, you start shivering.

No matter if you are day hiking, backpacking, kayaking, having the right safety plan is the best thing you can do for you and your family.

According to the Journal of Travel Medicine, From 2003 to 2006, there were 12,337 SAR operations involving 15,537 visitors. The total operational costs were US$16,552,053. The operations ended with 522 fatalities, 4,860 ill or injured visitors, and 2,855 saves. Almost half (40%) of the operations occurred on Saturday and Sunday, and visitors aged 20 to 29 years were involved in 23% of the incidents. Males accounted for 66.3% of the visitors requiring SAR assistance. Day hiking, motorized boating, swimming, overnight hiking, and nonmotorized boating were the participant activities resulting in the most SAR operations. But here is the most important point:

An error in judgment, fatigue and physical conditions, and insufficient equipment, clothing, and experience were the most common contributing factors.

So what do you do?  ALWAYS HAVE A PLAN. What’s a PLAN?

  1. Do your research on where you are going? What do the Rangers recomend if you are going to a National Park. Every NPS site has a “Know before you go”. This is where most people don’t look.
  2. Plan and Prepare is the first principal in Leave NO Trace. It’s number one for a reason. Plan and prepare means knowing the terrain, weather conditions, environment. What’s the norm and not the norm of where you are going. Is it a Flash Flood Area? Has there been recent Forest Fires?
  3. Let another Friend, or Family member know exactly where you are going to be. Your route, how many days and nights you will gone. Have a Phone Number to the NPS or Recreational Area that they can call if you are not back when you designated.  The movie 127 hours is a perfect example of what happens when people don’t know where you are.
  4. Have a “Escape Plan”. What if you are in a situation where you need to get out as fast as you can. Look around, make sure you understand and get to know your surroundings. Weather happens fast.
  5. Always have a personalized First Aid Kit ready to go. When we say “personalized” we mean things that YOU may have to have. Like allergy medicine for example.

Finally. Understand the acronym STOP-A This is the biggest asset to you if your plan has to do with being lost. The number one question we get when taking new people out backpacking is “what if I get lost”.

STOP

If there is no immediate threat, like a wildfire or a bear breathing down your neck, then stop and sit down. The goal is to prevent any irrational thinking due to fear or an adrenaline dump.

THINK

let’s break out the best survival tool we have, our brain.

Countless books and stories attest to the fact that a positive mental attitude can pull people through even the most dire of circumstances.

Understand the difference between real threats and fears.

OBSERVE

Take a look at your surroundings and identify threats. Are there widow makers? How much time until it gets dark? Do you hear vehicles in the distance? Can you smell a campfire?

PLAN

After thinking about your priorities and observing your surroundings and gear, it is time to make some choices. Like prioritizing, planning is dependent on your situation. Generally, staying put and waiting for rescue is a good plan, but what if you didn’t tell anyone you were headed out and no one will know you are missing for days?

ACT

The best plan in the world will not do you any good until it is put in to action. Once you have a plan, start using your skills and execute the plan.

For those who want to leave trusted friends or family your itinerary. Go to hikeralert.com  this is an excellent web based platform that alerts through text message when you do not return

In operation since 2012, HikerAlert is a Web-based service that will automatically send an alert text message and email to your emergency contacts (your friends and family) if you don’t check in from an outdoor trip or other event by your scheduled return time.

Remember, your outdoor experience is  your responsibility. Make sure you’re stay safe out there. Mother Nature doesn’t care about your weekend plans.

Outdoor Safety

Safety and the Outdoors. We give you some basic safety tips when traveling outdoors or into the backcountry. Don't get caught without a plan! This is a must see show. www.thebackpacker.tv/sign-up/

Posted by TheBackpackerTV on Thursday, July 20, 2017

 

Scott Janz May 26, 2017 0

Comparing two of our favorite alcohol stoves

Both Ariane and I have used Alcohol Stoves for years now. After recently buying the Toaks Alcohol Stove, we wanted to test the efficiency and burn time between our Whitebox Alcohol Stove. I’ve had my Whitebox Alcohol Stove for 8 years and have always loved it.

I compared price, total burn time, and how fast to boil.

The conditions of the test were outdoors, 2 cubs of water in a 900 mil pot with lid. Winds were light to variable 5-10 mph. Both used Denatured Alcohol.

Specs on the Toaks: 

Material: Titanium (Grade 1 or 2, no coating)

Weight: 0.7 oz (20g)

Capacity: 2.7 oz (80g)

Cost: 34.95

WhiteBox Specs: 

Material: Aluminum

Weight: 1 oz

Capacity: 2.5 ounces of fuel

Cost: 23.00

Considering the weight and cost. The Whitebox Stove still comes out to be the better stove for the price and burn time. It is .3 ounces heavier, but that is just the stove. The Toaks comes out to be the same if you add the wire screen you need to place your pot on top of and the wind screen. AND you will pay a lot more for the Toaks.

I think it’s a matter of preference if you like Titanium over Aluminum.

Cold weather could obviously affect both stoves. But haven’t tested that yet. Have you?

Do you use an Alcohol Stove? If so we would love to hear what you use and how you like it?

Scott Janz May 26, 2017 1

Granite Gear VC 60 Backpack Review

Compression, compression, compression. That is what I think about when looking at new lightweight backpacks. How do can they compress, and is the way they compress going to benefit my overall gear system. When I tried on the Granite Gear Crown VC 60 ultralight backpack, I have to say I was impressed. It’s overall design and durability puts this pack high on my favorite pack list. At 2.2 lbs this is a pack you have to consider on a long distance hike.

Capacity:

With it’s 60 liters of capacity I would find it hard pressed to fill the bag all the way. This pack can carry a full load of gear that is for sure. With it’s roll top feature, you will be able to use this pack in Winter and still keep it as a lightweight system since your layer 4 winter jacket would nicely fit on the top. Since it compresses down, I can utilize unusable space. Again, compression! 

The compression of this pack is what I truly like however. The two crisscross of of Linloc compression straps on the side of the pack provides and excellent compression system. The pack design of the Linloc straps can be utilized to attach a rolled up sleeping pad, a tent, or tent poles. Also, there two compression straps that run over the top of the main compartment and provide additional carrying capacity.

Make it even lighter! The frame itself is removable so the pack can be used for ultralight loads without the frame. This takes the pack weight itself to almost a 13 oz pack.

What’s the VC stand for? Vapor Current. At first glance, you’ll notice the ventilation channels molded into the cushy back pad. These channels allow air to circulate from bottom to top, taking advantage of convection to aid in evaporative cooling. This facilitates circulation without shifting the pack’s center of gravity away from your back. Beneath the molded foam, the VC frame has a full length (all the way up to the load lifters), HDPE die-cut sheet that supports loads up to 35 lbs.

Will this pack handle a Long Distance Trek?

I say YES! As more and more ultra lightweight packs hit the market, it will be the durability and stitching that will ultimately stand the test of time. I like the VC Crown because of it’s CORDURA® fabric. If you are like me, you are hard on your packs. Ultimately, a strong fabric will make the difference.

TIP: Ultra lightweight packs means you should have lightweight gear. The maximum weight for this pack is 35lbs. I would subtract 5 lbs to that. Light weight packs maximize their performance when you pack your gear correctly AND carry other light weight gear.

Ariane Petrucci May 8, 2017 0

Watching Sunset on Springer – Appalachian Trail

From the moment I weighed my pack at Amicalola State Park (25.7 lbs) and registered for my trek on the Appalachian Trail, I knew it was going to magical. What I didn’t know was that from all the hundreds of people that hike the trail, the hundreds that visit the trail, and the hundreds that hike up to Springer Mountain to start their Thru-Hike, I would be completely alone to watch the sunset. In my first few hours of my Long Distance Hike, it was already so magical.

As day 1 ended. I was officially on the AT and moving North. My body was going to have to get use long days and long mileage on the trail. Yea, I was sore the first few days for sure. But after camping all by myself on Day 2, I was refreshed. My goal was to try and stay away from as many people as I could and soak up the trail in a private way.

Have to admit I was a little nervous about the Norovirus spreading rapid on the AT. A lot of hikers were going down and it a bit discerning.

Day 3 was another awesome day. Great weather, and clear nights. One more long day and then hike into Neel Gap and Mountain Crossings where I’ll take my first shower and sleep with a roof over my head.

My total pack weight feels really good. So happy about my Hyperlite Mountain Southwest 3400 Pack. So far so good as food and water goes. We will see when I get my legs and body really working how much more food I’ll start eating. I have been sleeping in my tent and staying away from the shelters. But then again, no storms to speak of…so far.

Finally on Day 4 I hiked up and over Blood Mountain and was greeted by friendly faces and a hot meal. Blood Mountain has a lot of folklore to how hard the hike up is, but it’s not really that bad. The views were awesome however. I’m really happy it was good weather. After a quick little tour, a snack and some photo opps, I was on my way down.

ALL my Trail Updates can be found on our Facebook Page. Here is LIVE Stream from the one I did at Mountain Crossings on Easter Sunday. I would love to hear from our outdoor community. It does really inspire me when I hear from everyone.

Hope you like the video. If you have any questions about my Trek on the Appalachian Trail, please ask, I always respond to comments.

 

Ariane Petrucci May 3, 2017 0

How my Appalachian Trail hike really started

The thought never occurred to me when I was young that someday I would be hiking in a thunderstorm, relentless downpours and outright suck ass weather. I mean, who really dreams about THAT? Hiking uphills until you think the Universe has played a mean trick on you. Hiking downhills that seem to never end.  Yea, it didn’t start out this way. But now, I can’t imagine doing anything else.

Hiking the AT wasn’t always on my bucket list. For sure spending 5 months smelling my own body odor just wasn’t ranking high on my accomplishment list either. But I guess when you love the outdoors as much as I do, it’s only a matter of time before doing something that is bigger than yourself calls to your soul.

When we started doing our LIVE shows on our FB page and I heard from other backpackers who shared there story on trails from all over the country. I knew it was time for me to share my trail story with you. I also needed to re-test myself, and feel accomplishments and the hardships of a long distance hike once again.

I hope you can come and share my journey with me. Hearing from our outdoor community keeps us going.

If you have questions about my gear, or any general questions that you have? You can always connect with me.

Scott and Ariane April 27, 2017 0

What is the most important piece of gear you carry?

Us backpackers can spend a lot of time looking at the latest and greatest new piece of gear out there. In fact, according to IBES World, market research say’s it’s a 4 billion dollar a year industry. That’s a lot of gear.

Over the next five years, as total recreation expenditure expands, demand at hiking and outdoor equipment is anticipated to grow

We are always looking for that piece of “WOW” gear that is the lightest and sometimes the trendiest. However, we have a piece of gear that doesn’t cost anything and we think is essential. It’s lightweight, it will stand the test of time, and it will get you through more uphills, downhills, and weather than you will believe.

 

The most important piece of gear a backpacker will ever need is a POSITIVE ATTITUDE.  No piece of gear will ever help you embrace the trail and Mother Nature than a positive mental attitude will.

Let’s face it, sometimes there is a suck value to hiking in a cold rain storm that seems to last forever. But the one thing that you have going for yourself is your ability to be grateful for that suck value. I mean really, you are out there! You are doing what you wanted to do! Of course it’s going to have suck value. All things worth while do. But it’s going to be your positive mental attitude that will make or break how you experience your hike.

After 20 years of backpacking we can tell you that a positive mental attitude is everything.

For new people just getting into backpacking, getting started is the hardest part. That is why you can “Ask Us”, via a LIVE desktop or smart phone conference and get some help.

 

How to hike the appalachian trail
Scott Janz April 10, 2017 0

Is it Trail Magic or Hiker Feeds?

After my Thru-Hike in 2003, I wanted to give back to the Appalachian Trail as to what was so freely given to me. So, each year I invite a small group of Hikers about 7 miles from the start of Trail (Springer Mountain) to provide shuttle services, some food, hot coffee, and lots of encouragement and love. We have never had any kind of debate that we were providing a little “trail magic” to Thru-Hikers. However, in 2017 it was a little different.

After a few hours of setting up our tent, and tables, a GATC Ridgerunner stopped by (he was camping at Hawk Mountain Shelter a few miles away). He explained that we weren’t really doing “Trail Magic” but a “Hiker Feed”. I was perplexed. A Hiker Feed? What’s that? He went on to explain that “trail magic” is a random act of kindness, and a hiker feed was just feeding hikers. Mmmm? But we were doing more than just feeding hikers. Mr Ridgerunner also suggested that we don’t do trail magic right near the trail, but off the trail. Ok, maybe I get that, but was still a little perplexed on the hiker feed vs trail magic gig.

Apparently, this is a controversial topic.  Outside Magazine wrote an article back 2016: Are Trail Angels Taking the Magic Out of Long-Distance Hikes?

Some argue that so-called trail angels, who hand out ?food and water (and beer!) ?to weary through-hikers, ?are cheapening what should be a life-altering experience

Another article from The Trek ask’s “Trail Magic – Love it or Hate it“.

I have seen and heard many comments of individuals who believe Trail Magic should not be given to hikers; a view I most certainly cannot agree with

I see both points. In 2003 there was barely any kind of the Social Media we have today. In 2003 the big debate was whether to bring a cell phone on the trail and was THAT ruining the wilderness experience. I personally have seen a lot of garbage on the trail have picked up full bags of it. But NEVER have I seen ANY person providing Trail Magic/Hiker Feeds be the cause of that garbage. NEVER. So I’m perplexed at the controversy with my only withstanding personal debate as to if it indeed has gotten so saturated that is is hampering a trail experience.

Maybe next year, we will only hand out Leave No Trace cards instead of Hot Dogs. It seems that might be a bit boring, but needed. I can only expect that the popularity of the AT will bring out more Trail Magic.  In the 7 years I/We have been providing trail magic we have: shuttled hikers, fixed their gear, provided first aid, sent home gear, and one time even taught someone how to use their pocket rocket. Yes, that is true. So I take a little step back when someone tries to redefine the Appalachian Trail and the experience Thru-Hikers will have on it. BUT, I get it. It’s beginning to get crowded for sure.

What’s your opinion? WE sure did get a lot of comments on our YouTube Channel.

 

prevent getting sick on the Pacific Crest Trail
Scott and Ariane April 5, 2017 0

Avoid Getting the Flu on the Appalachian Trail

You would be surprised at how many people get sick on the Appalachian Trail due to the spreading of germs. In fact, Appalachian Trail hikers had a 45 percent diarrhea rate, implying that poor hygiene is a major contributing factor. How to prevent getting sick is to make sure your First Aid Kit has the some basic medications and ALCOHOL WIPES to keep your hands clean.

Ariane has gotten the Flu while backpacking and she explains how hard it is to hike out when you get sick. Some basic medications, like benadryl, tylenol, Mucinex, and Diarrhea tablets can help you when you feel like you maybe getting sick on the Trail.

In a article written by Blissful Hiking:

The chief complaint on the Appalachian Trail is the Norovirus, which seems to strike every hiking season. Noroviruses are found in the stool or vomit of infected people and on infected surfaces that have been touched by ill people. Outbreaks occur more often where there are more people in a small area like hostels, shelters and privies contaminated by sick hikers.

The best way to prevent getting sick is to make sure your hands are always clean. Bear cables are filled with germs, wipe your hands off after using them. Prevention is the key.  Make sure you keep clear of sharing food or area’s where you see other hikers being sick. Again, using alcohol type hand sanitizer and trying not to share food, it going to go a long way.

If you do get sick on the trail, you are going to have to REST.  Drink plenty of fluids and replenish your electrolytes. Chicken Soup and Lemon Tea is a great way to start your rebound. But rest and a day off is probably going to get you back on the trail.

You can always schedule a LIVE one on one Q&A with us with your smart phone and get answers LIVE.

Top 4 online backpacking stores
Scott and Ariane April 1, 2017 0

How to do you buy Backpacking Gear?

How do you buy your backpacking gear? Do you buy all of it online? Or do you physically go into your local Outfitters Store? We do both.  Buying backpacking gear, or we should say “the right” backpacking gear can be a daunting experience. You get advise from social media or friends and just about everyone has their opinion.

The truth is….You have to buy what’s right for YOU! You try on shoes yourself when you need new shoes right? You have a specific preference based on what you know fits. Same thing with gear. My rain jacket I love, but that doesn’t mean you will love it. It has to feel comfortable and (has to keep you dry). So, we put together some “GO TO” online shops that we absolutely love.

If you do buy your gear online, which are your go to web stores? We share our top 4.

The Best Deals For Outdoor Gear –

1. thebackpackerstore.com – This is NOT a website, but a database of ALL outdoor online stores that put “daily deals”out there that change (of course) daily. Lot’s of categories and coupons to use also. Most gear is overstock and 35-75% off.
2. campsaver.com – Campsaver is a great resource for backpacking gear. In fact, had the lowest price for the Hyperlite 3400 backpack (that we just recently bought). It generally has coupon codes for first time buyers also.
3. altrec.com – We’ve been shopping at Altrec for years. They have great Customer Service and some great deals on outdoor gear.
4. moosejaw.com – Moosejaw is another place to recieve great online Customer Service. Rumor has it that Walmart maybe going to buy them. If you are looking for some discounted prices on gear, always check them out on your top 3 list. We do.

If you have some good places to look for gear, let us know. Us Backpackers are always looking for gear deals right?

Suggestions for new backpackers
Scott and Ariane April 1, 2017 0

Top Ten Suggestions for New Backpackers

After 10 years teaching backpacking, we put together our top 10 suggestions for new backpackers. For people just learning or getting ready for a backpacking trip, it can be pretty intimidating knowing you will be out in the wilderness. Rest assured that there is no reason to be worried. However, we have seen a lot of mistakes that could be pretty easily avoided if people learned some basics before buying their gear, or just heading out.

If you have some we might have missed, let’s hear from you.

1. Plan and Prepare
2. Make sure your backpacking is fitted correctly
3. Learn how to pack your pack
4. Test your gear BEFORE you hit the Trail
5. Make sure you know your Water Filtration System and how to use it.
6. Practice How to hang a Food Bag (or Bear Bag)
7.Treat your Blisters, BEFORE they are actual blisters.
8.Reduce your pack weight by a little meditation before you pack it
9. Clean your GEAR after your trip.
10. Trust the Trail. It will always provide everything you need.

Join our LIVE show every Thursday on our Facebook Page  12:00 AM EST

3 Mistakes New Backpackers make. If you are new to backpacking, we will send you 3 free videos to get you started. www.thebackpacker.tv/3-mistakes

Scott and Ariane March 16, 2017 0

Best Backpacking Coffee

If you are like us, then you love your cup of coffee in the morning. Anytime we are on the trail backpacking into the wilderness, the first thing we do in the morning is get out our stoves and get our water HOT.  There is nothing better (in our humble opinion) then to look out from your tarp, gaze into the woods, and sip your hot piping cup of coffee.

We put together a list of what we think is some of the best coffee for backpacking based on price, weight and taste. We started with what we usually bring on the trail.

Rating System:  High “Like”. Medium “Like”. Low “Like” on Taste.  Same for Price. 

Starbucks Via Instant Pikes Place

Instant Micro-ground Ready Brew Coffee
Medium Roast
5 packs (60 singe packets)

We give this a High “Like” for it’s strong coffee taste and caffeine. However, we give this a “Low” Like for Price. 

You can purchase this at REI online or locally.

 

 

Cafe Bustelo Espresso Instant Coffee

 

Instant Micro-ground Ready Brew Coffee
Dark Roast
6 packs

We give this a High “Like” for it’s taste and a High “Like” for price. 

You can purchase this at Target online

 

Nescafe Clasico Instant Coffee

Instant Micro-powdered Coffee
Dark Roast
8 packs

We give this a Low “like” on this coffee. It’s powered and not real coffee. However we give it a high “like” for it’s price.

You can purchase this at Target for 99 online

 

 

Folgers Instant Coffee Crystals

7 count box, pack of 12
Mountain grown beans, roasted to perfection
Fresh, bold satisfying coffee

We give this a Low “Like”, and a High “Like” for the price.

You can buy these in bulk at Amazon online. We have seen these go for a 1.00 for 7 packs. Check the expiration date however.

 

 

Folgers Coffee Singles

Folgers Coffee Singles Are Single-Serving Coffee Bags Made W/Mountain Grown 100 Percent Pure Coffee

We give this a High “Like”, and a High “Like” on Price.

These tea bag coffee packs are REAL coffee grounds. We have used these for years and love them. TIP: put two in a cup to get a stronger cup of coffee. You can buy these at Walmart Online and get a much better price point per cup.

 

 

Trader Joe’s Instant Coffee w/Creamer & Sugar

All dressed up with creamer & sugar
Pack of 10
Made with 100% Arabica Coffee

We give this a Medium “Like” for taste but a High “Like” for price. For just $1.99 – that’s about 20¢ a cup! AND you don’t have to pack creamer and sugar. You can buy these at Trader Joe’s. If you want the price break, you have to buy them IN the Store.

Trader Joe’s Pour Over Brew in a Bag

Self contained filtered coffee system with rich taste of French Press
Included are six pouches of Brazilian Dark, Medium Roast Arabica
2 servings each pouch, just add water and you decide the strength

We give this a High “Like” for taste, but a Low “Like” for packing it in your pack. We give it an extra High “Like” for the price. At 1.49 you can squeeze two cups of coffee from one bag.  It’s real coffee. So you can’t go wrong with the taste. However, they are big and bulky and hardly going to fit nice and snug in your food bag.

You can buy these at Trader Joe’s. OR Amazon if you want to buy in bulk. If you want the price break, you have to buy them IN the Store.

Folgers Cappaccino French Vanilla

Instant Micro-powdered Coffee
Artificially flavored.
4 packs

We give this a Low “Like”. However, that is just us. We have seen many backpackers use this. We just are not cappuccino drinkers. We give this a Medium “Like” for price however. We found that Target had the best price.

 

 

We probably missed some of your favorite coffee. This is what we usually see on the trail. Post what you like. Do you even drink coffee in the backcountry? Maybe Tea?

Top Backpacking Coffee

Drinking a morning cup of hot coffee while backpacking or camping is amazing…But what's the best coffee you can buy? Instant? Real grounds? We will do a LIVE taste test and let you know. We may start talking a bit fast however, so try and keep up. www.thebackpacker.tv

Posted by TheBackpackerTV on Thursday, March 16, 2017

Scott and Ariane March 15, 2017 0

What is the Layering System when Backpacking?

Backpacking in the cold, especially in the Winter months can be a beautiful experience. After all, there isn’t any foliage and high elevation views can be pretty spectacular. That’s why it’s  important to understand the Layering System. We like the 4 layering system and there are many articles out there explaining it.

There are three main components to a layering system.

The first layer is next to skin: The main job of this layer is to wick sweat away from your skin, then dry quickly so you don’t get chilled. Cotton sucks at this because it takes forever to dry. I still am amazed at how many hikers I still see wearing a cotton t-shirt. Big NO NO. Our favorite base layers are wool. They are very efficient, warm when it’s cold, cool when it’s hot, and they don’t stink up like so many synthetics do. The bad news is that wool tends to dry slowly when it gets wet (either from precipitation or sweat). Synthetic materials (polyesters) also make good base layers, and people with very sensitive skin often find wool itchy, so poly is a good wicking, quick-drying option. Perhaps the best of all are wool/synthetic blends which are becoming more and more popular because they have the quick-dry ability of synthetics, with the warmth and ant-stink talents of wool. A note about fit: For cool or cold weather, your base layer should be snug, because if it’s not touching your skin, it can’t wick sweat. That means your sweat sits on your skin until it evaporates, which leaves you shivering.

Second Layer is Insulation: This is the layer that traps your body heat. It can range from lightweight fleeces and wool sweaters to full-on puffy down jackets; it just depends on the season. In all but the coldest of weather, your insulation will remain in your pack while hiking, so your body heat can escape and dissipate. But as soon as you stop moving, put it on so you won’t get cold as your sweat dries.

Third Layer is the Shell: The job of a shell is twofold: it cuts the wind and keeps you dry. In summertime, you can get away with a wispy windshell, but for more challenging weather and extended trips, you want a waterproof/breathable shell (like Gore-Tex or eVent) that keeps water out, but lets sweat vapor escape, so you don’t get wet from perspiration inside your layering system.

The Forth or Optional Layer is the RainJacket: When it’s cold, many people have their second layer as a lightweight pull over. Third Layer is then the lightweight puffy down jacket, THEN the forth layer is your windshell or rain jacket. In our video we like the 4 layering system as you can see.

The main principle of layering is that you are regularly adding and removing layers to keep your body temperature even. An example. We start off on chilly morning hike wearing my base layer and a light fleece. As our body warms up, we stop and take off the fleece. At lunch break, on a breezy ridge, we immediately put the fleece back on, and possibly our outer shell to cut the wind. After lunch, it all comes off (except the base layer) and we start trekking again. If  it’s starts raining or a big thunderstorm roll in. We throw on our rainjackets and open up the pit zips (underarm vents) and continue. We always make sure our extra layers are conveniently located in the outer pockets of my pack, so we can always reach them.

What is your Winter Layering system when you go backpacking? We would love to hear from you.

Scott Janz February 18, 2017 2

The Best Outdoor Sunglasses

One of the drawbacks from getting older is that my eyesight just isn’t the same anymore. I have fought over the years wearing sports glasses, sunglasses, contacts, my regular glasses, the list goes on. Being active, I rarely keep a pair of (fill in the blank) for any long period. They usually break in my pocket or I lose them.

Recently my Eye Doctor recommended a pair of sunglasses/glasses/sports goggles, that have been perfect for all kinds of reasons.

A cross between a sunglasses and a goggle the Adidas Climacool Elevation is great for Skiing, Snowboarding, Backpacking, and simply sitting on the beach soaking up the rays. The Adidas Climacool Elevation model A136 has been around for a couple of years now but no one has managed to copy it or – beat it!

The best part: I don’t need a second pair of glasses to read a map. (Can’t see close) If you need prescription lenses then simply snap in your specially made prescription glasses into your Climacool Elevation glasses.

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ClimaCool by Adidas is a dynamic ventilation technology.
The ClimaCool Technology for eyewear (made up of the specially engineered vents on the pad) allows for air to be directed in a way that does not disturb the eyesight but rather manages moisture and prevents fogging providing a more comfortable wear throughout. The foam pad surrounds the entire frame front and is easily detachable. It can then be replaced with the sadle nose strap and be transformed into a cool looking sunglass.

elevationclimacool1

The Adidas Elevation is very versatile. within minutes you can change the side and lenses to produce a goggle suitable for windsurfing in low lighting, canoeing or climbing as the image below shows. Everything is configurable to meet your needs. You can take apart the stems and snap on a band that fits around your head incase you are in a situation they may drop off.

A spare set of lenses are included, these are orange lenses which are suitable for low lighting – they enhance contrast and show up lumps and bumps in the ground – so making them ideal for skiing or snowboarding. Just pop out the lenes.

There are quite a few places to buy these. Consult your Eye Doctor to make sure your prescription is good to go. My Doctor was able to send my bi-focal prescription out and they couldn’t be better.