Category: Blog

Trust the Trail Podcast
TheBackPacker February 15, 2018 0

Episode 45: Is Less Really More?

On this Episode, we compare 2 trends growing in popularity = lightweight backpacking and minimalist living – AND do the two truly parallel each other. So, we ask – is less really more? In recent years the nomadic life has become a socially appealing trend and for some, a generally acceptable lifestyle to explore.

As lightweight backpackers we HAD to ask ourselves are we lightweight living? And we think the answer is YEAH, we are. Though it wasn’t always that way for us.

What we discuss on this Podcast:

  • Does Life Parallel the trail?
  • How does lightweight backpacking equate to a lightweight lifestyle?
  • Trusting the Trail is always a new experience
  • Getting rid of a 1974 ash tray.

Huge thank you! It’s because of people like you that inspire us to keep podcasting our passion. If you’ve been enjoying the show and want to help others find it, We’d love a review from you in iTunes. Each and every review helps more people find the show (each one counts and we are super grateful).

To leave a review, click here and then go to “ratings and reviews”. It takes one minute and we read every one?

Please help support us on Patreon so we can keep up the weekly Podcast’s. We promise you won’t be disappointing

Scott Janz February 10, 2018 0

Does Camping in the Woods Scare You?

Isn’t it funny how many things (and people) we trust everyday in our lives. Have you ever really thought about the blind trust you have with all the places you go and the individuals you HAVE to interact with to get to where you need to be.  Have you ever made a list of ALL the things and people you need to trust each day? Here’s a few;

Drivers that drive beside you on the expressway

Cooks, preparing your food

Your City Water Utility

Your Auto Mechanic

The Airline Pilot flying you to a vacation or a business trip

And these are just a few. I’m sure you can think of hundreds more. This is the reality we live in every single day. However, when we go out into the Wilderness for a camping trip or a backpacking trip, some people freak out. Why? What is it about the woods that scare the begeebies out of people? Almost positive it has to do with every horror movie ever made starts with people getting lost in the woods.

Ariane and myself hear all the time from our new hikers about horror stories that have perceived in their mind. The most popular fear of course is the “I’m gonna get mauled by a Bear”. Really?  Here are some stats:

The data from the CDC showed some revealing things. The first is that you’re far more likely to be injured than die in the outdoors and that some of the things we worry about the most, are the least likely to happen. For you math geeks out there—here are some of the numbers from 2005 and they’re pretty much average.  – thealaskalife.com

# OF DEATHS IN THE UNITED STATES PER YEAR

Cause of death ………………… # dead
Cardiovascular disease …….. 856,030
Transportation accidents …. 48,441
Drowning ……………………….. 3,582
Hypothermia ……………………699
West Nile virus ……………….. 119
Hornet/bee/wasp stings ….. 48.5
Snake bites …………………….. 5.2
Bear attacks …………….. 2

As you can clearly see, you have a little more to be concerned about than a bear attack.  Now that we’ve cleared up the fact, you will survive a night out in the woods, let’s look at why the FEAR FACTOR still plays into the psyche.

Generally, people fear what they can’t control. But how many of us are really in control over our lives anyway? I’m sure some of you would say “Alot”. I may argue that point a little. However, being out into the wilderness is a clear reality of being in control over nothing. It’s the thought of being out there with no where to go? No car, no couch, sometimes no internet. (AHHHHH)

Scenario 1:

You are out hiking on a trial that is clearly marked. You are camping overnight and there is a campsite ahead with a nice fire pit. You set up camp, get in your tent and get ready for bed. You are alone. There are the sounds of nature you can’t identify. Leaves brussling in the wind, and you hear howling of Coyotes. You have hung your food bag away from your campsite and have no food near you. You have only 3 miles to hike out the next day to get to your car.

Scenario 2:

You are driving on the expressway at an average speed of 75 mph. It’s rush hour and drivers are clearly speeding, weaving in and out of traffic. It’s starts raining heavy. You can barely see. You have the choice to pull over on the side of the expressway and wait out the rain.

Be honest, what makes you more fearful? We all know the stats. We are so much safer in Scenario 1. FEAR is spelled False, Evidence, Appearing, Real.  It’s one thing to be cautious and aware. Absolutely we should. It’s another to be fearful and let it stop you from learning…there is nothing to fear.  We actually Trust the Trail more than ever.  By following basic common sense principals and LNT principals, you are going to have a beautiful experience. Now get out there and explore!!!1

Trust the Trail Podcast
Scott and Ariane February 8, 2018 0

Episode 44: Embrace the Suck

On this episode we discuss “Embrace the Suck” and how that relates to the outdoors. Mother Nature doesn’t always care about your weekend plans, and She certainly doesn’t take note to all the planning, costs and coordination involved in those plans. When the majority of us hermit inside as inclement weather hits, we challenge you to think differently.

These are the time that is actually best to just get up and go! Sometimes you have to simply – and genuinely – embrace the suck to appreciate the one thing you cherish so deeply. The Great Outdoors.

What we discuss on this Podcast:

  • Embracing the suck while lost in the Wilderness
  • Embracing the suck on Scott’s 2003 AT Thru-Hike
  • Embracing the suck when Mother Nature doesn’t care about your weekend plans

Thanks for listening! We absolutely love connecting with our community and appreciate all the e-mails and messages.

Huge thank you! It’s because of people like you that inspire us to keep podcasting our passion. If you’ve been enjoying the show and want to help others find it, We’d love a review from you in iTunes. Each and every review helps more people find the show (each one counts and we are super grateful).

To leave a review, click here and then go to “ratings and reviews”. It takes one minute and we read every one?

Please help support us on Patreon so we can keep up the weekly Podcast’s. We promise you won’t be disappointing

 

Trust the Trail Podcast
Scott and Ariane February 1, 2018 0

Episode 43: A Toast to the FullMoon

This is one outdoor Podcast you don’t want to miss. On this episode we sit under the Super Blood FullMoon with our friends on a LIVE discussion about the outdoors. We raise a glass of champagne to celebrate the Full Moon and share laughs and stories. This is what the outdoors is all about, sharing experiences and adventures with people that inspire and motivate us. Here is to the first Full Moon of 2018 and here is to a great year. (clink)

What we discuss on this Podcast:

  • We introduce our friends all under the Full Moon
  • Ina shares her hiking trails and her South Carolina roots
  • Claudette shares her camping adventure
  • Steve shares his “Mr Gadget” persona
  • Jim shares the story of the Oreal Cookie Serial Killer? What?

Thanks for listening! We absolutely love connecting with our community and appreciate all the e-mails and messages.

Huge thank you! It’s because of people like you that inspire us to keep podcasting our passion. If you’ve been enjoying the show and want to help others find it, We’d love a review from you in iTunes. Each and every review helps more people find the show (each one counts and we are super grateful).

To leave a review, click here and then go to “ratings and reviews”. It takes one minute and we read every one?

Please help support us on Patreon so we can keep up the weekly Podcast’s. We promise you won’t be disappointing

Scott Janz January 21, 2018 0

Top 3 Mistakes New Backpackers Make

First, let me say that no one person has the “perfect” gear list or is “all knowing”. After 20 years of backpacking, I am still learning. But there are commonalities that new backpackers should learn first. Ariane and I are always testing gear or different ways to enjoy the outdoors while multi-using our gear.

Unfortunately, the growth of Social Media has made it way to easy for people to watch a YouTube video or post a question on Facebook. The issue I have with that, is new backpackers have stopped getting outdoors to test their gear and putting a lot of weight into what works for someone else. I think there is a value in getting advise, but how to you know it’s good advise? I’m not including this in my “top 3”, but realistically, because there are just so many pieces of gear getting to the same result we need to remember that the only piece of gear that works, is the one that YOU LOVE.

Mistake 1:  Mis-fitting hiking boots or trail shoes.

If you feet are blistered, you are NOT going anywhere. People forget that your feet are the single most important piece of gear you have. So take care of them. Test, test, test, test and test again, you footwear. Whether it’s hiking boots, or trail runners, make sure they fit, and they can take uphills and downhills.

TIP: Use the “Rule of Thumb” literally. There should be at least one thumb worth of distance between your big toe, and the end of your boot or shoe. Most people get in trouble when going down hills and their big toe smashes against your boot or shoe. Toenails then fall off, and you are miserable. If you are going hiking or backpacking and have bought new footwear, then you had better break those babies in LONG BEFORE you hit the trail on your epic adventure. Start wearing them around your house, work, and go for walks around your neighborhood. Then go for some hikes on the trail.  Blisters will make your hike miserable, and get you off the trail quick.

Mistake 2:  Buying Gear you don’t need

Often the excitement of going out into the Wilderness to spend a few nights is pretty cool. If you are planning a long distance hike then it’s even more exciting. But too often, people go out and spend a lot of money on gear. This is the time to take a breath. Do you even like backpacking? Do you like being cold, hot, and hearing strange noises at night? Maybe you should rent your gear first, to see if you like it. People often spend way too much money on what (they think) is the best gear. There is no “best” gear. There is good quality gear, but the best gear, is the gear that works best for YOU. So, don’t get caught in the trap.

TIP: Get fitted and measure you Torso length FIRST. Rent a backpack that fits, and then go out and test it. Go for a single overnight and find a good hill to climb. How does it feel? Do you even like backpacking?

Did I get blisters?

Was my backpack to heavy?

What could I have done better while choosing my gear?

It’s important to realize, that new gear, isn’t necessarily the best gear. How often has Sil Nylon changed over the years. Does Cuban Fiber fabric keep you any less dry then nylon? Can you save money on gear by bargain shopping? All important questions that ONLY YOU can answer.

Mistake 3: Not understanding how their gear works 

I am sure many of you reading this will say, “What? That sounds silly”. But it’s not. We have been doing Trail Magic on the Appalachian Trail for 8 years. All in the same spot, 13 miles from Springer Mountain (the start of the AT) and you would be shocked at how many hikers had no idea how to use their gear. From cooking stoves, to pitching their tent. They get so excited to hike the AT, they forget to learn how to use their gear. The though process is: I will learn as I go. And although there is some truth to that, the dependence on others will get you off the trail faster than you can say “AT”. This goes back to my original statement.

Test, test, test, test your gear. I think even Yoda would say “become one with your gear Luke”.  Your gear should be your best friend on the trail. You know what it can do, and what it can’t. Knowing the limitations of your gear, can help you multi-use other pieces of gear to help you save weight.

YOU are YOUR Adventure. No body else will ever hike in your shoes. No body else will can tell you what to expect. Each and every day is different and it will be your own experience on the trail that will teach you what you need to learn. Much like life.

Trust the Trail Podcast
Scott and Ariane January 18, 2018 0

Episode 42: Taste of the Trail

Many times eating in the backcountry can get mundane with the same ol foods. On this episode we share some of our favorite recipes we have cooked (many times) on the trail. We give you some great tips on what to buy, where to buy, and how to cook it.  Never underestimate just how creative you can get eating the foods you like. They are all found (usually) at your local grocery store.

What we discuss on this Podcast:

  • Bacon! do we need to say anything more?
  • What is Scott’s favorite cooking pot
  • Cooking an entire Thanksgiving Day meal on a Pocket Rocket
  • How to make Blueberry Pie after you pick Blueberries.

BREAKFAST:
biscuits and gravy – biscuits packed frozen, packaged gravy
bagel bacon cream cheese
french toast – powdered eggs mixed in bag, texas toast bread absorbed in baggie, fry in skillet

DINNER:
jubalaya – precooked sausage and mini shrimp
full thanksgiving meal on a pocket rocket – mashed potatoes, powder pack of gravy, indv frozen bags corn , sliced ham, dried cranberries
pizza
coscous mushroom a peas – spices *crushed red pepper and lemon etc

AND TO TOP OFF FOR DESSERT:
blueberry pie – hand picked blueberries/blackberries, keebler mini pie crusts, carnation instant milk, powdered whip cream (no follow rec)

Thanks for listening! We absolutely love connecting with our community and appreciate all the e-mails and messages.

Huge thank you! It’s because of people like you that inspire us to keep podcasting our passion. If you’ve been enjoying the show and want to help others find it, We’d love a review from you in iTunes. Each and every review helps more people find the show (each one counts and we are super grateful).

To leave a review, click here and then go to “ratings and reviews”. It takes one minute and we read every one?

Please help support us on Patreon so we can keep up the weekly Podcast’s. We promise you won’t be disappointing

Scott Janz January 16, 2018 0

Renovating our Vintage Airstream Electrical pt.1

Renovation our vintage Airstream is certainly a labor of love. It’s not always easy and sometimes pretty frustrating, but all in all it has been a blast.

As in most RV’s, there are two types of electricity. The first, is much like your home electricity. You plug something into a outlet, and it has electricity. You know that because you get a electric bill each month that tells you  how much you use. This is called AC power. Your home get’s it’s power from the power pole and comes into a circuit breaker box.

The other kind of power is DC power. This is electricity that you would find in your car. You open up your car door and the dome light comes on. Or you plug something into the cigarette lighter and charge your phone. Most cars have a fuse box that operate Turn Signals, Head Lights, Radio, and all the other electrical in your car. As you know, you can turn on these lights without the car running. You also know, that if you keep lights on all night, your car battery will be dead. Of course, when you start your car, your Alternator charges your battery and all your lights run off that alternator when your car is running. As long as your Alternator is working, your battery remains charged.

Having said ALL THAT. RV’s use both AC and DC. So when we got into the electrical part of our Airstream, we had some work to do. The first thing we wanted to tackle was the DC wiring. We literally had to pull every wire that was associated with the Battery that runs the DC. RV’s run DC for: Interior lights, Furnace, Hot Water, and Water Pump. Newer RV’s even have more to run off of batteries. Ours were a mess.

A vintage Airstream Argosy has color coded DC wires that run to different parts of the camper. PINK, YELLOW, PURPLE, and WHITE.  Each color goes to a different circuit that runs lights, water pump, etc. This is where the fun starts. In our Airstream these colored wires ALL run to the battery which was in the battery box located inside. (they all had a door on the outside also. These wires were 40 years old and had to be replaced. So we pulled out every single wire and traced every single circuit to find out where they went.

PINK – Furnace, Hallway Lights, Front Lights, and Porch Lights

YELLOW = Water Pump, Upper Fan, and Hallway Lights

PURPLE = Hallway Lights, Bathroom Lights, and Bedroom Lights

WHITE = Ground Wire

Wires we completely had no intention of keeping were Radio Speaker Wire, Thermostat Wire and Antenna Wire.

We found that the wires ran all the way to the front of the Airstream, then turned around, and ran all the way to the back again. It really looked complicated when we first started figuring out what wire went to what. But then again, it was only 3 different circuits. We did NOT have a fuse box for the DC wiring which ended up being a good thing. It helped us learn and re-build a better system. Some people keep it, but later realize they need a new one.

The biggest help to us was to plan what lights we were keeping and what lights we wanted to add. All the Hallway lights were replaced with LED lights. The Bedroom lights were replaced (with a little creativity). The bathroom lights were replaced, and we had to add a wire for our composting toilet fan. We kept the lights in the front over the couch, the porch lights, and the switch to the water pump.

The new batteries were moved to the front of the Airstream where the Hot Water Tank used to be and all the new wired led there. They were all put behind the inner skins. We attached the new Fuse Box to the New Battery Box. (see pics below)

All of the 12 volt switches were replaced. The old cigarette lighter plugs were replaced with new DC plugs (just like your car) Every single light has a LED light. Some of the old light fixtures we were able to keep and replace the bulbs with LED ones. Again, it really helps to have a plan before tackling this. In the end, we put a Battery Cut Off switch on our battery box, so when we leave the Airstream, ALL DC power is cut off from the battery.

Electrical can be tricky, so make sure you consult with a qualified Electrician if you don’t feel comfortable with it.

Ariane Petrucci January 16, 2018 0

How I Go Lightweight

As a female hiker, I am constantly asked what gear I used when I travel outdoors and hit the trail. I also get a lot of questions about safety and going solo. It’s not ever been too much of a concern going solo. In 2017 I hiked 300 miles of the Appalachian Trail and was fine. Never did I feel threatened. There are just so many hikers on the AT at any given time, you are never too alone.

When I hit any trail whether it’s a day hike or multiple nights, I always go as lightweight as I can. Packing lightweight offers me the opportunity to explore more and not get bogged down with gear. If you listen to our Podcast Trust the Trail, that’s how I pack light. I do trust the trail and love connecting with it.

My pack of choice for overnight trips is the Hyperlite Southwest 3400. It’s a 55 liter pack and weighs less than 2lbs and carries awesome on my back. Made with ultra-durable, 100% waterproof Dyneema® Composite Fabrics (formerly Cuben Fiber), I don’t need a rain cover if I get caught in a unexpected rain storm. Being that I have a smaller frame, the Hyperlite is a good choice for me since I don’t want a lot of  heavy weight on my hips where most of the weight from your pack should be distributed. I also utilize compression sacks so I can pack as tight as I can keeping my pack close to my back.

Other gear that keeps my pack light is a goose down bag, a tarp tent, and some extra clothes. I really do not need much on the trail. Even in colder temps, my 15 degree bag with some extra dry clothes work fine. Along with my Sawyer water filter, my homemade alcohol stove, and my Toaks Cookware, and my Nemo Tensor sleeping pad, my base weight comes in around 18lbs with no food or water. No bad.

My complete gear list can be found HERE. When Scott and I go out on the trail, we really to trust the trail and that it will provide things we need.

Scott and Ariane January 14, 2018 0

Why you should buy the Equinox Tarp Tent

Ok folks, here we go. I totally understand most people will not go out and buy a tarp to sleep under in any weather condition. However, before you say “NO WAY”, let me argue my point.

Let me start off by saying that in over 10 years of sleeping under a Tarp, NOT ONE TIME have I ever regretted it. Being that it’s made out of Sil Nylon (which most lightweight tents are made of) it’s going to keep you dry even in a heavy rain storm (Which both Ariane and I have been in) But that’s not why we use it. It’s also very lightweight. All packed up in your pack, the Equinox 8×10 Tarp weighs in at only 14 ounces. AND, you can pitch the tarp in different ways depending on the terrain, and location. For example, you can hang a rope over a tree limb and pitch like a tee-pee. Or if it’s windy, pitch it lower to block the wind. Having said that, that’s not why we use it.

We use the Equinox Tarp Tent for one single reason. WE LOVE seeing the sunrise in the morning, WITHOUT getting out of our sleeping bags. Just laying there snugged up in our bags and turning over to watch sunrise is a special treat that you just can’t get in a tent. We also love it because when it’s raining, we can still cook under the tarp. Having a 360 panoramic view isn’t bad either.

We both love to connect with nature. What better way to connect with nature than be involved with it. Feeling the breeze, and seeing what’s around us. One time, we even had a Deer come right up to us under the Tarp. Had we been in a tent, we would have missed that.

Practicing Leave No Trace and NOT have food by us, ensures us that unwanted wildlife will stay away. We have never had an issue with any kind of wildlife interfering with us under our Tarp.

We have tarpped in snow, rain, cold, heat, high winds and even hail. Never has it a problem. If you would like to look at it further, visit our GEAR STORE and you can help support us.

A wise man once said “contempt prior to investigation”. Which means, don’t knock til you try it.

Have questions or comments, we would love to hear from you.

Trust the Trail Podcast
Scott and Ariane January 11, 2018 0

Episode 41: Barefoot Backpacking Bliss or Bust

On this episode we share what it was like when we backpacked 12 miles barefoot. Where we went, and how it felt. Hiking barefoot connects you to the trail in a whole new way and gives you a whole new perspective on just what you are missing when wearing shoes, or boots.  We kept an open mind about it, and what we learned may surprise you. Would we do it again? Find out.

Things we talk about

  • Would we ever do it again?
  • How does hiking in barefeet change the trail?
  • Mud = Sanctuary

Thanks for listening! We absolutely love connecting with our community and appreciate all the e-mails and messages.

Huge thank you! It’s because of people like you that inspire us to keep podcasting our passion. If you’ve been enjoying the show and want to help others find it, We’d love a review from you in iTunes. Each and every review helps more people find the show (each one counts and we are super grateful).

To leave a review, click here and then go to “ratings and reviews”. It takes one minute and we read every one?

Please help support us on Patreon so we can keep up the weekly Podcast’s. We promise you won’t be disappointing

Trust the Trail Podcast
Scott and Ariane January 4, 2018 2

Episode 40: Trail Blunders Are Real

It doesn’t always come out the way you thought it would. Whether it’s life or the trail. Sometimes things just go wrong. On this episode we have a laugh at our own expense as we list our top 10 Trail Blunders of all time. We did this episode LIVE on Periscope and we had a small technical glitch and we had to do our intro again. But the LIVE version is up and you can watch the replay.

Some things we talk about in this episode:

  • How can we NOT find a 50 mile hole in the ground?
  • Never tarp on a Beach
  • Pouring Rain makes a towel very heavy
  • How many flat tires did we have on one road?
  • Save the Ham!

Thanks for listening! We absolutely love connecting with our community and appreciate all the e-mails and messages.

Huge thank you! It’s because of people like you that inspire us to keep podcasting our passion. If you’ve been enjoying the show and want to help others find it, We’d love a review from you in iTunes. Each and every review helps more people find the show (each one counts and we are super grateful).

To leave a review, click here and then go to “ratings and reviews”. It takes one minute and we read every one?

Please help support us on Patreon so we can keep up the weekly Podcast’s. We promise you won’t be disappointing

Scott and Ariane January 3, 2018 0

Paddle Back in Time – The Okefenokee Swamp

When we travel to different places around the Country and seek some epic adventures, the one that stands out to us, is a paddle through some of the oldest swamp land in our Country. The Okefenokee Swamp is like going back in time. In fact, when we kayak through the Okefenokee, there is a feeling of pre-historic vibes as we see giant Sanhill Cranes not to mention huge Alligators.  Full grown they may reach twelve to fifteen feet in length and weigh 700 pounds. And there is nothing like Kayaking right over them.

We always plan to do at least 3 nights when we go. Of course our route always depends on water level. You never get to plan your own route unless the water is high enough throughout the swamp. When it’s lower, the Ranger Station will tell you what’s available. So your plan should be flexible when you go. Make sure you Plan Your Visit and talk to a Ranger before you paddle. You need to have a permit for overnight stays. 

The Okefenokee Swamp offers so much beauty and adventure. Depending on when you go, it’s something that we guarantee you will be a high Adrenalin adventure, while at the same time, be somewhat relaxing. What? There are times when it’s so quite and cereal. You are in a swamp with nothing to hear but nature and the sounds of your paddle hitting the water. Other times when you see a multitude of Alligators looking at you by the banks, you heart beats just a little faster.

The best part of doing a overnight is camping on large wooden platforms in the middle of the swamp. They all have portapotties on them and a canopy. You can pitch your tent right on the wooden deck. So bring a campstove and have a gourmet meal in a swamp. Check out our LIVE video we did from one of the platforms.

The Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge is an impressively vast expanse of wilderness swamplands covering approximately 700 square miles, located within the southeast corner of Georgia.

So what is the Okefenokee Swamp? It’s crisscrossed by over 120 miles of paddle and motor boat water trails. It is a major destination for wetlands, nature lovers and paddlers alike. The swamp has a distinctive and fascinating natural history. Okefenokee means “land of the trembling earth” in Choctaw Indian language, a reference to the quivering ground of boggy areas. The Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge was officially established in 1937 to preserve one of America’s oldest freshwater systems, an important habitat for an abundance of plants and animals that live in its 400,000 acres.

We travel down to Folkston GA every year to do a 3 day 3 night paddle. If you are interested in going with us, keep checking our events page or sign up for our Newsletter to get up to date info. In the meantime, here is our YouTube Video about our trip last year. Or listen to our Podcast straight from the Swamp

Trust the Trail Podcast
Scott and Ariane December 28, 2017 0

Episode 39: The Tale of Two Trails Interview with Leigh Rothermel

We interview Leigh Rothermel (shortstack) from Mountain Crossings of what it took to Thru-Hike 2 of the longest national trails in the Country. The Appalachian Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail. Leigh highlights exactly what it took her to spend nearly a year of her life on the trail and what both trails taught her about the outdoors, and life.

Some things we talk about in this episode:

Thru-Hiking is definitely a lifestyle change

The reason she tackled the Appalachian Trail and her perspective

Leigh’s experience on the Pacific Crest Trail

How she went from being afraid, to trusting the trail

Thanks for listening! We absolutely love connecting with our community and appreciate all the e-mails and messages.

Huge thank you! It’s because of people like you that inspire us to keep podcasting our passion. If you’ve been enjoying the show and want to help others find it, We’d love a review from you in iTunes. Each and every review helps more people find the show (each one counts and we are super grateful).

To leave a review, click here and then go to “ratings and reviews”. It takes one minute and we read every one?

Please help support us on Patreon so we can keep up the weekly Podcast’s. We promise you won’t be disappointing

Scott and Ariane December 28, 2017 0

How to convert a Vintage Airstream to Ecco Friendly

When we bought a vintage Airstream from the 70’s, both of us knew that it would be a huge project to completely update our Lucy to one that fits our lifestyle. Let’s face it, the 70’s decade wasn’t known for environmentally friendly products. We knew right off the bat that our Airstream was going to undertake a huge renovation. Which meant floor, walls, electrical, and plumbing all had to be completely redone.

Since we are both Leave No Trace Trainers, we thought it was important to leave less of a footprint by converting our Airstream to  Ecoo friendly RV. First we had to make some decisions based on our lifestyle.

Boondocking was a priority for us. We are outdoors people and wanted to be remote so we could explore.

How could Solar power our needs while boondocking?

How much Solar would we need?

Save energy by going all LED lights and limit “luxury appliances”

How to save on Propane needs.

Could we use a composting toilet instead of a black water tank?

These were all questions based on our needs versus wants.  Of course, when renovating a 1976 Airstream, there are

steps you need to take first, to get to the project you want to complete. On our post “How to remove a subfloor”, we found that the Black Tank was secured underneath the Airstream in a steel pan that was bolted to the frame. This was a perfect time to get some plumbing done, and take out the black water tank without removing the steel pan underneath.  So that’s exactly what we did. We cut the black water tank out. (it’s abs plastic) and left the steel pan bolted to the frame. (more about that later) We removed the plumbing that connected the black and grey tanks so that we just had 1 drain pipe for the grey water tank.  We could now buy a composting toilet which meant NO DUMPING our black water tank.

The next step was to move and build a new battery compartment. This was tricky since we decided that Deep Cycle 6 Volt batteries were the way to go. We needed (4) 6 Volt batteries to give us what we needed. That of course meant we needed to build a battery box and put the batteries where they could vent. We decided to place the battery box underneath our kitchen cabinets and utilize the old furnace vent on the side of the Airstream. This also meant we had to re-wire our 12 volt wiring so that the wires ended up near the battery box and the new fuse box. 

Using (4) 6 Volt batteries, we could make (1) 12 volt battery and have 250 amp hours of charge before we would be out of power. 25watt 12V light bulb, for example, use the equation A=W/V or (25/12=2.1Amps per hour) That was our decision to go LED lights. Which meant just 1 LED light used .5 amps per hour.  As of now, every single light we have in the Airsteam is LED. (detailed post coming)

Converting your vintage Airstream to Solar isn’t hard if you have gutted your Airstream like we did. When the inner walls our down, it’s a good time to determine where the solar wires will run. This is why the battery placement is important. We decided to purchase (4) 100 Watt Solar Panels from Renogy.

Now we were on to HEAT. How to heat the Airstream during Winter months and provide HOT WATER.  This was an important decision since we removed the old water heater and furnace.

Since condensation seems to be a nagging problem in a lot of RV’s and Campers we looked at Wood Burning Stoves. We went back and forth about the safety and how we would incorporate that in our design. After much debate and hundreds of YouTube videos, we were convinced that a Wood Burning Stove not only would work, but eliminate the need for a extra propane line and help with the condensation.

The Cubic Grizzly Wood Burning Stove was our choice. After a lot of YouTube reviews of RV’ers using this stove, this was definitely for us. We utilized the old refrigerator vent in the ceiling (that was propane) to run the 3 inch double stove pipe through. Of course we had to patch the old hole first. At 34 lbs and the ability to heat 400 square feet, this would work great.

The Hot water was another great use of new technology. We decided on a Excel TANKLESS GAS WATER HEATER (LOW PRESSURE STARTUP) 1.6 GPM LPG VENT FREE (PROPANE). It works on a single propane line and the best part, it starts on (2) D Batteries that are rechargeable.

This is just a start on how we converted our vintage Airstream to a Ecco friendly Airstream. The key to all of this was planning on where each piece of equipment, wires, plumbing, and access goes before you start. It’s important to understand what your lifestyle is. How much power do you need. Work backwards. We will do a much more on solar in a later post. If you have any questions, please post them here, we are happy to answer.

 

 

Trust the Trail Podcast
Scott and Ariane December 21, 2017 0

Episode 38: Hiking with Heat Miser VS Snow Miser

Our Holiday Podcast is all about some fun. Driving in the car the other day we debated who we would rather go hiking with. Heat Miser or Snow Miser from the animated show “The Year Without Christmas”.  We laughed so hard we wanted to do a Podcast about it. So with some Egg Nog and Rum, we share our craziness with you. There is a little buzz during the recording. We totally apologize for that. Damn battery charger

Some things we talk about in this episode:

  • Who would you rather spend the weekend with?
  • Does Heat Miser where a Hat?
  • Snow Miser may give you the “Cold” shoulder
  • Heat Miser maybe a “Hot” head
  • The reveal – Who is the number 1 Outdoors man?

Thanks for listening! We absolutely love connecting with our community and appreciate all the e-mails and messages. We had a blast doing this podcast.

Huge thank you! It’s because of people like you that inspire us to keep podcasting our passion. If you’ve been enjoying the show and want to help others find it, We’d love a review from you in iTunes. Each and every review helps more people find the show (each one counts and we are super grateful).

To leave a review, click here and then go to “ratings and reviews”. It takes one minute and we read every one?

Scott and Ariane December 21, 2017 0

3 Hot Drinks You Can Make Around the Campfire

With National Hot Toddy Day coming around the corner, we thought this would be the perfect time to share our favorite hot drinks (with a little somethin somethin) to keep you feeling good around the campfire on a cold night.

Of course we always consider weight, and how easy it is to carry with us while on the trail. They are great for a celebration or a birthday or even a toast.

  1. HOT TODDY 

This is really easy to make and it’s always a favorite. We usually bring a small plastic bottle of Bourbon which you can typically buy at the counter of most liquor stores. You can also order the online. They cost only a few bucks and easily packable.  

Start by heating water just below boiling. Add 16 ounces of hot water, or 2 cups in your pot.  A 50ML Nip of Jim Beam Bourbon should be enough to share. Spike your drinking cup with the bourbon, a little honey, and a squeeze of lemon.  Add the cinnamon– which doubles as a stirring stick– and stir until honey is dissolved. Enjoy!

2.  RUM APPLE CIDER  

This is probably our favorite drink on a cold night. In fact, we bring this weather we put a little libation in or not. You can find these packets of Cider at any local grocery store. Put a little spiced rum in it, and it’s really good.

Start by bringing 2 cups of water to a near boil. Pour one bag of Alpine Original Spiced Apple Cider Instant Drink Mix, 10 Ct/7.4 Oz.  in each of your cups. Pack along a 50ML tiny plastic bottle of Captain Morgan Spiced Rum and share evenly. You should have enough to make 4 cups. Or 2 cups each.

3.  MORNING MIMOSA

Instead of brewing a cup of coffee, maybe celebrate the New Year or a beautiful Sunrise by making a Morning Mimosa. This is pretty easy to make, but takes some planning and well worth it. It’s surprisingly tasty also.

Start by buying American Logger Beer Concentrate  and a Emergen-C Packet or Airborne Tablet Orange and finally a 50ML Sobieski Vodka 

Fill your pat with 2 cups of water, add the Airborne or Emergen-C next and let it rest for a few seconds, then add the beer packet and the vodka, carbonate it all and enjoy. Now, sit back and enjoy that sunrise.  

Do you have a drink that you absolutely love to bring on the trail or around the campfire? We would love for you to share. Please post your recipe and we will add it to our upcoming Podcast on Trust the Trail

 

Scott and Ariane December 19, 2017 0

Ariane & Scott’s Backpacking Gear List

Our Gear is based on our lifestyle when hiking or camping in the wilderness. Not all the gear listed we use ALL the time. Of course it varies on where we are going, how long will we be there, and is weight important to us? Every trip, every trail we hike on always has some special considerations. Most of the time we sleep under a 8×10 tarp. But there are times when a tarp just isn’t practical. It’s always important to know where and how long you will be on the trail.

We wrote this post based on questions we get about gear and wanted to have something where people could use as a resource and then do their own research on the specifications page of each gear vendor. If you choose to buy any of this gear, you are helping support us and the site, so huge thank you in advance. But the point of this post is to help you look at gear based on your lifestyle rather than what someone tells you is the “best”. Please ask us if you have any questions about any type of gear.

SLEEPING BAGS

Men’s Big Agnes Lost Ranger 15 Degree Sleeping Bag
Unisex Feathered Friends Eider EX -10 Sleeping Bag
Big Agnes Buffalo Park 40 Sleeping Bag
Women’s REI Joule 23 Degree Sleeping Bag
Marmot Women’s Phase 20 Sleeping Bag

SLEEPING PAD

REI Flash Sleeping Pad
Nemo Tensor Insulated Sleeping Pad

BACKPACKS

Osprey Women’s Aura 50 AG Pack
Osprey Men’s Exos 48 Pack
Granite Gear Crown V.C. 60 Pack
Hyperlite 3400 55Liter Pack (see video)

SHELTER/TENTS

REI Half Dome 2 (2 person)
Equinox UL Tarp 8 x10 (2 person & 2 dogs)
Shire Tarp Tent – MoTrail (2 person)

WATER FILTRATION

Sawyer Mini Water Filtration System
DIY Gravity Filtration System using the Sawyer

STOVES

MSR Pocket Rocket
WhiteBox Alcohol Stove
TOAKS TITANIUM SIPHON ALCOHOL STOVE

See video Toaks VS WhiteBox

COOKWARE

TOAKS Titanium 900ml Pot with 130mm Diameter
Snow Peak Titanium Trek Combo Cook Set
Sea to Summit Alpha Light Fork

CLOTHING

Baselayer

SmartWool NTS Mid 250 Zip-T Long Men’s Underwear Top
REI Lightweight Base Layer Half-Zip Top – Women’s

Midlayer

Arcteryx Men’s MX Hoody (great insulated soft shell)

Arcyeryx Men’s Delta AR Zip Neck Midlayer

Insulating Layer

Rab Microlight Jacket Men’s
Marmot Women’s Jena Jacket

Hiking bottoms (1 pair synthetic)

Basecamp Winter Down Jacket

Marmot Greenland Baffled Jacket

RAIN GEAR

First Ascent Men’s Telemetry Freeride Pants Men’s
Marmot PreCip Waterproof Rain Jacket Men’s
Marmot PreCip Waterproof Rain Jacket Women’s

2 pairs hiking (Medium weight merino wool)

  • Darn Tough

Underwear (2 pairs: 1 camp, 1 hiking)

  • ExOfficio (Men’s & Women’s)

Camp shoe (At base camp or for crossing Streams)

  • Crocs

Stuff sacks (5, Strong, waterproof)

  • Sea to Summit Ultra Sil Dry Sac (camp clothes, hiking clothes, food, sleeping bag, and electronics- a must for camp clothes and sleeping bag minimally)

Water reservoir (2-3L; Playpus and CamelBak common bladders)

  • Platypus 3-L

First aid kit (the 10 essentials on a Budget Video)

  • Antiseptic Wipes (2)
  • Triple Antibiotic Cream (tiny tube)
  • Ibuprofun
  • Sewing Needle
  • Duct tape
  • Leukotape
  • Emergency Fire Starter (Cotton wool balls in Vaseline)

Head lamp (Lightweight)

  • Black Diamond Storm
  • Petzl Tikka

Hiking Poles

  • Leki Corklite
  • Black Diamond Ultra Lite Z-Pole

DOGS

  • Dino Bino (no affiliate link here)
  • Caldonia (no affiliate link here)

If you have comments or questions regarding any of our gear, please ask. We always answer all questions.

Trust the Trail Podcast
Scott and Ariane December 14, 2017 0

Episode 37: Baby It’s Cold Outside

One of our favorite things to do is to go hiking in the Winter Snow. Well, we sure did get our wish this winter in Northern Georgia. On this episode we try and inspire and motivate you to get outdoors in the Winter and see it in a different perspective. We give you 5 tips on why you need to get your boots on and get a little cold.

Some things we talk about in this episode: 

5 tips on how to enjoy a winter hike
How see Winter in a different perspective
How to stay warm in your tent while winter camping

Thanks for listening! We absolutely love connecting with our community and appreciate all the e-mails and messages.

Huge thank you! It’s because of people like you that inspire us to keep podcasting our passion. If you’ve been enjoying the show and want to help others find it, We’d love a review from you in iTunes. Each and every review helps more people find the show (each one counts and we are super grateful).

To leave a review, click here and then go to “ratings and reviews”. It takes one minute and we read every one?

Thanks!