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.
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.
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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
We are eagerly waiting for this jacket to get to market. One of the great things about this new OR Ascendant Jacket is it’s weight. Lightweight and easily pack-able for late fall, early winter backpacking trip. Breathability is the key with most soft-shell jackets. The OR Ascendant Jacket uses a new technology called Polartec® Alpha® Direct.
According to Polartec’s web site:
Polartec® Alpha® was originally developed for the U.S. Special Forces when they required a more advanced insulating material in their combat uniforms. This fabric is a new technology with active insulation that regulates core body temperatures during both dynamic and static activities. This latest advancement in adaptable breathability helps eliminate the need of shedding or adding layers while on the move.
Jacob from Outside Magazine does the production of this video and does a great job getting us pumped for the gear coming out in 2017. Looks like it’s coming out in early Spring 2017. Click HERE to watch the Video
We love fun backpacking video’s, and this is one of them. (Especially when there is dancing involved) Claire Stam puts together a great expression of backpacking in this section of the Pacific Crest Trail.
From near Siskiyou Summit (elev. 4,310?) in southern Oregon to the Washington border, this section is both the shortest and the easiest to hike or ride. Oregon’s Cascade Range is a subdued volcanic landscape, with a gentle crest that is fairly constant in elevation. The highest point in Oregon is an unnamed saddle (elev. 7,560?) north of Mount Thielsen. Other volcanoes, including Mount McLoughlin, Mount Mazama (Crater Lake), Diamond Peak, the Three Sisters, Mount Washington, Three Fingered Jack, Mount Jefferson and Mount Hood, punctuate the skyline. The only major elevation change in Oregon is the 3,160 foot drop into the Columbia River Gorge crossing Interstate 84 and the Columbia River on the Bridge of the Gods (elev. 180?).
If you have a hiking/backpacking or a adventure video you would like to share, let us know. We love sharing your outdoor videos. Drop us a line a firstname.lastname@example.org[geo mashup]
We love the videos that come from Dave Collins at www.cleverhiker.com Of course when we see on that strikes at the very heart of being outdoors, we just have to share. The most common question we get when we take newbies out in the backcountry is “what happens if it rains”?. We always answer that with a tiny grin and say “You get wet”. I think Dave got it exactly right.
Backpacking in the rain isn’t everyone’s idea of a fantastic time in the woods. It’s going to be wet, cold, and visibility will be greatly reduced.
If you’re not properly prepared, backpacking in the rain can be all-out miserable. But if you’re ready for it, backpacking in the rain can actually be a lot of fun.
When conditions are wet you’ll be able to avoid the crowds, you’ll probably see more wildlife, and you’ll be able to experience wilderness areas in completely different way.
Being good at backpacking in the rain is a skill that takes years of practice. The more time you spend doing it, the better you’ll get.
It’s a good idea to practice close to home at first, so you can hone your skills before heading out on a more extreme trip.
One of the most important factors to having a good time during a rainy backpacking trip is having a positive attitude.
If you’re mentally prepared to be wet and still have fun, you’ll probably have a great time. You can sing, and dance to keep warm, or bring fun games to play in your tent.
One concept that’s tough for beginners to accept is that, if it rains for an extended period of time on your trip, you’re going to get wet, and there’s really no avoiding it.
Waterproof gear will keep the water out, but it also forms a barrier that holds your body heat in, which leads to condensation and increased perspiration.
Even the most expensive and breathable rain gear won’t keep your body completely dry while you hike in extended rain.
The same is true of waterproof shoes. Waterproof shoes don’t breath well and your feet will sweat while you hike.
When it rains, water from brush along the trail will run down your legs and into your shoes.
Gaiters and rain pants can delay the effect, but eventually, your feet are going to be soaked one way or another.
Rather than trying to prevent getting wet, it’s better to just accept that you’re going to get wet and learn how to best adapt to it.
With the right skills, you can still stay warm, hike comfortably, and have completely dry evenings, even during days of nonstop rain.
There is nothing better than backpacking with a great partner. Especially, when you partner is your Dog. They always follow and never complain. Here is a great video that explains a typical backpacking system for their dog Barlely.
Video by Andy Timinsky
These are the typical items we take for Barkley on every backpacking trip. Keep in mind it is not recommended that your dog carry no more than 25% of their body weight in their dog pack.
List of the gear below: The gear below is good for 3 season – this will not work for the winter time.
-Ruffwear Approach pack
-Ruffwear Quencher bowl
-Ruffwear Climate Changer sweater
-Windshield sun reflector from dollar store- this is used to insulate him from the ground when he’s laying around camp and also sleeping in the tent.
-Dog food- Typically carry more than when we feed him at home since we are burning more calories.
-Plastic bowl for food or water – we reused a plastic container
-Nite Ize led light for collar
One other note: Dogs typically drink from the Creeks and Rivers. It’s always a good idea to have your local Vetrinarian give your dog preventative shot for Leptospirosis
Do you love a good DIY project? This one will blow you mind if you really want to lighten your load.
Northwest Backpacker puts together a great DIY Lightweight Shelter idea. This is a really easy ultralight project that will reduce your base weight significantly. At 13 oz this ultralight shelter can’t be matched on weight or cost. The materials below come to about $20.
A tarp is a versatile shelter which can either be left off (when sleeping under a clear sky), or pitched low and tight when in windy and wet conditions.
You should absolutely practice multiple pitch types before taking this out for your shelter. Understanding site selection is also key to getting the most out of it.
After watching video, you can go to Ben’s site for full details on the project.
If you love to cook in the backcountry like I do, then you need some cookware that won’t weigh your pack down. We think we found just the cookware pan.
The MSR Flex Skillet has been a staple in you backpacking gear. I really miss it when I don’t bring it. I love just the pot but when you really want to make some fun food in the backcountry nothing does the trick better than this baby.
Nonstick, hard-anodized aluminum skillet.
A durable, nonstick surface makes this hard-anodized aluminum skillet perfect for everything from stir-fries to the perfect pancake. Conveniently nests inside a Flex 4 System and outside a Flex 3 System.
Easy Clean-Up: Scratch-resistant, hard-anodized nonstick aluminum.
Versatile: Nests with MSR® Flex 3 and 4 Cook Systems and Pot Sets.
Includes: (1) Talon™ pot handle.
Weight 7 oz / 199 g
Height 2.5 in / 6.35 cm
Diameter 9 in / 22.86 cm
If you are looking for a lightweight piece of cooking gear for your next backpacking trip, this is a must.
First, let me say that I wanted to spend a lot more time in this awesome display of nature. I feel I was cheeted by only being able to hike the short 10 – 12 mile loop I did. Having said that, Red River Gorge is now in my top 20 places I’ve ever hiked in. The Red River Gorge is part of the Daniel Boone National Forest Red River Gorge Geological Area – 29,000 acres, designated in 1974.
Rock Arches are the celebrity at this park. If you live in the Midwest and want to see Arches without traveling to Utah, this is the place to visit. With deep gorges, and caves, this is one place you need to visit if you are in Kentucky.
Many arches in the Gorge can be found or viewed from the 60 miles of backpacking trails. The number, size, and variety of natural stone arches in the Gorge contribuite to the beauty of this park. Becareful however, some the cliffs are steep and dangerous. There are over 100 arches in this park.
There are some definate rules and regulations while backpacking in this park. Make sure you understand the camping situation. There are NO formal campgrounds but many are out there. You WILL need a permit to camp overnight. You can get permits at the Gladie Center. But you can also get permits at the Shell Gas Station located right on Hwy 15. It might save you a drive if you are going to hike and camp on th South end of the park.
The Sheltowee Trail runs through the Red River Park, but also runs Natural Bridge State Park, and the Clifty Wilderness. The trail is 278 miles long.
If you have a Kayak or Canoe, this is the place to trek down the Red River. Runs right through the Park.
Most of the Trails are easy to moderate, but there are a few sections that you will be climbing up or down hand over foot.
Backpack to Grays Arch. Worth the extra hike. It’s a nice loop hike if you take #205 trail to #221 to #203 back to your car. 10 – 12 mile loop.
The Trail Map is located HERE. For more information call the Gladie Cultural Center at (606)663-8100. They are open from 9:00 to 5:30 from Mid March to November.
Check out some photos of the Red River Gorge
See you on the Trail