Saturday, March 24, 2012

Win a Free Copy of "The Ultimate Hiker's Gear Guide"

I know, I know. It's been a while since I've posted. As a mea culpa, I've giving away 3 copies of The Ultimate Hiker's Gear Guide by Andrew Skurka.  This is a great read for any gear junkie and is full of tips from one of the world's greatest long distance hikers.

To enter to win, all you have to do is leave a comment on this blog and post your #1 gear tip.  Only one entry per person.  3 winners will be chosen at random on Wednesday, March 28th 2012 at 6:00 PM MST and will be announced on this blog.

Good luck everyone!  I can't wait to see your favorite gear tips.
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Saturday, August 20, 2011

And I'm off...

All packed up and ready for my trip to Mt. Whitney tomorrow! Will have lots of new content for you when I get back: gear reviews, videos, and some surprises. See you when I get back...
And I'm off...SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Monday, August 15, 2011

Gear Gathering Rituals

So, I'm heading off to Mt. Whitney next week with Brian Green and Ben2World and have been procrastinating/flip-flopping about which gear to bring.

There's a scale at the trailhead where everyone takes pictures of their pack weight so I could shoot for the lightest pack.

On the other hand, I've been to Whitney before and have a pretty good lay of the land.  It's not that difficult of a summit so I could bring some luxury items like a video camera, small tripod, etc. and bring back some good content.

Or, on the third hand (need to see a doctor about that), I also have some cool gear to field test that would add to my pack weight but would be fun to try out.

Hmm...questions, questions.

In the course of assembling some of the gear I think I want to take, I realized something:  I don't have a gear gathering ritual.  Some people make detailed gear lists, some people always start with the same basic stuff and go from there.  I have nothing.  I feel like I start from scratch every time and carry a completely different set of gear based on memory and whim.
So, I ask, do you have a gear gathering ritual before a trip?  What is it?
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Sunday, July 24, 2011

The Flat Cat Alcohol Stove

The Flat Cat Alcohol Stove is a very unique and efficient system with a really clever windscreen design.  Here's a quick review and test burn.


Elevation:  5,700 ft.
Ambient temp:  78 degrees F
Water volume:  16 oz.
Water Temp:  60 degrees
The Flat Cat Alcohol StoveSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Gear Grams Gear List Calculator

I've never been that into using software to create gear lists (mostly because I fear the daunting task of entering all the data on all of my gear).

Many people use Excel spreadsheets and it works but it's not as convenient to slap together a gear list for a specific trip.  You have to do a lot of cutting and pasting.

I recent came across a really cool gear calculator called Gear Grams and have been playing around with it this morning.

It's a free, very user friendly program that allows you to quickly build specific gear lists with a simple drag & drop interface.  You simply enter all of your gear into your "gear library", then drag individual pieces of gear into a list.  I like this a lot because you can easily build lists for summer, winter, ultralight, or even specific locations or conditions.  And, of course, every list automatically calculates your total weight.

One feature I really like is the ability to quickly shift between grams, pounds, ounces, or kilograms.  That makes conversion simple for the mathematically challenged (like me).

Once you make your gear lists, you can easily share them by generating links and sending them to friends or posting them in a forum.

Overall, this is a very intuitive program and if I can get over my data entry phobia, I might just use it and become a gear list person.

Here is a video showing how easy Gear grams is to use.

Do you make gear lists?  What program do you use?
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Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Golite Tumalo Rain Jacket Review

I suppose it's fitting that it's raining while I write this.  I'll be climbing Mt. Whitney for the second time at the end of August and am slowly putting my gear together.

I recently upgraded my rain jacket to a Golite Tumalo and have been testing it over the last week to see if it's the one I want to bring.  Verdict?  It's definitely the one I'm bringing.

The Tumalo is extremely compact and lightweight yet still offers full protection.  The Pertex Shield DS fabric really is waterproof, breathable, and stretchy making for a comfortable ride even in a downpour.

Golite Tumalo Rain Jacket ReviewSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

North Face Recon Backpack Review

Last Sunday, I bought my 3rd North Face Recon Backpack.  The Recon has always been my favorite multi-sport pack and every year, they seem to dial it in a little more to make it even better.  Here's a quick video review of some of the latest features I like.

What is your most versatile pack?

North Face Recon Backpack ReviewSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Patron Pole: A Combination Hiking Staff and Fly Rod Case

How to pack your 2-piece fly rod while backpacking

I'm always on the lookout for interesting multi-purpose designs in backpacking gear and when I came across the Patron Pole, I had one of those "why didn't think of that" moments.

The Patron pole offers a simple solution for those who want to bring their 2-piece fly rods with them on a backpacking trip.  If you've ever tried to carry a 2-piece fly rod in your backpack, you know it doesn't really work.  It sticks out so far above the pack that it easily gets snagged in tree limbs, running the risk of losing--or worse--breaking your rod.
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Sunday, June 5, 2011

Materials for Alcohol Stove Windscreens

A question I often get asked is which material is best for making a DIY windscreen for alcohol stoves.  This is a big question as there are many types of materials that could be used (including natural windscreens made of rocks or found objects); however, there are some that are better than others depending on conditions, packing style, and budget.  Here are 3 of the most common types of windscreen materials and their advantages and disadvantages.

1.  Aluminum Flashing

This is probably one of the most widely used windscreen materials.  Flashing is used in building construction as a weatherproofing material but can be used to make a great looking windscreen.
Materials for Alcohol Stove WindscreensSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Friday, June 3, 2011

Coast LED Pro Pocket Pliers Contest Winner Announced!

Thanks to everyone who participated in the contest.  The winner is Jeff East.  Congratulations Jeff!  You've been notified by email.  More gear contests are on the way so stay tuned!
Coast LED Pro Pocket Pliers Contest Winner Announced!SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Monday, May 30, 2011

High Desert Survival School Knife

Just got my High Desert Survival school knife and WOW, this is a serious knife!  Warning to ultralighters:  this is not a UL blade.  It's a hardcore survival knife for hardcore bushcrafters.  Those of you that think you only need to carry a razor blade as your main cutting tool...move along.  There's nothing to see here.  But for you Crocodile Dundee types...
High Desert Survival School KnifeSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Gear Giveaway: Coast LED Pro Pocket Pliers

I'm giving away a free Coast LED Pro Pocket Pliers Multi-tool.   At first glance, this might look like a lot of other multi-tools, but check this out:  It has TWO built in LED lights!  One illuminates the area in front of the pliers, and the other illuminates the area in front of the knife (probably the two most used tools in a multi-tool).  This feature makes it great for nighttime camp chores or repairs.  

Definitely a unique feature and it even comes with a sheath!  Read more specs here

How to enter:  Simply leave a comment on this Gear Talk blog post (posts on Facebook, Twitter, emails, etc. will not be eligible) stating how you would use this multi-tool and why the dual LED lights might be particularly useful for you.  Winner will be chosen at random and notified by email.  If you post anonymously or without your email, I can't contact you if you win and I will choose another winner.

Deadline:  Thursday, June 2nd, 2011 at midnight MST. 

Gear Giveaway: Coast LED Pro Pocket PliersSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Friday, April 8, 2011

Win a Free Hi-Tec Hiking Shirt!

Speaking of clothing...The Hiking boots blog is giving away a Hi-Tec Salt Creek shirt for the best comment left on their post.  Contenst ends April 19th.  Sorry ladies, looks like they're only giving away a men's shirt.  Enter the contest here
Win a Free Hi-Tec Hiking Shirt!SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Thursday, April 7, 2011

The Dus-T: A Good Shirt for Desert Hiking

A few years ago, I was on a backpacking trip in Canyonlands, Utah. On the second day, a strong sand storm moved in. It was so powerful that it turned the entire sky red and even snapped one of my friend's tent poles like a toothpick! The most annoying thing was that sand was flying into our mouths and it was difficult not to breathe it in. I think I had sand in my mouth for 3 days after. I tried blocking it by putting a bandanna around my face but the wind was still pushing it in on the sides. It would havebeen nice to have had a shirt like the Dus-T.

The Dus-T: A Good Shirt for Desert HikingSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Insta-Fire Fire Starter

I'm always looking to play around with new types of fire starting materials and I've recently stumbled across a very interesting one.  Insta-Fire is a unique tinder that uses a blend of volcanic rock and wood pellets to produce a long burning, water proof fire starter. In the video above a small handful of Insta-Fire burned well over five and a half minutes under windy conditions and kept a steady flame (more than enough to start a campfire with even wet wood).  One thing I like about this fire starter is that even though it's water proof, it's all natural and non-toxic. Also, they sell it in various volumes--everything from a 5 gallon bucket to small packages.  I'd say most backpackers with decent fire skills could easily get a fire going with about a teaspoon or so making it very economical (both money and weight wise).  If you're looking to try something new, you might want to check out Insta-Fire. 

Insta-Fire Fire StarterSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Thursday, March 10, 2011

I'm now on Twitter!

Just a quick note to say that I'm now on Twitter.  This is where I'll be posting about gear deals, contests, blog updates, and other neat backpacking gear stuff.  If you want to subscribe, click the button below:

I'm now on Twitter!SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Tell Us Your Favorite Outdoor Quote, Win Free Gossamer Gear Stuff!

UPDATE:  The winner is Killerbee938.  Congratulations!  Please email me with your address so we can ship your swag.  The contest is now closed.

The lucky winner of this contest will receive a nice little package from Gossamer Gear including:

1.  One Thinlight 3/8" sleeping pad

2.  One Medium Polycryo Ground Cloth

3.  One Lighten Up DVD

RULES:  Winner will be chosen at random Friday, March 11th 2011 at 6:00 PM MST.  To be entered in the contest, all you have to do is reply to this post (no emails please) with your favorite quote about the outdoors.  Good luck and I look forward to hearing your quotes!
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