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2014 Gear List for Southern California

Well, the 2014 PCT hiking season is at hand, starting at Campo and continuing for the first 300 or so miles of the trail.  Desert hiking will be new to me.  The scarcity of water, the heat, and the necessity to shift from a hammock to sleeping on the ground will all impact what I have to take along with me for this segment.  Hopefully I am making the right gear choices.  But I suspect that if I err, it will be on the side of overkill.  Next year I plan on completing the desert section, so this gear list …

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2013 Gear Reviews

I am not an expert gear reviewer, but I have put in a lot of miles on the trail this year and have developed some opinions on the gear I have been using this year, and in many cases, for the past several years. These reviews are not exhaustive, and are just my opinion but hopefully they will be useful.  And, for what it’s worth, I’m 60 years old, 6’1″, 170 pounds and have been tramping the back country for a couple of decades. ULA Circuit  ULA Equipment I have been using this backpack for two years now and …

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2013 Gear List

The 2013 hiking season, for me at least, is now officially underway.  The highlight of this year will be about 600 miles along the Pacific Crest Trail in both Northern California and Washington.  This will be preceded by numerous trips into the Olympics to try out gear, get in trail shape, and just to chill out enjoying the creation. I described last year’s gear list in an earlier blog, but things have changed a bit and it’s time to update it for the 2013 trip.  While this is still subject to change, up until the time I actually leave, it is at …

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The Stoveless Menu

I am preparing for another foray onto the PCT this year, and have been working on meal preparation.  Last year I left the stove at home and plan on doing the same thing again.  Not having to deal with a stove has simplified trail life, and helped in pack weight reduction.  But it has complicated the food preparation ahead of time.  It is not enough to browse through the Mountain House meals at REI and purchase enough dinners to get me through the hiking season.  It takes quite a bit more planning and effort to put together a menu that …

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Hanging Out in the Woods

It’s 2:30 in the morning.  Will this night ever end.  I feel like the princess sleeping on a pea.  The difference being that she had a mountain of bedding between her and the pea, and I had only a thin pad between me and the ground.  My hips and back are hurting so bad that I can’t bear laying in one position for more than about 15 minutes and am thrashing about so much that I feel like a noodle in a stir fry. It’s night 4 of a 6 night trip and the ground isn’t getting any softer; if …

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Sawyer Squeeze Filter: a Review

Over the years I have mostly used either iodine or Aquamira to treat water in the back country, mostly because they were lightweight and fairly easy to use.  But I was intrigued by the Sawyer Squeeze filter, mostly because of its weight, but also because  it appeared to be fairly simple to use.  So I bought one and have used it for over 500 miles this year.  The following is a review of the filter, along with some tips for using it. The filter itself is fairly small, weighing in at 3 3/8 oz or 96 grams, is just a shade under …

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Going Stoveless

One of the constants in my Backpacking experience, up until recently, has been the use of a stove, whether it be a white gas or canister stove.  Hot meals and drinks were just something I did.  The funny thing about this is that I do not drink hot drinks at home, nor did I often have hot breakfasts.  But for some reason it just seemed like the thing to do when out on the trail.  Over the last 2-3 years I have slowly quit taking the hot chocolate and oatmeal along, opting instead for just water, sometimes with noon added and a …

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Producing a Post Trip Map

I like maps. I like looking at them during trip preparation.  I like looking at them on an unfamiliar trail to get myself oriented.  And I like looking at them after the trip to see where I went and to help relate the trip to my wife.  But as I have been preparing for some extended section hiking of the PCT this year, the shear volume of maps required has been daunting.  So I have been looking into electronic mapping this year, both for ‘on the trail use’ as well as post trip to document the journey.  And I think I have …

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Taking SPOT for a Walk

About 4 years ago my son gave my wife one of the original SPOT’s for Christmas.  The intent was that I would carry it to let her know that I was OK, thus giving her a bit more peace of mind.  It was a bit clunky but it did generally work and let her know at least once a day that I was still alive and well.  But it was a bit challenging to share any kind of change of plans with her once I had left the trail head. The original SPOT and four buttons, including the power button. …

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