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What's That? It's a Bird, It's a... Yup, It's a Bird.

Tuesday April 15, 2014

Ptarmigan in alpine tundraBirding and hiking enjoy a nice synchronicity. It's easy (almost obligatory!) for a hobbyist of either activity to pick up the other as a habit -- and from a hiker's viewpoint, it's exciting to have some idea of what that beautiful winged creature you're watching -- or listening to -- may be. Read More...

Coming Next Weekend: Free Access to All National Parks!

Saturday April 12, 2014

According to the good folks at the National Park Foundation, "every American is less than 100 miles from a national park experience." Well, I know some folks in rural Alaska who would disagree with that! Read More...

Zip-Up Gaiters? Sure, Why Not!

Friday April 11, 2014

Earlier this year, the folks at Hillsound approached me about reviewing their Super Armadillo Nano gaiters. I have to admit that in a general sense, I'm not terribly enthused about gaiters. They fulfill a valuable function -- keeping snow, mud, scree or dust out of your boots and pants legs -- but they're just not as sexy as, say, a really awesome water filter or jacket.

(I have mixed feelings about the fact that I even typed that last sentence.)

Anyway, two things caught my eye enough to review the gaiters. One is that they're the first zip-up gaiters I've ever encountered. The second was their Schoeller C_Change weatherproof/breathable membrane -- another new feature I don't recall seeing before.

I'm pleasantly surprised by the whole zip-up concept. Who knew... it works! The only catch is that I really wish the Super Armadillos zipped from the bottom up, instead of the top down. I was pleasantly surprised by the Schoeller C_Change, too. Click through to the review if you want the details: Gear review - Hillsound Super Armadillo Nano gaiters.

Clothing Wars

Thursday April 10, 2014

A t-shirt and jeans may be quintessential city wear on your days off, but that doesn't really cut it in the woods. Even in warm climates, cotton can leave you uncomfortable -- or worse, hypothermic -- if it gets wet. So what are you supposed to wear instead? Read More...

The Problem With Camp Hammocks (and How to Solve It)

Monday April 7, 2014

Camp hammocks are one of the most divine ways of spending a night under the stars -- but believe it or not, just crawling into the hammock with your sleeping bag isn't always enough. Unless you're in a very temperate climate, you still need a sleeping pad to stop heat loss through the bottom of your body, where your weight crushes your sleeping bag's insulation into near-uselessness. Read More...

A Gateway to Hiking

Saturday April 5, 2014

A view along the boardwalk over Potter Marsh near Anchorage, AlaskaHardcore hikers may be tempted to poo-poo stand-alone boardwalks -- the type you drive right up to, walk out on, then turn around and come back. "Poo," they might think. "You never actually get anywhere!" or "Poo! you're not even walking on the actual ground!"

To a certain point, I agree

Look Up!

Friday April 4, 2014

You probably already plan your hikes around the seasons, maybe even the phases of the moon -- and in some places, the crowds. But what about the stars?

Even if you're not remote enough to see the Milky Way, there's no better place than the backcountry to take in meteor showers, lunar eclipses and planets glimmering closer than usual in the night sky -- all of which are in store for April. Check out this video that tells (and shows!) you what to look for: April 2014 skywatching video.

Sustainable Trails for All: The Crotched Mountain Trails Workshops

Monday March 31, 2014

Two-hikers-on-Gregg-Trail.jpgI recently published an article about Crotched Mountain Foundation's accessible trails. Said trails are remarkable for their very ordinariness -- they're "just" a couple of thoroughly enjoyable trails that anybody and everybody can hike, regardless of whether they're traveling on foot or in a wheelchair. Read More...

Where Do You Find Hiking Buddies?

Sunday March 30, 2014

Hikers on an Alaskan mountainsideIt's no secret that I love hiking alone -- but sometimes it's fun (and it's usually more prudent) to bring a friend or two along with you. What if you don't have any outdoorsy friends, or those who do hike aren't available when you are? Well, you could always try to introduce a non-hiking friend to the joys of the trail. Or you could meet up with other hiking-savvy folks in need of trail partners. Read More...

Sleeping Pads: Inflatable or Foam?

Saturday March 29, 2014

First-time backpackers often underestimate the importance of a sleeping pad -- but that thin "mattress" is your best friend when it comes to getting a good night's sleep.

That's because your body weight compresses the insulation in your sleeping bag, so it won't do much to insulate you Read More...

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