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When choosing between jackets, you typically have two options: down, or synthetic. There are pros and cons to both. Down jackets are well-known for being the most lightweight, warm, and highly compressible layers you can buy, but they do have an Achilles heel: once they’re wet, they’re difficult to dry and lose their insulating power. Synthetic jackets are water-resistant and in some cases, can insulate even when wet. But, this comes at a cost: they aren’t as lightweight, and they often

Let’s face it: ultralight packs have a pretty bad reputation. Many people have described them as trash back with straps, and often, ultralight packs seem to sacrifice comfort first in order to shave down weight. But, those downsides aren’t always the case, and to prove it, I’m comparing 6 ultralight packs that are almost too good to be true. What Exactly is an Ultralight Pack? To fall into the “ultralight” category, a pack needs to weigh 2lbs or less. Most traditionally-framed packs weigh

What’s better–a trekking pole-supported tent, or a freestanding tent?  What if the answer might be… neither? In my experience, the best gear out there is often an even mix of the best of both worlds. Freestanding tents can often be heavy, since they feature their own internal support system. Even collapsed, this internal frame can be tricky to pack, with many backpackers opting to strap them to the outside of their packs. Trekking pole-supported tents are lightweight, but can be tedious to

Water filters: if you’re new to backpacking, or even going on longer day hikes, choosing the right one for you can seem daunting. There’s a lot of risks involved in making sure you have the right system to filter your water: if you don’t do it right, it’s easy to get sick, and no one wants to cut a trip short because of water-borne illness. Now, there are many different ways to treat water: from boiling it to filtering it,

Backpacking gear isn’t cheap. But if you treat it right, it will last you a long time. Like this sleeping pad I bought way back in 2009.  You probably know it’s not good to leave your sleeping bag in its stuff sack. As I have talked about many times, sleeping bags keep you warm by creating loft. The beauty of down is how compressible it is. But leave it compressed too long, and it has a tendency to want to stay

If you are looking to buy a lightweight, warm, high quality backpacking quilt you are probably looking to spend $300-$400. Whether you are looking at Enlightened Equipment, Feathered Friends, UGQ, or one of the other great companies that make backpacking quilts. Your going to drop some cash.  But you don’t have to, you could get a lightweight, high quality, down quilt that competes with feathered friends and enlightened equipment, for warmth quality and weight, but only spend $189 (affiliate link). Today I’m talking

I live in the middle of a flat, dry dessert. There isn’t much in the way of outdoor recreation. At least not locally. Not even a good bike trail. Being active outside is a challenge for my family. So I recently started looking for ways my family and I could spend some quality time together without diving several hours to be outdoors. My solution? Slacklining.Slacklining in Midland Texas. Any trek fans out there?Slacklining has appealed to me for sometime. It

Recently I had the opportunity to ski on the new for 2011 K2 charger skis. I spent 3 days at ski Purgatory skiing in a variety of conditions and I believe I got a good feel for these amazing skis. The Chargers I used measure in at 174 CM long, with tip, waist, and tail measuring 122-74-106. This season rocker is all the rage and all of K2’s new AMP series (including the Charger) has some degree of rocker.