Monthly Archives: December 2012
At this time of year, I start pulling out maps and guidebooks and poring over my lengthy—and always growing—list of outdoor trips I want to take. (My document slugged “Trip Ideas” is now 11,855 words long.) There are two reasons: First, to make those big dream trips happen, you have to think, plan, and dream months in advance. Plus, the planning is almost as much fun as taking the trip.
Here are my 10 favorite family adventures at The Big Outside (another list that will keep growing and evolving), to help give you some ideas and inspiration for 2013. Continue reading →
I’ve given this minimalist-running trend some cautious experimentation over the past several months, and I’m not sure I will ever switch over from traditional, supportive running shoes to minimalist shoes for my trail running or dayhiking. It’s not right for everyone’s feet and body. However, months of wearing the Spyridon LS for everything from general walking around to gym workouts has convinced me of something entirely unexpected: While I may not run in this footwear, they are excellent for exercising and strengthening the muscles and connective tissue of my feet and legs for ultra-hiking, backpacking, and trail running. Continue reading →
Millet Prolighter 30
$135, 2 lbs. 12 oz.
I carried this top-loading rucksack with a rock-climbing rack, clothing, and food for a roughly 14-mile, nearly 4,000-foot climb of Mt. Heyburn in Idaho’s Sawtooths, which is mostly a long, substantially off-trail hike with a couple short pitches of easy rock climbing to the summit. (My partner carried the rope, though it would have easily fit under this pack’s rope strap.) The Prolighter 30 nails it as a pack for an all-day, technical rock, snow, or ice climb in the backcountry, or a cragging pack: It sports all the needed features while weighing in under three pounds, is comfortable carrying 25 to 30 pounds, and built to sustain serious abuse. Continue reading →
Looking for a gift idea for someone who loves the outdoors? Check out these reviews of my 25 favorite pieces of outdoor gear and apparel, trail food, and outdoor books of 2012.
* Westcomb Shift LT Hoody three-season, waterproof-breathable jacket.
* Gregory Savant 58 (men’s)/Sage 55 (women’s) backpack.
* Norrona Lofoten Warm2 High Loft Fleece Jacket.
* Sierra Designs Ymir 55 backcountry skiing and snowboarding pack.
* Cabela’s Thermal Zone 1/4 Zip Mock T-Neck winter top.
* Mountain Hardwear Super Power Hoody for cool-weather, outdoor workouts.
* Scarpa Moraine Mid GTX boots. Continue reading →
Within minutes after launching our canoe into the chocolate-brown and, at the moment, tranquil Whanganui River, in the southwestern corner of New Zealand’s North Island, I begin to get a sense of why the native Maori people believed that every bend in this striking waterway had a mauri, or “life force.” We’ve entered a nearly unbroken gorge of sheer sandstone and mudstone cliffs soaring up to 200 feet straight out of the water, draped with jungle-like foliage in infinite hues of green. Cicadas buzz and rattle almost deafeningly. Ribbon waterfalls pour in straight, pencil-thin lines down walls so oversaturated that they weep tears from every fern and leaf.
The Maori are right: this place is very much alive. Continue reading →