Category Archives: Skills
I wonder if you could help me shed a few pounds – from my pack, not off my body. I’ve been section hiking the AT, and over the years have gotten my pack weight down from about 45 pounds to the low- to mid-30s. This year, I’m thinking of upgrading/downsizing my pack and sleeping bag, hoping to trim another 3 pounds and some bulk. Continue reading →
What should you look for in a sleeping bag? For me, it varies depending on the expected range of temperatures—and I’m not just talking about the bag’s temperature rating, as I detail in the tips below. But I’ll also offer my general tips for selecting a bag no matter the temperature rating. (All temperature ratings refer to the Fahrenheit scale.)
• Wear a hat, socks, and extra layers on your body, but avoid putting on so many layers that you isolate your core, which is your body’s furnace, from your extremities, which get cold more easily. It’s often more effective to wear just one or two layers on your body and line your bag with other extra clothing as added insulation for your entire body.
• Wear dry clothing in your bag; damp clothes promote conductive heat loss from the body. Continue reading →
As we neared Gunsight Pass in Glacier National Park, on the middle day of a three-day family backpacking trip, a man and woman in their fifties stopped to talk with us. They sized up our kids and smiled; Nate was nine and Alex was seven. “We’re impressed!” they told us. “We never had any luck trying to get our kids to backpack when they were young.” We chatted a bit and then headed off in opposite directions on the trail.
After they were out of earshot, Alex turned to me, wanting to clarify a point: “You didn’t get us to do this,” she told me. “We wanted to do it.” Her words, of course, warmed my heart. But her comment also spotlighted the biggest lesson for parents hoping to raise their kids to love the outdoors: Create experiences that make them eager to go out again the next time. Continue reading →
For hikers, trail runners, climbers, and others who play hard outside, fall, winter, and spring—and sometimes summer in the high mountains—challenge our ability to dress comfortably. You’re hot one minute, cold the next.
There’s a simple explanation: Temperatures below about 55° F. are cold enough to induce hypothermia; but when exerting hard, we can sweat even in temps well below freezing, and sweat conducts heat away from the body, making you cold. The key to comfort? Smart management of what you wear and your body temperature during activity. Continue reading →