Monthly Archives: March 2013

Gear Review: REI Sahara Convertible Pants For Kids

March 27, 2013  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , ,   |   1 Comment
REI Sahara Convertible Pants boys

REI Sahara Convertible Pants boys

Kids Hiking Pants
REI Sahara Convertible Pants
$45, 9 oz. (boys medium)
Sizes: boys and girls XXS (4-5) to XL (18)

We parents face a conundrum regarding kids’ gear and outdoor clothing: We want our kids to have the same high-quality stuff we have—it’s worth it to help them enjoy the experience—but, well, they do outgrow it fast. These zip-off hiking pants soften the financial pain of outfitting your children without sacrificing quality. Moderately priced, they are made with the same fabric and features (six pockets!) as the adult version, with the added value of an adjustable waistband to help keep your son or daughter from busting out of them sooner than you’re ready to lay down plastic for another pair. Continue reading →

Gear Review: Arc’teryx Tecto FL Jacket

March 25, 2013  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment
Arc'teryx Tecto FL

Arc’teryx Tecto FL

Lightweight Jacket
Arc’teryx Tecto FL Jacket
$369, 10 oz. (men’s medium)
Sizes: men’s S-XXL, women’s XS-XL

Rain shells in the “ultralight” category—which might be loosely defined as 10 ounces and under—tend to sacrifice some performance and durability. Not so the Tecto FL. I practically lived in this Spartan jacket on most of a four-day September trip in the Olympic Mountains, where we got slammed with strong wind, rain, hail, and wet snow, with temperatures in the 30s, for a solid two days, followed by a couple days of sunshine but chilly wind and temps in the 30s and 40s, during which I wore this jacket much of the time. We also bushwhacked for miles through pine boughs that would pour buckets of water over us in the Bailey Range. While my soft-shell pants and my waterproof leather boots eventually soaked through from that deluge, this jacket kept my upper body dry. I give it a 10 for waterproofness and durability, because it looks as new now as the day I got it. Continue reading →

Featured Video: Backpacking the Olympic Coast

March 22, 2013  |  In Backpacking, Family Adventures, National Park Adventures   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,   |   2 Comments

Washington’s Olympic National Park protects the longest wilderness coastline remaining in the continental United States, and the season for hiking it is fast approaching. Watch this short video of a classic, three-day, 17.5-mile backpacking trip along the southern section of the coast, where you’ll see sea stacks rising out of the ocean, seals, sea otters, and tide pools filled with sea life. Read the story and check out a gallery of photos from the adventure.


March 21, 2013 Above Marie Lake, near Selden Pass on the John Muir Trail, High Sierra, California.

Ask Me: Advice on Lighter Gear

In Ask Me, Backpacking, Skills   |   Tagged , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment

Hi Michael,

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 →

Gear Review: Gregory Tempo 8L Hydration Pack

March 20, 2013  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment
Gregory Tempo 8

Gregory Tempo 8

Trail-Running Hydration Pack
Gregory Tempo 8L
$149, 1 lb. 2 oz. (M/L, including 2L Hydrapak bladder)
Sizes: S/M and M/L

For trail runs of more than a couple of hours, I want a hydration pack that holds two liters of water, a jacket, hat, maybe light gloves, and enough energy food to get me through several hours—but that also glues itself to my back without jostling. After numerous runs on Boise Foothills trails and a rugged 14-miler in California’s Tahoe National Forest, on steep paths constantly dropping into and climbing out of tributary canyons of the American River, I decided the Tempo 8L may be the best trail-running hydration pack I’ve found. Continue reading →

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Grand Canyon Hiker