Trail Tips: Creating your backpacking kitchen

Because everyone deserves a hot meal at the end of the day (Part 3)

“A woman’s place is in the kitchen. A man’s place is in the kitchen. Everyone’s place is in the kitchen – kitchen has food.”

Everyone sets up their kitchen differently, depending on heating method (or lack thereof), fuel needs, cookware, and accessories. Here’s a look into my backpacking kitchen. Continue reading “Trail Tips: Creating your backpacking kitchen”

Gear Review: Snow Peak Titanium Cookset and Spork

Because everyone deserves a hot meal at the end of the day (Part 2)

I have some friends that go stoveless while backpacking. It saves weight, money, and is sometimes required on certain sections of trail out West where the fire hazard is too high to allow backpacking stoves. While I could go stoveless, I never want to. Sometimes the only thing that gets you up the last mountain or across that last stretch is the thought of a hot meal that evening. I reviewed the MSR Pocket Rocket earlier, and now I’m going to talk about the second part of the hot meal camp kitchen: your cooking pot.

hampton
Me and my Snow Peak cookset on a cliff overlooking Hampton, TN, after a long day on the AT

Whether you are cooking food in the pot (hello, Ramen Bomb) or just boiling water to pour into an expensive Mountain House meal bag, a great cook pot is a must. Enter the SnowPeak titanium pot and lid. Continue reading “Gear Review: Snow Peak Titanium Cookset and Spork”

Gear Review: MSR Pocket Rocket

Because everyone deserves a hot meal at the end of the day (Part 1)

My name may be Firestarter, but I hate starting fires. I’m far too lazy to enjoy the effort that goes into finding an existing fire ring (or place that will be minimally affected), gathering downed wood, finding kindling, starting the fire, perilously boiling water or cooking food in/on/near the fire, maintaining the fire, staying up until the fire is out, and dispersing all the coals in the morning. Why do that when you can have a camp stove up and going in under a minute?

There are several types of backpacking stoves out there – Jetboils, alcohol, wood, liquid fuel/white gas – but I love the simplicity and light-weight (only 3 oz.) design of the MSR Pocket RocketContinue reading “Gear Review: MSR Pocket Rocket”

Trail Review: Beaman Park

Great hike for groups with a mix of fitness levels

[First, yes, I realize I’m laughing in nearly all my pictures. Instagram model = no, happy woman = yes.]

Beaman Park is a beautiful hiking area nestled in the foothills just north of Nashville (near Whites Creek and Joelton).

Beaman Park is a great place to take a group because you can choose your own adventure for varying fitness levels or time constraints. The “entire” hike is actually made up of three trails. The first is a .6 mi out-and-back trail that connects to the second trail, a 2-mile loop. The 2-mile loop is interrupted by the third trail, a 2.1-mi one-way trail. Completing the third trail, joining back with the second loop, and going back out the first trail adds up to about 6.5 miles. The trails are marked with yellow, white, and red blazes, respectively.  Continue reading “Trail Review: Beaman Park”

Ride for Reading

Bikes and books!

Last month I learned about a great organization – Ride for Reading. Cyclists from all over Nashville met at Green Fleet Bikes and we loaded our backpacks and bikes with donated books to take to the children at the McFerrin Community Center. We biked about four miles around East Nashville and arrived at the community center to a crowd of excited kids. We looked at books, ate popsicles, and had a great time.

From the Ride for Reading website: “Our mission is to promote literacy and healthy living by donating books via bicycle to children from low-income areas. Since our start in February 2008, RfR has donated more than 400,000 books, delivering them by bicycle to kids at Title I schools.”

We got to spend time with the kids, who loved having grownups (even sweaty ones!) to talk to and look at bikes and read books. As things got kicked off, the Rfr representative had the kids say a pledge that they would read their book twice, pass it to someone else they know, and be the best student for the rest of the year.

Ride for Reading is in Nashville and San Antonio, Texas. If you find yourself in either area, join up with this great group. Even if you aren’t big on bikes, you can always drop off books at their donation sites around town – including Cumberland Transit!