Gear Review: Big Agnes UL Fly Creek 2 (original model)

home sweet home

[Disclosure: Big Agnes has come out with a newer model of my tent called the Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL 2. I have not yet reviewed this model. If Big Agnes wants to hook me up, however, with this newer tent, or a Copper Spur 2 Platinum…]

When I started backpacking, I was surprised at the role mental and emotional factors played in a successful and fun adventure. There’s always the primitive, instinctual need for shelter, of course; but I found there’s also a craving for a sense of “home” when you are out for more than just a few nights.

Enter the Big Agnes UL Fly Creek 2 tent. Most nights, after 20+ exhausting mountainous miles, I would get to camp, do my “chores” (which included tent setup), and eat a hot meal. Once ready for bed, I would unzip my tent door, crawl inside, read for a while or map out my next day, and fall fast asleep. It was my home.  Continue reading “Gear Review: Big Agnes UL Fly Creek 2 (original model)”

First trail run of 2018

Humility, mud, and what I wore

For the first day in what seems like forever, the weather got into the high 50s/low 60s and the sun was shining. It was a perfect Saturday morning. I went trail running at Percy Warner, a route I’ve done many times, but this time was different: I ran my slowest time ever.  Continue reading “First trail run of 2018”

Gear Review: Selecting a new pack

Granite Gear Crown2 60 vs. Osprey Exos 48

There will never be a pack like my beloved Rosie, but the thru-hiker funk refuses to dissipate, no matter how many times I wash her and how strong the chemicals. She’s being retired, and for my upcoming birthday I am treating myself to a new pack.

I’m going to step you through my decision-making process. Remember, everyone has unique needs, body types, budgets, and tastes – this is just a glimpse into mine.  Continue reading “Gear Review: Selecting a new pack”

Gear Review: The North Face Thermoball

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

There is one piece of gear that goes with me everywhere: my North Face Thermoball full-zip jacket. On the A.T., Camino, short backpacking trips, day hikes, ski trips, snowshoeing, and around town, this is in my pack or I’m wearing it. I’ve had it for three years, and it’s still my go-to item.  Continue reading “Gear Review: The North Face Thermoball”

Trail Tip: Use gear company support

Help them help you

There are hundreds of gear manufacturers out there, and all have different policies on the level of customer support, warranty, gear replacement, and other services the provide. In my experience, when you are in a pinch on trail, they are eager to help. After all, the best advertisement for gear isn’t on a website or in a catalog – it’s in the woods, being used by a hiker that, though they and their gear reek, know what it’s all about.  Continue reading “Trail Tip: Use gear company support”