Backpacking Tip: Paint your stakes

Neon isn’t just for those shorts you wore in 1992

Just a quick tip to pass along: paint your stakes. I like bright orange, but any bright or neon color will work. For you weight weenies out there, it doesn’t add that much weight at all, and it prevents accidentally leaving a stake in the grass even if you do a dummy sweep as you leave your site. I still have all the stakes I started with, even after 2,400+ miles. I also just repainted them; it takes five minutes and is totally worth it.

That’s it – short and sweet! Happy trails!

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”

When Nature Sucks: Dealing with Mosquitoes and Ticks

It’s a jungle out there…

The outdoors are amazing – majestic views, beautiful flora and fauna, the chance to move your body and free your mind. The outdoors can also be a miserable experience – sudden blizzards, dried up creeks and streams, pack rash, and cranky porcupines. And then… there are the mosquitoes and ticks. You find out quickly the only thing you have control over is your attitude and your gear. Bug spray goes a long way to helping the first and is a must-have for the second.   Continue reading “When Nature Sucks: Dealing with Mosquitoes and Ticks”

Ziploc bags, or how not to run out of food

6 steps for hungry, hungry hikers

There were three different days on the Appalachian Trail when I ran out of food. After implementing my Ziploc system, it didn’t happen again.

When I started my trek, I had all my food crammed into my bear bag. It wasn’t sorted or organized in any way, but I knew the food I had: two boxes of poptarts, 12 packets of cheese crackers, five Knorr pasta sides, etc. I carefully wrote down the things I needed for resupply on a list, and purchased those items plus anything that caught my eye in the store (looking at you, gummy bears). I had enough food to get me to the next resupply, all nicely removed from the original box packaging and crammed into that 18L dry bag.

I still ran out of food.  Continue reading “Ziploc bags, or how not to run out of food”

The Feet Post

10 tips for 10 toes

There are certain proud accomplishments for most people in life: graduating high school or college, job promotions, having children, paying off their student loans or mortgage. One of my prouder moments was when I summited Katahdin with all 10 original toenails, and only four blisters during the entire 2,200-mile trek.   Continue reading “The Feet Post”