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”

Trail Review: Volunteer Trail at Long Hunter State Park

Beautiful path tarnished by boater trash

I hiked the 5.5 mile in-and out (11 miles roundtrip) Volunteer Trail at Long Hunter State Park to scout it out as a location for one of my beginner backpacking groups since there are two backcountry campsites at the end. The trail is one of the easiest I’ve ever hiked: flat, totally shaded, by the water, well-blazed and signed, great places to take a break, and less than 30-minutes’ drive from my house.

It is also the most trash-covered trail I’ve ever hiked.  Continue reading “Trail Review: Volunteer Trail at Long Hunter State Park”

List: 10 Essentials for Day Hiking

Because s@%$ happens…

When I don’t have time for an overnight backpacking trip, I still like to hike nearby trails. If I’m hiking a trail shorter than five miles that I’ve already done before, I often only take my Salomon Hydro Handset, which holds my ID and my truck key. (I know that’s not the best practice way to do things, but I’m honest.) If I’m doing a longer trail, however, or a trail I’m not familiar with, I do take along the 10 essentials.  Continue reading “List: 10 Essentials for Day Hiking”

Trail Review: Mossy Ridge Trail at Percy Warner Park

Nashville’s backyard backpacking conditioning trail

The 4.6 mile Mossy Ridge trail loop at Percy Warner Park is one of my favorite trails in the city. Most people would rate it as a moderate trail; it has some rocky sections and hills and winds through varied scenery and trail difficulty. Want to get into backpacking shape for the upcoming fall? Load your pack and hit this trail.  Continue reading “Trail Review: Mossy Ridge Trail at Percy Warner Park”

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”