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”

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”

List: Overnight Backpacking Gear

There’s a first time for everything

I sometimes get asked to speak about backpacking at my local REI. It’s great meeting beginners and seasoned backpackers alike, and there are always some great questions at the end. The downside is that there’s never enough time to answer all the questions, or give greater detail. This post is in response to a question I get asked nearly every time: “What should I take (specifically) on my first overnight trip?”

Continue reading “List: Overnight Backpacking Gear”