Trail Tips: 6 ways to stay warm in winter

Baby, it’s cold outside!

Excerpt from A.T. journal entry, May 6, 2016: “It was freezing cold, and as I ascended Whitetop Mountain there was snow already deep on the ground, hail, freezing rain that stung my face, wind gusts of 30-40 mph, icy rocks, deep cold mud, and most of the trail had become a freezing cold stream. I could barely see 50 feet in front of me.”

During my hike, I experienced a variety of weather and temperatures. You learn very quickly how to prepare for cold weather – either from others’ advice, or from personal mistakes. I’m about 50/50.  Continue reading “Trail Tips: 6 ways to stay warm in winter”

List: 5 reckless mistakes to avoid

If you do these, you’re gonna have a bad time.

In honor of the Red Bull Flugtag in Nashville this weekend, I wanted to share five reckless mistakes that can be avoided while you’re having fun outdoors. While none of these are launching homemade, human-powered flying machines off a pier about 30 ft/9 m high into the Cumberland River, they are just as reckless.

[Side note: my boyfriend is the pilot for the Vanderbilt LifeFlight flugtag team, so cheer them on for the popular vote today by using the #votevandylifeflight and #redbullflugtag hashtags on all your social media. Each mention is one point to their overall goal of winning and supporting the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt!]  Continue reading “List: 5 reckless mistakes to avoid”

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”