Gear Review: MSR Pocket Rocket

Because everyone deserves a hot meal at the end of the day (Part 1)

My name may be Firestarter, but I hate starting fires. I’m far too lazy to enjoy the effort that goes into finding an existing fire ring (or place that will be minimally affected), gathering downed wood, finding kindling, starting the fire, perilously boiling water or cooking food in/on/near the fire, maintaining the fire, staying up until the fire is out, and dispersing all the coals in the morning. Why do that when you can have a camp stove up and going in under a minute?

There are several types of backpacking stoves out there – Jetboils, alcohol, wood, liquid fuel/white gas – but I love the simplicity and light-weight (only 3 oz.) design of the MSR Pocket RocketContinue reading “Gear Review: MSR Pocket Rocket”

The Pinhoti National Recreational Trail

A 24-hr lesson in humility

“I’ve had a wonderful time. This wasn’t it.”

One of my favorite lines for horrible dates now has a new application – my 24 hours spent on the Pinhoti National Recreational Trail.

Before I go further, please understand – it’s not the trail’s fault. Some things just aren’t meant to be. It’s not the trail; it’s me. We just didn’t meet at the right time in my life. These things happen.

Continue reading “The Pinhoti National Recreational Trail”

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”