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Backcountry cooking: An argument for soups and gruels

At home, where I have a fully array of kitchen tools — e.g. measuring spoons and cups, multiple pots and pans, and dish rags and soap — and where there is some consideration for the “dining experience,” executing perfectly a breakfast or dinner recipe is very feasible, and in fact expected. When backpacking, however, I have far […]

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Designing a better way with Sierra Designs

Unless you read outdoor industry press releases or saw me last month at the Outdoor Retailer tradeshow in Salt Lake City, you probably missed the news that I’ve partnered with Sierra Designs. This is not a new relationship, as I’ve been consulting for them on-and-off since 2012, but starting this year I will take on a greater […]

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Gear List — Cross-Country Skate Ski System

There are few things better than gliding along fresh corduroy on a crisp morning in the splendor of New Hampshire’s White Mountains. While Alison and I enjoy backcountry skiing on un-groomed terrain, a grand tour on groomers in the Whites is sublime, and it’s no wonder that cross-country skiing may be our favorite shared outdoor activity. Skiing on groomed trails […]

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Darn it, lost my sunglasses. Replacement shopping decisions.

Last month I sadly lost my Julbo Dirt sunglasses, which I’d owned since late-2011 and which I’d used for hundreds of days in the backcountry: Colorado, Wind River High Route, High Sierra, Alaska, Escalante, Big Bend, and even a few sunny days back East too. I thought I had left them behind at a Salt […]

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Metabolic efficiency test results: I’m a butter-burner!

In the lead-up to the The North Face 50 Mile Championships in December, I was looking for any “edge” that could help me race to my potential and to offset some of the advantages that a comparably talented runner had over me, like more ultra racing experience and a training cycle longer than 6 weeks. […]

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Gear List — Backcountry Nordic Ski Touring

My backcountry Nordic touring ski setup excels on ungroomed or unbroken trails through rolling terrain. I used this equipment during my Alaska-Yukon Expedition (see the video above), and it’s my preferred setup for ski trips in Colorado. It does fine on the flats, but cross-country skis are lighter and will track and glide better. It’s even less optimized for groomed […]

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Lessons learned in Big Bend National Park’s Mesa de Anguila

Editor’s Note. Russell has been on two of my guided backpacking trips, and in April will join a third. He considers himself an “advanced beginner” backpacker, getting out a few times per year on trips of 2-4 days each. In mid-December I did a short trek with my wife and two sons at our favorite […]

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Gear List — The North Face 50 Mile Championship

The North Face 50 Mile Championship is now just three days away. I began thinking about the clothing, footwear, and equipment that I would use months ago, giving me ample time to obtain, test, and familiarize myself with different options during my ultra running training. And now that I have a good sense for race […]

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Metabolic Efficiency Testing: Explanation and motivations

Tomorrow I am having tested my “metabolic efficiency” by Dina Griffin of eNRG Performance in Denver. In this post I will explain the concept and its relevance for backpackers and runners. In a second post, I’ll share my results. What is Metabolic Efficiency? Our bodies rely primarily on two sources of energy: Carbohydrates Fat Carbohydrates are most quickly […]

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MYOG: Bipod shooting sticks for hunting using trekking poles

Background I never go on a serious hike without trekking poles. With them, my arms can help propel me forward and upward, and brake on descents, rather than my legs bearing all of the load. Also, poles give me extra stability on rocky, rooty, sandy, muddy, icy, and snowy ground. Needless to say, my backpack […]

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