Archive | Backpacking Know-how


My most popular & favorite posts of 2015

To close out 2015, I’d like to share my most popular posts. My method in creating the list was only partially scientific — I started with total page views for 2015 in Google Analytics, and then I loosely accounted for publishing dates, since posts released earlier in the year have had more time to be viewed than those released […]

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Hot & Heavy Stove System

Gear List || 3-Season Stoves || System 3: Hot & Heavy

This is the fourth of a 4-part series about my time-tested backpacking stoves for 3-season conditions. To start from the beginning, read the Introduction.  With a few tweaks, my favorite solo backpacking stove system, The Cadillac, is a viable 2-person setup. But it’s a good solution only for those who are highly weight-conscious and/or who have unreliable access to pressurized […]

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The Cadillac Stove System

Gear List || 3-Season Stoves || System 2: The Cadillac

This is the third of a 4-part series about my trail-tested backpacking stoves for 3-season conditions. Read the Introduction to start from the beginning. Between 2006 and April 2015, I made over one-thousand meals and hot drinks with The Dirtbag. Clearly, that system works. But it’s also imperfect. I was particularly tired of its poor performance in non-calm air; its […]

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Which side one? The hype: You need a $300 GORE-TEX jacket when outside. The truth: A $300 shell won't keep you dry, especially with long-term use and in extended wet conditions.

Why I’m hard on GORE-TEX, the King of Hype ™

When I discuss waterproof-breathable fabrics, a category that was invented and has been defined by GORE-TEX, I admittedly get worked up. In an early draft of yesterday’s post, for example, I called outright its marketing department know-nothings or liars, or both. And in multiple places I have forcefully explained the technological flaws of GORE-TEX and other […]

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The inside of my waterproof-breathable pants after a multi-hour rain storm. The DWR-treated face fabric wetted out, and moisture began to move inside the fabric, soaking me. This is typical of the performance of modern WP/B fabrics, especially with long-term use.

Speculative thoughts on new GTX Active & Outdry Extreme

For years I have been arguing that modern waterproof/breathable fabrics — including every version of Gore-Tex and eVent, plus proprietary fabrics like Patagonia’s H2No, Marmot’s NanoPro, Mountain Hardwear’s Dry.Q, and dozens of others — are technologically flawed. (Read this, this, maybe this, and The Ultimate Hiker’s Gear Guide.) Relative to the marketing hype, these fabrics earn a […]

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The complete Dirtbag stove system. A DIY alcohol stove + aluminum foil windscreen, plus a number of other inexpensive components. The entire system weighs about 9 oz and costs $30.

Gear List || 3-Season Stoves || System 1: The Dirtbag

This is the second of a 4-part series about my trail-tested backpacking stoves for 3-season conditions. To start from the beginning, read the Introduction.  Before I upgraded this year, the Dirtbag had been my go-to 3-season backpacking stove system. I used it for the length of the Great Western Loop, during the non-winter portions of the Alaska-Yukon Expedition, […]

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