My first summit hike of Mt. St. Helens took over 16 hours round-trip, and I hit the wall a little more than halfway up. From there, every step to the summit was a struggle, and it took days to recover after the climb. I didn’t know it then, but a flawed nutritional strategy had set…

On my first backpacking trip, I used a rented backpack, a massively unwieldy sleeping bag, and a sleeping pad better suited for a guest room. My pack must have weighed over 50 pounds.  In the years that followed, I have gained hands-on knowledge with almost every gear category, and I have bought and replaced a…