Top

Archive | Backpacking

The SOS button is well protected with a cover.

Preview: SPOT X || 2-way messenger with physical keyboard

SPOT revolutionized backcountry communication in the late-2000’s with its original device, the SPOT Personal Tracker (my review), which retailed for $170 (plus an annual service plan) and which could send three one-way messages: Okay, Help, and SOS. The Tracker was less expensive to own and operate than a satellite phone. It was more functional than […]

Continue Reading
Credit: Mary Cochenour

FAQ for female backpackers: Menstruation, #1 & #2, group dynamics, and clothing & gear

Jessica Winters and Mary Cochenour, who will be helping Alan Dixon and me guide trips next month in Rocky Mountain National Park, recently fielded questions from our clients about a few female-specific topics, including menstruation, #1 and #2, group dynamics, and clothing. Rather than share the answers only with our groups, I thought they’d have greater value if […]

Continue Reading
Lost Tribe Lakes in Colorado's Indian Peaks Wilderness after a violent afternoon monsoon storm

Tutorial: How to predict backcountry weather conditions || Methods & sources for short & long trips

I have said this before, and continue stand by it: there is a right way to backpack: equip yourself with the gear, supplies, and skills that are appropriate for the conditions and your trip objective. Among the conditions that I consider (there are about 10; view the full list), the weather — specifically temperatures, precipitation, […]

Continue Reading
The SPOT Gen3 wins the weight and size award, with the ACR PLB just behind. The inReach units and satellite phones are comparable in weight and size.

Comps: inReach Mini vs SE+/Explorer+, SPOT Gen3, and PLB’s

For Outside I have written a piece on the primary differences between the new Garmin inReach Mini, which was released last week, and existing satellite communication devices like the inReach SE+, inReach Explorer+, SPOT Gen3, and personal locator beacons like the ACR Electronics ResQLink. Here’s the link: The Garmin InReach Mini vs. the Competition If […]

Continue Reading
Last summer I yo-yo'd the Pfiffner Traverse in 9 days, starting at Berthoud Pass. By the time I reached Rocky Mountain National Park, where canisters are required, I was able to fit all of my food inside the canister. In the James Peak and Indian Peaks Wilderness, I used other accepted methods to store my food at night.

Not bear- or idiot-proof: Documented canister failures

At least most of the time, hard-sided canisters like the BearVault BV500 successfully protect food from bears and “mini-bears” in the backcountry. But it turns out that they’re not 100 percent bear- or idiot-proof. Recently, I received a spreadsheet that documented 199 food-related bear incidents with backpackers in Yosemite National Park between July 2012 and […]

Continue Reading
The Bear Vault BV500, which offers good volume for its weight at a reasonable price

Buyers guide: Bear canisters || Comparison of volume per weight & cost

During the day, properly protecting food is as simple as not leaving it (or a backpack full of it) unattended. The conversation about overnight food protection is longer and more nuanced. Multiple techniques can be used; regulations vary by location; and misinformation and poor practices are abundant. In this post I will focus on one specific food […]

Continue Reading