Top

Archive | Skills

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

Reader Q: Where should I put my bear canister or Ursack at night?

In a comment to my recent post about the ineffectiveness of bear bags and recommended alternatives, reader Jim N. asked, I received a similar question via email from David N., so a standalone post on the issue seems warranted. But to give a more comprehensive answer, I’ll broaden the question to: Official recommendations Let’s first look […]

Continue Reading
NOLS Cookery (National Outdoor Leadership School) (NOLS Library) Kindle Edition by Claudia Pearson (Author, Editor), Mike Clelland  (Illustrator), Stackpole Books; 5 Revised edition (January 1, 2004)

Ineffective & outdated: Six reasons to not hang a bear bag

Bear bags are a stubborn fixture of the backpacking world. Hanging is recommended, taught, and practiced by influential organizations and individuals even though it is less effective, less foolproof, less reliable, less efficient, and less safe than other food protection techniques, notably hard-sided canisters and (to a lesser degree) soft-sided bear-resistant food sacks. I have not […]

Continue Reading
A black bear in Bubbs Creek, Sequoia-Kings National Park

Tutorial || How to store & protect food from bears & mini-bears

You’ve set up camp for the night and cooked dinner. Now what should be done with the Snickers, salami, peanut noodle dinners, and the other calories that will sustain you for the remainder of your backpacking trip? Protect from what? Most backpackers seem to protect their food overnight because they’re worried about bears. In places […]

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
In just 2.3 miles, the Pfiffner Traverse climbs Thunderbolt Creek, tops out at Paiute Pass, and drops steeply on the other side to Pawnee Pass Trail. It averages 1,350 vertical feet of change per mile through this section.

It’s the vertical, stupid: How many days should I budget for a high route?

Last week on r/Ultralight, member u/TeddyBallgame1999 asked multiple questions about the Wind River High Route, including: The essence of this question — “How long will it take me?” — has been posed before, in the context of the WRHR and similar routes like the Kings Canyon High Basin Route, Pfiffner Traverse, Glacier Divide Route, and […]

Continue Reading