Complete Guide to Olympic National Park

How Complete is This Guide?

The answer? Not very complete. Olympic National Park constitutes a huge expanse of land and while we have done our best to explain the very best to get the most out of your time at the park, there are always new adventures to be found. From off the beaten path backpacking trips, to hidden waterfalls that no one knows about, part of the wonder of exploring our national parks is finding places and treasures that are uniquely your own.​ If you feel something is missing or needs to be updated, you are welcome to contact us and contribute.

Introduction

Located in the top right hand corner of the United States is one of the most beautiful, enchanting, and awe-inspiring places in the entire world. Olympic National Park borrows its name from Olympus, the mythical mountain top in Greek Mythology which as the abode of the gods. After spending a few days exploring the over 140,000 square miles that make up this truly unique region, you´ll understand why it got its name.

From whale sightings to glaciers, rugged coastlines to alpine tundra, this park is one of the most varied and diverse places in the world; not to mention that you will also be able to enjoy old growth temperate rainforest. What other place in the world can you be at the beach one minute, in the middle of a rainforest the next minute, and climbing up a glacier packed alpine mountain the next?

In this complete review of Olympic National Park, we will let you know why this unique national park is so special. We will begin by looking as the natural history of the park before exploring the unique ecology of Olympic National Park. For nature buffs, we´ll also explain how this park is also involved in a world renowned ecological restoration project. Finally, we offer advice on the top activities at Olympic National Park so that you can get the most out of your time at the park.

Rainforests and Glaciers: the Unique Ecology of Olympic

For thousands of years, indigenous population have made the area that today comprises Olympic National Park their home. While early research believed that most indigenous people mostly lived along the coastline, today archaeological evidence supports the theory that indigenous populations also had significant presence in the higher regions, especially in the sub-alpine meadows which were most likely used for hunting and fishing.

Today, two indigenous groups continue to live in the region. The Hoh People live along the Hoh River while the Quileute people live along the coast at the mouth of the river of the same name.

The small peninsula in northwestern Washington where Olympic National Park is located is unique in that three very distinct ecosystems exist in a much reduced area of land. The coastal strip of the park runs about 60 miles from north to west, but is only a few miles wide at most. Instead of white sand beaches that many people picture when they think of the ocean, the coasts at the park are filled with huge boulders, thick vegetation, and mystical sea stacks which are large, pillar like rocks that rise out of the ocean.

The constant fogs and mists associated with the rainforest ecosystem nearby create habitat for all sorts of unique marine animals including seals and sea lions. Tidal pools are a great place to find starfish and all other sorts of ocean creatures.

In the middle of the park you can find the mighty Olympic Mountains which rise sharply from the coast to close to 8,000 feet. While there are certainly higher mountains throughout the United States, the fact that these mountains literally rise out of the sea gives them a commandeering presence.

On top of the mountains are several ancient glaciers, the largest of which is the Hoh Glacier which runs for more than 3 miles in length. Mount Olympus is the tallest peak in the range rising to over 7,900 feet. This almost perpetually snow-capped peak offers a beautiful contrast to the surrounding greenness of the old growth forest.

Finally, on the western edge of the park sits the Hoh Rainforest. A magical, temperate climate rainforest that receives over 150 inches of rain each year making this easily the wettest area in the entire continental United States. The Hoh Rainforest is dominated by several unique coniferous trees such as firs, cedars, and spruce. A variety of mosses and air plants hang from the branches of virtually every tree.

The fact that the park is located on an isolated peninsula with a massive mountain range separating a coastal ecosystem and a rainforest makes for an exclusive ecology. Within the park you can find exceptional wildlife, such as the Roosevelt Elk, that are hard to find anywhere else in the country. Black bears, deer, and even cougars have large numbers within the park as well.

The Elwha Ecosystem Restoration Project

For many indigenous peoples around the Pacific Northwest, the Salmon were an important source of food and a vital part of their spirituality. With the arrival of western peoples and industrial development, however, hundreds of rivers were dammed up for hydroelectricity and other uses, essentially blocking the path of large populations of salmon who used to “run” from the ocean, upstream to their spawning grounds.

The Elwha Ecosystem Restoration Project at Olympic National Park is an ambitious restoration project being undertaken by the park service. Essentially, they are removing over 300 feet of dams and draining the artificial reservoirs in order to allow the Pacific Salmon to once again gain access to the upper portions of the rivers that they haven´t had access to in almost 100 years. For people who are interested in ecological restoration, this project is one you will want to visit and study.

Some Unique Facts and Figures about Olympic National Park

· The United Nations has proclaimed Olympic National Park to be both a World Heritage Site and an International Biosphere Reserve

· Close to 3 million people visit the park each year making it the 7th most visited park in the country

· Olympic National Park has 60 ancient glaciers covering the peaks of the Olympic Mountain Range

· Over 600 miles of trails criss cross the entire park

· The Hoh Rainforest receives over 150 inches of rain each year while many areas on the eastern edge of the park only receive 16 inches of rain

· President Franklin Roosevelt created Olympic National Park in 1938

· Over 95% of the park is designated wilderness area

· 30 million years ago, Olympic National Park was actually under the sea

· Crescent Trout is a species of trout that can only be found within the park boundaries

Day Hikes at Olympic National Park

Without a doubt, the best way to enjoy and explore Olympic National Park is through getting out of your car and into the wilderness. From coastal hikes to trekking up alpine glaciers, to meandering through deep rainforests, the 600 miles of trails that weave through the park will allow you to explore three distinct and magical ecosystems. Below are our recommendations for the absolute best day hikes at Olympic National Park

Ozette Loop Trail

This nine mile trail is by far the best way to explore the rugged coastline of Olympic National Park. From the beginning point at Ozette Lake, the trail first takes you through thick swamplands populated by old growth cedar forests. Once you emerge from the forest, you will walk along the coastline for over three miles enjoying stunning views of sea stacks and rocky beaches. If you want to do this hike, however, you will have to register at the visitor´s center as access to this area is sometimes controlled by park authorities.

Sunrise Ridge

If you are looking for a place to find hordes of wildflowers, a short five mile hike to Sunrise Ridge will take you into subalpine meadows where you can find dozens of types of flowers. Make sure to visit between July and August to best enjoy the bloom season.

Grand Valley

This close to ten mile loop will take you deep into the Olympic wilderness, showcasing wildflowers, mountain lakes, and some truly otherworldly views. If you are in decent shape you can still do this as a day hike, though it can also be extended into an overnighter if you get the right permits.

Sol Duc Falls

This short trail (ranging from 1.5 to 5.2 miles depending on the actual route you take) is a classic Olympic experience. You´ll meander through old growth forest before emerging at a beautiful waterfall. Nearby you can also find the Sol Duc hot springs which is a great way to relax after a long day on the trail.

Mount Elinor

This is one of the easier peaks to climb in the Olympic Range, but it also offers some fantastic views of both the ocean at Puget Sound and the park´s craggy, snow-capped interior. At only 6.2 miles round trip, it makes for a great day hike.

Overnight Backpacking Trips at Olympic National Park

For hikers who aren´t content with a simple day excursion into the Olympic wilderness, you can get a backcountry permit from park authorities to explore more in depth the beauty of Olympic National Park. To apply for your backcountry permit you will need to do so with plenty of time in advance as much many permits run on a quota basis that is first come, first serve.

South Coast Wilderness Trail

For people who want to see the best of the Olympic National Park coastline, this trail is the one for you. The 17 mile stretch from Third Beach to Oil City Traverse might not sound like a lot of miles, but the going will definitely be tough as you will be scrambling over boulders, fording creeks, climbing up muddy headland trails to wait for tides to go down. However, if you are up for the challenge, you´ll be in for a treat as the trail offers virtually unlimited amounts of quality campsites where you´ll be able to enjoy epic sunsets and unique views of all sorts of wildlife.

North Fork Quinault River Trail

This 21-mile loop following the Quinault River for much of the way and is perhaps the best way to spot unique wildlife on the trail. Both mountain goats, black bear, and the hard to spot Roosevelt Elk can be seen.

Enchanted Valley

The name alone should be enough enticement to get you out into the backwoods. The 26 roundtrip miles of this backpacking adventure will give you the full Olympic experience as you will be trekking through old growth rainforests, passing by (and through) numerous pristine mountain rivers and streams, and enjoying otherworldly panoramic views of glacier-capped peaks and powerful waterfalls.

Winter Sports Activities at Olympic

What could be better than heading from the beach to snow in the span of a few hours? While the coastal regions of the park almost never receive any sort of snow, the mountainous regions have thick snow cover for much of the winter months.

Hurricane Ridge is by far the best place to head if you are into skiing or snowboarding. The Hurricane Ridge Ski and Snowboard Area is a non-profit ski resort operated by the park. Relatively cheap lift tickets will allow you to head up and down the mountain on one of the two tow ropes and the one poma lift. Plan accordingly since the road to Hurricane Ridge is usually only operable from Friday to Sunday during winter months.

The Best Campgrounds at Olympic National Park

Nothing is quite as enchanting as camping out under the stars while visiting Olympic National Park. If backpacking isn’t your thing, there are still several unique campgrounds located around the park that combine proximity to the natural world with some basic conveniences for families. Below are our top three recommendations for the top campgrounds at the park.

Deer Park Campground

This is high-alpine camping at its absolute best. After a grueling 18 mile drive up winding mountain roads (RV´s aren´t allowed because of this) you will find a gorgeous, small camp ground that offers stunning 360 degree views of the surrounding mountains to one side and the ocean to the other side. After enjoying the sunset, you´ll want to keep your eyes to the sky as the stars come out in breathtaking fashion. There are only 14 sites available at a first come, first serve basis so make sure to head up the mountain early in the day if you want a spot.

Graves Creek Campground

Who wouldn´t want to camp in a rainforest? Graves Creek Campground is located next to the Quinault River within the section of the Quinault Rainforest. This campground is strategically placed so that campers have relatively easy access to popular hiking trails throughout the park including the Enchanted Valley and Pony Bridge.

Heart o´the Hills Campground

If you are looking for a family friendly campground, the Heart o´the Hills Campground offers fantastic ranger programs for kids and is also very accessible. Furthermore, you will only be a short 14 mile drive from Hurricane Ridge which offers fantastic views and a place to view some epic sunsets.

Other Activities to Fill Your Days at Olympic National Park

If hiking isn´t your thing, or if your kids are complaining that they don´t want to walk through the woods anymore, there are several other recreational options at Olympic National Park which we will explore below.

Both the Elwha and Hoh Rivers offer spectacular rafting trips. While the rapids might not be as quick as other spots throughout the United States, the scenery alone makes up for it as you will most likely spot wildlife and enjoy the rainforest that comes right up to the edge of the river. Several outfitting companies offer different length rafting tours.

For folks looking for more of an adrenaline rushing, alpine climbing is also available throughout the park. While the loose shale rock that makes up much of the Olympics is not quite as sturdy as solid granite, several mountaineers make their way to the park to climb up Mount Olympus, Mount Deception, Mount Constance, and other sheer cliffs located throughout the park.

After several hard days of hiking, nothing is quite as relaxing as finding a perfect spot next to an alpine lake or pristine mountain stream to fish for the day. Olympic National Park has over 600 lakes, 4,000 miles of rivers and streams, and 60 miles of coastline. With water virtually everywhere, you can easily find that perfect spot to fish for the day. You can check out the requirements to get your fishing license at the National Park Website here.

Finally, Olympic National Park also offers a number of hot springs which is a great way to enjoy the park. Olympic Hot Springs can be found along the Boulder Creek Trail and the Mineral Hot Springs, which are a little bit more accessible, can be enjoyed at the Sol Duc Hot Spring Resort. Either one of these options makes for a great way to end your memorable trip to Olympic National Park.

When to Visit Olympic National Park

Olympic National Park is open year round, though the vast majority of people head to the park during the dry summer months between June and September. If you are worried about the rain ruining your vacation (and there is a lot of it) this might be the best time to visit. If, however, you want to avoid the crowds, you plan your trip early in the spring where the heavy snow runoff brings alive the thousands of miles of creeks and streams running through the park.

If you like winter adventure sports such as skiing, snowboarding, or snowshoeing, you can also plan to visit the park during the winter months. While some of the roads will be closed, snowshoeing trails are open year round and will offer you a truly unique view into this special place.

Conclusion

If you have never visited the Pacific Northwest, Olympic National Park should definitely be in your itinerary. Even if you live in Seattle or Portland, the massive size of the Olympic wilderness means that there will always be new places to explore. From rugged coastlines, to glacier topped mountains, to thick, enchanting old growth rainforests, Olympic National Park is a place that is beckoning you to come and explore.

For people who want to see the best of the Olympic National Park coastline, this trail is the one for you. The 17 mile stretch from Third Beach to Oil City Traverse might not sound like a lot of miles, but the going will definitely be tough as you will be scrambling over boulders, fording creeks, climbing up muddy headland trails to wait for tides to go down. However, if you are up for the challenge, you´ll be in for a treat as the trail offers virtually unlimited amounts of quality campsites where you´ll be able to enjoy epic sunsets and unique views of all sorts of wildlife.

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To know more about the best camping places in Olympic National Park, check this out.

A Quick Guide To South Africa’s National Parks

How Complete Is this guide? 

South Africa has a lot of amazing national parks and places to visit. Although we try our best, its difficult to cover every single detail about these parks. In fact, you can likely write books about many of these places.  It is far from complete and the guide is still growing. 

If you feel we left something out, feel free to reach out and suggest changes or contribute. 

Quick Navigation

Addo Elephant National Park

Overview

Located 72 kilometers from Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape Province, The Addo Elephant National Park is the third largest park in South Africa. The Addo region surrounds the Sundays River, which has its entrance at the mouth of the Indian Ocean.

The park was established in 1931 to protect 11 Elephants on the brink of extinction. Today, the thick bushveld is the sanctuary of hundreds of elephants, as well as Cape buffalos, endangered black rhinos, Transvaal lions, spotted hyenas, a variety of antelope species, hundreds of bird species and the endangered flightless dung beetle.

Mile after mile of the Sundays River Valley is vegetated with evergreen citrus trees that bear fruit all winter and fragrance the air with their blossoms in spring. Interesting fauna and flora can also be found in the Zuurberg Mountains, which falls within the park, such as three rare cycad and two yellowwood species.

Addo-Elephant-National-Park-2

The largest remaining population of the flightless dung beetle (Circellium bacchus) is located within the park.

Must See/To Do

Game Drives

Visitors can choose between guided game drives, hop-on guides and self-drive game viewing. Two-hour guided game drives take place in the morning, afternoon and night, as well as at sunrise and sunset. Visitors are also allowed to view wildlife from their own vehicles and local hop-on guides are available to accompany them.

Horse Trails

Visitors have the choice of two horse trails: the Addo Horse Trails (where large game can be viewed from horseback) and the Zuurberg Horse Trails (which does not provide encounters with wildlife but instead offers beautiful scenic views from the mountains.

4x4 Trails

The Bedrogfontein 4x4 trail provides breathtaking views and is rich in history. This route was the scene of fierce battles between the Afrikaner and British and Afrikaner troops during the Anglo-Boer war. Rock art paintings can be viewed throughout the area. From the route a variety of the South African vegetation types can be observed, including riverine thicket, afromontane forest, fynbos and arid nama-karoo.

Hiking Trails

The park offers numerous hiking trails. The Alexandria Hiking Trail is a 32 kilometer, two-day circular trail – with the first day covering a distance of 18.5 kilometers and the second day a distance of 13.5 kilometers. Shorter hiking trails are also available. One-hour and three-hour trails can be hiked in the Zuurberg Mountains, while the PPC Discovery Trail is a short walk in the main camp.

Marine Eco Tours

Visitors interested in seeing a great white shark and/or southern right whale might want to partake in a Marine Eco-tour.

Picnic

Day visitors can enjoy something to eat in the picnic area.

Sources:

The Addo Area, Woodall, Wikipedia, South African National Parks

Agulhas National Park

Overview

Situated at the southernmost tip of Africa in the Western Cape Province of South Africa, the Agulhas National Park stretches for 45 kilometers along the coastline, from east to west, and extends up to 25 kilometers inland. The cold Benguela current, of the South Atlantic Ocean, and warm Agulhas current, of the southwest Indian Ocean, meet at the edge of the Agulhas Bank.

Portuguese explorer Bartolomeu Dias was the first to discover the southernmost tip of Africa on 16 May 1488. In 1999 the Agulhas National Park was declared as a formal protected area not only because of its geographical location, but also to protect the lowland Fynbos, the unique wetland systems, the rich cultural heritage aspects and the diverse marine life of the area.

Cape Agulhas Coast is known as the Graveyard of Ships because numerous shipwrecks of early explorers – attempting to conquer the wild seas off the southern tip of Africa – dot the coastline. The navigators of the 1400’s to the 1700’s, who discovered the sea route around the southernmost tip, observed the sun at noon when it passed the meridian and found that the magnetic compass pointed to true north. Today it points some 25 degrees west of true north.

In the 1700s the Europeans settled as stock farmers in the area and pioneered the merino wool farming industry in South Africa.

Hiking Trails

Agulhas National Park offers two hiking trails. The circular Two Oceans Hiking Trail covers a total distance of 10.5 kilometers, which takes four to five hours to complete. However, two alternative routes with shorter distances are offered on the trail. The circular Rasperpunt Hiking Trail covers a distance of 5.45 kilometers and takes three hours to complete.

To get the most out of your hiking adventure, plan ahead and get a backpack that wont let you down. Check out our in-depth guide to help you find the best backpack: Tested & Proven: Best Backpacks for Hiking Reviewed (2017)

Sources

Information supplied by the Agulhas National Park, Wikipedia, South African National Parks

Kruger National Park

Overview

In the heart of the Lowveld, nestled between South Africa’s northeastern provinces Limpopo and Mpumalanga and bordering Zimbabwe and Mozambique, the iconic Kruger National Park is the largest national park in South Africa and one of the largest national parks in the world. The park is approximately 352 kilometers long and has an average width of 60 kilometers.

The park was first proclaimed in 1898 as the Sabie Game Reserve by the then president of the Transvaal Republic, Paul Kruger, and later expanded into the Kruger National Park in 1926. The park was initially created to regulate hunting and protect the diminished number of animals in the park.

In 1927 the first three tourist cars entered the park. Today, hundreds of thousands of local and international tourists enter through the park’s nine gates each year – hoping to catch a glimpse of Africa’s Big Five (the African lion, African elephant, Cape buffalo, African leopard and rhinoceros).

Income from tourism and trading activities generates more than R200-million per year, and the Kruger Park plays a major role in the Lowveld's economy.

Park & Ride

Visitors eager to spot the Big Five can make use of the "Park and Ride Scheme."

Hiking Trails

The Kruger National Park offers several trails through its wilderness areas and has numerous rest camps. The duration of all the wilderness trails is two days and three nights. Longer backpacking trails, lasting four days and three nights, are also available. 

If you plan to 

Guided Walks

The park’s guests can take advantage of early morning and afternoon guided walks, where two armed field guides accompany a small group of guests to share their knowledge of the fauna and flora to explain natural wonders.


Game Drives

Morning-, sunset and night drives are available.

4x4 Trails

The park offers several self-drive 4x4 routes ranging in distance from 48 kilometers to 500 kilometers. A guided one-night, motorized adventure trail is also available.

Mountain Bike Trails

Mountain bikes are supplied to visitors, who can then cycle the unspoiled bush along with two armed field guides.

Golf

Surrounded by the rich wildlife sanctuary, the Skukuza Golf Course sits unfenced within the park – allowing for uninvited spectators to make their appearance during a round of Golf.

Bird Watching

The park has an abundance of avifauna viewing opportunities. Some of the bird species in the park cannot be found anywhere else in South Africa.

Bush Braais

A game drive takes visitors to an open area filled with burning lanterns and fires where, whilst listening to the sounds of the bushveld and the distant animals calling, the food is grilled on open fires.

What to Bring:

There is definitely no shortage of fun-filled activities at Kruger National Park. However, as with any visit to a new place, you need to do your research to make sure you make the most out of your time here. While you certainly can bring suitcases full of stuff to visit Kruger, one of the best ways to get in tune with the natural world is through coming with the bare minimum. By only bringing the bare minimum, you will have more of a chance to directly experience the wonders of the natural world all around you. Ultralight backpacking is a growing trend in the backpacking world and is perhaps the best way to enjoy Kruger National Park. Check out our complete guide to help you choose the absolute best ultralight backpack.


Sources:

Wikipedia, South African National Parks, SANParks Annual Report 2014/2015, Kruger National Park

Golden Gate Highlands National Park

Overview

Located at the foothills of the Maluti Mountains in the Free State Province of South Africa, near the Lesotho border, Golden Gate Highlands National Park was officially proclaimed on the 13 September 1963. The park is more renowned for the beauty of its landscape, which offers panoramic views, than for its wildlife.

The grassland biome of the park is pierced by multi-hued, eroded sandstone cliffs and outcrops. Golden Gate derives its name from the color of the setting sun on the west facing sandstone cliffs, especially the picturesque Brandwag Buttress cliff. The park also features the spectacular Cathedral Cave – a 250 meter long and 50 meter deep cavern carved into the sandstone over millions of years by water, wind and fluctuations in temperature.

During the 1800s the plains around Golden Gate was swarming with game – most of which were migratory in nature. Today, the highland habitat is the refuge of a variety of mammals (mostly antelope species), birds, snakes and fishes. The rare bearded vulture (lammergeier) and the equally rare bald ibis can be found in the park.

The Museum Tour displays a depiction of the architecture and life style of the Basotho people from as early as the 16th century to the present day.

Golden-Gate-Highlands-National-Park-2

Games

The Golden Gate Highlands Hotel offers a tennis court, volleyball and mini soccer ball.

Sources:

South African National Parks, Wikipedia

Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park

Overview

Situated west of the southern African subcontinent in the Kalahari Desert, the second largest desert in Africa, lies the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park. The park straddles the border between South Africa and Botswana, and borders Namibia to the west. Approximately three-quarters of the park lie in Botswana, called the Gemsbok National Park, and one-quarter lies in South Africa, called the Kalahari Gemsbok National Park.

The Park was proclaimed in 1931 to protect migrating animals from poaching. Kgalagadi means "land of the thirst." The park is characterized by red dunes, camel thorn trees and dry riverbeds. Two predominantly dry rivers run through the park – the Nossob and Auob Rivers, which are said to flow only once per century.

Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park is especially renowned for watching predatory animals. Mammals, like Namibian cheetahs, leopards, brown- and spotted hyenas and the black-maned Kalahari lions, as well as birds of prey, like raptors, vultures, buzzards and secretary birds, are popular attractions. Seasonal migrating animals, such as blue wildebeest, springbok, eland and red hartebeest, can also be found in the park.

There are an estimated 450 lions, 150 leopards, 200 cheetahs, 600 brown hyenas and 375 spotted hyenas in the park.

Sources:

South African National Parks, Wikipedia

Namaqua National Park

Overview

Namaqua National Park is situated in the western part of the Northern Cape Province of South Africa, just south of the Namibian border. The park is part of the Namaqualand region, which falls within the semi-desert Succulent Karoo biome – a biodiversity hotspot with the largest concentration of succulent plants in the world.

The Namaqua National Park was proclaimed on 29 June 2002 for the purpose of conserving the rich diversity of succulent plants. However, people have long since been visiting the area to admire its renowned “carpets” of colorful wildflowers. The landscape, with its breathtaking beauty and contrasting colors, is also a photographer’s paradise.

After the winter rains, tourism peaks during springtime (August and September) when a burst of spring wildflowers appear. Most of the wildflower species are protected under law and visitors who decide to pick themselves a bouquet will face fines.

Seventeen percent of Namaqualand’s plant species are listed as Red Data species.

4x4 Trail

The Caracal Eco Route stretches from the mountains to the coastline to allow visitors to experience a wide range of Namaqua habitats. The distance of the route range from 176 kilometers to 200 kilometers, depending on which tracks are selected.

Mountain Biking

Even though there are no formal mountain biking trails in the park, there are a wide range of roads and terrains which visitors can cycle.

Hiking Trails

The park has two hiking trails (5 kilometers and 3 kilometers) from which visitors can view flowers, as well as a longer hiking trail (6 kilometers) along the coastline.

Bird Watching

Species to search for include Cinnamon-breasted Warbler, Cape Long-billed Lark, Karoo Lark, Black-headed Canary and Cape Bulbul.

Picnic

Picnic sites are available throughout the park. Make sure you bring a cooler to keep all your food fresh and your drinks cool. Take a look at this article to find all the best camping coolers available today. 

Sources:

South African National Parks, Wikipedia


Garden Route National Park

Overview

There are few places anywhere on the African continent where you can find such diverse beauty as at the Garden Route National Park. This massive national park has over 150,000 hectares and includes diverse ecosystems from coastal areas where you´ll be able to explore sea caves containing evidence of prehistoric civilizations and watch killer whales swim close to the shore to strings of crystal mountain lakes.

Garden Route National Park is perhaps one of the most diverse areas to explore in South Africa and offers several different ways to explore the park. From weeklong backpacking adventures to canoeing and kayaking, to 4x4 vehicle tours throughout the park, there are several different ways to discover this truly unique and one of a kind place.

Unique Facts and Figures

· Garden Route National Park is made up of over 157,000 hectares

· The Indian Ocean borders the park to the south while the Tsitsikamma, Langkloof and eastern Outentiqua Mountain ranges form other boundaries of the park to the north.

· The area of Garden Route National Park has been occupied by human inhabitants for over 125,000 years.

· Near Klasies Rivers, a number of sea caves containing archaeological artefacts such as stone tools and human skeletons have been found and explored.

· The indigenous San People arrived in the area over 20,000 years ago.

· The area first gained protection in 1964 with the proclamation of the Tsitsikamma National Park.

· In the deep evergreen forests of the park you can find Outeniqua yellowwoods which are massive trees that are easily 800 years old or older.

· Vervet monkeys and even leopards are some of the wildlife you can find in the mountainous regions of the park.

· On the coast it isn´t uncommon to spot bottlenose dolphins, otters, and even killer whales.

· While there is plenty of nature to explore throughout the Garden Route National Park, there are also plenty of beautiful towns with art galleries, golf courses, and craft breweries to help you recover from time well spent in the wilderness.

Must See/To Do

One of the best parts of the Garden Route National Park is that no two people ever experience it exactly the same. The diversity of recreational options along with the diverse ecosystems that make up the park mean that you can literally spend a lifetime exploring all that this park has to offer. While some people may choose to lounge on the beautiful beaches of the warm Indian Oceans, other may hike through rugged evergreen forests trying to spot some of the most iconic wildlife in the park. Still others might seek out the Bohemian nightlife of the beautiful towns while others will head to the rocky cliffs to try and spot humpback whales and other sea creatures. With so much to do at Garden Route National Park, it is hard to focus our attention on a few activities. Nonetheless, below we offer a few ideas of the best ways to enjoy this truly miraculous national park.

Hiking Garden Route National Park

While there are several different 4x4 roads that will allow you to explore the vast areas of the park, the best way to enjoy the natural wonders of this beautiful area is through allowing your own two feet to carry you through some of the hundreds of miles of trails that criss cross the park. For true adventure seekers, the Slackpacker Trail is 63 km of pure wonder that will allow you to experience the several different ecosystems the park has to offer. From beautiful sandy beaches to coastal thickets and dune forests, this several day adventure will let you experience several aspects of the Garden Route. You will also get to canoe down the Touws River for a couple hours during one stretch of the trail, refreshing yourself in the cascades and quality swimming holes.

For people who want to hike Garden Route National Park but don´t feel up to the challenge to take on 63 km, the Dune Mole Rat Trail is a 6 kilometer trail that weaves through wetlands where you´ll be able to catch sight of hundreds of different bird species. For avid birdwatchers, this is a trail that you don´t want to miss.

Finally, another hiking trail we´d recommend is the Elephant Walk where you´ll be guided through elephant trails that meander throughout the Diepvalle Forest. If you´re lucky, you might even find one of the forest elephants in their natural habitat.

The Garden Route from the Air

After hiking through the thick forests and beautiful beaches of the Garden Route, another way to explore this unique area is by getting a bird´s eye view. There are several different tour operators that offer aerial tours of the park, both by airplane, helicopter, and hot air balloon. With small airports located throughout the region, you can even plan out your own trip and stop down at one or several areas throughout the park. If you are looking for a truly unforgettable experience, consider signing up for a hot air balloon ride early in the morning as you will be able to watch the sun rise over the Indian Ocean as the mountains and forests to the west light up with the morning colors.

Learn the Archaeological History of the Area

The history of the Garden Route National Park goes back hundreds of thousands of years and is one of the places throughout Africa to dive into the rich and varied history of the area. While you can find several small museums throughout the park and its surroundings, one of the best ways to learn about the history is through taking a guided 5 day hike along the Hunter Gatherer Trail.

Besides the absolutely stunning scenery you will encounter, you will also enjoy a wealth of information that your tour guide will offer related to the archaeological and geological history of the region. Stone Age workshops that you encounter along the path will allow you to discover what types of tools the ancient Khoisan people used to use to survive

Mountain Biking through Garden Route National Park

Another great way to explore this beautiful national park is by bike. There are hundreds of miles of dirt roads that you can explore without having to worry about too much traffic outside the occasional jeep tour that you might encounter. One of the best bike trails worth exploring is the Harkerville Red Route. This roughly 22 km trail will take you along the Harkerville coastline offering breathtaking views of the rocky coast below. While the trail is rather strenuous, you will also enjoy biking through some old growth, indigenous forest before emerging from the woods with views of the Indian Ocean.

Tsitsikamma Canopy Tour

Who wouldn´t enjoy flying through the tree line that you share with monkeys and other forest life? The Tsitsikamma Canopy Tour is an absolutely fantastic way to explore the forest canopy where you are likely to encounter tucacos, monkeys, and all other types of birds and wildlife that live up off the forest floor. While this is definitely an adrenaline type experience, you will also learn plenty about the beauties of South Africa´s indigenous forests.

Table Mountain National Park

Overview

Situated in the city of Cape Town in the Western Cape Province of South Africa, Table Mountain National Park is a uniquely urban nature reserve – fragmented by urban development and privately owned land. Beaches, bays, valleys, forests the Cape of Good Hope and the famous Table Mountain are all incorporated into the park.

Table Mountain National Park was proclaimed on 29 May 1998 to protect the natural environment of the Table Mountain Chain. In 2011, Table Mountain was declared as one of the world's new seven wonders of nature. The mountain and acclaimed landmark offers spectacular views of Cape Town as well as unique flora. Table Mountain National Park is part of the Cape Floristic Region World Heritage Site.

The other two sections of the park are the Silvermine-Tokai section and the Cape Point section. The Silvermine-Tokai section was formed from the Tokai State Forest and the Silvermine Nature Reserve. The Cape Point section covers the most southern area of the Cape Peninsula and includes Cape Point and Cape of Good Hope.

Unique Facts and Figures

  • The park includes 25,000 hectares of the Cape Peninsula Protected Natural Environment, as well as 1,000 km² of the seas and coastline around the peninsula.

  • Because the park has open access, it is the most visited of all National Parks – with 4.2 million visitors annually.

  • The park has 8,200 plant species – of which around 80% are fynbos. Many of the plants found in the park are endemic.

  • The Cape Floral Kingdom is the only kingdom confined to one continent.

  • Table Mountain National Park is included as part of the UNESCO Cape Floral Region World Heritage Site.

  • The main feature of Table Mountain is the level plateau, which is approximately 3 kilometers from side to side.

  • The highest point on Table Mountain is towards the eastern end of the plateau and is 1,086 meters above sea level.

  • Table Mountain National Park and Cape Town have a Mediterranean climate – characterized by typically hot, dry summers and short, wet, yet mild winters.

Must See/To Do

The Cape of Good Hope

The top tourist destination is rich in cultural and natural heritage. Wildlife, including eland, red hartebeest, bontebok and zebra, are found in the area. Visitors can visit the two lighthouses situated at the most southwestern point in Africa. Cape of Good Hope also offers hiking, surfing, angling, picnicking, beaching and cycling opportunities. Free guided walks are also available at Cape Point. The Cape of Good Hope Hiking Trail is an overnight hiking trail.

Boulders Penguin Colony

A colony of endangered, land-based African penguins can be viewed at the Boulders section of the park, which is situated in Simons Town. There are also three beaches and three boardwalks in the area.

Table Mountain

The mountain offers a variety of hiking trails – ranging from light strolls to rigorous hikes. The summit of the mountain provides spectacular views of the city, while the ascent takes visitors through the ancient, indigenous Afromontane forest. A shortcut to the top of Table Mountain is also available via the Table Mountain Arial Cableway.

Lion’s Head

Lion's Head is the peak to the right of Table Mountain when facing it head on and offers a short but popular hike with 360 degree views of the Atlantic seaboard, the city and Table Mountain. It has become popular to hike Lion’s Head in groups during full moon.

Signal Hill

Signal Hill, the Northern-most tip of the terrestrial area of the park, is a popular viewpoint which offers excellent views of the city and harbor. It is from here that the noon day gun marks 12:00 in Cape Town.

Silvermine

Silvermine offers some of the best hiking trails in the park, which passes by fynbos landscapes, a dam, a river and a waterfall. Bird spotting, picnics, dog walking and mountain biking are also favorite activities in the area.

Beaches

Table Mountain National Park has a variety of diverse beaches on offer.

Fishing/Extractive Diving

The Table Mountain National Park Marine Protected Area is a popular fishing area for shore and boat-based fisher people as well as extractive divers.

Scuba Diving

The Table Mountain National Park Marine Protected Area is a scuba diving haven. What makes the area popular among divers is the numerous wrecks that scatter the coastline as well as the six restricted areas ("no take" zones) that have been established as breeding and nursery areas for marine species. Popular dive sites include the Maori wreck off the Sentinel in Hout Bay, Oudekraal on the Atlantic Seaboard and Miller's Point and Smitswinkel in False Bay.

Surfing/Windsurfing/Kite Boarding

A plethora of rocky points, reefs, beaches and open ocean Atlantic swell provide numerous breaks that work in different conditions.

Rock Climbing

Table Mountain, with its rocky ledges and huge boulders, attract climbers from all over the world.

Picnic/Braai

The park has numerous picnic and braai (to grill on open flames) areas.

Hang/Paragliding

There are numerous designated launch areas in the park, including Lion's Head and Silvermine.

Horse Riding

Popular horse riding areas include Tokai, Noordhoek Beach and Black Hill.

Forest Walks

Apart from Table Mountain’s Afromontane Forest, the park also includes Newlands Forest, Orange Kloof in Hout Bay and Echo Valley and Spes Bona on the Muizenberg mountains.

Sources:

South African National Parks, Wikipedia, Siyabona Africa

Seven Amazing Things to See in Yosemite

The Unending Beauty of Yosemite National Park


Imagine visiting a national park where over 95% of the close to 750,000 acres were designated as pure wilderness. Now imagine the fact that the vast majority of the four million people each year who visit only spend their time in the seven square miles that make up Yosemite Valley.


Despite being one of the most beautiful national parks in the United States, much of Yosemite still remains an unexplored wilderness.


Yosemite National Park is filled with breathtaking mountain ranges, waterfalls, mountain lakes, glaciers, and towering redwood forests. There is truly something for everyone in this impressively picturesque World Heritage Site, and we´ll take you through seven of the most amazing things to see in Yosemite.




Hike Yosemite Falls


Yosemite Falls is one of the highest waterfalls in the United States dropping close to 2,500 feet from the top fall to the lower fall. For the more adventurous of people, you can take a strenuous several mile hike up to the top of waterfall enjoying gorgeous views along the way.


Spring is by far the best time to visit when the snow melt and extra rains bring the waterfall to a crashing roar. If you do hike to the top, you can even wade in the river only feet from where it eventually crashes over 1,000 feet downwards to the second fall.



Hike Half Dome


Half Dome is another daunting adventure for backpackers and hikers alike. The granite dome that juts up into the sky is rounded on three sides but a sheer granite face on one side, thus giving it its name.


An incredibly strenuous 8.5 mile hike will take you to the top of Half Dome via hundreds of stairs carved into the granite rock. Alternatively, for the truly adventurous, you can choose to mountain climb the sheer granite face on Half Dome´s northwest face.



Take Your Kids Gold Panning


California used to offer the promise of striking it rich during the hay days of the California Gold Rush. Today you can still find a number of rivers where gold can be found if you bring the right patience and skills.


The Main Fork of the Merced River is one of the best places in the park to search for gold. You will need to bring your own panning equipment, though there are several nearby stores that will sell you what you needed to try and strike it rich.


Climb the Nose of “El Capitan”


For adrenaline junkies, what could be better than trying to climb up a 7,500-foot granite monolith that offers more than 3,000 feet of free fall to the valley floor below? El Capitan is a massive rock formation located in the northern part of Yosemite Valley.


Even experienced mountain climbers often need a minimum of five days to complete the climb, so make sure you plan accordingly.



Drive Through Tioga Pass


For people who aren’t up for climbing up steep mountain faces, Yosemite still offers access to beautiful, breathtaking panoramic views. The Tioga Pass is a mountain pass through the Sierra Nevada mountains that approaches 10,000 feet.


Route 120 drives right through the pass and is the eastern entrance way into the park. Leave early in the day to get the best views.



Walk Through a Grove of Sequoias


The Tuolumne Grove of Giant Sequoias will help you put your size in perspective. During a leisurely walk through the old growth forest you can even walk through a massive tunnel carved out of a dead sequoia.


For a more secluded experience the Mariposa Grove of Sequoias is just up the road.



Watch a Sunset from Olmsted Point


One of the best places to watch a sunset in Yosemite National Park is at Olmsted Point which is an overlook off of the Tioga Road that offers a wonderful view into the canyon with views of Half Dome and other lakes. Olmsted Point offers some of the best views of the park for those who aren’t willing or able to scale mountain faces.



Final Thoughts


Yosemite National Park is without a doubt one of the most beautiful national areas of the United States. Whether you are looking for the adrenaline of free climbing El Capitan or want to drive to Tioga Pass to enjoy the views, Yosemite has adventures waiting for everyone.

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Care – Wild Photos

One of the most unfortunate aspects of our global civilization is that we have forgotten that the earth needs our care. The comforts and affluence that we all take for granted have led us away from any sort of proximity to the natural world.

For most of us, the natural world is nothing more than an endless mine that we expect to provide us with the natural resources our consumer driven lives need. We also see the natural world as an limitless sink that we assume will continue to dutifully absorb the enormous amounts of waste that comes with our Industrial way of living.

Hundreds of years ago, the indigenous leader Chief Seattle prophetically reminded us that “the earth doesn’t belong to us; we belong to the earth.” Belonging to the earth, of course requires us to do our part to care for the earth. Instead of misguidedly supposing that the earth exists to fulfill our every desire, developing an attitude of caring for the earth will entail accepting certain limits and boundaries to how we are to interact with the natural world.

While caring for the earth is a necessary and worthwhile task in itself, we should also understand that caring for the earth is also caring for ourselves. The same Chief Seattle also revealed that “whatever befalls the earth, befalls the children of the earth.”

By caring for the earth then, we are also making sure that the conditions will be right so that our own species can continue to flourish as part of the community of life. Caring for the natural world is a responsibility of everyone, whether you live in a New York high rise apartment or a rural Kentucky farm.

Us adrenaline junkies and outdoors enthusiasts, of course, have a special reason to care for the earth as well: without caring for the natural world, we might soon find our planet overrun by urban sprawl and suburbs, and there is not much outdoors fun to be had in those places!

About the Photographer 

Keoni Cabral is a part-Hawaiian photographer, digital artist, and abstract painter. Born and raised in Hawaii on the island of Oahu, Keoni now resides in San Diego, California. Creating images and living near the ocean are two things he considers nearly as essential to his life as food and shelter.

Interested in Using this image? 

Please feel free to use this image under the creative commons license with attribution to http://www.liveoncelivewild.com/care

Water – Wild Photos

While some fad diets might urge you to fast for several days as a way to renovate your digestive system, trying to go more than a day or two without water and you will soon understand the depth of our dependence on the most vital aspect of life.

Our human bodies are made up of between 70 and 73% water. As a perhaps symbolic comparison, over 70% of the earth’s surface is also made up of water. Just as our bodies would soon cease to exist if we lost even a small portion of water in our bodies, so too does all life on our blue planet depend on the continued existence of water.

Despite the existence of massive amounts of water in our world, the vast majority of that water is the unpotable salt water of the oceans. Only 2.5% of the water reserves of our world is fresh water and much of that is up in inaccessible ice caps. Only 1% of our freshwater reserves is easily accessible through lakes, rivers, springs, and aquifers.

Despite that relatively small amount of accessible water, our modern-day civilization has been doing everything it can to waste, contaminate and squander the most precious and crucial element for life.

We are pulling water up from our aquifers faster than they can replenish. Our fresh water streams are contaminated with toxic runoff from power plants and municipal garbage dumps. Many of our rivers no longer flow to the sea because of our overconsumption of water for such trivial purposes such as watering golf courses in a desert.

The truth is simple and undeniable: without water, we cannot live. If we don’t find way to change our firmly ingrained habits and care for the water resources that make life possible, we may very well find ourselves in the paradoxical situation of living on a blue planet without water to sustain life.

About The Photographer

Keoni Cabral is a part-Hawaiian photographer, digital artist, and abstract painter. Born and raised in Hawaii on the island of Oahu, Keoni now resides in San Diego, California. Creating images and living near the ocean are two things he considers nearly as essential to his life as food and shelter.

Interested in using this photo?

Please feel free to use this image under the creative commons license with attribution to http://www.liveoncelivewild.com/water

More Cool Stuff to Read

This site is about everything wild, something we are a big fan of is picnic at the beach! To make that happen you'll need a cooler well suited for the situation. We suggest you check out our article here to learn more about it.

Global Perspective – Wild Photos

The world has grown smaller in recent years; not physically of course, but in metaphorical sense our access to the wider world in today’s society is unparalleled. Our great grandparent’s generation couldn’t imagine talking on a device that could instantly connect you to the voice of another person miles away.

Our grandparent´s generation would have though it heresy to think that we could fly around the world in only a couple of hours’ time. Even our parents, only one generation removed couldn’t have predicted the instant access to events and realities around the world that has come with the age of the internet.

Despite being ever more connected, mobile, and globally-informed, our current society is unfortunately mired in a selfish, individualistic, and claustrophobic mindset. Though we may read about the plight of refugees around the world, we find ourselves unable to feel empathy. Though we hear the statistics on global warming and coming climate change, very few of us actually do anything to actually change our ingrained habits and way of life that contribute to this phenomenon.

Our ability to travel the world and see new sights is a unique privilege of our generation, but despite our travels very few of us ever experience the particularities of a different culture. At the same time, our mobility has pulled us away from any sort of connection to a real and tangible place.

While we might feel that reading the “world” section of our local newspaper is equivalent to developing a global perspective, truly understanding the distinctiveness of our great world takes effort and determination.

Understanding the complexities of our world and how our lives and livelihoods fit in to and effect this complexity is undoubtedly important. Developing empathy for the plight of others and learning how to “think globally and act locally” are more difficult, but are also essential tenets of truly developing a global perspective.

About The Photographer

Keoni Cabral is a part-Hawaiian photographer, digital artist, and abstract painter. Born and raised in Hawaii on the island of Oahu, Keoni now resides in San Diego, California. Creating images and living near the ocean are two things he considers nearly as essential to his life as food and shelter.

Interested in using this photo?

​Please feel free to use this image under the creative commons license with attribution to http://www.liveoncelivewild.com/Global-Perspective

Other Good Reads

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Best Wheeled Backpack with Removable Daypack

The best way to enjoy travelling is to pack light – this means you have to bring a bag and your belongings that are not heavy so that you can walk around and commute to your destination with ease. When talking about packing light things, you do not have to compromise the capabilities of the bag you will use. You have the option of wearing a backpack or better yet, try a wheeled backpack with removable daypack. It does not only help you pack light for your travels, but it also helps organize your belongings for maximum efficiency while you’re out.

Here are some of the best wheeled backpacks with removable daypack to consider:

Our Top Picks At A Glance:

Note: The links above & below will take you to more information, current prices and customer reviews on Amazon.

Osprey Ozone Convertible 22"/50L Wheeled Luggage

Osprey Ozone Convertible 22"/50L Wheeled Luggage

Osprey's Ozone Convertible 50L/22" is made with 210D Nylon Shadow Bow with ultra light 6001 aluminum frame, making this a travelling chameleon. It can be converted with ease from a wheeled bag to a backpack without losing the full suspension system. On top of that, it is still carry-on compatible. The Osprey's Highroad LT Chassis integrates the robust ABS plastic back plate. It has a lightweight aluminum frame to ride on sealed and huge bearing wheels for simple rolling even on bumpy roads. It also comes with a huge front zippered panel pocket and a back pocket that has drain port for damp storage. Likewise, there’s a detachable Ozone Convertible Daypack with the main compartment having secured storage for a laptop or other gadgets. It has a front panel pocket and a zippered pocket that can efficiently hold and secure small items.


Eagle Creek Load Warrior 22 Inch Carry-On Luggage

Eagle Creek Load Warrior 22 Inch Carry-On Luggage

The Load Warrior from Eagle Creek is designed to help users by offering maximum durability while being lightweight to carry. It is a great wheeled backpack for all sorts of adventures. It features an “Equipment Keeper” where you can strap the gear to the top of the bag, expandability and lash points for gear attachment. It also has the “Porter Key bottle opener”. It is built with a very durable Exo-Skeleton (450D Geo Ripstop, 210D Exo Skeleton, and 450D Helix Poly) that is seamlessly fabricated with the backpack. It has strategic reinforcement of wear points and this assures you that it was made to last for long time. These bags are covered by the Eagle Creek warranty, which they labeled as “No Matter What Warranty”. This covers the Lifetime Warranty as well as replacement or repair because of product failure during the product lifetime, regardless of the cause.


Samsonite Luggage MVS Spinner Backpack

Samsonite Luggage MVS Spinner Backpack

This Samsonite Luggage MVS Spinner Backpack can be wheeled around with four spinner wheels. This backpack is designed to be sturdy and of course, functional with easy and convenient maneuverability. This model can be considered a grab-and-go wheeled backpack that can withstand the pressures of travel. It is constructed using nylon and Ripstop polyester making it strong and lightweight that can resist wear and tear. Aside from durability, this wheeled backpack features several compartments that you can utilize for your organization. It has a checkpoint friendly laptop padded compartment with separate side opening just for the laptop. Its main zippered compartment is secure, spacious and organized.


High Sierra AT7 Carry-On Wheeled Backpack

High Sierra AT7 Carry-On Wheeled Backpack

This wheeled backpack has a large design with multiple compartments. It has a fully-padded sleeve that you can use for laptops or tablets, integrated “Tech Spot” tablet computer sleeve, huge side pockets that can hold a beverage or other gear, has recessed and telescoping handle that comes with amazing locking mechanism. This backpack has padded straps that are stowed behind the zippered back panel of the main compartment. It features the “Sure-Grip” top handle that is tucked down flat when not in use. It has reflective piping giving additional safety. It also has custom unibody which offers the bag maximum stability and durability.


Conclusion

Whether travelling to new uncharted regions or to your regular secluded spots, you have to bring your essentials in your luggage. You can bring them using a backpack but make sure that you pack lightly. It is best to enjoy your trip without having to worry about the things you bring along. You have the option of using a backpack or try the wheeled backpack. These wheeled backpacks offer ease of organization similar to regular backpacks but make carrying the bag easy and comfortable as you walk around or commute. There are no one-size-fits all wheeled backpacks, but you can find the right one for your needs based on your budget and the various features you desire. Keep looking online and you’re sure to find the right one!

Best Wheeled Backpack with Laptop Compartment

Back then, it was only businessmen who needed to carry mobile phones and gadgets whenever they travelled. Nowadays, bringing your laptop and your gadgets while you travel is a necessity. This is why travel backpacks now have a padded compartment for laptops of varying sizes. In fact, even the wheeled backpacks were designed to have such compartments. This simply means you do not have to bring an additional laptop bag to keep your laptop and precious digital files and data. Since most backpacks are designed to be carry-on bags during flight transport, you can have your laptop with you during the flight and/or bring it anywhere you go.

Here are some of the best wheeled backpacks with laptop compartment that you can consider for your next trip.

Our Top Picks At A Glance:

Note: The links above & below will take you to more information, current prices and customer reviews on Amazon.

High Sierra AT7 Carry-On Wheeled Backpack

High Sierra AT7 Carry-On Wheeled Backpack

The High Sierra AT7 Carry-On Wheeled Backpack is affordable, and offers value for money for computer backpacks. It is large multi-compartmented and capable of keeping a laptop and a tablet in separate compartments. It has a dedicated “Tech Spot” sleeve for tablets, as well as large side pockets for beverages and other gears. The recessed handle telescopes to full length with a proprietary locking mechanism. As a backpack, it has padded straps hidden in a zippered panel at the back of the main compartment. The “Sure Grip” handle is on top of the compartment and is flush to the body when not in use. Added stability and durability is provided by the unique unibody designed wheel housing. You can carry this backpack for extended periods and not feel any discomfort.


Samsonite Luggage Mvs Spinner Backpack

Samsonite Luggage Mvs Spinner Backpack

The Samsonite Luggage MVS Spinner Backpack is equipped with four spinner wheels, allowing it to be more maneuverable than most luggage bags. Designed for functionality, ease of use, and convenience, this backpack can also withstand the pressures of commercial travel where you would expect the bags to be handled roughly. Made of nylon and Ripstop polyester also makes this strong, lightweight, durable as well as highly resistant to travel’s wear and tear. Inside are various compartments to organize your clothes and things, including a padded laptop compartment with additional side openings. The main compartment is secure and spacious. This is a great backpack to invest in, especially if you’re a serious traveller.


Eagle Creek Load Warrior 22 Inch Carry-On Luggage

Eagle Creek Load Warrior 22 Inch Carry-On Luggage

The Eagle Creek Load Warrior 22-inch Carry-on Luggage is designed to be lightweight while maintaining maximum durability. It is a wheeled backpack which works well for traveling adventures. It has an “Equipment Keeper” to strap your gear on top of the bag, with lash points for expandability. Another unique feature is the “Porter Key bottle opener”. The bag is built with an Exo-Skeleton and 450D Geo Ripstop, as well as 450D Helix Poly materials. The wear points are reinforced for additional durability. The bag comes with the Eagle Creek “No Matter What Warranty”, which is both a lifetime warranty but also a full replacement coverage and repair if the bag does not live up to expectations. The bag is an all-around performer with the safety of your laptop assured. Lug it with you on business trips or even the wildest travel adventures. This bag can take a beating!


Osprey Ozone Convertible 22"/50L Wheeled Luggage

Osprey Ozone Convertible 22"/50L Wheeled Luggage

Osprey's Unisex Sojourn 22"/45L is the best companion to travel and pack light. It is a great stroller as well as stowaway AG inspired backpack style with its suspension expanding the trips horizons. It is constructed to fit most carry-on size requirements. This wheeled backpack can also be converted as a regular backpack. The Sojourn’s quick deploy AG inspired ventilated backpack suspension lets you to carry this bag with ease and comfortably. In the rolling mode of this wheeled backpack, it features the dual-tube extended handle which gives control to you in unwieldy loads and you have a smooth control even when the going gets rough. It has multiple padded and molded handles allows easy to maneuverability. Its padded laptop compartment makes your gadget safe even if you travel on rough roads.


Conclusion

Traveling with a wheeled backpack that has a padded laptop compartment makes it is easy for business people as well as the serious adventurer because they are ensured that their digital files are safe. Most of the available wheeled backpacks today are designed with padded compartments for the laptop. Take note however, that this compartment will not take up much space at all. Depending on your budget, you can find the right and the best wheeled backpack with laptop compartment out in the market. Just check out online reviews and keep your eyes peeled for special discount offers.

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The Lightest Ultra Light Backpacks (Ladies Only!!)

Active women who love to hit the road and explore different places need a backpack that’s designed with their size in mind. Aside from the right dimensions, it also pays to go for a lightweight pack that lets you stay comfortable for the rest of the trip. After checking out several packs in the market, we are listing down the list of the lightest ultra light backpacks for women to help you choose easily.

Our Top Picks At A Glance:

Note: The links above & below will take you to more information, current prices and customer reviews on Amazon.

HEXIN Rated 20L/33L Lightweight Foldable Backpack

HEXIN Rated 20L/33L Lightweight Foldable Backpack

This budget-friendly backpack is also light on your shoulders as it weighs only 0.46 pounds. It is a foldable bag that can fit in your suitcase when not in use. Perfect for day-to-day use and seasonal travel, it makes a great companion for it is light and durable. You can be certain it endures rugged adventures and last a long time for it is made of waterproof, tear resistant nylon. The zippers are also durable YKK metals while the rough points are reinforced with bar tacking.

The pack offers multiple pockets for organized storage. There are two small pockets on the straps for small items such as pens, keys or small phone models. It is made of breathable mesh straps for your comfort.


Deuter ACT Trail 28 SL Hiking Backpack

Deuter ACT Trail 28 SL Hiking Backpack

ecifically designed for women, this bag comes in two versions, the 28 and 32-liter pack. It is a good option if you want to invest on a mid-price range bag that can last for years. At only 2 pounds, the ACT Trail is a good pick for backpackers and hikers. It features sleek yet functional design that hugs the body. It is highly versatile as it can do well on the trail or town. The brand is characterized by quality and innovation, so it’s certain you get a quality pack that’s worth your money.

The ACT Trail features exceptional fit, even load distribution and innovative ventilation. It lightens heavy loads and stabilizes the pack so even if you have heavy gear, it won’t be uncomfortable to carry. The ventilation system reduces perspiration by up to 25%. The ergonomics ensures precise fit and excellent load transfer.


Gregory Mountain Amber 44 Backpack

Gregory Mountain Amber 44 Backpack

This women’s specific backpack offers good value for your money. It is built for every weekend camper or travel enthusiast who needs an ideal bag for one or two-day stay in the countryside or week-long surf. An alternative bottom zip loading access makes packing a breeze while other important features make it ready for the trail. It comes with a rain cover kept in the external pocket for easy access. This also serves as extra storage when weather is fine.

The top loading design has a front U-zip panel that unfastens from bottom to top to access main contents. The pack is also compatible to a hydration pack and is built with a removable daypack. The sides are equipped with water bottle and accessory pockets that compress when not in use. For your snacks or electronic devices, there are dual hipbelt pockets. The bottom has compression straps that can secure your sleeping bag.


Homdox 35L Ultra Lightweight Hiking Daypack

Homdox 35L Ultra Lightweight Hiking Daypack

This pack is ultra light, durable and a true space saver. You can fold in on its own and keep it just in case you’ll need an additional storage for a lengthy trip. This way, you can avoid overweight charges. For day trips, unfold it and use to hold your travel essentials. At a very affordable price, you get a high quality bag for day-to-day use or occasional travel.

It’s made of water and rip proof nylon, SBS metal zipper and reinforced bar tacks to make it last for years. It is lightweight, so it warrants comfortable carry that makes it suitable for school, camping or day hike. The roomy 35-liter volume space is made organized by multiple compartments that make it the perfect travel companion.


Osprey Packs Women’s Sirrus 24 Backpack

Osprey Packs Women’s Sirrus 24 Backpack

This back is designed with women’s day hiking needs in mind. It makes carrying on your back a breeze, and its ventilation features are created with a female body’s specific fit. It loads on top via zippered slash pocket. It has a panel storage and vertical center zippered compartment in front.

The incredibly comfortable mesh backpanel and adjustability options provide optimum customisation for hikers. It comes with a raincover and hipbelt.


Conclusion

The best choice for an ultra light women’s daypack boils down to your needs. Determine the features that matter to you, how much you are willing to spend and how you would want your pack to be considering the size, weight and organization options. Don’t forget to read reviews and comparison guides to make an informed decision.

Best Water Proof (or Rain Cover) Ultra-Light Backpacks

Having a waterproof backpack is a good idea to avoid the hassle of getting stuck in an unexpected rain shower. It can also protect your valuables inside from getting wet. When looking for the best waterproof backpack, the things to consider aside from a budget-friendly price tag are durability and flexibility. You would also want one that is light, easy to use and cover your things completely. Take a look at the top-rated waterproof backpacks that you can use without worrying about any weather conditions.

Our Top Picks At A Glance:

Note: The links above & below will take you to more information, current prices and customer reviews on Amazon.

Hexin Lightweight Packable Durable Waterproof Travel Backing Daypack for Men and Women

Hexin Lightweight Packable Durable Waterproof Travel Backing Daypack for Men and Women

This multipurpose bag has a chic look and is made from high-quality water and tear resistant Nylon material. It has durable two-way SBS metal zippers across the backpack that you can zip from either side for accessibility and convenience. Its wide and deep main compartment has 2 divider layers inside so you can organize your things well. Aside from its big front bottom and top front pockets, it also has 2 deep side mesh pockets where you can put your water bottles and other small things. The strap of this backpack has 2 small elastic mesh pockets where you can easily keep your cash or keys. It has reflective strips and emergency whistle on the buckle for safety purposes. This bag is truly a space saver; you can fold it up to the front pocket when not in use.


HIKPRO #1 Rated Ultra Lightweight Packable Backpack for Men and Women

HIKPRO #1 Rated Ultra Lightweight Packable Backpack for Men and Women

This 20 Liter and 6.5 Oz backpack is roomy, handy and ultralight. This bag is definitely perfect for hiking, camping, outdoor travel and everyday use. It is made from high-standard tear and water resistant nylon and SBS metal zippers that are able to resist abrasion. The main pocket has an ample space to carry what you need. The outer pocket is tailored for quick access; an inner pocket is a safe place for your valuables; and the two big side mesh pockets are perfect for water bottles. It was designed with wide breathable mesh shoulder straps so you have no more aching shoulders when you travel. It can be folded up to a sandwich size so it is really an excellent choice for those who like to travel light


Gowiss Backpack

Gowiss Backpack

A superb choice for day trips, day hikes, travel, camping, bicycling, shopping and more. This 20L/33L Nylon backpack is durable, waterproof and unfolds from pocket to backpack. To save space, you can fold it into a zippered inner pocket. Its high-quality 2-way YKK metal zippers can withstand abrasion. This lightweight (0.46 pounds/0.5 pounds) and spacious backpack is very comfortable to use. It is classically shaped with lots of pockets where you can store and organize your things. With this backpack, you will definitely avoid excess baggage and overweight charges.


Stoon 20L Ultralight Travel Backpack

Stoon 20L Ultralight Travel Backpack

This super awesome, light and durable packable backpack is very convenient to use for any outdoor and day-to-day activities. It is made up of water resistant and highly rip polyester fabric that supports strength and long-term functionality. It has a 20 liter storage space so you can keep your items neatly organized. It also folds into a zippered inner pocket so it would fit anywhere and unfold it from pocket to backpack in seconds!


Bekahizar Foldable Backpack

Bekahizar Foldable Backpack

If reputation will be the basis for purchasing the top tent brands today, REI will definitely be in the discussion about that. The outdoor gear of this brands has, in general, a pretty solid reputation including the tents. Most of the tents from REI comes with great height superb floor space with storage option and some comes with dividers creating private rooms. Some of the tents comes with customizable rainfly, which can be rolled up on the side for more ventilation during the warmer conditions.


Conclusion

Water resilient backpacks provide a number of advantages during your journey. Aside from keeping your things dry, there is no need for you to put on a rain cover or take an umbrella. There are many options available so choosing the right waterproof backpack that will best suit your travel style really comes with a challenge. It is better to do a quick research about the product features, warranty and reputation first so you can figure out exactly which backpack to pick at a price that is right for you.

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