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Category Archives for "Backpacking"

There is absolutely nothing more refreshing than leaving behind the rat race of city life and the tedium of a long work week in the office for a weekend adventure in the wilderness. From finding that perfect camping spot on a cliff looking longingly towards the setting sun, lounging lazily by a peaceful river as you wait for the mountain trout to bite your line promising a delectable dinner of smoked fish, or hiking madly through thick forest to burn off all of that extra, pent up energy, getting into the wilderness is soothing for the soul, calming for the mind, and a great way to reconnect with what´s truly important in life.

For those of us who aren´t content to simply hit a day hike before begrudgingly returning to the monotony of our urban existence, backpacking offers the best way to get outdoors and stay outdoors; at least until Monday morning rolls around. To truly enjoy your backpacking adventures, however, you need to have the right gear. A quality sleeping bag and good tent will offer you a home away from home, no matter where you head.

In this part of our blog we look at the top backpacking gear on the market today. We also offer hints and suggestions for those hard cord lightweight backpackers who want to get closest to nature. From the best ultralight backpack to the top backpacking axes so that you cut your own firewood in the wilderness, we have suggestions that will make any backpacking adventure truly unforgettable.

Best Backpacking Chairs for Travelers in 2018

Choosing the best backpacking chair shouldn’t be difficult, whether it’s for hiking and it is light and easy to carry on the trails, has a mesh back to make a cool chair with optimized airflow, or just a small and ultralight seat that fits into your carry-on. The best of the best are a mix of lightweight materials, durability, portability, comfort, and ease of assembly. One of the better backpacking tips I can give you is that if you’re going to be roughing it, then you need an ultralight chair, along with minimizing the weight of your ruck. Weight matters, and if you carry too much, you’ll wear out quick.

The best portable seat should bring you comfort at the end of a long day of hiking and trekking up and down and all around. It shouldn’t be something else to hassle with after dodging branches and overgrowth. That’s why we focus on ensuring that the products we have listed in our review are ultra-light, easily stowed away, optimizing comfort, and easily assembled and set-up on site. Difficulties on the trail are even bigger inconveniences and nuisances than if they were at home.

This is supposed to be a time of adventure and relaxation, not frustration and stress. Save yourself the time and hassle of looking for the best backpacking chair. We took the time to find them for you, so read on and find out for yourself what makes these some of the best backpacking and hiking chairs on the market. You won’t be disappointed, and who knows, you may even find what you’ve been needing your whole life, you just never knew it until now!

Backpacking Chair Comparison

**The following links will take you to each individual chair on Amazon.com**

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Best Daylite Series Backpack (Our Top Travel Picks!)

When a company comes out with an ‘upgraded’ version of one of their already popular products it can be difficult to tell whether the new one is really worth the higher price tag it comes with.

The Osprey Daylite is a wicked bag that has been popular for a long time. It’s super compact, portable and easily attachable to Ospreys bigger packs.

Osprey is one of those companies that’s always trying to improve their products and they did this by coming out with the Daylite plus.

An all-around great new upgrade to an already great bag.

Daylite Series Backpack Comparison

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Microspikes vs Crampons: Which is better?

During my first winter hiking trip, some buddies and I traveled up to Isle Royal National Park in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. I already owned a quality pair of microspikes that I had used when summiting some fourteen thousand foot peaks in the Rockies where snow and ice were common even in July and August. When I got to the Isle Royal, however, the three feet of freshly fallen snow caved in underneath my crampons and I ended up hiking through waist-deep snow on most parts of the trail. My buddies, both of whom had brought along snowshoes, enjoyed laughing at me as they calmly waded across the top of the snow enjoying the otherworldly winter wonderland.

After that disastrous experience, I began to research the main differences between winter traction devices and I found that contrary to my prior assumptions, microspikes and crampons are not the same thing. This article will take an in-depth look at the differences between microspikes and crampons and then go on to review the main differences between these two important and necessary winter traction footwear. Well, let’s read on and get started!

How to choose between microspikes and crampons?

Before we begin, it is important to clarify the main differences between microspikes and crampons. Knowing the difference will help any hiker know when to use each of these footwear options.

Both microspikes and crampons are used by hikers and mountaineers to give traction on ice and packed snow. Snowshoes, on the other hand, offer flotation on top of the loose and unpacked snow. Microspikes, however, are best used for flatter surfaces where ice or packed snow are common are expected while crampons are more suited for steeper surfaces that are covered by a mix of rock, ice, and solid snow.

To use a car analogy, your regular hiking boots are like a normal set of car tires. Microspikes would represent an upgrade to deep-tread winter snow tires, while crampons would be like putting chains on your tires. That’s beside the point, get ready to get a new pair and go on a backcountry hike or wilderness adventure!

Microspikes or Crampons Comparison

The below links will bring you to Amazon to learn more:

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7 Best Backpack Rain Covers Reviews

The backpack has become an extension of our shoulders. It is perplexing, then, protecting the gear it holds usually comes in hindsight. One too many hikers have lamented their cameras in hopeful denial being soaked didn’t do them any damage. What makes it even more curious, is that the solution has been there the whole time. For, a simple Amazon peruse for a backpack will inevitably lead you to backpack rain covers. Perhaps, the answer lies in our tendency to treat addictions as something immaterial. And, acquiring a rain cover to protect your gear seems to fall at first glance in that category. Well, we are here to change your mind. Why is a backpack rain cover an essential tool?

Best Backpack Rain Covers Comparison

The below links will bring you to Amazon:

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Best Hiking Backpack Under 100 Bucks (Affordable And Durable!)

Camping and hiking are fun, but it can become one of the most expensive hobbies that you can do. From the supplies to the proper gear, and then the right pack? You can be spending thousands of dollars before you are ready for a great trek in the woods.

This does not have to be the case, you can grab some of the best backpacks under 100 dollars, for just about any purpose, without having to take out a second mortgage on your home in order to do so.

Best Budget Hiking Backpack Comparison

The below links will bring you to Amazon:

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Top 5 Secrets to Become a (Successful) Ultralight Backpacker

For backpackers, the feeling of taking off a super heavy pack after hours on the trail is the supreme bliss. Your whole body feels lighter and the cool breeze begins to gently evaporate the sweat that is dripping down your back. After a few days of hiking, however, that feeling of bliss slowly disappears as you immediately fall to the ground in exhaustion after escaping the weight of a huge pack.

Most people who are new to the world of backpacking tend to bring way more than they actually need. The thought of spending several days out in the wilderness without a refrigerator, central heating system, or a Wal-Mart nearby usually leads to a pack that is upwards of 70 pounds filled with obscure kitchen utensils, extra clothes, and a whole assortment of knives and other weapons to protect yourself while on the trail.

After a few hikes, however, most backpackers tend to realize that the majority of the stuff they´ve taken in the past ends up shifting to the bottom of the pack and never actually makes it out of their pack. You don´t need your nifty (but heavy) espresso maker when the lightweight pot you´ve been using for all your cooking needs does the trick. As the amount of stuff in your bag diminishes, your back and shoulders thank you and you soon find that even after a twenty mile day, you feel fresher and more energized.

For hikers and backpackers who dislike having to carry around a monster pack that needs to be lifted up onto your shoulders with the help of two volunteers, you might be ready to take the next step to ultralight backpacking which will allow you to pack in the miles without feeling dog-tired by the time you make it to your campsite. Below we explain the fundamentals of ultralight backpacking and offer a few tips to become an expert “ultralighter.”

What is Ultralight Backpacking?

Though there are no “official” definitions for what it means to be an ultralight backpacker, the idea is pretty simple: reduce the amount of weight in your pack as much as safely possible. Safety is key here, because while you could head out to the wilderness with nothing more than a pack of matches and a knife, ultralight backpacking still ensures that people will have the needed gear to feed and shelter themselves while on the trail.

Most people accept that “light” backpacking is achieved anytime a pack is under 20 pounds (10 kilos). Ultralight backpacking is more extreme as packs must be at or below 10 pounds (5 kilos). While several people might claim to have invented the ultralight philosophy, the practice can be traced back to indigenous people and scouts who headed out into the wilderness of their territories on several day long hunting trips with nothing more than the clothes on their back and their simple hunting weapons.

More recently, Grandma Gatewood gained fame when she thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail with nothing more than a duffel bag with nothing more than an army blanket, a plastic sheet, and an umbrella. Not a day goes by without the hundreds of companies that make up the hiking and backpacking industry throwing at us yet another product that is deemed as indispensable for life on the trail. Ultralight backpacking casts doubt on the true necessity of so many different items that quickly lead to a 50 pound pack and instead carefully scrutinizes the pros and cons of every item that eventually does make it into the pack.

Hone Your Skills to Lessen Dependence on Gear

Part of becoming a skilled ultralight backpacker depends on one´s ability to sharpen their wilderness survival skills and their intimate knowledge of the natural world around them. For people without much in depth knowledge and skill, reliance on heavy duty gear is a must. For example, when headed out for a three day hike in late autumn, you probably will be tempted to carry a strong tent and an extra heavy sleeping bag. If, however, you knew how to build a simple structure that protected you from the elements while efficiently capturing and storing the heat of a fire, you could easily make do without the tent and heavy sleeping bag.

Reduce the Weight of Each Item

One of the benefits of the burgeoning backpacking supplies industry is that companies are always competing against one another to try and lower the weight of essential items you will want to carry with you. From ultralight cooking pots to sturdy backpacks that weigh in at less than a pound (read this Wild Guide for more info), you will want to do your research to find which pieces of essential gear will save you an ounce or two. To help you with that, we have compiled and reviewed all the best hiking backpacks available on the market today. Don't forget to check out this Live Once Live Wild Guide as part of your research.

Think About Your Feet

When considering weight, most hikers and backpackers only think about what they are carrying on their back. However, the weight of what you´re wearing on your feet is another fundamental concern of the ultralighter. Instead of opting for those bulky hiking boots that when wet might feel like you´re dragging two rocks along the path, a lighter pair of hiking shoes will significantly reduce your overall weight and even go a long way in making your pack feel lighter as well.

Several Functions for Each Piece of Gear

For ultralight backpackers, the idea of carrying along an extra pair of mittens or gloves when you have a clean pair of wool socks buried at the bottom of your bag is nonsense. One of the essential elements of ultralight backpacking is getting as many functions or uses out of each piece of gear that you bring along. For example, a poncho for rainy weather can also double as a ground cover for your tent, tarp, or other sleeping arrangement. A camping hammock likewise is a good way to keep your bag dry during wet weather. Just don´t try to use your shoe laces for dental floss.

Reduce Your Kitchen Weight

If you have foregone the extra pair of clothes and the heavy tent but your pack is still a couple pounds over the 10 pound threshold, you might want to look at what you´re carrying as kitchen. Those pots, pans, stoves, and silverware quickly add on the pounds, and one of the best ways to reduce weight is to forego the stove all together and opt instead for no-cook meals. You can always bring along the infamous “billycan” which is a single cook pot that you can use to boil up a soup made from the edible plants and morel mushrooms you´ve collected along the trail over an open fire.

Safety over that Magical Number

While most all traditional hikers and backpackers would agree that we really don't need half the stuff we carry on our backs, there is a limit to how light you can go. You should never sacrifice your personal safety just to enjoy a lighter pack. If you´re headed out for a weekend jaunt in the woods and the forecast calls for the possibility of snowstorms, you might want to bring along that heavy duty sleeping bag, or a durable tent even if it pushes your pack up to 15 pounds. With that being said, it's also important to know the best tent brands available today. Make sure to take a look at Live Once Live Wild Guide to help you choose the best tent.

By following these five simple pieces of advice, however, you should be able to drastically reduce the weight of your backpack and continue to hone your wilderness survival skills as your lack of gear will put you closer in contact with the natural world around you.