Category: Backpacking

Big Agnes Copper Spur vs Tiger Wall

Big Agnes Tiger Wall (left) vs Copper Spur (right)

As a former Steamboat Springs local, I’m a bit biased toward the hometown team of Big Agnes. Having already used their Fly Creek and Copper Spur tents, I was excited to try the blended design of the new Tiger Wall series. But after a couple of test runs, I decided to forego the weight savings and stick with the Copper Spur. Here are 9 reasons why…

Freeze-Dried Meals For People With Food Sensitivities and Allergies

I know firsthand how challenging it is to deal with food sensitivities and allergies, especially in the backcountry. So after researching what pre-packaged, freeze-dried meals were compatible with my various medical restrictions, I built a comprehensive chart for the more commonly sold meal packets. Each product listed indicates the presence of major food allergens, including dairy (D), egg (E), nuts (N), seafood/fish (F), soy (S), and wheat (W), while also showing the existence of meat and indicating if the level of FODMAP ingredients is on the lower or higher side. Each product then links to the manufacturer’s website where the exact ingredients can and should be be verified.

My Backpacking Gear

Backpacking the Pecos Wilderness in New Mexico

I started backpacking in high school with an external frame pack, a 4-pound sleeping bag thrown on top of a heavy foam pad, a tent that would drip condensation on my face nearly every night, and a wardrobe that oftentimes included a cotton shirt tucked into my denim jeans. The Eagle badge on my Boy Scout uniform is living proof that you don’t have to be perfectly equipped with the latest and most expensive ultralight gear in order to “be prepared” and enjoy your trip! But flash forward three decades and my aging body certainly appreciates the innovations that modern chemistry has done for my current backpacking gear.

Family of Four Backpacking Through the Mt. Sneffels Wilderness

Lower Blue Lake with Dallas Peak in the background

My first multi-day backpacking trip was a 5-night excursion through the San Juan mountains of Colorado. The snow-capped fourteeners and lush river valleys were quite a sight for a 14-year-old from Kansas. Flash forward nearly three decades and I was now driving my wife and two children to that same mountain range for our first backpacking trip as a family. And despite a few hiccups, everyone ended up having a fantastic time.

SteriPEN Ultra How-To

With each liter of water weighing 2.2 pounds, I’m a big fan of leveraging water sources near my campsite or hiking route rather than carrying unnecessary weight. After trying multiple treatment options over the years, I find the Katadyn SteriPEN Ultra to be the easiest, fastest, and most reliable method. All you have to do is fill a bottle, click a button, insert the UV lamp into the water, stir, and then wait for the LED screen to confirm that the process is complete. For me, this is way better than pumping, waiting on a gravity-fed system, or tasting iodine.

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