Archive for the ‘Gear’ Category

Here’s a fun short story from about a hiker who finds a note on a mountaintop from 1972. A newspaper reporter located the writer too.

Top 10 Best Road Trip Albums by Outside Magazine. I can’t believe a Garth Brooks album isn’t on here. What album would you include? (Comment below please).

I enjoyed reading this cool profile of a guidebook author and mother, who is now a Granny hiker. Be sure and check out her helpful list of trail tips when hiking with kids in this Backpacker article.

Google’s Streetview goes into the Grand Canyon. Here’s a great NPR story I heard this morning from All Tech Considered.

Gimp Monkeys. Three really funny, disabled guys rock climb the most famous granite rock wall on the planet in this piece from The video is below.


A large collection of groups were lobbying to build roads for logging and such in National Forests. Well, they lost. Here’s the story from Adventure Journal.

Want to find the best places to look at the fall colors? This USA Today story should give you a few ideas near-ish you – Leaf Peeping in National Parks.

LL Bean has this gear giveaway going on. Just describe the adventure you’ve always wanted to take and they’ll outfit you. Everyday it looks like they are giving away $500 in gear. More details here.

It’s often said by adventurers that the unexpected issues you deal with build camaraderie and are the memories you keep. Take this for example, do you remember that scene in Planes, Trains and Automobiles where Steve Martin and John Candy spoon in bed? This alpine climber talks about how to bivy overnight on the side of a mountain in this Outside piece.

For the numbers guys out there, here is a detailed post from Outside about climbing injuries and deaths.

For those who are into climbing…check out this cool profile piece on what some would call a career “dirtbag.” (In climbing, that’s like a status or desirable title.)

Fall is finally here!

It’s time to log some miles on the trails. Wildlife is stirring, storing for the winter. Many birds are migrating. Snow is falling in the high country and the foliage is changing.

Backpacking or hiking in the cooler temps is my favorite (next to smiling, of course).

When asked about why I love to hike, I often respond “the views.”

The physical challenge is bleh and the conquering drive to join some “14-er” club is just not in me. I like to look out and see the scope of the world I live in. I like to soak in the warm, fall sun and not get in a hurry. I like to see how small I am in comparison to the rest of God’s creation. And, if it’s going to be a butt-kicking hike, I enjoy training so that I’m not dead when I get to the lookout.

One of those places I want to enjoy before dying is the John Muir Trail or JMT. Here’s a trailer from a JMT documentary in progress, appropriately called, The Muir Project.

Speaking of great scenery. What a spectacular view in Grand Teton National Park in this shot!

Sneak peak at an ultralight backpack from Gear Junkie.

REI is always a helpful source. Here’s an infographic about scenic U.S. trails and the “10 Essentials.”

Hiking the Beautiful USA: US National Scenic Trails Map

Looking for some advice on getting started hiking or backpacking?

Try Backpacking 101: Wilderness Class with Andrew Skurka

Here’s also a good resource to consider…


Crazy-looking (atypical) deer my nephew killed with a bow.

If I lived anywhere near these trees, they would be toast. (I hate spiders) – Pakistan Picture – Nature Photo – National Geographic Photo of the Day.

I’ve always been fascinated with Mt. Everest base camp.Yes, I wrote base camp. I could care less about the mountain that people worship. I would be more interested in spending a few days observing the freakish sub-culture and chaos at base camp. Here’s a candid look from Adventure Blog.

Doping, performance-enhancing drugs, cheating, etc. A former Lance Armstrong teammate is releasing a tell-all book about the U.S. Postal team. Read this revealing piece from Outside magazine (who is no friend of Armstrong).

Here’s another from Outside’s Raising Rippers about taking a baby on a river trip. It’s a slow read, like the float trip they were on, but full of mothering anxiety and outdoor “unknownness.”

What’s a blog without some good infographics?

10 Tent Tips for Happy Camping from REI (below)…

Tents Infographic: 10 Tent Tips for Happy Camping

Check out REI’s wide selection of tents


Fall is just around the corner, so it’s time to get in some miles before the cold weather and snow set in.

REI’s blog has a list of favorite fall hikes.

National Geographic Adventure blog outlines the quintessential Yosemite hike–the Mist Trail.

Some years ago I spent a few days hiking on a southern segment of the Appalachian Trail. I credit those few days with birthing my love for backpacking. Because prior to that, I had been burnt out on long-distance heavy-pack ruck sack marches in the Marines, and swore off backpacking as a hobby. While I have no plans to take 6-months off to thru-hike the AT, I have a great love for the protected, open spaces and hikers who do attempt a thru-hike. I found this article a nice overview of the Appalachian Trail since this year marks the 75th anniversary.

Reality show star, author and survival expert, Bear Grylls, recently went on camera to share his love of the outdoors and story of his faith in this short 700 Club video.

He says something I really like, paraphrasing here … “Adventure is more about the camaraderie and relationship bonds you make…”

Outdoor people are a breed of their own. It takes a special type of person to hear the Inner Canyon at Grand Canyon National Park calling, “Come down here,” or Mt. Rainer saying, “Come up here,” and then do it.

Speaking of special people…disabled veterans demonstrate their mettle and mental fortitude in this pair of Elevation Outdoors posts called “Coming Home to the Wild” and “What’s Your Excuse?” I’d love to be involved in some ministry to combat veterans one day.

Outside Magazine put together this list of gear needed for your next climbing project.

(Image credit –

Getting to many of the world’s most beautiful places more often than not requires hiking across uneven terrain and considerable distances. Personally, I’d like to save my knees (and health) for when I get older.

That’s why I use trekking poles when I go for more than a Sunday stroll through a local park.

Trekking poles help you have two more points of contact with the ground. On more than one occasion, my trekking poles saved me from a couple good falls, and at over 6-feet tall, my brain bucket would’ve taken some good blows.

They also help me hike faster. I’m able to use my arms to propel myself a few inches farther on every stride. These inches add up over a double-digit mileage day, meaning fewer steps, fewer jolts to the joints and more energy in the tank for other adventures or the next day’s distance.

If you’ve never used trekking poles, they take about 200 yards to get used to and a couple of miles before you are a master.

I found these Black Diamond trekking poles for $35.

These are adjustable for hiking up or downhill, collapsible for storage (works great on outside of pack) and can be used in all 4-seasons.

Even basic trekking poles for kids can cost $60. These are $45 cheaper than the lowest priced adult pair at a popular retail chain.

Get up or get dead

Posted: July 26, 2012 in Fatherhood, Gear, opinion

On one of my trips through the Grand Canyon, I had the privilege to lead a group of people on a rim-to-rim hike over four days. Two members of the group were a father and son. The dad had just turned 60 and the son was in his early-30s.

Over some of the roughest and most beautiful terrain in North America, these two reconnected after years of being apart. They laughed, talked and formed life-long memories as they experienced one of the seven wonders of the world together.

Seeing them made me miss my dad. Just weeks before he had passed away, frail and tired from his decade-long struggle with cancer in his early-60s.

And, as I thought about this tale of two dads, I realized how I never had a chance to share these type of experiences with my own father. His sickness set in while I was still in high school.

Years later, as a dad of two daughters, I think about my health through the lens of legacy. I think about my inevitable passing and what memories I want to make with my children now. I think about being healthy enough to walk them down the aisle, chase their children and go on vacations or trips with them as adults. I think about sharing an empty nest with my wife, being healthy enough to enjoy our senior years together. I think about how I want to spare my kids midnight trips to hospitals.

These thoughts motivate me to be more healthy now.

You see, I believe, our lack of healthy living is in relation to our lack of healthy loving.

Love is the greatest motivator of all. It has prompted more paintings, more poetry, more pity, more passion (and compassion), more cheesy Bon Jovi love songs (ref. I’ll be There for You), etc. The Bible says “love covers a multitude of sins.”

Dads, go look at your wife and kids. Then go look in the mirror.

  • Think about the hurt and grief your kids will feel when you die in their late 20s or early-30s.
  • Think about the memories you will not share.
  • Think about how you won’t be there to help or give advice in their darkest hours.
  • Think about about your health choices right now.

I’m not here to cast stones. Rather, I’d like for you to consider these statistics today:

  • 43% of Americans are not reaching the low recommended threshold for daily physical activity, which is just 20 minutes of walking per day. (Source)
  • More than 80% of young people ages 13 to 15 worldwide are not getting the hour a day of vigorous exercise recommended for their age group. (Source)
  • Sitting down for more than 3 hours a day can shave a person’s life expectancy by 2 years, even if he or she is physically active and refrains from dangerous habits like smoking. (Source)
  • A recent Gallup poll shows 81% of people believe obesity is an “extremely” or “very serious” problem, more serious than smoking and cancer.

Which ones can you relate with?

We’ve all heard “don’t drink, don’t smoke, eat your vegetables, blah blah blah.” We hear it all the time. As grown-ups, we know our lack of exercise is not good for us, but the truth is, it’s killing us and robbing our children of time with dad.

Let love motivate you to make a lifestyle change today.