Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Trip Report - AZ Hot Springs via White Rock Canyon

After two days of holiday overindulgence, I decided it was time to get out and walk a bit...a quick overnight trip in the Lake Mead National Recreation Area was in order. A few miles past the Hoover Dam on the Arizona side is where this hike begins...if you're heading there, just look for the sign directing you to the parking area on the east side of highway 93, then walk under the bridge towards the west. It's about a 3 mile hike to the hot springs, all through a sandy wash. You will feel the burn on the way back up!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Clickitized Gear List

Introducing our new and improved gear list format

Our gear lists have gone Clickitized! What does this mean? Good question! There are hyperlinks to most of the items on the list, so seeing the actual gear we are using is now easier than ever...


Cords & clips (3) to attach rain jacket as storm door

You can check out all of the gear on the Clickitized Gear List tab at the top of the site. We are constantly looking for ways to make our gear lighter and more durable, so we will keep the most up to date lists on this tab, including a notes section to illustrate recent changes... 

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Book Review - The Wilderness World of John Muir

Rating: 5 out of 5 - Highly Recommended

You will not learn anything about ultralight backpacking by reading this book. So why am I writing about it? One word - Inspiration. Muir had a style of writing like no other. Some said he abused adjectives, but I couldn't disagree more. See for yourself...

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

SUL Freezer Bag Cooking Cozy - Part 2

In part 1 of this article I talked about an idea I had to reduce the weight of my freezer bag cooking (FBC) cozy. I basically made an envelope out of an emergency blanket thinking that the reflective material would hold the heat inside the cozy while the meal "cooked". In addition, I would place the cozy inside the cuben fiber stuff sack (which I already carry to contain my cook pot) with the thought that this would add additional insulation to hold the heat in similar to how a wind shirt holds your body heat in. This is the point where I test my theory...

Pictured below from left to right are the trailcooking.com FBC Minimalist Cozy,  the traildesigns.com Caldera Keg-H Cozy, and my SUL Cozy prototype. I decided to put these through a series of tests to compare my unit to others I have used.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

SUL Freezer Bag Cooking Cozy - Part 1

No, SUL does not stand for Super Ugly...this is a crazy idea I've been thinking of for a while now. I was actually laying awake about 3:00am this morning thinking about how I would construct this thing. 

For some background, I usually do freezer bag cooking, or FBC, when I backpack. This is where you store your dehydrated meal inside a quart size freezer bag, and all you have to do is add boiling water, stir, wait several minutes for it to rehydrate, then you're ready to eat. In order to keep the contents hot while it's rehydrating or "cooking", most of us have adopted some way to insulate the FBC meal. Some people use an article of clothing for this...

Saturday, December 4, 2010

John's Meat Sauce Recipe

My meat sauce is a family favorite at home, but I bet you're wondering why I'm writing about it in my ultralight backpacking blog. In its dehydrated form, it turns into a wonderful home cooked meal and all you have to do is add some boiling water. Check out my article on how to Make Your Own Dehydrated Meat Sauce for more on dehydrating this recipe.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Snow in the Desert - Zion National Park West Rim Trail

Thanksgiving is a 4 day weekend for me, and a great opportunity to spend a few days in the back country before it's gets too cold. There's a trail that I hadn't done yet - the West Rim Trail at Zion National Park in Utah, which runs 15 miles end to end. The plan was to make the 3 hour drive the morning after Thanksgiving, then hike 10 miles to campsite 8 before dark. On Saturday morning I would continue to the end of the trail, then turn around and hike back to campsite 2, about 15 miles for the day. Sunday morning I would get up and hike out the last 5 miles and head back home. An easy 30 miles in two days and nights, or so I thought.

I contacted the ranger on Monday to make my reservations. In this popular park, you can only camp in designated sites in the back country, which must be reserved in advance. Little or no snow was the report I got from the nice ranger. Now to get a hall pass from my wife. I knew she wouldn't want to go...too cold for her.

Thanksgiving day