Wednesday, July 29, 2009

My Review of Therm-a-Rest Trail Pro Sleeping Pad - Regular


This Therm-a-Rest brings together a perfect harmony of light weight, cushioning and durability for the ultimate in sleeping bliss, night after night.

Wonderful Cushion

Chiliman Cincinnati, OH 7/29/2009


4 5

Gift: No

Pros: Lightweight, Easy To Inflate, Non Slip, Comfortable, Durable Design

Cons: Bulky Roll Up

Best Uses: Weekend Trips, Car Camping, Backpacking, Extended Trips

Describe Yourself: Avid Adventurer

What Is Your Gear Style: Minimalist

The trail pro provides comfort without sacrificing weight. I actually feel like I am on a bed when laying on it. Before buying it, I tested it out on hard concrete floor with various items underneath to simulate sticks and rocks, and I didn't feel a thing.

Although it does not come with its own stuff sack, I've found this isn't really necessary. You can easily purchase a cheap sack for it. I simply stuff mine in my backpack.

Sleepless nights in the back-country have kept me from going out more often, but now that I have the trail pro, I will be hitting the trail more often!

All in all, worth the weight, worth the price.


Saturday, July 11, 2009

60 Hikes in 60 Miles: Cincinnati - Review

Finally, a Cincinnati hiking guidebook that brings together the best hikes less than an hour's drive away. Tammy York teamed up with the series 60 Hike in 60 Miles to produce one of the area's most long awaited reads. Here's my review on the book.

Tammy York does a good job of gathering information about some of the area's more obscure trails. Another great thing about this book is that she does not solely fill it with one or two mile treks like many other metro focused hiking books. Instead, you'll find walks and hikes anywhere from 13 miles to the occasional 1 (albeit a good one mile!). Many of the hikes I have personally not heard of, and so for this very reason this book is a great buy for any local hiker.

Downsides? The author is more of a leisurely hiker than an avid outdoors woman. And so her description of the trails and the hikes reflect this. Don't pay much attention to her difficulty rating if you backpack regularly or like a diverse terrain. Also be sure to double check driving times and distances. I don't think she uses the downtown metro area as a starting point for many of her hikes (for example, there was a hike in Ft. Thomas that was described as being 30 minutes away. As a resident of the town, I can assert that this is incorrect for it is merely a 5 minute drive from downtown). Don't expect to find any backpacking trails in this book either.

Aside from its shortfalls, 60 Hikes in 60 Miles is still a good read or at least a handy book to have for quick reference if you're searching for hiking trails near Cincinnati.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Explore the National Parks with Experienced Guides

If you've been looking for the best guide to the national parks, look no further. Team KANGA seeks to empower and guide more individuals and families toward adventure in American's National Parks while cultivating a love for the outdoors. Their guides are the most exclusive and comprehensive of any DVDs covering the National Parks. With a focus on hiking and adventure within the parks, they offer a unique perspective on trip planning.

What makes these guides worth considering?
Experience. Team KANGA not only produces the guides, but they are also out testing the trails, researching issues and seeking out the best wilderness adventure experience. You won't find that anywhere else. Team KANGA also prides itself on being the most up to date National Parks DVD, meaning you'll get insight on current issues and conditions.

The best part? They're affordable. Ringing up at just under $10, Team KANGA's DVDs are perfect for recession budgets.

To purchase their top selling exclusive Smoky Mountains National Park DVD Guide, click here.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Shawnee Backpack Trail Trip Report

Last weekend we went off on an overnight backpacking trip to Shawnee State Forest. Camp 6 is reputed to being the prettiest campsite in the entire forest, so we set our sights on getting them by nightfall. The camp is located about 10 miles from the trail head and is surrounded by tall pine trees and nestled next to a babbling brook. We passed the campsite on a previous trip, and so were very excited about staying there finally.

After passing up camp 7, we hiked about a half mile or so before reaching a clearing with no marking. Little did we know that we had missed the turn off for the trail a quarter mile ago. Thinking we were still on the trail, we plodded along on the random ATV trail we had been following. An hour went by and there was still no sign of an orange blaze. I started to panic.

How could we be lost? It's definitely something that no one plans on being. It was very easy to miss the improperly marked turnoff, however. I had settled on camping on the rough ATV trail that night (it was growing dark) and filtering water from a small mud stream nearby. Miraculously, we soon emerged out of the humid foliage and found the trail. But there was one problem.

We didn't know which way to go. Studying the map, we tried to determine where we were based on elevation. The forest service maps did not include unmarked ATV routes, so we could not even identify that. Finally, Chiliman determined that we needed to go south and that we needed to turn left in order to do so according to the position of the sun. I thought he was probably right, but I also thought that we should stay low in elevation, which is where the campsite would have been located. We decided to go right.

Two hours later from when we passed camp 7, we arrived right back at camp 7. It was disheartening. We had backtracked terribly, and it was partly my fault for misjudging Chiliman's instinct. The real curplit? Unmarked trail. If you are heading out to Shawnee State Forest to backpack, please note that there is a drastic one-hundred degree righthand turn a quarter of a mile from camp 7 on your way to camp 6. The turn is hidden amongst brush and overgrowth.

Unmarked, improperly marked or even unmaintained trails are easy to get lost on. This was the first time we did not bring a compass with us, and it was the first time we needed it.

To avoid getting lost on a trail, pay attention at all times. Do not move forward unless you see a marker or a blaze indicating the proper direction. We plowed straight ahead on what we assumed was the trail, but it turned out to be a misleading ATV track. This can happen to you too. Be prepared. Bring a map and a compass at all times. If you have a GPS unit, I would bring that too. If you become lost- do not go any further! Backtrack until you find yourself back on the trail or in familiar surroundings.

I hope this helps prepare you either for a trek in Shawnee State Forest, or any other backpacking adventure where backcountry hiking is involved.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

My Review of Therm-a-Rest Z-Lite - Regular


For sleep-anywhere comfort, Z Lite is the lightest, most compact, full-length closed-cell foam pad Therm-a-Rest® makes.

Reliable but not too comfy...

3 5

Gift: No

Pros: Lightweight, Compact Roll Up, Non Slip, Durable Design

Cons: Uncomfortable

Best Uses: Backpacking, Weekend Trips, Car Camping, Extended Trips

Describe Yourself: Avid Adventurer

What Is Your Gear Style: Minimalist

I first switched to the Z-lite after using a blue foam pad for about a year. The difference is amazing, and the z-lite really does give you pretty good comfort for a lightweight foam pad.

However, I am a side sleeper, and this pad just isn't cutting it. I wake up every morning feeling the aches and pains from not only the hike the before, but from sleeping on the ground as well. After you get used to it, it's not too bad, though that is true with most ground sleeping.

I would recommend this pad for those looking for a foam pad. It really is the best out there for ease of use, durability and the orange color helps you stand out in hunting areas. For those wanting an excellent night's sleep, opt for a self-inflating or else bring a bottle of wine!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Team KANGA launches YouTube videos

Team KANGA has launched its series of YouTube videos. These videos are centered around hiking and backpacking within America's National Parks. It also focus' on ways to enjoy America's National Parks on a budget. Right now, you can view a few of the videos such as backpacking basics and dangerous scenic byways.

Berghaus Hiking Boot Review

One of the most important pieces of gear that you will need while hiking or backpacking is, of course, your footwear. Boots are what propel you along on the trail and protect your feet and ankles. I currently wear a high rise backpacking boot (it's actually the sturdiest boot made for women) due to an ankle problem, but many people are fortunate to stick with mid-rises.

The boot shown in the photo is the Berghaus Explorer Ridge GTX Walking Boot. What makes this boot a good choice? Plenty of reasons! Here are just a few:
  • Waterproof with Gortex (meaning it's breathable!)
  • Relatively lightweight with a leather upper
  • Tunable lacing system (my favorite feature by far!)
If I were on the hunt for a new hiking boot, I would definitely check these out. Although made in the UK, you can order from Berghaus here. These boots also scale high on the affordability scale, meaning you won't be dishing out your life's savings to get your pair.

Looking for more gear besides boots and footwear? Check out the Berghaus YouTube page. From rain jackets to pants, you can watch video reviews of all their products. The videos are well produced, short and informative. Its like having a personal gear shopper right beside you! You not only get to see all the different angles of the product, but you get firsthand recommendations from real people.

I cannot stress the importance of taking your time to really review a product when shopping for backpacking or hiking gear. Usually, good quality gear is a bit expensive, but the money you pay is money well spent. You certainly don't want to be climbing the Appalachain Mountains and have your boots go sour on you, or worse, watch the tredding completely disappear. Good gear is gear that you can count on even in the worst of times. Check out the return policies for all gear that you purchase, as well as manufactor waranties. For example, we purchased a water filter that broke within a year of use. Since the warranty was five years, we were able to return it and get a new one for no cost!

So, read, reveiw and purchase! And don't forget to check out Berghaus' awesome videos!

About This Blog

Lorem Ipsum

  © Blogger templates Newspaper II by 2008

Back to TOP