My NEXT Backpacking Stove – the Stash

JetBoil has finally perfected the hiking stove. It’s called the STASH.

When my MiniMo (orange) finally retires, I’ll switch to the smaller, lighter Stash.

UPDATE. I just bought the Stash for my upcoming trip to Portugal.

I’ll fly with it in the box — unused — so the airline can’t claim it’s a flight hazard.

Read Adventure Alan’s detailed review.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Inflatable Pillow for the Tent

One option is the Drift Camp Pillow from Klymit.

BUT the regular size is 19 oz / 540 g. Bulky and heavy.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

For many years I’ve been sleeping well with an Uberlite small sleeping pad as my pillow, wrapped in a shirt.

Much smaller and lighter at 6 oz than the Drift Camp 19 oz. BUT much more expensive.

I partially inflate the Uberlite. And stuff it with clothing. An adjustable-sized comfortable pillow. Good fully inflated sitting up reading, as well as partially deflated for bed.

I sleep on a (more durable) NeoAir short. If it ever starts leaking, my “pillow” is my back-up sleeping pad.

Oops – In this photo I have the Uberlite and NeoAir swapped from their usual positions.

IF I were to switch, I’d want something that weighed less than 6 oz.

Perhaps one of the Sea to Summit AEROS pillows. If you use a sleeping bag with a hood, it will probably stay inside even if you roll over side-to-side.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Sun-hoodie for Hiking?

The biggest surprise for me on the sunny 😎 John Muir Trail 2021 was the number of hikers wearing sun-hoodies rather than the more traditional button down shirt, buff and/or bandana (that I was wearing).

Sun-hoodies are particularly popular with the ladies.

Should I switch?

Click PLAY or watch a review on YouTube.

Julie has been wearing the Columbia Hiking Sun Shirt. Her daughter thinks she should switch.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Trek Checkpoint 4 – Bikepacking or Mountain Biking?

I’ve customized my NEW 2021 Checkpoint ALR 4 for Bikepacking.

Transportation to-and-from hiking trailheads. (VIDEO)

BUT … occasionally I’d like to take off the panniers and use the aluminum gravel bike for single track.

So far, so good. So long as I keep my tires on the ground. The suspension is … not great.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Mountainsmith Zerk 40 Backpack

MAGGIE SLEPIAN: Best Backpacking Packs of 2020

Maggie’s article includes my own current favourite, the Hyperlite 3400.

NEW to me is the Mountainsmith Zerk 40, Editors’ Choice Award 2020 from Backpacker Magazine.

It’s quite different. More pockets. More features. Yet astonishingly still weighs only 1 pound, 9 ounces if you remove some of the extras.

Looks ideal for trail runners and fast packers.

I’m intrigued. Having carried a frameless pack for most of my life, I’d mostly use the Zerk frameless and without the hip belt.

It was designed in consultation with thru hiker The Hiking Viking, Tom Gathman.

I’m not a fan of the look, however. And it’s not waterproof.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

West Coast Trail GEAR 2021

I did the WCT twice.

This is my final gear list after learning some hard lessons on the first week.

Note it’s very electronics heavy as one of my main goals was to make video tutorials for this very challenging adventure.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

PACK
Hyperlight 3400 Windrider
emergency whistle

SHELTER
MSR Hubba NX tent
MSR Hubba NX fly
MSR Hubba poles (no stakes)

SLEEP
Therm-a-Rest NeoAir UberLite WV SHORT Sleeping Pad (pillow and back-up mattress)
NeoAir XLite SHORT (pad)
Therm-a-rest patch kit
Therm-a-rest quilt

SHOES
Moab 2 Waterproof Hiking Shoe with inserts
… with
Wool socks
quick dry New Balance 1260s 4E 9.5 w inserts
… with Neoprene booties

DRY CLOTHES
Wool socks #2
light nylon pants
Soffe Running shorts #1 (as underwear)
wool t-shirt
Buff #1
mask (pandemic)

HIKING CLOTHES
Soffe Running shorts #2 (as underwear)
Running Room 7″ perforated run shorts
red Nike quick dry t-shirt
waterproof stuff sack
Buff #2
long brim ball cap
fingerless gloves

OUTER LAYERS
Columbia OutDry rain jacket
Helly Hansen puffy jacket Red L & 3L ultra-sil dry bag
Helly Hansen puffy jacket Blue M & 2L ultra-sil dry bag

TOILETRIES in dry bag
ASA and TUMs
vitamins
toilet paper TP (Coughlin x2)
& alcohol gel
sunscreen in ziplock
2 Imodium tablets

HIP PACK
1 credit card
CAN cash $500
tiny Swiss Army knife
hand Sanitizer – 1 oz bottle
prescriptions
bandaids
Leukotape (blisters)
duct tape
water purification tablets (Acquatabs)
toothbrush & toothpaste
sunglass clip-on, flip-up
toothpicks
Health Insurance card
chewing cloves
National Parks Pass
zip ties
lens cloth
pen & paper

COOKING
JetBoil Minimo
fuel
scrubby
lighter
spoon
water bottles (2 x litre soft drink empty)
Ursack AllMitey bear bag XL black

GUIDEBOOK
Blisters & Bliss 9th edition

ELECTRONICS

CAMERA
Sony ZV-1
2 extra SD cards
1 extra battery & charging case
charging cable
protective carrying case

CAMERA
iPhone X
OM 4 Gimbal
SanDisk 256GB iXpand Flash Drive Go for iPhone

CAMERA
GoPro 7 Black 
3 extra batteries
charging case

EXTRA ELECTRONICS
iPhone SE 2020
Apple Watch and cable
Nitecore NU25 headlamp

POWER
Anker Power Bank PowerCore Essential 20000 (342gm)
Anker PowerCore+ 26800 ‎(576gm)

TRIPODS
Fotopro uFO 2 (0.5 pound)
Splat

How Hikers can FALL More Safely

BestHike editor Rick McCharles

The first time I hiked the West Coast Trail I fell 7 times in 7 days.

No injury.

June 2021 I fell only twice in 6 days. An improvement. But broke a camera on the first. And badly bruised my thigh on the second. 😕

About one in a hundred hikers are evacuated on the very challenging West Coast Trail.

MANY are carrying more weight than they can comfortably balance.

As a Gymnastics coach, I teach kids the safest ways to land and fall. In this video I’ve applied those same techniques for hikers. Absorb IMPACT FORCES over time and surface area.

BEST strategy is to pull in your arms (dropping poles). Take the first impact landing on your backpack.

Having things dangling can complicate. Keep your pack as compact as possible. Fragile equipment protected inside.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

BEFORE you hike — practice falling deliberately on to your pack (filled with pillows).

When it happens for real on the trail, it’s often FEELS in slow motion. Do not flail. Pulling in your arms should be highest priority.

West Coast Trail YOYO Attempt

BestHike editor Rick McCharles.

UPDATE – I fell and suffered a bad thigh bruise on day 5 of my first week. Limped out. And had to reschedule my second week to start July 3rd out of Nitinat.

Here’s my original post from June 8th:

I’ll be mostly offline for the next couple of weeks.

After being closed for all of 2020, our #1 hike in the world opened to reservations on April 30, 2021 — for Canadians only.

The online reservations system worked well — but my credit card was twice declined for no reason. I repeated the process and was finally able to pay.

Since there is less demand this year than normal, I was able to book myself for:

June 10 starting SE from Bamfield.

June 15 starting NW from Port Renfrew.

I’ll make haste on the first 75 km (47 mi) hike.

Pick up my resupply in Port Renfrew. Have a hot shower. Some wine.

Then take it more leisurely on my YOYO return to Bamfield.

Click PLAY or check out my hiking gear on YouTube.

I’ve done the WCT four times in the past. It doesn’t intimidate me at all. I LOVE climbing ladders with a HEAVY pack. 😀

Wish me luck!

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.