gear – Pacific Outdoor ECO THERMO 6 sleeping pad

Hiking is one of the most environmentally friendly activities.

But we can do even better.

Backpacker magazine chose the Pacific Outdoor ECO THERMO 6 sleeping pad as an Editor’s Choice Gear award winner for 2007 in the GREEN category.

A sleeping pad alone won’t save us from climate change. But when a small company pioneers green-manufacturing techniques, uses sustainable materials in a unique way, and offers consumers a feel-good choice, it’s a big step in the right direction, one that we hope other manufacturers follow. Not to mention, this is one damn comfortable pad.

Click PLAY or watch the video on YouTube.

More videos from Backpacker Magazine. Kudos for posting videos on YouTube, by the way.

This looks like a worthy competitor to the ExPed sleeping pad.

(via the always entertaining GOblog)

movie – A Walk in the Woods

Essential reading for all hikers is A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail, by Bill Bryson.

It’s the hilarious, somewhat fictionalized recounting of a failed attempt on the AT. Everyone loves Bryson’s buddy, the anti-hiker Katz (Matt Angerer).

Without question the immense popularity of Bryson brought thru-hiking to the attention of the world and even increased numbers on the AT.

There’s been a bit of buzz about a movie:

In 2005 Robert Redford announced that he was interested in adapting Bryson’s book into a film, and in playing Bryson himself. He also hoped that his erstwhile co-star and friend, Paul Newman, would team up with him to play the role of Katz, although he jokingly expressed doubt as to whether the health-conscious Newman would consider putting on enough weight (and eating enough donuts) to accurately portray the rotund Katz.


Personally, I would cast John Hodgeman as Bryson, and Jack Black as Katz.

Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail

A Walk in the Woods

hiking New Zealand – North island

new_zealand3.jpgphoto – Mt. Taranaki

We’ve just subscribed to Outdoor Video Magazine, a classy looking blog with quality posts some of which include short video clips.

Most people that go to New Zealand spend most of their time on the South Island, especially if they are outdoor enthusiasts. This is a mistake in my humble opinion. The North Island is almost equally cool, and it actually beats the South Island in terms of it’s variety of scenery and terrain, although it lacks the big mountain ranges obviously. It has spectacular volcanic scenery, crazy coloured lakes and rocks, a Mt Fuji look-alike to summit, beautiful coast, and tropical forest.

I wouldn’t normally recommend a Lonely Planet book, I don’t think they do the best travel guides. However, in this case I will make an exception and say the Lonely Planet’s Tramping in New Zealand is an excellent purchase. Its well written, really easy to follow and find tramps (that’s Kiwi for hikes by the way), and has a range of difficulty from easy to pretty hard (e.g. the 10 day North West Circuit on Stewart Island).

The ‘have to do’ hikes on the North Island in my opinion are: Tongariro Northern Circuit, Mt Taranaki and then something in the East Coast/Hawke’s Bay; either the Lake Waikaremoana Track or if you want something less busy and a bit wilder the Manuoha to Waikareti Track.

Hiking in New Zealand – North Island · Outdoor Video Magazine

Outdoor Video Magazine

seen a Tasmanian tiger?

Of all sad extinction stories, one of the saddest is that of the Tasmanian tiger.

The Thylacine (Tasmanian tiger) … is the largest known carnivorous marsupial of modern times. …

The Thylacine became extinct on the Australian mainland thousands of years before European settlement of the continent, but survived on the island of Tasmania along with a number of other endemic species such as the Tasmanian Devil. Intensive hunting encouraged by bounties is generally blamed for its extinction, but other contributory factors may have been disease, the introduction of dogs, and human encroachment into its habitat. Despite being officially classified as extinct, sightings are still reported.

The last Thylacine … was captured in 1933 and sent to the Hobart Zoo where it lived for three years. It died on 7 September 1936

Official protection of the species by the Tasmanian government was introduced on 14 July 1936, 59 days before the last known specimen died in captivity.

Thylacine – Wikipedia

To see the last Tasmanian tiger (1933) click PLAY or watch the video clip from 1933 on YouTube.

hiking Angeles National Forest, California

Escaping the smog of LA is not so tough.

You could drive up to Mt. Whitney.

Or what about Timber Mountain via Icehouse Canyon in Angeles National Forest?

Modern Hiker posted a terrific trip report with photos, video, Google map, a flickr photo set, … (Is this blog GREAT, or what!)

Theirs was a challenging 10mi day hike with the wind blowing hard. But you could do a multi-day trip via Ice House Saddle if you prefer.

I opened the door to the Mount Baldy Visitor’s Center and walked inside. The warm, dark wood interior was a welcome respite from the howling winds outside. The rangers stood behind their desk – a bearded man and blond woman – smiling at me.

“Hi. I’d like a permit for the Cucamonga Wilderness.”

Still smiling, the woman said, “We are not recommending anyone go up there today.”


The man chimed in. “We’re measuring wind gusts at 60 miles an hour. I almost got knocked down today.”

“But of course, we can’t do anything to stop you,” said the woman. Still smiles, that one.

I reached for a ballpoint pen and started filling out our Wilderness Permit. “I’m going to try for Ontario Peak. Is it more windy in the canyons, or on the ridge?”

“It’s windy everywhere.” The man with the beard was not smiling. All gravitas, he.

“What about ice?” …

Timber Mountain via Icehouse Canyon – Modern Hiker


video – Huayhuash Circuit trek in Peru

by Rick McCharles, editor

When we named our top 10 hikes in the world, #11 was the Huayhuash Circuit.

Personally, it’s been my most dramatic, inspiring hiking adventure, of all.

While there my camcorder / camera broke half way around the 11-day trip. The tape was somewhat damaged, as well.

Happily, I’ve salvaged a few clips. (Featured are our pack horses and fantastic mule driver who spent his days worrying about getting us back alive.)

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.



* PERU, all things considered, offers the best alpine hiking in the world

* the remote, forbidding Huayhuash range was made famous when Joe Simpson & Simon Yates climbed Siula Grande in 1985. The book & film Touching the Void were both hits.

* getting high at Punta Coyoc pass 5490m (18,012ft) !!

* Peru’s second highest summit, Yerupaja (6634m)

* non-stop vistas — entire Circuit is above treeline

* intensely glaciated, intensely beautiful

* condors and other wild birds

* fantastic natural hotsprings half way round the Circuit

* limited road access, few people

* travel in Peru for as little as US$20 / day

* a trip with pack animals is good value

* lifetime experience you will never forget


Huayhuash is dangerous. Hikers have died there. This is arguably the best hike in the world but is appropriate only for robust, experienced high altitude trekkers.

The greatest danger is altitude sickness. We hired horses instead of mules so we could evacuate by horse, if necessary.

Huayhuash Circuit in Peru – besthike information page

video – “Introduction to Technical Canyoneering”

So you want to start getting into the sport of Canyoneering? Well this month I’d like to give you some info to point you in the right direction. I’ll include links to websites with lots of detailed information about starting in the sport, but this should give you a place to start. I’ve also included a 10 minute compilation of various canyons in Utah to give you an idea of what kinds of canyons you can explore there.

Backcountry Blog: Introduction to Technical Canyoneering.

tiny laptop, full keyboard, satphone

It’s tiny (although bigger than a PDA), it looks great for expedition blogging. Connect it up to a solar panel and a satphone/3G/GPRS/WiFi connection and you’re away. I like it and I like it allot!

There are no firm details yet other than it having a finger print reader for security.

Geared Up includes a video clip of how it works.

Team Geared Up Blog » Expedition Gadget: The Folding Laptop

waterproof camcorder – Oregon Scientific ATC2K

For the second time in two days I hear raves for Oregon Scientific products.

Very nice new gadget for the holidays. The ATC2K is waterproof to 3 meters, shock resistant, and easily clips to your helmet, head or handlebars via an accessory kit made for action sports. So you can surf with this. Ski with it. Climb with it. Whatever, and you don’t have to worry about sweat, rain, snow, or water. It takes full color digital video in 640 X 480 VGA at 30 frames per second, which is fine for the web, because really where does anyone watch video any more? And at $130 retail …, it’s good value, especially compared to the only competitor it has, the Samsung SC-X205L Sports Digital Camcorder.

Get Outdoors – Oregon Scientific ATC2K Waterproof Camcorder – Outdoor Blog

Oregon Scientific ATC-1000 Hands-Free Video Action Camera - Play Hard, Record Everything!

Oregon Scientific ATC-1000 Hands-Free Video Action Camera – Play Hard, Record Everything!

if I could walk on water …

… I wouldn’t need a hiking kayak.


Massachusetts inventor Yoav Rosen just received patents for these water walking devices. … Rosen’s company, Wavewalk, specializes in creating water craft that can be used standing up.

Walk the Atlantic – GO Blog

Watch a demonstration on Google Video.

da Vinci forgot to patent it after roughing out the potential prototype.

image –

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