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Hiking is Mental: Things Learned

You will get wet. You will get hangry. You will wonder why you are trudging uphill when everyone else is at brunch. You will trip, sometimes rather dramatically. You will pick yourself up. You will see things that few others will. You will stand on top of mountains, in the middle of deep valleys, in […]

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gossamer gear kumo

Thru Hiker Review: The Kumo Backpack

I remember the first time I met Dirtmonger last summer, 2014.  I was roughly half way through my hike of the Pacific Crest Trail, in Northern California.  He was sporting a Kumo Superlight, and it looked as if it were just a day pack on him.  I was with my good friend, Not-a-Chance, and she […]

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Contingency Planning for Long Distance Hikes

Spend any significant time backpacking, and you’re going to have something go wrong. Usually they are pretty small things that are more an annoyance than a major problem – the air mattress springs a slow leak, the headlamp gets turned on in the pack and runs the batteries down, or you forgot your spoon. As […]

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3 Thru-hikes You Don’t Have to Quit Your Job For

In my twenties and thirties, I was single and unencumbered. My life consisted of working, saving money, and taking a long hike. I walked the length of the long green tunnel, traversed the crest and followed the great divide. My life consisted of wonderful memories, experiences and moments made over the years. Then my priorities […]

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winter hiking

Tips: Packing for Lightweight Winter Backpacking Trip

For 3-season backpacking, one of my primary goals is to go as light as possible, and I’ve gotten pretty good at putting together a pack with an 8-pound base weight. Living in New England, the 3-seasons in question tend to last for only six or seven months each year. While most people choose to either […]

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Live a Minimalist Life

“How do you wash your clothes?“ is one of the most frequent questions I get asked, closely followed by “Where do you shower?” People don’t ask for the birds I hear in the morning, for the smell of snow I notice floating through the air when stepping outside, for how the changing of the seasons […]

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Type 2 Summer Gear List

Trail Ambassador Dan Bortz’s gear list is designed for 2-4 day hot, summer backpacking trips in Pennsylvania’s Endless Mountains and Pine Creek Gorge regions. Typical daytime temperatures range from 60-90 degrees, often with high humidity. Overnight temps rarely dip below 50. Afternoon thunderstorms are almost always possible, but are usually short-lived. The terrain is infamously […]

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Sub 4 Pound Baseweight for Backpacking

When I started backpacking I was on the smallish side (4’4”, 65 lbs), so I had to watch my pack weight. With some parental help and custom (because manufacturers were not making youth equipment), smaller-sized gear, I had a base pack weight of around 13 pounds. As I grew and added amenities (pad, stove, etc.) […]

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