Tag Archives: 10 Essentials

Aquamira Water Treatment Drops

Aquamira 1 Oz Set
Aquamira 1 Oz Set

For the past year, I have only been using two methods to treat drinking water while backpacking. When in camp, I boil the water that I will use for cooking or making hot drinks.  When on the trail, I use Aquamira Water Treatment drops.  Aquamira has many benefits over other treatment methods.  They are fast, easy, lightweight, reliable, and scalable. Continue reading Aquamira Water Treatment Drops

Backpacking Water Strategy

I used to use Poland Springs bottles to store water while hiking, but now I use Fiji Bottles.
Stopping for a drink from one of my 1.5 Liter Poland Springs bottles on a rainy day.

Today we will discuss a simple backpacking water strategy for staying hydrated.  According to studies, up to 75% of Americans may suffer from chronic dehydration. Many of the signs of dehydration are overlooked or attributed to other causes. These include fatigue, headaches, dry/itchy skin or eyes, or dizziness.  Proper hydration is critical for every system in the body. Water is necessary for carrying nutrients, regulating temperature, flushing toxins, purging digestive waste, and much more.  When we’re exerting ourselves on hot days in the woods, it is all the more important to have a sound backpacking water strategy. Continue reading Backpacking Water Strategy

Essential Backpacking Skills

Checking out my map one last time before we begin.

Ahead of my upcoming “Intro to Backpacking” event, Andre asks about Essential Backpacking Skills:

I have been attending the HVH Beginner Series hikes to get in shape and acquainted with the area and gear, and Mary F. and Timothy from HVH (Hudson Valley Hikers) recommended I sign up for this one. My medium-term goal is to be able to backpack on my own, which leads to my question: What kind of skills do I have to learn to do solo backpacking/camping, and what challenges can I expect as opposed to doing it with a group?

Continue reading Essential Backpacking Skills

Water Treatment

Water Treatment
Platypus Water Bladders

In a few weeks I’m going to be hosting an “Intro to Backpacking” Seminar at Harriman State Park.  I’m hosting this event via the Meetup Group “Hudson Valley Hikers.”  Meetup events tend to get a lot of RSVP’s, but also a lot of No-Shows. In order to vet people out before giving them a spot at the seminar, I’ve asked them to email me questions about backpacking.  Some of them are pretty good and I’ll be sharing the answers via a series of posts called “Ask CampingJay.” This post will discuss Water Treatment Methods. Continue reading Water Treatment

Winter Backpacking – Backup Plan Implemented

A snowy winter backpacking trip on the Appalachian Trail in Pennsylvania.
A snowy winter backpacking trip on the Appalachian Trail in Pennsylvania.

When heading out into the wilderness, one must always plan ahead, study the route and weather predictions, carry the correct gear, and have a back-up plan. Perhaps these rules are never more true than when winter backpacking.  Knowing your the route, the weather, the abilities of your crew, how to properly use your gear and having some survival skills make a fun time out of a potentially dangerous situation. Continue reading Winter Backpacking – Backup Plan Implemented

Day Hiking Gear List: Spring & Fall

overlookI woke up this morning to the sound of doves cooing outside of my window.  That is usually a sure sign that Spring is on the way.  While there is probably still more than a month of winter weather ahead of us, I can’t stop thinking about getting out for some nice day hikes.  A lot of my friends won’t hike when it is super cold out, so I’m really looking forward to this!  Now, what will I be carrying with me this Spring? Continue reading Day Hiking Gear List: Spring & Fall

The Rule of Threes

Several years ago, I went on a guided backpacking trip in Great Smoky Mountains National Park with A Walk in the Woods.  I had a great time and learned a lot.  One of the most important lessons I took away from that trip was “The Rule of Threes.”  This simple rule has become the cornerstone of my philosophy for lightweight backpacking and enjoying the outdoors safely. Continue reading The Rule of Threes

Outdoor Clothing for Scouts: Accessories

Here I am adding a pair of micro-spikes to my boots.   As you can see, I'm already wearing my gaiters.

For the past 9 months, I have volunteered to mentor my old Boy Scout Troop.  I’ve attended several meetings to give lectures, lead a hike for some of the beginners, and gone on a winter camping trip with the boys and their leaders.  One of the lessons I’ve really been trying hard to teach is how to select safe and comfortable outdoor clothing for scouts. Continue reading Outdoor Clothing for Scouts: Accessories

Backpacking Gear List: Summer 2015

I try to keep all of my backpacking gear organized.  I lay it out like this at home before heading out, and then again each night of my hike.
I try to keep all of my backpacking equipment organized. I lay it out like this at home before heading out, and then again each night of my hike.

When I was learning to backpack, I found it helpful when others posted their gear lists.  It gave me a reference point for the kinds of things I needed, what I was doing right, and what I could be doing better.  That said, there is no “one size fits all” gear list.  There are a number of personal factors that go into making a gear list, such as size, weight, fitness level, and need for comfort.  It also matters where and when you plan to go backpacking.  One must factor in temperature, precipitation, terrain, water availability and natural shelter, among other things.

Continue reading Backpacking Gear List: Summer 2015

Coghlan’s 12-in-1 Scissors Review

Coghlan's 12 in 1 Scissors
Coghlan’s 12-in-1 Scissors

I’m a firm believer in always carrying the 10 Essentials into the woods with me.  Being prepared with a basic kit is crucial for maintaining safety when the unexpected comes up.  Each of the items must be chosen carefully to fit the conditions you expect to face.  One item that I carry consistently on every trip is a pair of Coghlan’s 12-in-1 Scissors.  This item serves as my knife and multi-tool, and I feel it provides superior functionality.

Continue reading Coghlan’s 12-in-1 Scissors Review