Tag Archives: Gossamer Gear

Maine Appalachian Trail: Sabbath day to Piazza Rock

On “Day 1” of my week in Maine, I hiked from Sabbath Day Lean-To to Piazza Rock Lean-to. I’m calling this “Day 1: because it was the first day of hiking and full immersion. On “Day 0” I drove most of the day and hiked for 1.5 hours. I hiked about 11 miles on “Day 1”, and climbed about 1700 feet. That’s a pretty easy day, but I was carrying much more weight than usual with 5 days worth of food on my back. I developed a small pain in my shoulder because my shoulder straps aren’t long enough. It was a crisp, clear day with signs of fall everywhere.

Autumn Flowers
The trail crosses through a flowery meadow on some wood planks
Continue reading Maine Appalachian Trail: Sabbath day to Piazza Rock

Intro to Backpacking – Recommended Backpacks

Intro to BackpackingThis last weekend, I hosted an Intro to Backpacking workshop with Hudson Valley Hikers.  The idea of the event was to allow future backpackers to see and feel real gear in the real world.  Our hosts brought several popular backpacks loaded with common equipment. Each pack was fully loaded as if for a weekend-long backpacking trip. The equipment ranged from “bought everything I saw in the store” to “who needs a toothbrush anyway?”  The students had the opportunity to carry each of these packs and experience the impact of weight and pack design. Here are some of the packs that were present: Continue reading Intro to Backpacking – Recommended Backpacks

Minimum Size Backpack for Backpacking

2013 GG Gorilla

Several participants in my upcoming Intro to Backpacking event have asked me to suggest a minimum size backpack for backpacking.   The answer isn’t as straight forward as it may seem, so I’m going to talk about several different pack sizes that work for me for different tripsthroughout the year.  It is important to note that I usually carry minimalist style gear. I also know that I’m prone to over-pack if my pack is too large, so I always go for the smallest possible backpack.  Continue reading Minimum Size Backpack for Backpacking

Gearing Up

Campmor is a great retailer with an expert staff. They have been operating a paper catalog for as long as I remember and they have one retail store in Paramus, NJ.
A happy camper with a bag full of goodies from Campmor.

Holly asks, “What’s a realistic cost of “gearing up” and who are your favorite retailers?”

Holly will be participating in my upcoming “Intro to Backpacking” seminar at Harriman State Park. I’m Hosting the event with Hudson Valley Hikers.  If you’re interested in the event, please leave a comment below. Continue reading Gearing Up

Backpack Types

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.”   I’ve asked potential attendees 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 backpack types Continue reading Backpack Types

Thruhike Advice

rainwear for hiking and backpacking
Demonstrating Equinox Silnylon Backpacking Poncho

In a few weeks, I’ll be running another one of my very popular Intro to Backpacking seminars at Harriman State Park.  I ran my first seminars at Harriman State Park in November and December of 2015. Among the attendees was a very enthusiastic young lady who now goes by the trail name “Kremlin.”  Kremlin was having a rough time fitting into civilized life and was looking for something more exiting to do. She asked me if I thought she should go on a thruhike, and I said “do it!” She started her hike from Katahdin after 6 months of preparation and finished just around Thanksgiving of 2016. Recently she referred a friend to me to get some thruhike advice of his own. Continue reading Thruhike Advice

Gossamer Gear QuikSak: Long Term Review

A Minimalist (left) and QuikSak (right.)After making the change to a lightweight style of backpacking, I started using my Gossamer Gear Gorilla all the time, even for day hikes.  I liked it better than my old CamelBak hydration pack.  Unfortunately, all of these day hikes started taking their toll.  I needed less-expensive, lightweight daypack that could handle everyday use.  Enter the Gossamer Gear QuikSak. Continue reading Gossamer Gear QuikSak: Long Term Review

Fiji Water Bottles for Hiking

I used to use Poland Springs water bottles for 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.

Many people in the ultra-light backpacking community use plastic soda, water, or Gatorade bottles to carry water while hiking.  For a long time, my choice for water storage was the 1.5 Liter Poland Springs Bottle, but I have recently switched to the 1.5 Fiji Bottle.  I find that the large square Fiji Water Bottles fit better in my side pockets, won’t roll away, and have a lower center of gravity than the old Poland Springs bottle of equal volume.  Continue reading Fiji Water Bottles for Hiking

Gossamer Gear Gorilla Ultralight Pack


Gossamer Gear Gorilla with hip belt, sit-light pad, and removable stay.
The Gossamer Gear Gorilla requires some assembly on arrival. The pack includes a sit-light pad and a removable stay. You must order a hip belt separately.

After a recent backpacking and camping adventure in the Pharaoh Lakes Wilderness Area of New York’s Adirondack Park, a friend of mine who had just been camping with us decided that he’d like to give backpacking a try.  He asked me for advice on what equipment he would need, and my first thoughts were, “well, you’re going to need a pack!”

Initially, I wasn’t sure what to suggest.  He didn’t have a super compressible down backpacking quilt, and his big dome tent wouldn’t fit in even the most gargantuan of expedition packs. The truth was, he had to start from scratch, and that was good news.  Starting from scratch meant avoiding most of the mistakes people make when they get into backpacking.  I made those mistakes, and they cost me a lot of money and a bit of discomfort on the trail.

Continue reading Gossamer Gear Gorilla Ultralight Pack