Tag Archives: Harriman State Park

Weight Range for Backpacking

Hikers with a wide weight range for backpacking.
Crossing the Shenandoah River

Connie asks the following question about a weight range for backpacking.  Connie will be participating in my upcoming Intro to Backpacking event at Harriman State Park.  The event is part of Hudson Valley Hikers and beginners will get to try out a variety of gear.

“Is there a specific weight range your backpack should be in if you’re very new to the activity, so that you don’t end up with a bad back?”

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HVH Intro to Backpacking Gear List

Intro to Backpacking at Harriman State Park with HVH
Intro to Backpacking at Harriman State Park with HVH

This last weekend I hosted an intro do backpacking workshop with Hudson Valley Hikers. I worked with St Gregory and Kremlin to demonstrate various pieces of equipment each of use for backpacking at different times of year. During the workshop, there were many questions about where to purchase various pieces.  I hope that this list helps those who attended and anyone else reading it make good choices: Continue reading HVH Intro to Backpacking Gear List

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

Backpacking Mistakes

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 Backpacking Mistakes. Continue reading Backpacking Mistakes

Hudson Valley Hikers

Hudson Valley Hikers

Over the last two years I have had the pleasure of hiking and hosting with Hudson Valley Hikers.  Among my friends at HVH are some of the kindest, most helpful, ambitious, knowledgeable and exciting people I have ever met.  Powered by HVH, I climbed dozens of the Northeasts toughest mountains, hiked more than 500 miles of the Appalachian trail, tubed down raging rivers, drank beer I’d never heard of, and been introduced to thoughts and ideas that are totally new to me.  This is the story about how a group of hikers has changed my life and how it might change yours. Continue reading Hudson Valley Hikers

Harriman State Park Christmas Campout


The sun setting over Harriman State Park.

On Christmas Day, my friend called me and asked if I wanted to go camping. Of course I did!  Christmas was on Thursday, so we planned on a quick one-night outing to Harriman State Park for Friday evening. I had recently been to the Fingerboard Shelter and thought it would be nice to head back. I packed up my gear that night, and we were on the road shortly after noon the next day. Continue reading Harriman State Park Christmas Campout

I Made My Own Backpacking Tarp, Part 4

The best part of sleeping under a tarp is the view when you wake up in the morning. In the first installment of this series, I discussed the events that led me to ditch my tent in favor of sleeping under a backpacking tarp.  In Part 2 I talked about buying that first tarp, what it was like to sleep under it, and some of the advantages it had over a tent.  In the most recent chapter, I explained my rationale for making my own tarp, and some of the considerations that went into its design.  Continue reading I Made My Own Backpacking Tarp, Part 4

Winter Backpacking: Elk Pen to Tiorati Circle

CampingMeg next to a rare to a trail sign showing mileages. This sign is a rare luxury for Harriman.
CampingMeg next to a rare to a trail sign showing mileages.

In the summer of 2013, three of my sisters and I spent a week hiking the New Jersey section of the Appalachian Trail.  We took it slow, averaging just under 10 miles per day.  Though the weather was hot and the bugs were biting, we had a great time.  We decided that one of our goals over the next few years would be to hike the New York section, even if we had to do it weekend-by-weekend.  My sister CampingMeg and I finally put ourselves to the task of some winter backpacking over Thanksgiving weekend in 2014. We planned for several weeks, and then it snowed. A lot.

Continue reading Winter Backpacking: Elk Pen to Tiorati Circle