Are you one of those people who tracks everything no matter the activity? Yeahhhh, I thought so! You track your miles, calories eaten and burned you also track your activity level and heart-rate too I bet.
Well I can almost guarantee that there is one thing you try and track but haven't been able to track with too much certainty or accuracy. Tracking this, no matter the activity or season is rather important so you don't bonk, get dehydrated or worse yet. Water consumption is extremely important no matter if you are a general hiker, weekend warrior, cyclist or training for next big road race.
Finally, a company has developed a water bottle to do just this and with ease. Thermos has developed the Thermos Connected Hydration Bottle with Smart Lid. As hikers and general outdoor nuts we all have tons of water bottles strewn around the kitchen, garage, car and day bags. But, do any of them measure how much water you consume down to the sip? Yeah... I didn't think so. Do any of your water bottles tell you how warm or cold your water is? Ha! Exactly! Just as I thought. Hmm, do any of your water bottles nudge you to drink water? As I suspected, No, No and Heck No.
Well Hiking Forward Nation, let me introduce you to the bottle that can do all of that and more.
Learn More About the Smart Lid:
Learn about the Thermos Hydration Bottle with Smart Lid
Multi day trips to the backcountry require a good pack. One that handles the weight with a level of comfort that doesn't fatigue the user and offers protection to his/her belongings from the elements. Within that general need lies an entire focus of some major outdoor companies product lines and in some more boutique firms their entire offering.
As a wilderness counselor, I gravitated toward the bombproof construction and end user focus of pack designer Dana Gleason. When I came aboard, the veteran counselors and leaders all had Dana Design Astraplane or Terraplane models for hiking and Bomb or Humbug Spires for climbing. It was the pack of what I deemed the "professional." Eventually, I purchased through a "pro deal" a Terraplane LTW and found out first hand why they dropped the money when we had free Lowe Alpine and Mountainsmith bags available. Cavernous, user friendly features and enough 500 and 1000 denier to survive a nuclear blast, it was amazing. Dana's load bearing hip belt and yoke held unwieldy amounts of weight and they just plain looked cool.
As life progressed, there was a period of time where I found myself in need of money and not doing any hiking. As a result, I listed my Salsa colored LTW on eBay and in the years following I didn't notice it's absence. Fast forward a decade, my better half found me obsessing about Dana Gleason's new company Mystery Ranch. Gleason began Mystery Ranch and adopted a "made in the USA" model (after selling off Dana Design some years prior) with the end user focus being military, wilderness firefighter and hunters. A demographic that previously was not acknowledged in his designs. This was precipitated by some Navy Special Warfare guys who approached him with needs for the mountains of Afghanistan. The company's bags and supporting accessories are well received within the communities they were meant to serve. Based on my past success with their products, I found myself the owner of a new Terraplane in mid-2014.
Details: At 7lbs, 7oz this 85 liter bag is built from 500 denier cordura. It offers an adjustable yoke to match the hikers height and a padded waist belt with lumbar support along the pelvis. It has a generous removable lid with two large pockets that can second as a "fanny style" pack and a double draw string to seal up the top loading portion of the pack. A zipper for quick access is half way down on one side and compression straps across both sections criss cross both sides directly over two ample pockets for water bottles (holds a large Nalgene). Two tubular pockets run on the backside length of the pack offering quick access to additional layers on a hike or stove/fuel to separate from the rest of your load.
My Experience: Despite my great experience with Gleason's designs in the past and my loyalty to his products, I am not happy with the bag's performance. I was careful to ensure it is appropriately adjusted for my frame/height and the belt is the correct size, yet with a 60lbs load the bag is reduced to a $485 book bag. The belt slides down my hips causing my shoulders to take on the burden. This bag is touted to be for loads of 80-100lbs. I called Mystery Ranch and shared photos of me carrying the load, the bag, etc. The company's customer service team was excellent and talked through everything to conclude that it was "just a lot of weight." Honestly, I am not sure how you build an 85 liter pack and then tell the user that 60lbs is too much weight. 60lbs is at the high end of the recommended weight for other 60-70 liter packs on the market. This pack adds 15+ liters of space, but you are supposed to carry 10-20lbs less than someone with a smaller pack?
Since that call I have used the bag again on a shorter backpacking trip with a bit less weight. The problems still existed and frustrated me to no end. Add in the fact that Melanie has the Osprey Aura 65 and it rides like a feather while I am constantly being reminded of the load on my back, and you have an unhappy hiker.
With modern suspension systems offered from Osprey and lighter, less over engineered materials being used by the majority of other manufacturers, I am hard pressed to recommend this pack to anyone. The price makes it an even more compelling argument. I still have the bag and I'm not sure what I'm going to do at this point. I know it's a bombproof pack, but for the price and the reputation, I also expected it to ride at least somewhat comfortably. I know I should move on but my loyalty to the brand and the design has me saying "just one more time." I guess we will see...Stay safe.
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The leaves are beginning to fall, football is in full swing and it's time to take full advantage of this amazing weather before it's too late. Just like other seasons, gear ebbs and flows with the requirements of the season. Fall outdoor activities such as car-camping, backpacking, tail-gating or just sitting around with your friends dreaming of your next adventure require the right gear to enhance your overall fall experience.
Stanley has offered up three new products sure to amaze you and your friends during your next outdoor get together.
ADVENTURE VACUUM CROCK 3Qt
CLASSIC VACUUM GROWLER 64oz
I don't know how much cooler it can get. This is the ultimate. Have a favorite craft brew that you would love to take along on your next trip but they don't sell it packaged and a glass growler and camping just doesn't seem smart? Never fear my friends Stanley to the rescue once again. You remember Dad or Grandpa's green Stanley work mug from years gone by don't you? Well this is now your beer Growler made of the same great materials to keep your beer cold for... wait for it... wait for it... 24 hours!
Think of the possibilities!
ADVENTURE STACKING STEEL TUMBLER 4-PACK 12oz
Okay so no you are around the campfire with your three best buds your about to show off the new Stanley Growler full of cold Octoberfest or maybe your an IPA'er... wait! What are you going to pour that awesome brew into? A solo cup? Really?
Stanley offers up these perfectly sized 12 oz stacking stainless steel tumblers for your drink of choice. In addition to these cups being strong and durable they are each surrounded by coozie sleeves that are multi-colored so you never mix up your drink.
Stanley has thought of it all for the perfect fall weekend with your friends. Now get on out there and enjoy!
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As a 5'1" female, I have trouble finding pants that fit in general. Many companies have gotten better about offering short or petite sizes, but when you are dealing with niche items like trail pants, it's a lot like looking for a needle in a haystack. So when I saw the Prana Halle pants at REI last year in short lengths, I was pretty pumped.
Prior to that moment, I would wear yoga or workout pants while hiking in cooler weather. While they are super comfortable and easy to wear, they lack things like pockets, wind and water repellency (is that a word? it is now), and protection from thorny brush. Over the years, I had tried a few variations of trail pants, Columbia and Royal Robbins come to mind, but none ever truly felt good to wear.
I've had the Prana Halle pants now for over a year, I actually have two pair. So far, I have been super happy with them. They fit my short legs better than any other pants I've tried. They are slightly stretchy, but not in a clingy way. They are truly comfortable, and they are the pants I reach for when I am traveling as they look nice and feel better than anything else I own. They have button pockets on the back, which are flattering and accentuate your booty in a good way. The material is water repellent and doesn't get caught on brush. They have lots of pockets. They also have tabs so that you can roll them up and wear them as capris, which is great in hotter weather or when hiking in wet conditions. They are flattering and are as at home on the trail as they are running errands around town. I actually get more use out of them as regular pants than trail pants. I have worn them to work many times and always received compliments on them. They wash and dry perfectly and seem impervious to wrinkles. For someone who has a strong aversion to ironing, that quality alone makes them worth their weight in gold. These seem to have a slightly generous fit, I am 5'1" and 125lbs and wear a size 2, but a 0 would have probably worked better for me due to the stretch of these pants.
There are really only two things I would change to make these go from almost perfect to perfect.
I recently found out that they have a lined version of these pants for cold weather. I look forward to checking them out and can almost guarantee they will become a part of my wardrobe very soon. I hope Prana keeps making these pants for a long time, because my search is over and I won't even look at other pants anymore.
If any men out there have tried the men's version, we would love to hear your opinion!
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Grace wanted to be a part of the final test of the Tribe Provisions Adventure Hammock because I have been using this awesome hammock every week for the past many weeks at her soccer practice. (see pics below)
It's amazing how much nicer soccer practice is when you have two nice sturdy trees and a great hammock to hang in.
So lets throw a few things out there. I am a firm believer in quality gear, but also don't believe you need spend and arm and a leg for it.
Tribe Provisions doing both of these thing quite well. This is a quality hammock and it won't break the bank. For some, hammocking is somewhat of a new concept and idea. People are just more familiar with sleeping on the ground, I guess. Silly people! Hammocks are for everybody!
Hanging this hammock cant' be simpler and it comes with the ropes necessary for hanging it. Listen up folks, a hammock and straps (which you normally have to buy separately) can run you near $80-$100. No wonder hammocking is off limits or not in the cards for some. This hammock for $29.99 comes with everything you need to either just hang out at the park and read a book, lay and take a nap while car camping or start to seriously consider hammock camping/backpacking.
Prior to purchasing some gear we all have tribulations about pulling the trigger. We wonder, am I really going to use this? Is it worth the money? Will it last?
If you have never hung out in a hammock, my friends you don't know what you are missing. For those of you that have, I am sorry you spent so much money on your hammock. For what you spent on your hammock you could have bought everyone in your family a Tribe Provisions Adventure Hammock.
Hammock Specs: (from Tribe Provisions)
Keep Hiking & Hammocking Forward!
Can you believe it's already the middle of July already? Oye! Not worry there is still plenty of time to get out enjoy the great outdoors, take a road trip with the family or enjoy a picnic or better yet go camping. Stanley has once again come out with some amazing, durable and functional products to help you enjoy the rest of your summer, no matter what you plan on doing.
Two recent additions to the Stanley line of quality products are:
The Stanley Adventure Cooler 16 QT
Stanley Adventure Camp Cookset
Both of these fine Stanley products can be purchased via REI. May sure to become a member if your not already one and start adding or building your annual dividend today.
This lightweight pack is full of surprises. Designed to handle the toughest of day hikes, it weighs in at just under two pounds (by my scale) and well worth the inexpensive price tag.
This is one of those products that I love to review and showcase here at Hiking Forward. This pack proves you don't need to spend a small fortune to be in the wilderness and enjoy nature. This pack is full of value and features. Side zipper pockets offer a location for your favorite water bottles or gear if you choose to use a bladder in the self contained inner bladder compartment.
The packs top flap is full of other zipper compartments to organize your most important gear so that it is easy to find when you need it. There is nothing worse then having all of those critical items intermixed in this compartment. When you need your knife, first aid kit or headlamp you want to be able to lay your hands on it and quickly. This pack offers that organization that you need and desire.
The lightweight waist and shoulder straps are non-nonsense and offer a mesh backing to lessen the nasty effects of a wet back on your hike. At this price point most packs wouldn't even offer any protection from this most uncomfortable situation.
The two features that I enjoy the most about this pack are the vertical zippers that open up for two large pockets that offer storage for large items you need quickly or don't want intermingled with your softer more delicate gear that will live in the main compartment of the pack. I used these pockets for a flashlight, trowel and food during a few test hikes. The other item I love about this pack is the center pack reinforced handle. It's the first thing I noticed on the pack when it arrived. Call me silly but the more ways I can grab the pack the better. The handle turns the pack in an instant from a backpack that normally you have to grab by the straps to a duffle. I now feel like the handle makes this bag into two bags and widens its potential uses.
Hate spending a lot on gear?
In need of a pack for day hike?
Looking for a versatile pack for everyday use?
You won't be sorry with this great lightweight pack from Outdoor Products.
For more information about this pack visit:
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There are two things we need when on a long hike to keep us going. Water and and our feet. Everything else is really just icing on the cake. Typically, I don't combine products for reviews but I love both of these products and have continued to use them since Hell Hike and Raft.
Much thanks first off to the good people at both Lifestraw and Foot Kinetics, the makers of HikeGoo for being sponsors and contributors to Hell hike and Raft last year.
If your looking for ease of use in the area of water filtration you can't get any easier then the Lifestraw Go. As a team we all used theses bottles each day to grab water quickly from the mountain lakes and streams. Nothing could be simpler then dipping the bottle into the water and going! No we know where they cam up with the name for the bottle. In addition we were provided Lifestraws to utilize and test as well. Not a necessary item due to having the Lifestraw Go, but still a great little resource for all sorts of backcountry or emergency situations. Both models offer the same type of filtration capacity. Each model will filter 264 gallons or 1,000 litres.
Nothing will ruin a hike quicker then hot feet and blisters. Ladies and gents, HikeGoo to the rescue. Another simple product that is easy to use and delivers every time. If you read previously about our last day of hiking on HHAR, you know we all did a 6,000 ft decent in six hours. During three days of epic hiking, not a single blister was found on my feet thanks to HikeGoo.
If you get blisters or get hot spots you owe it to your self to give HikeGoo a try.
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A few months ago the good people at Native sent me a pair of Hardtop sunglasses to test and a pair of Sidecar's to giveaway to the Hiking Forward readers. Let me first state that I have always held my sunglasses as part of my outdoor caricature and secondly I have been a loyal and faithful Oakley wearer for decades. Given this, I skeptical about trying out something different.
A few things to note about the Native product and the pair of glasses I have been testing for the past few months and why I think Native is an immense value and great product.
* Lifetime Warranty! Yes a Lifetime Warranty... Who does that anymore? Well Native does and on all things sunglasses!
* Native sunglasses come with an awesome hard case for your glasses to protect so that hopefully you won't have to use that lifetime warranty (pictured below)
* A free second set of lenses. All Native sunglasses offer interchangeable lenses and they give you a set in the case provided
* In the case they also offer a free soft lense cleaner that doubles as a bag to carry your glasses in
* Polarized lenses
In addition to all of these added values offered with each pair, the glasses are simply awesome and are far beyond anything I have ever owned from Oakley. Two features that add to the pair I tested that keep me wearing them are weight and the venting. Obviously the difference in weight is not huge between my Oakley's and the new Native's but is it actually noticeable. Some of this I think has to do with the glasses venting and ability to move air in and around my eyes and face unlike my Oakley's which would on warm or active days cause sweat and or condensation to build on the glasses or on my face.
These two features combined add to the desirability of the Native Hardtop's for me. Lightweight yet with a true fit that stays where you want them to during active moments.
The Sidecars (size Medium) that we are giveaway as part of this giveaway retail for $129.00 and have the following specs:
N3™ POLARIZED LENS TECHNOLOGY
The most innovative and advanced polarized lens on the market. N3™ lenses block up to 4X more infrared light than regular polarized lenses, pass Z87.1 testing, provide UV protection up to 400nm, and by significantly reducing blue light and selectively filtering UV, they deliver high contrast, crisp definition, and peak visual cuity.
Good Luck & Keeping Hiking forward!
For those who hike with man's best friend whether on a day hike, multi-day or long trail you know the trials and tribulations of carrying lots of supplies including food your pup. Dog food is not the lightest nor the most condensed item to pack or carry no matter the the length of your trek. We all have to eat, especially on a hike! My dog Boston is new to the outdoor world and is just getting the knack of carrying his pack and own water. Recently, the good people at TurboPup offered up some samples of their products for Boston to try.
This past weekend Boston tried the first of two of the samples that TurboPup sent us. Below are the video's that Boston and I took.
TurboPup is an all natural meal replacement option for you best bud. The dense packets come in a variety of flavors and are easily measured on the back of each packet so you can determine how may per day your dog needs per their weight. No measuring, just easy peasy!
TurboPup is also a veteran and female owned small company and is the official dog food for the National Association of Search and Rescue Dogs. Bottom line if you have dogs and frequent the outdoors with them this is a product you have to try! Boston, is not picky by any means, however when he gets a treat his usually quite content with just the treat. Once he had the TurboPup and was done with it he kinda did look at me like "Dad, you got another one?".
I hope you and your best pal enjoy these meals and enjoy not carry a ton of food for them on your next trek.
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