Category Archives: gear


flexAmong the changes that my summer brought was a marked decrease in cycling. I still pick up my son from school by bike, but that amounts to about two miles a day. My commute to the book mines had increased to 16 miles a day before I left. A big change for a dude in his filthy forties. I was worried that I might start packing on some pounds if I didn’t do something, so I did what any geek does to solve a problem: I bought a gadget.

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REI Flash 22

flash_22For years I have been using an extra backpack that I had laying around for all my day hiking. It’s a sturdy old Timbuk2 bag and works fine, but it is heavy and lacks a chest strap or any of the other features that a good daypack might have. I’ve been a fan of REI’s Flash series for years. I use an old model that I got on the cheap for backpacking. My hiking buddy uses one of the small Flash 18 packs for his day hiking. I wanted a bit more in the way of features so I decided on the Flash 22.

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Trail Tested

I really enjoy gear. I like to spend time comparing the merits of different brands and analyzing the performance of the kit that I take out on the trail. I might be a fetishist, yet I think that many hikers would agree that having good gear can make all the difference between a miserable slog and an invigorating hike. Gear can also be the only thing that stands between an inconvenience and a disaster. As such, I am always on the lookout for good books about gear. Trail Tested was written by Justin Lichter, who probably wears out more gear in a year than most people ever own. He hikes thousands of miles a year and he knows a thing or two.

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Making a List

I’ve started to firm up my plans for backpacking next year. I have a pair of loops that I want to do and I have the months picked out. The next thing is to start revisiting my gear. I’ve backpacked with a buddy before, but I want to be prepared to do these trips solo. That means that I will need a few necessities that I don’t already own. In addition to that, I have a couple more ‘luxury’ items that I would like to have.

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