I skipped the section Between Tuolumne and Sonora Pass to do some day hikes in Yosemite National Park and Big Sur. I also went to the Bay Area for some time off the trail. North of Sonora Pass was very hot. Temperatures were often in the 90s and rain was a complete non factor. Around Lake Tahoe, temperatures weren’t too bad, and you could still hike during midday. Around Sierra City, the heat became oppressive. From that point onward, days were dry, and brutally hot. Rain was non existent. Through Old Station, Burney, Shasta, Etna, and Seiad Valley, temperatures were between 85 to 100+ degrees. Continue reading “Pacific Crest Trail Gear List: Tuolumne Meadows to Crater Lake”
2014 was a low snow year. It barely rained, and was mostly sunny everyday. Although temperatures reached the 30’s, I was never cold sharing a tent with my girlfriend, Legs. It rained once. Temperatures were generally lower than what was faced in the desert. Sitting in the shade could be chilly. Snow was never really a factor, except for some post holing on the northern sides of a few passes. The biggest change was the possibility for dangerous conditions. We faced none. Continue reading “Pacific Crest Trail Gear List: Kennedy Meadows to Tuolumne Meadows”
Function is Beauty. The phrase is as simply as the motto. It also encapsulates what we believe here at Trail Lives; Less is More. The Montbell EX Light down jacket is a bare bones insulation layer that uses some of the lightest materials in the market. It is the lightest down jacket we have tested and is competitive in price ($200), but a lack of durability and awkward fit are problematic with this jacket. Continue reading “GEAR REVIEW: Montbell EX Light Down Jacket”
Here at Trail Lives, we absolutely love Cottage Gear Shops. Some of the best gear tested has come from these unlikely and relatively small companies, which are usually run by hikers like you and I. Founded in 2001 by a fellow thru hiker and located in Utah, Ultralight Adventure Equipment (ULA) offers some amazing ultralight gear, especially backpacks. Today, many consider ULA as cottage shop royalty, as their packs hold a standard of excellence by many long distance hikers. Within ULA packs, testers and ULA alike, report the Circuit as the most used on trail. I will be taking my ULA Circuit with my on my PCT Thru Hike this April. Continue reading “GEAR REVIEW: Ultralight Adventure Equipment Circuit Backpack”
I have five sleeping pads. Five. All of them still work, all of them are relatively lightweight, and all of them lay abandoned in the corner of my room, collecting dust, and enticing the cat to use as a scratching post.
I don’t like sleeping on the floor and never truly will. In fact, if I can I will bring my Warbonnet Hammock and sleep suspended between the trees with a gooey down under quilt below me. However, during my recent NOL’s Semester in Patagonia, I needed to find a good sleeping pad to sleep on for 85 continuous days. I also need a ground system for my upcoming thru hike on the PCT. Fortunately for me, I landed with the Thermarest NeoAir X-Lite sleeping pad, quite possibly the best sleeping pad that money can buy.
(DISCLAIMER: This was my first pack, so it holds a place in my heart!)
Osprey is a great backpack company. Its humble origins began in Colorado and since then Osprey has become one of the biggest backpack manufacturers in the country. The Aether is a robust and versatile bag that can haul heavy loads and works particularly well as a traveler’s backpack or a mountaineering pack.
1. Durable: The only thing I had to replace on this pack over the years is a hip belt buckle and it was my fault that it broke. This pack is quite rugged and can take a punch. I brought the Aether with me to Patagonia. In an unknown valley just south of Cerro San Lorenzo, I found myself bushwhacking through chest high calafate (think giant thorn bush!) while traversing a 60 degree slope. Between the large river gorge to my left and the spiky gauntlet surrounding me, the last thing I needed was a pack that couldn’t hang. The thick fabric shrugged off the inch long prickers with ease. The Aether is not invincible, however. Over the years, small holes have been torn into the mesh back pocket but they do not spread and the mesh is still functional.