TrailGroove Blog

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About this blog

Entries in this blog

Only on a Trail: How I Fell for Hiking

Only on a Trail: How I Fell for Hiking

I must admit I started a like affair with hiking around 1993. I did not know I was hiking since I was mandated to do it, along with some fellow Army comrades, while stationed in South Korea. When your company commander says to take that hill, you take it, or as I would like to say, “hike it.” I do not remember the specific area where we hiked, but I know I was surrounded by lots of trees, large leaves, and some trickling of water. I remember almost falling into the water, and guess what, I can’t

Tephanie H.

Tephanie H.

Mountain House Mexican Style Adobo Rice & Chicken Review

Mountain House Mexican Style Adobo Rice & Chicken Review

A new dinner from Mountain House, their Mexican Style Adobo Rice and Chicken Meal brings backpackers, hikers, or considering the current situation we've been facing here in the spring of 2020 just about anyone a decent Mexican themed meal that's also compatible with gluten free diets. And while normally we don't dive too much into packaging here at TrailGroove, in this case it deserves mention with a redesign that not only includes an artwork update but important updates to functionality as well

Aaron

Aaron

The Devil's Eyebrow: Hard Hiking in Northwest Arkansas

The Devil's Eyebrow: Hard Hiking in Northwest Arkansas

“Build a railroad right through these mountains? You can’t do it, man; you can’t do it. You might as well try to build a railroad on the Devil’s eyebrow as to undertake to build one in such a place.” And so the words of a pioneer gave a rugged sandstone formation in northwest Arkansas its name. The year was 1880, and surveyors were doing preliminary work on the location of the Frisco Railroad. The railroad was built, the name stuck, and today “Devil’s Eyebrow” is one of 75 Natural Areas managed
How to Keep Your Backpacking Gear Dry

How to Keep Your Backpacking Gear Dry

While backpacking during an all-day rain presents its own challenges when it comes to staying dry – or as dry as possible – protecting your gear and the items in your pack that must stay dry comes with its own set of considerations. Having a dry jacket, clothes, and a dry sleep system at the end of a long rainy day is not only backpacking luxury, it’s also critical to our safety on the trail. And whether rain is in the forecast or not, in most backpacking locations we still need a strategy to ke

Aaron

Aaron

How to Choose the Best Backpacking Sleeping Bag

How to Choose the Best Backpacking Sleeping Bag

Much like your bed at home, your sleeping bag is a place where you will be spending about one-third of your time in a 24-hour period. Making sure that your sleeping bag is comfortable, warm, and appropriate for the conditions is essential for getting a quality night’s rest so you can wake up the next day ready to crank out some miles, summit a peak, or simply soak up the natural scenery without dozing off. The good news is that there are plenty of options for high-quality sleeping bags, so findi

Mark

Mark

MSR Titan Kettle Review

MSR Titan Kettle Review

Some of the best things in life are the simplest. For backpackers, there is a pleasure in sipping hot coffee, tea or cocoa from a sleeping bag that borders on the divine. And behind such a simple pleasure is a simple piece of a gear: a kettle, pot or some other means of warming water. I upgraded from a lidless, stainless steel pot leftover from my brief time in Boy Scouts to the MSR Titan Kettle fairly early in my backpacking days and it has proven to be one of the best gear-related i

Mark

Mark

Thru-hiking the Pacific Crest Trail: Lessons Learned

Thru-hiking the Pacific Crest Trail: Lessons Learned

While any thru-hike will involve an uncountable number of steps, the biggest step of them all is the proverbial first step – making the decision to go hike the trail yourself. After you’ve watched the videos and read the articles, the inspiration is at its highest, and you finally decide to hike a long distance trail, the second major step into the world of long distance hiking is preparing to walk – up to 25 miles every day for up to 6 months straight. What I found after hiking the length of th
REI Co-op Minimalist GTX Mittens Review

REI Co-op Minimalist GTX Mittens Review

When you inevitably find yourself getting miles in during cold and wet weather on any hiking or backpacking trip, we all of course reach for our rain gear to stay warm and dry. One item that can be overlooked however is protection for our hands: which are especially susceptible to getting chilled quickly. Of all options I’ve found a lightweight waterproof rain mitt to be the best option in these situations, which can be worn over liner gloves for a complete 3-season layering system that will kee

Aaron

Aaron

A Hike in Kentucky's Daniel Boone National Forest

A Hike in Kentucky's Daniel Boone National Forest

The musical theme from the 1960s Daniel Boone television show ran through my head when, as we drove across southern Kentucky, I saw signs indicating we were entering Daniel Boone National Forest (DBNF). The historical Boone was not actually a big man in physical stature, but his legend, and the actual accomplishments of the Kentucky frontiersman, were sizable. Daniel Boone was a man, Yes, a big man! With an eye like an eagle And as tall as a mountain was he! In 1775, Boone blazed

Susan Dragoo

Susan Dragoo

Exped REM Pillow and Sea to Summit Aeros Review

Exped REM Pillow and Sea to Summit Aeros Review

The Exped REM Pillow The Exped REM backpacking pillow is a newer pillow from Exped that's a hybrid air pillow with a layer of foam above. The REM foam layer (That's recycled extracted modules, not the band or the sleep you'll hopefully get) consists of chunks of soft foam that make this pillow a little closer to a non-backpacking pillow you might find at home.  The foam layer is all contained in a soft pillow case, with an inflatable air chamber underneath than can be removed for

Aaron

Aaron

Hiking in Yosemite: Waterfalls and Winter Solitude

Hiking in Yosemite: Waterfalls and Winter Solitude

It's an early December afternoon in Yosemite National Park, and I'm watching a bobcat padding down the trail in front of me. In his mouth is a lifeless gray squirrel, so large that he drops it several times. He turns and surveys me with the lazy arrogance of a house cat who's proud of his kill. I'm unsure if I should be following this wild creature down the trail. I think of how animals are protective of their food. Still, the large cat and I are headed the same way, so I continue at a distance.

Allison Johnson

Allison Johnson

MSR Quick Skillet Review

MSR Quick Skillet Review

Like most backpackers, my cook kit usually consists of a stove, pot, spork, and mug. Sometimes I even forego the mug in a quest for simplicity and weight savings and just drink my tea and coffee out of the pot. And, inadvertently, I’ve left my spork behind once or twice and enjoyed extremely minimal and inconvenient weight savings. However, under certain conditions, I’ve been known to expand my cook kit to include a non-stick skillet and cook up meals normally reserved for car camping

Mark

Mark

Table Mountain

Table Mountain

We’ve been working day and night, falling asleep at computer screens, and hitting the trail as much as we can to get TrailGroove up and running. Everything that we thought would take a week when we first began scratching out our idea on paper took a month and everything that we expected to take a month took…Well, you get the idea. Starting something like this is always a risky endeavor - It can be a challenge to prevent turning your favorite pastime into something you just have to do

Aaron

Aaron

REI Flash 18 Backpack Giveaway

REI Flash 18 Backpack Giveaway

Note: Contest Ended 3/18/12. The results can be found Here. Missed out? You can Pick Up the Flash 18 at REI.   Please Register to subscribe to this blog or post comments. Here is your chance to win a brand new REI Flash 18 pack just like the one we reviewed in our current issue. (Except in an eye catching Titanium Citron color scheme) You can find the review by reading Issue #1 or by going directly to the Flash Review if you prefer. All that you have to do to enter is registe

Aaron

Aaron

REI Flash 18 Winner - HikingTheTrail!

REI Flash 18 Winner - HikingTheTrail!

Congratulations HikingTheTrail, your name was randomly drawn from our member list and we've reached out to you for your mailing address. Please respond within 72 hours to claim the prize and we'll get this in the mail ASAP - Enjoy the pack! Thanks to all that joined us here at TrailGroove and participated in the contest! Missed out? You can Pick Up the Flash 18 at REI.

Aaron

Aaron

Tax Day Giveaway - Trail Designs Ti-Tri Sidewinder Stove System Bundle

Tax Day Giveaway - Trail Designs Ti-Tri Sidewinder Stove System Bundle

Note: Contest Ended 4/17/12. The results can be found Here. Missed out? Check out Evernew at Amazon Enter to win a brand new Sidewinder Ti-Tri stove system bundle from Trail Designs - Pot included! This is the exact combo we just reviewed in our current issue. Check out our testing results and see the system in action by reading Issue 1. Win this package and you'll receive: Evernew ECA253 Titanium Ultralight 1.3L Pot (more details here - perfect for two or large meals for on

Aaron

Aaron

Wind River Trails by Finis Mitchell

Wind River Trails by Finis Mitchell

I’ve dreamed about flyfishing for golden trout in the Wind River Range ever since I picked up a flyfishing magazine when I was about 13 years old that had a short article detailing a backcountry trip in pursuit of the elusive golden trout. Even at the time I was an avid fisherman, but what I read about in that article was the polar opposite of the type of fishing and the type of outdoor experience I was familiar with. While the magazine has long been misplaced, and internet searches t

Aaron

Aaron

Tax Day Giveaway Winner!

Tax Day Giveaway Winner!

Congratulations to Stick, winner of a brand new Trail Designs Ti-Tri Sidewinder Stove System and an Evernew 1.3L titanium ultralight pot! Check out our original Sidewinder Ti-Tri Giveaway Blog Entry for the full details of the contest. Using a random number generator, a post from the Forum was chosen at 8 P.M. Mountain Time and the 8th post in our PowerPot Thread was the winner. Thanks to all who have contributed to the Forum and keep your eye on the site for additional contests that

Aaron

Aaron

Table Mountain - 2.0

Table Mountain - 2.0

In our First Blog Entry we talked about Table Mountain, an interesting feature that both offered a lower elevation summit (About 7200 feet) and was close to town. This combination made for a great cabin fever expedition prior to spring, following a mostly off-trail route that required tricky navigation to keep from crossing private land. We made good progress on our first attempt, but then ran into deeper snow around 6500 feet and were forced to turn back with fading daylight. A month

Aaron

Aaron

Book Review: I Hike by Lawton Grinter

Book Review: I Hike by Lawton Grinter

A couple years ago I came across The Walkumentary, a film produced by Lawton Grinter (Trail name Disco) detailing the southbound CDT thru-hike that he completed in 2006 along with his partner P.O.D. and a loose group of other hikers. The film really shows the viewer not only what it’s like to hike and to do so every day, but also what it’s like to do so along the CDT, where a thru-hike frequently involves longer, more remote stretches between resupply stops and staying “Found” can at

Aaron

Aaron

Harmony House Backpacking Kit,  I Hike, & Trail Tested Giveaway

Harmony House Backpacking Kit, I Hike, & Trail Tested Giveaway

Note: Contest ended 6/13/12. Results can be found Here. Missed out? You can Pick up the Harmony House Kit from REI. The books can be found over at Amazon: Buy I Hike at Amazon Buy Trail Tested at Amazon New TrailGroove contest! Please read below for all the details on how to enter. Grand Prize Winner: 1 Harmony House Backpacking Kit 1 Signed Copy of I Hike by Lawton Grinter 1 Signed Copy of Trail Tested by Justin Lichter Second Place Winner: 1 S

Aaron

Aaron

Trail Tested by Justin Lichter

Trail Tested by Justin Lichter

Earlier this month, Justin Lichter (Also known by his trail name Trauma) released a collection of insights, tips, and stories detailed across more than 200 pages in his new book Trail Tested. If you haven’t heard of Justin yet, he’s quite famous in the long distance backpacking and hiking community - Having hiked over 35,000 miles in his career. Not only has he completed the Triple Crown of the Appalachian, Pacific Crest, and Continental Divide Trails - He’s done it twice. Throughout

Aaron

Aaron

Maps

Maps

One thing that I seem to love are maps. When I’m not on the trail backpacking or hiking I’m most likely planning my next adventure, or when I head home from a trip I always seem to find myself staring at sets of maps to find out what the name of that peak that I saw in the distance was, or just where that other trail lead from a fork when I went right and the other trail went left. Usually, this results in maps spread out across the house for days - Once I find out just what the name

Aaron

Aaron

Winners: Harmony House Backpacking Kit,  I Hike, & Trail Tested Giveaway

Winners: Harmony House Backpacking Kit, I Hike, & Trail Tested Giveaway

Congratulations to the two winners of our Harmony House Backpacking Kit, I Hike, and Trail Tested giveaway! The winners have been contacted via email, please check your inbox and let us know where to ship the loot! Using a random number generator, the following winners have been selected: Grand Prize Winner: EX121 Runner up: Stick Grand Prize: 1 Harmony House Backpacking Kit + Signed copies of I Hike & Trail Tested. Runner up: 1 signed copy each of I Hike &

Aaron

Aaron

ZebraLight H31w Headlamp Review

ZebraLight H31w Headlamp Review

For the past year or so I’ve been testing out the H31w headlamp from ZebraLight, a company that makes a wide selection of higher-end LED flashlights and headlamps. Prior to picking up this light, I had always been a dedicated follower of a few of the more mainstream headlamps that are out there, and even though I had heard a lot of great things about ZebraLight, I had my doubts that it would end up making it to the #1 spot on my gear list for backpacking trips. But with all the good f

Aaron

Aaron