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TrailGroove Blog

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Contributors to this blog

  • Aaron Zagrodnick 138
  • Mark Wetherington 32
  • HikerBox 5
  • Susan Dragoo 5
  • JimR 3
  • michaelswanbeck 2
  • MattS 2
  • Jen 2
  • Isak Kvam 1
  • Tephanie H. 1
  • HappyHour 1
  • George Graybill 1
  • Barbara 1
  • Steve Ancik 1
  • SarahLynne 1
  • Doug Emory 1
  • Steven Genise 1
  • mgraw 1
  • Allison Johnson 1
  • jansenjournals 1

About this blog

Entries in this blog

Fall Giveaway

Note: This giveaway ended 10/30/15. For fall, we're giving away a brand new Helinox Ground Chair, (Reviewed here in Issue 23) a ~22 ounce chair that's great for those more relaxed backpacking trips, day hikes, or even while car camping or just about anything else you can think of. We'll also throw in a TrailGroove hat or shirt of the winner's choosing! How to Enter: Leave a comment below on this blog entry describing the single backpacking/hiking luxury item you'd never l

Aaron Zagrodnick

Aaron Zagrodnick

Spring Giveaway

Note: This giveaway ended 6/2/17 For spring, we're giving away a $100 REI e-Gift Card plus your choice of a shirt or hat from the TrailGroove Store! Just make sure you're subscribed to TrailGroove and then like this blog post to let us know you'd like to be included in the drawing. Full details below. How to Enter 1) Like this blog entry in the lower right hand corner of this post. Simply login with your TrailGroove account and like this blog entry in the lower right hand co

Aaron Zagrodnick

Aaron Zagrodnick

Summer Giveaway

Note: This giveaway ended 7/28/17. For summer, we're giving away a $100 Backcountry.com Gift Certificate plus your choice of a shirt or hat from the TrailGroove Store! Just make sure you're subscribed to TrailGroove and then like this blog post to let us know you'd like to be included in the drawing. Full details below. How to Enter 1) Like this blog entry in the lower right hand corner of this post. Simply login with your TrailGroove account and like this blog entry in the

Aaron Zagrodnick

Aaron Zagrodnick

Platypus GravityWorks Water Filter Giveaway

Note: This giveaway ended 2/22/16. With an eye on the upcoming arrival of spring next month, we're giving away a Platypus GravityWorks water filter system - similar to the system we reviewed here in Issue 25, just in the 2 liter reservoir kit version, plus your choice of shirt or hat from the TrailGroove Store. The GravityWorks filtration kit is an easy to use .2 micron water filter system that we've found to be well designed and easy to use, and it's a great choice for anything from a day

Aaron Zagrodnick

Aaron Zagrodnick

Camp Kitchen Contest: Titanium Gear from Evernew, Snow Peak, & Vargo Outdoors!

Note: Contest Ended 9/20/12. Results can be found Here. Missed out but still need the gear? You can check it out here: Evernew at Amazon Snow Peak 450 Single Wall Mug at Campsaver Vargo Titanium Long Handle Spoon If your camp kitchen is in need of an upgrade, you'll want to check this one out! 3 Winners! Grand Prize: Ultralight Evernew Titanium Pot (Choose From 3 Models) Snow Peak 450ML Titanium Single-Wall Mug in Blue Vargo Long-Handled Titaniu

Aaron Zagrodnick

Aaron Zagrodnick

10 Ways to Sleep Warmer on Your Next Backpacking Trip

It's always hard to enjoy a backpacking trip when you don't sleep well, and sleeplessly shivering throughout the night is one way to guarantee a rough next day. Here's a list of 10 tips, ideas, and considerations that should help the next time your backcountry trip coincides with those colder nights. A Nalgene Bottle. Trapping your heat utilizing your sleeping bag and insulating yourself from cold ground using a warm enough sleeping pad are highly efficient, but sometimes nothing beat

Aaron Zagrodnick

Aaron Zagrodnick

BearVault BV450 Food Canister and REI Gift Card Giveaway

Note: This giveaway ended 10/31/16. For fall, we're giving away a new BearVault BV450 food canister filled with a $50 Gift Certificate to REI and a choice of shirt or hat from the TrailGroove Store! Check out our full BV450 review in Issue 30 for more info on the BearVault, and just make sure you're subscribed to TrailGroove and then like this blog post to let us know you'd like to be included in the drawing. Full details below. Photo credit Mark Wetherington How to Ent

Aaron Zagrodnick

Aaron Zagrodnick

REI e-Gift Card Holiday Giveaway

Note: Contest Ended 12/25/12. Results can be found Here. Happy Holidays from TrailGroove! To celebrate the holidays and the end of the year we're giving away 3 $50 REI e-Gift cards! We're mixing it up a bit this time with multiple ways to enter... Here's the scoop: 1. Respond to this blog post with a comment on your favorite piece of backpacking or hiking gear that you used in 2012 to enter, with a brief explanation as to why that piece of gear worked so well for you

Aaron Zagrodnick

Aaron Zagrodnick

Winter Giveaway

Note: This Giveaway Ended 3/15/17. For our winter giveaway (and just in time!), we're giving away a new Helinox Chair Zero and the choice of any shirt or hat from the TrailGroove Store! This new camp comfort seating solution from Helinox is a comfortable chair that's both packable and light enough for those backpacking and hiking excursions where some extra comfort might be on your list of priorities - for more info on the Chair Zero, take a look here at REI and read our recent review. 

Aaron Zagrodnick

Aaron Zagrodnick

Joby GorillaPod Micro 250 Tripod & Campsaver Gift Certificate Giveaway

Note: Contest Ended 7/30/13. Congratulations to TollerMom, the randomly selected winner of our Joby Micro 250 & Campsaver.com gift card giveaway! Big thanks to all who entered and for all the great trails and trips that were shared. Missed out but still need the gear? Check out the Joby Micro 250 Tripod Here at Amazon. We’re celebrating the release of Issue 9 by giving away a Joby Micro 250 tripod and a $20 E-Gift card from Campsaver.com to one lucky TrailGroove reader. Entrie

Aaron Zagrodnick

Aaron Zagrodnick

August Giveaway

Note: This giveaway ended 8/8/15. With summer backpacking and hiking in full swing, time for a new giveaway! This one will be over pretty fast, so get in while you can. How to Enter Leave a comment below on this blog entry describing your favorite backpacking/hiking destination so far this year, and why. Your comment counts as one entry. Once entered, earn another entry for every post you make on the forum between 8/4 and the giveaway drawing. (Maximum 10 en

Aaron Zagrodnick

Aaron Zagrodnick

Vivobarefoot Ultra Pure Shoes

Recently I picked up a pair of superlight minimal shoes made by Vivobarefoot – The Ultra Pure. I’ve been into minimal footwear for a while now, but the Ultra Pure is definitely the simplest and lightest footwear I’ve had a chance to check out that still offers something close the feel of a real shoe. The entire shoe, including the sole, is made from EVA foam. They cut out a lot of material in the upper for ventilation and to save weight, and utilized a stretchy shock cord and cord loc

Aaron Zagrodnick

Aaron Zagrodnick

Patagonia Houdini, REI, and TrailGroove Giveaway

Note: This Giveaway Ended on 6/30/14. Congratulations to the following TrailGroove members who were randomly drawn as the 3 winners! 1st Place: rig 2nd Place: TollerMom 3rd Place: Bobo Uzala We've sent a private message to the winners for an address and for your choice of an item from the TrailGroove store. Let us know and we'll get the winnings in the mail! Thanks to all for participating and keep an eye out for other TrailGroove giveaways to come. Although not quite off

Aaron Zagrodnick

Aaron Zagrodnick

Favorite Hiking Apps & Smartphones on the Trail

Although I resisted bringing technology in the backcountry for many years – whether that be a simple watch at one time to today’s smartphones - one trip that left me stranded on the side of the road for hours changed my mind. A simple call would have resulted in a quick ride, but on that day getting a ride after 5 days in the mountains resulted in a failure even with my best smile. My phone lay in the car back at the trailhead – on the other side of the Continental Divide, and that burger I'd be

Aaron Zagrodnick

Aaron Zagrodnick

Black Diamond Ion Headlamp, REI, and TrailGroove Giveaway

Note: This Giveaway Ended on 8/22/14. Congratulations to the following TrailGroove members who were randomly drawn as the 3 winners! 1st Place: Gary M 2nd Place: Jawom 3rd Place: Scout We've sent a private message to the winners for an address and for your choice of an item from the TrailGroove store. Let us know and we'll get the winnings in the mail! Thanks to all for participating and keep an eye out for other TrailGroove giveaways to come. With the upcoming rele

Aaron Zagrodnick

Aaron Zagrodnick

Custom Hybrid Cuben ULA Circuit Backpack

I’ve tried a few packs over the past couple years, including the larger Catalyst (also from ULA), but keep going back to an old standby – The Circuit from Ultralight Adventure Equipment (ULA). The volume (4200 cubic inches total) and carrying capacity (~35lbs) have been versatile enough for 10 day trips and shorter trips alike across all seasons. 2013 Hybrid Cuben ULA Circuit Though for some shorter excursions it might be a little on the large side, if I end up with extra space I

Aaron Zagrodnick

Aaron Zagrodnick

Backpacking in the Maze, Canyonlands National Park

In mid-March, Ted Ehrlich and I spent a few days backpacking in the Maze District of Canyonlands National Park. The Maze is frequently referred to as one of the most remote spots in the lower 48, and though I’m not sure how exactly it ranks on that scale, it did require some significant of amounts of off-highway driving to reach. The Maze is located in southeastern Utah, west of the confluence of the Colorado and Green Rivers and bordered by the both to the east. Though bordered by wa

Aaron Zagrodnick

Aaron Zagrodnick

ZPacks Multi-Pack and REI Gift Card Giveaway

Note: This giveaway ended 7/12/16. For summer, we're giving away a new ZPacks 4-in-1 MultiPack filled with a $50 Gift Certificate to REI and a choice of shirt or hat from the TrailGroove Store! If you're not familiar with this versatile storage solution from ZPacks check out our Multi-Pack Review from back in Issue 17 for all the details - I personally use one as a ~3 ounce solution to keep my camera easily accessible (in chest pack mode) on every hike. Just make sure you're subscribed

Aaron Zagrodnick

Aaron Zagrodnick

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

Bikepacking the White Rim Road, Canyonlands National Park

Last month, my brother and I met up in the Island in the Sky District of Canyonlands National Park. My brother is more of a biker than a hiker, and as such our goal was to bike the White Rim Road that runs throughout the district and loop back to our starting point, a mountain bike ride totaling 103 miles. We’d brainstormed a few ways to tackle the trip, from trying it in one very long day to taking things very easy over many days. Eventually, we settled on 2 nights…We'd be carrying o

Aaron Zagrodnick

Aaron Zagrodnick

REI e-Gift Card & TrailGroove Giveaway

Note: This giveaway ended 5/16/16. This month enter to win a $100 REI e-Gift Card plus your choice of a shirt or hat from the TrailGroove Store! Just make sure you're subscribed to TrailGroove and then like this blog post to let us know you'd like to be included in the drawing. Full details below. How to Enter 1) Like this blog entry in the lower right hand corner of this post. Simply login with your TrailGroove account and like this blog entry in the lower right hand corner

Aaron Zagrodnick

Aaron Zagrodnick

Hollow Fiber Backpacking Water Filter Care & Maintenance

While many methods for backcountry water treatment exist, hollow fiber filters are quite popular due to their ease of use, effectiveness, reasonable cost, and longevity. While a hollow fiber filter is quite simple – with the filter itself having no moving parts and working through a multitude of hollow tubes (each hollow tube then having a multitude of microscopic pores, which actually filter the water) the filter element will still need to be maintained and some basic precautions should be exer

Aaron Zagrodnick

Aaron Zagrodnick in Gear

Alite Designs Monarch Chair Review

A chair is an item that often doesn’t make its way onto many lightweight gear lists, and perhaps rightfully so if your goal is to hike until sunset, eat dinner, go to sleep, and repeat the process day after day. In those situations, a rock, log, or the ground without a doubt is a free and weightless solution. However, if you’re taking things easier a chair can start to make a lot of sense in the backcountry and sometimes those little perks can make all the difference. And when it only

Aaron Zagrodnick

Aaron Zagrodnick

Hiking Mount Kumotori, Japan (in the Rain and Mud)

The trail before me had become a treacherous, muddy mess. My backpack felt like a sodden weight pulling me down, and my shoes squished and oozed water with every step. I was looking down at what would have been a sharp descent, now transformed into a muddy slide. As I debated between simply sitting down on the trail and letting gravity carry me along or staggering forward and attempting to remain upright, I thought again about how I had let this happen. The answer involved a series of

MattS

MattS

Thru-Hiking: The Junior Version

Recent books and movies have inspired countless hikers and potential hikers to dream about thru-hiking one of the “big three” of America’s long trails: The Appalachian Trail, Pacific Crest Trail, or the Continental Divide Trail. However, most people that attempt the feat drop off the trail before completion. A six-month commitment to a hike can become just too difficult. Countless others don’t even try; it’s just too much time away from family and the lives they’ve built. Completing all three tr

JimR

JimR




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