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TrailGroove Blog

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  • Aaron Zagrodnick 153
  • Mark Wetherington 36
  • Susan Dragoo 6
  • HikerBox 5
  • George Graybill 4
  • JimR 3
  • michaelswanbeck 2
  • MattS 2
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  • Kevin DeVries 2
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  • Tephanie H. 1
  • Isak Kvam 1
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  • Steven Genise 1
  • Doug Emory 1
  • SarahLynne 1
  • Steve Ancik 1
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Gear |Trips | Food | Technique | Reading

Entries in this blog

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 Zagrodnick

Aaron Zagrodnick

Altra Lone Peak 2.0 Review, Comparison to 1.5, & Initial Thoughts on the 2.5

For the past few years I’ve almost exclusively used zero drop shoes for nearly any foot-powered activity you can think of, and eventually I suppose it comes as no surprise that I found myself trying out shoes from a company that only makes zero drop shoes – Altra. With the Lone Peak 1.5 (reviewed here), I found a shoe that was zero drop and built for the trail, had enough cushioning to, well, cushion the ride, but also had enough protection underfoot and above, leaving your feet in decent shape

Aaron Zagrodnick

Aaron Zagrodnick

Premium Membership and New Ways to Read

We're excited to announce the availability of our new premium membership option at TrailGroove as well as new ways to read the magazine. Moving forward, we'll be publishing the PDF version for every new issue at the same time the online version is released. You can download the PDF for $3.50 - Or save by signing up for our new premium membership for $20 / year which includes all PDF issues and all back issues - Plus much more. All the details can be found below, or jump right in and check out th

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

Casio Pro Trek PRW3000 Watch Review

For several years, I’ve been using Casio watches in the backcountry – specifically the Pathfinder PAW1300 Reviewed Here, and most recently the newer Pro Trek PRW3000. Compared to my older model, the 3000 features an updated sensor promising better usage of power and more accurate readings and a few other convenient features. The form factor is smaller than many multi-function watches and will fit nearly any wrist well, and best of all in my mind it’s a nearly set and forget watch: Aut

Aaron Zagrodnick

Aaron Zagrodnick in Gear

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 in Technique

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 in Trips

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 in Gear

Darn Tough Light Hiker Micro Crew Light Cushion Socks

Keeping your feet comfortable in the backcountry is a big step towards an enjoyable trip, and after hiking this summer in a pair of the aforementioned socks from Darn Tough they definitely deserve a closer look and review. I’d always heard good things about the Darn Tough brand – Made in the USA and with a lifetime warranty that you might not even need since they supposedly last forever. However, I never really expect socks to last quite that long, and other than that fact it was diff

Aaron Zagrodnick

Aaron Zagrodnick in Gear

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

2 Nights in the Wind River Range

Last month, Ted Ehrlich drove up from Colorado and we hit the Winds for a 2 night backpacking trip over the Fourth of July Weekend. We’d originally planned a point to point hike from the Scab Creek Trailhead on the southwest side of the Winds back to Lander, but logistics were a bit of a concern as well as the driving that would take time away from a weekend Winds trip. In the end, we weren’t too fast getting ready the morning of our start day either, so we quickly scanned the map and

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

Altra Lone Peak 1.5 Trail Running Shoe Review

The Lone Peak 1.5 is the latest generation of a zero drop, moderately cushioned trail running shoe from Altra, a company dedicated to zero drop and biomechanically correct footwear. For most of this year, I‘ve transitioned to the Lone Peak 1.5 and so far have about 400 miles of mixed hiking, backpacking, and running use on my first pair. I say first pair, because I like them so much that I actually have a second pair already waiting in the closet for the day that my original pair is r

Aaron Zagrodnick

Aaron Zagrodnick in Gear

Backpacking in the Needles District, Canyonlands National Park

A few weeks ago I was able to return to Canyonlands National Park, but this time stayed on the opposite side of the river from the Maze to join up with Ted Ehrlich and Christy who drove in from Colorado to backpack through Salt Creek Canyon and the Needles. Our respective drives late on a Thursday night resulted in a noon-ish start from the Cathedral Butte trailhead the next day after shuttling a vehicle. The weather was slightly sketchy, overcast with what looked like rain in the dis

Aaron Zagrodnick

Aaron Zagrodnick in Trips

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 in Trips

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

ZebraLight H52w Headlamp Review

After using the H31w from ZebraLight, (Reviewed Here) which uses a single CR123A battery, I eventually made the move to ZebraLight’s H51w. The lights are fairly similar, but I decided to make the move to the H51 series since it operates off a single, more easily sourced AA battery. The H51w worked well, and an update to the light was recently released – The ZebraLight H52w. For me, the best thing about the H51w, and now the H52w is their ability to run off Eneloop batteries – No more

Aaron Zagrodnick

Aaron Zagrodnick in Gear

Hiking Buckskin Gulch: A Belated Trip Report

Back in April, Ted Ehrlich and I spent a few days hiking and camping in southern Utah – One highlight of that trip had to be our hike through Buckskin Gulch, one of the longest and deepest slot canyons in the world. With a snowy drive through Wyoming and then a whiteout in Colorado, the drive wasn’t a fast one and I met Ted at a deserted trailhead near Grand Junction around 10pm. From here we’d carpool into Utah. We drove west in the night, eventually moving past the snowstorm and into Utah, whe

Aaron Zagrodnick

Aaron Zagrodnick in Trips

TrailFinder

Looking for a place to hike, the perfect backpacking destination, or need a way to quickly navigate all the great places that have been featured in TrailGroove Magazine? Check out the new TrailFinder - A map-based, visual way to look at all of our past destination oriented articles. Best of all, it's continually updated each time a new issue is released. Check it out Here on the TrailFinder Page, or just take a look below. Click the green map markers for a link to the article and to the issue it

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 Joby Tripods 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. Entries to the cont

Aaron Zagrodnick

Aaron Zagrodnick in Giveaways

Review: MSR Carbon-Core Tent Stakes

Listed at just under 6 grams /.2 ounces per stake and costing $30 for 4, the MSR Carbon Core stakes come in as some of the lightest and most expensive tent stakes on the market. After breaking a lot of different types of stakes, or having them fall apart, I’d come to rely on utilizing titanium shepherd’s hook stakes all around. They’re light, aren’t made up of multiple pieces that can come apart, and are generally reasonably priced. The drawbacks: They can be easy to lose, can bend, and don’t ex

Aaron Zagrodnick

Aaron Zagrodnick in Gear

Powermonkey Explorer Solar Charger Review

After reviewing the PowerFilm USB+AA solar charger back in Issue 7, I thought I’d take a look at a different lightweight solar charging solution, this time from Powertraveller - a UK based company that offers an assortment of solar and other electronic products. Their Powermonkey Explorer kit consists of 2 main parts – The battery (Powermonkey) and the solar panel itself (Solarmonkey). The solar unit is comprised of two separate solar panels encased in plastic that fold together in a clamshell a

Aaron Zagrodnick

Aaron Zagrodnick in Gear

Exped Air Pillow UL Review

I’ve always wished I could use the spare clothes in a stuff sack method to create a pillow while backpacking, but like a lot of other lightweight backpackers out there I’m usually wearing the majority of my clothes in my sleeping bag at night to increase warmth. There might be a rain jacket and pants still packed away, (Though sometimes I wear those for warmth too) but they just don’t have enough bulk to really offer much support, and I might be utilizing those in an attempt to keep my dog warm

Aaron Zagrodnick

Aaron Zagrodnick in Gear

Desert Solitaire by Edward Abbey

Originally published in 1968, Desert Solitaire is a work of non-fiction describing Edward Abbey’s experiences during a season while working as a park ranger - at what was then called Arches National Monument in Utah, before the Park and before the paved roads. The book is an American classic and is likely already on many bookshelves of those who appreciate the natural world, and I read the book for the first time many years ago. It had been long enough to read again however, and as we

Aaron Zagrodnick

Aaron Zagrodnick in Reading

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 lock lacing sy

Aaron Zagrodnick

Aaron Zagrodnick in Gear

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