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TrailGroove Blog

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Contributors to this blog

  • Aaron Zagrodnick 142
  • Mark Wetherington 36
  • Susan Dragoo 6
  • HikerBox 5
  • George Graybill 4
  • JimR 3
  • michaelswanbeck 2
  • MattS 2
  • Kevin DeVries 2
  • Jen 2
  • Isak Kvam 1
  • Tephanie H. 1
  • HappyHour 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

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 int

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, a

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

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 m

Aaron Zagrodnick

Aaron Zagrodnick

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 loc

Aaron Zagrodnick

Aaron Zagrodnick in Gear

REI e-Gift Card Holiday Giveaway Winners

Congratulations to the 3 winners of our REI e-Gift Card Holiday Giveaway! Using a random number generator, the winners were drawn on 12/25 at Noon Mountain Time. Here are the 3 winners of the $50 REI e-Gift cards in the order that they were drawn:   JasonByers Uncle B TollerMom   The winners will receive an email containing the e-Gift card within 24 hours. Thanks to all who entered and congratulations to the 3 winners - Happy Holidays from TrailGroove!

Aaron Zagrodnick

Aaron Zagrodnick

New TrailGroove Sticker Stash

Our free TrailGroove sticker offer continues to be a big hit and has been so popular that our old sticker stash was quickly exhausted. A new load of freshly printed stickers have now arrived - These are high quality waterproof stickers with white lettering and a clear rectangular background for easy application. A single sticker is always free to a good home - Just fill out this form with your mailing address and we'll get one right out! Need more than 1? Check out the TrailGroove Sto

Aaron Zagrodnick

Aaron Zagrodnick

Platypus Pre-Filter Cap for Sawyer 3 Way SP122 Water Filter

Back in Issue 3 we Reviewed the Sawyer SP122 3 Way Water Filter and since that time I’ve used the filter on several additional trips. It’s still working quite well provided that clean water sources are selected and the water is pre-filtered before using it inline or while in gravity mode. During the review, we tested the SP122 against 100 liters of average mountain stream water (With no pre-filtration) that dramatically reduced the flow rate of the filter. With Sawyer’s 1 Million Gall

Aaron Zagrodnick

Aaron Zagrodnick in Gear

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

Marmot Precip Shell Gloves Review

With colder weather officially in place over the Rockies, I recently found myself plagued with chilly hands again as fall moved to late fall and on towards winter. Normally to combat the issue while backpacking, I’ll go to the waterproof eVent Rain Mitts from Mountain Laurel Designs that we reviewed in Issue #2, combined with a pair of DeFeet Duragloves for warmth as a liner. With the eVent mitts seam sealed and with the liner gloves thrown in, this combination comes in at 3.9oz altog

Aaron Zagrodnick

Aaron Zagrodnick in Gear

Gear - The T.R.I.P. Process

The gear list. It might be written on a piece of paper, typed into a spreadsheet, read from a book, or all in your head. But most of us probably have one somewhere. In its simplest form, a gear list can really help with those “I can’t believe I forgot that” moments when you’ve just hiked 20 miles from the trailhead and are setting up camp in dwindling evening light. In other forms, a list can help you identify things you really don’t need, help you reduce your pack weight, and help yo

Aaron Zagrodnick

Aaron Zagrodnick

By Men or by the Earth - By Tyler Coulson

In the spring of 2011, and after leaving his life as a corporate lawyer, Tyler Coulson set off from the Atlantic Ocean and the Delaware coastline to undertake a western journey across the United States with Mabel, his adopted dog and companion. Destination: Pacific Ocean. Method of travel: Foot. After 3500 miles and millions of footsteps, Tyler recounted the journey in By Men or By the Earth. Of course, there’s a deeper story to most long walks, and Tyler dives into not only the day t

Aaron Zagrodnick

Aaron Zagrodnick in Reading

TrailGroove Sticker - Free to a Good Home!

New goods have arrived! Interested in a free TrailGroove sticker? Just fill out this form and we'll get a sticker right out - Great for the car window or for sprucing up the gear closet! Need more than 1? Check out the TrailGroove Store, they're just 75 cents each!  

Aaron Zagrodnick

Aaron Zagrodnick

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

Congratulations to the winners of our Camp Kitchen contest! Using a random number generator, the winners were picked at 8 P.M. Mountain Time. Winners: Grand Prize: Stick Runner Up: ADKinLA Second Runner Up: TollerMom Special thanks to everyone that entered the contest, there have definitely been some very interesting and highly entertaining entries / comments on the original blog post that announced the contest Here. I know that I have a few more destinations to pu

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 Titanium

Aaron Zagrodnick

Aaron Zagrodnick in Giveaways

Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Jembe Seat Kit Review

A camp chair is definitely an item not often seen on most lightweight or ultralight backpacking gear lists, and is indeed something I gave up on long ago. These days it doesn’t seem that Jen and I spend too much time lounging around camp anyway - If we’re not working to cook a meal and setup the shelter, we’re probably already asleep. For those times when we do have a bit of spare time, a log, rock, or simply the ground itself usually serves the purpose - Situations where a foam sleep

Aaron Zagrodnick

Aaron Zagrodnick in Gear

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 Zagrodnick

Aaron Zagrodnick in Gear




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