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  2. Hugh

    Hiking with restrictions

    Hey all. I'm not sure if this is where to post, so I apologise up front if I'm breaking forum rules. We have a foreign exchange student (Italian) that is wanting to explore Colorado hiking. She leaves in late May, so I think weather/seasons will be an issue. Also we have a shih tzu dog that will be with us. We are wanting to hike in and camp for a day or two. My question is this: Is there a good eastern side of Colorado trail that allows dogs and camping and has nice weather in early/mid May? ...or am I asking too much?
  3. jay

    Best Dogs For The Trail!?

    In my experience, a well trained dog of most any breed would be ok. Any dog that knows and understands what is expected of him will generally not cause too many problems. Personally, I have a Lab/Shepherd mix that spends a lot of time on the trail with me. He's generally good natured and not prone to letting his nose take over his brain as some hunting breeds might do. Smaller breed dogs might struggle if you are covering any significant distance during the day but I think that can be worked around. There are also harnesses made with saddlebags so a dog can carry their own food and water if necessary. I have found that dogs are a lot like kids, teach them the expectations, be consistent and reward good behavior and you wont have too many problems with them. A good dog on the trail is, for me, just about the perfect companion. He might not be able to do dishes but at least he doesn't discuss politics!
  4. Depending on what time of year you’re hiking and your latitude, a headlamp likely alternates between something you might barely use (summer in Alaska) or something you’re using when cooking dinner, breakfast, and for the many hours in between (winter in most of the northern hemisphere). Not to give a particular piece of equipment too much credit, but in a certain sense a headlamp is an almost biblically miraculous piece of gear – where there is darkness, it provides light. Whether that’s for illuminating the trail as you crank out post-sunset miles or reading in the tent, a headlamp doesn’t just make tasks easier. It makes them possible. Like most headlamps, at its most basic the Petzl Actik Core is a piece of plastic (lights like the Zebralight H53w would be an exception) housing an energy source that uses bulbs and electrical wizardry to project light and attaches to your head with an adjustable elastic strap. The most notable feature of this headlamp is its energy source(s). The standard power source is a rechargeable battery and AAA batteries can be used as well. For longer trips, this allows one to easily bring back-up power without having to use an adapter or bring a spare battery specific to the Actik. I’ve found the standard battery charges fully in just over two hours (via the included USB cable) after extended use and much quicker when just “topping it off” in between trips where it didn’t see too much use. The convenience of not having to have as many batteries on hand to swap in prior to trips – not to mention avoiding the frustration of wasting batteries with a quarter-charge or so remaining – is huge. If your car has a USB outlet (if it doesn’t, 12 volt USB car adapters are inexpensive), then the convenience of recharging your headlamp on the drive to the trailhead will be much appreciated. Just don’t get distracted and leave your headlamp in the car before you hit the trail! The light has three different brightness settings that draw down the battery at speeds proportional to the brightness. The 350 lumen mode – super bright – will burn through the battery in a mere two hours, whereas the standard 100 lumen mode lasts for seven hours. The minimal five lumens (enough to read in the tent or other tasks not requiring a large field of illumination) will last 160 hours. On the low mode, only the diffused beam LED is activated, with medium and high modes utilizing both white LEDs for a mixed, spot and flood combined beam effect. Depending on how much daylight there is any how much time you spend in camp, bouncing around between these settings should last most hikers for up to a weeklong trip. If you’re going to be doing a lot of hiking at night and using the brightest setting (although for on trail night hiking I’ve found the 100 lumens to be reasonable) then you could easily burn through the battery on an overnight. The brightness doesn’t fade as battery life diminishes, but instead quickly decreases towards the end its capacity. A red light option (including strobe function) is also available and keeps you from interrupting your “night vision” after becoming acclimated to the dark and allows you to be considerate of others around camp and not blind them with the white light. Most of my use has been on either the medium setting (chores around camp in the dark) or the low setting (reading in the tent). The maximum setting is extremely bright and offers plenty of illumination for hiking at night, even cross-country. For night hiking on trail, I found that even the 100 lumen setting was adequate for distinct trails. The headband fits comfortably and is easily adjustable. After getting damp, I’ve found it to dry more quickly and seemingly absorb less water than the straps from other headlamps I’ve owned. Although not fully waterproof, the Actik is listed as “weather resistant” by Petzl (IPX4). I’ve had limited use in extended downpours, but light drizzles have had no effect on performance. While its primary function is providing light when you need it, this headlamp also has a few safety features worth noting. The lettering on the strap is reflective, which is a nice touch, and a cleverly designed whistle on the adjustment piece of the strap could come in handy in an emergency. As mentioned, an available strobe setting also falls into the safety department. Unfortunately, the headlamp can't be locked out, but the on switch is designed in such a way that makes accidentally turning it on unlikely. If you’re in the market for a headlamp, the Petzl Actik Core certainly warrants a close look. Having all the standard headlamp features, a rechargeable battery, good mix of brightness, and an MSRP of $69.95 it should check most practical, convenience, and economical boxes for most backpackers. Although the price is a bit more than non-rechargeable headlamps, the convenience and the fact that you won’t have to spend money on batteries over the life of the headlamp still makes it an appealing purchase. Weighing in at just shy of three ounces, the performance certainly is commensurate with the modest weight. It you’ve ever tried to find a campsites at night using an underpowered but ultralight headlamp, I think you’d agree the extra weight is well worth being able to see what you’re doing and not ending up camped on a bumpy, sloping piece of ground. Available in black or red, this headlamp has reasonable warranties for the lamp and battery (five years for the lamp; one year or 300 charging cycles for the battery, a Core replacement battery is $29.95). You can find the Petzl Actik Core here at REI and at Backcountry.com. For more on headlamps in general, see our guide on choosing a backpacking headlamp.
  5. LC

    First time on the site

    I thought this forum might be a good one to join to make some new friends with similar interests.So here goes. I'm a North Carolina native who enjoys the outdoors. Here's to happy trails.
  6. Earlier
  7. Aaron

    Best Dogs For The Trail!?

    I think first of all I’d look for a dog that fits your situation well. For example a high energy working dog might not be a good choice if you’re gone all day Monday through Friday and they have to stay inside during that time, and / or you aren’t able to get them enough daily physical and mental exercise. In the medium size range I have seen dogs of all types that have handled trails really well - most dogs are pretty adaptable with the right preparation and approach which is a big part of the equation. I bet whatever you end up with will be ready to hit the trails anytime you are!
  8. So I have been wanting to get a dog for a good 5 years now and feel like im getting close to being at a spot in in my life to take one on! However i want to make the right decision and being that I am very involved in the outdoors with back packing and mountain biking I would like to have a dog that will be the perfect companion or my outdoor adventures! I'm sure a lot of you members on here have dogs that you take out with you or have heard good things from other hikers about the best dogs so I'm looking for some opinions on the topic as for what everyone has to say. As far as some criteria I would like a medium size to big dog, obviously something that is well mannered and easy to train. It would be a bonus if it can handle cold temperatures but isn't necessary. thanks!
  9. Dogwood

    New TrailGroove Heritage Shirts

    Attach a Made by Grandma tag and I'll send her some chocolates for her B Day.
  10. Dogwood

    New TrailGroove Heritage Shirts

    I wear that shirt on and off trail. I should get a walking billboard TrailGroove discount toward a TG visor when you all get around to getting that done Aaron. Tick tock. Get sewing Aaron. Get your grandma to work.
  11. Dogwood

    Backpacking While Keto

    LOL. That's why they call em Chomps.
  12. Aaron

    New TrailGroove Heritage Shirts

    Good to hear. The synthetic performance shirt for the trail with the Heritage for after the hike makes for a pretty good combo!
  13. RogerMoore

    Backpacking While Keto

    I haven’t tried Mission Meats. Chomps? The shelf life is too short once I buy them. Meaning I eat one after the other after the other. Delicious!
  14. Dogwood

    Backpacking Headlamp Selection and Lighting Options

    Picked up a BD Spotlite 160. Digging the two AAA battery (Energizer Lithiums last longest for me), wide feature set, intuitive usage, at 1.9 oz. Not the lightest wt, highest lumen output, long burn times< especially on high> , but for in camp usage, weekends and week long tripsand light night hiking for an hr or two it works on maintained ST. I'm not into micro managing headlamps or their weights. Bring a couple spare Li and good to go. Planning on night hiking, especially off trail extensively, get something brighter with longer burn times.
  15. Dogwood

    New TrailGroove Heritage Shirts

    Mens synthetic fits perfect. Cool on a hot day.
  16. Dogwood

    Backpacking While Keto

    Mission Meats and Chomps also make Keto and Paleo friendly beef sticks.
  17. Dogwood

    Backpacking While Keto

    So many go to beef jerky. As a pesce vegetarian I like FishPeople brand Ahi tuna jerky as a treat with low sugar content varieties @ 3 g of sugar at 12 cal in a 9o total cal serving and 20 cals from fat. I do not consider it a user high fat food. It's a high protein food! Jerky gets expensive though.
  18. Dogwood

    Backpacking While Keto

    Bunch of Keto and paleo friendly bars, jerky, and meat bars with O grams and low grams sugar content and very low carbs with very high protein and med fat content. EPIC Venison and Chicken Sriracha and Primal and Stryve immediately come to mind. People's Choice and aptly named Keto Carne are two others I've only been offered nibbles from some one else who offered. The first three I've bought even though I'm not Keto off trail and not FT on the trail. I will go into Keto to save on food wt once I've reached my LD backpacker Zen Zone. I've been going to up to 45-55 % of total daily caloric intake from fats(good) with moderate protein intake and low sugar for 15 yrs on trail once in peak form simply to maintain.
  19. Aaron

    AllTrails Pro?

    Welcome to the forum! Haven’t had a chance to use AllTrails so I can’t answer directly, but I have used Gaia GPS for many years and can recommend it - might be worth considering. Here’s an overview on using the app for trip planning and downloading maps for offline use, etc. : https://www.trailgroove.com/blogs/entry/122-how-to-use-the-gaia-gps-app-and-trip-planning-guide/
  20. I recently picked one of these up and gave it a try over the weekend. I thought I would post my findings on it here for anyone interested. This model prices just under $300.00. All in all, I think it is a very good value for the money. It has regular 6 power magnification and an additional 3X digital zoom. It can be used during the day as well as having a strong IR light for night time use. It weighs in at roughly 27 oz. and uses 4 AA batteries. There is also a micro USB port that allows you to use rechargeable battery packs with it. The equinox also has built in camera and video recording functions. It can be mounted on a standard camera tripod for more stable use. This model also supports a 32 GB micro SD card (necessary to use record feature). Range wise, I could easily view 250-300 yards with the IR function. The light does everything that is advertised. There are some cons to this model, as well. The camera leaves a bit to be desired, I think, especially at night. It is very hard to get clear pictures using it without a tripod. Recording seems to work better and I think I will simply use that function and then grab still shots from the video. Also, I have not found a function where you can view the photos and video taken on the monocular yet. I have had to download them to a computer to view. I don't have anything as far as battery life yet, I did use it for a solid 3 hours and still have battery power left. All of the reviews I read prior to buying recommended using rechargeable batteries. I am overall very satisfied with this monocular, I do think it is a good buy for the price. Am looking forward to getting some nighttime wildlife footage. I will be sure to share should I get anything really interesting. Overall, I would rate it 4 out of 5, My comments about the camera and photo viewing are the only reason I don't give it a 5 at this time. Feel free to ask any questions regarding this, I will try to answer them.
  21. balzaccom

    Mojave and the Navajo reservation

    Yes it is. We're planning another one for later in the spring....and another one...grin
  22. John B

    Mojave and the Navajo reservation

    Nice pictures. Isn't it great to be retired and have time for these kinds of extended trips!
  23. ppine

    Stillwater Nat Wildlife Refuge

    We have had a big snow year in the Sierra this year and cool, wet weather just continues. It is going to be a great time to visit the Refuge out by Fallon, NV which will have ample water in it. It is a major stop over point for migratory birds, especially waterfowl on the Pacific flyway. I am going to camp for a few days and look for birds. Great place for a trip in April.
  24. Hi everyone, We were planning a trip to Crothers Woods (Canada) and plan on going with our Wrangler. Now, we plan on taking that roof-mount tent for the trip, and I've heard they are illegal in certain provinces in Canada, is that true? If so, can we use such tents in the Crothers Woods area? Thanks.
  25. Mark

    Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite Review

    Excellent point about using an inflation bag -- I don't do this (and have noticed no ill effects), but should probably start. Definitely a good thing to consider. Interesting about putting the foam pad directly on the ground. I'd never thought about doing it that way, but it certainly does make sense.
  26. After making the switch from hiking books to trail runners a few years ago, I’ve been fairly loyal to various iterations of the Brooks Cascadias. At any given time during the hiking season, there is usually at least one Gore-Tex pair of Cascadias and one regular pair on my feet or in my gear room. Alternating between the two based on trail conditions or the season has kept my feet happy for well over a thousand cumulative miles of backpacking and trail running. I’ve found both versions to be supremely comfortable for my absolutely average feet and, when purchased on sale, to be reasonably economical since they generally seem to last less than a year of frequent use, even when splitting the wear between two pairs. The Brooks Cascadia 13 is the most recent version of the popular trail running shoe and continues with the same general principles of comfort and performance that have defined them since they came on the market. I used the Cascadia 13s on a few brief day hikes before lacing them up at the Iron Gate Trailhead on the edge of Washington’s Pasayten Wilderness for a 60-mile backpacking trip. As expected, and as with most trail running shoes, there really isn’t any break-in period required – they’re comfortable right out of the box whether you’re going on a 3-mile run or a 30-mile hike. The trip in the Pasayten put the shoes through a good mix of terrain and conditions – from well-graded forest trail to steep burned sections, and sunny afternoons followed by snowy mornings. Despite a pack with gear for shoulder-season weather in the Pacific Northwest and five days of food, the Cascadias were exceptionally comfortable and provided all the support needed. Even after long days with lots of elevation change – the most challenging day being around 24 miles and with 3,500 feet of elevation loss and 4,100 feet of elevation gain – my feet were still pretty happy at the end of the day (although they became even happier when slipped into Crocs at the end of the day after a quick soak in a stream). I’m prone to sweaty feet and appreciate the breathability of non-waterproof trail runners, but even on uphills during a warm and sunny afternoon my feet never felt like they were sweltering in these. The Gore-Tex lining came in handy when crossing small streams and was particularly appreciated when walking through a few inches of wet snow. Similar conditions a few months later during a trip to a hot springs in Idaho saw the Cascadias working well in the same conditions, as well as when hiking through overgrown stretches of trail. They also gripped well on dusty and eroded sections of creekbank which, at one time at least, had a trail along it. Subsequent trips with more cross-country travel, including some particularly rough sections through recovering burns, put some wear and tear on these shoes. Extended use in such conditions rapidly wears out the less rugged parts of the shoes, with the mesh areas and spots where one piece of fabric transitions to another being the most vulnerable. While the performance in full-blown bushwhacks is reasonably good (a pair of gaiters is almost essential for keeping our debris), it is best to avoid using these when in rugged off-trail terrain due to how rapidly it reduces the lifespan of these shoes. As a backpacker and not an orthopedic expert, I can’t comment with much authority or intelligence on the various merits of the shoes relatively standard 10mm midsole drop or its “neutral” support. All I know is that for someone with no major footwear preferences, no foot issues, or other special considerations that the shoes performed slightly above my more-or-less average expectations. One nifty feature that I truly appreciated was the elastic stash pocket on the front of the tongue to tuck the laces into. This clever design provides a place to keep laces out of the way, which was helpful when putting on gaiters as well as when trail running to provide some additional peace-of-mind about tripping over them or having them snag on an errant branch or root. At 12.3 ounces (each) the Cascadias are light enough to not feel burdensome when on the trail and, after changing into fresh socks and opening up the laces, function decently as a camp shoe once you’re done hiking for the day. Based on my experiences with the 13s, I plan to buy at least another pair when the 14s inevitably are released and they are marked down for closeout. And I’d say that it’s likely you can count me in for the 15s, 16s, and 17s as well. The Brooks Cascadia is available in both a Gore-Tex and mesh version starting at around $130. Find them here at REI, at Backcountry.com, and on Amazon.com.
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