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Outdoor Gear

  • Fishing - What Should I Wear?

    Posted on May 25, 2006 by Justin

    A few years ago I ran across what I consider the most practical fishing rain wear I've seen. The company that makes the rainwear is called Frog Toggs. What makes this rain gear so practical is that it is very light, very breathable and it packs down to a fairly small size. The problem with most rain wear that you will find is that not only is it waterproof, it also does not breathe. It is like climbing into a plastic bag an sealing it shut around your body. Low breath ability means that your body is going to sweat profusely. According to Frogg Toggs their rain suits are "constructed with a patented process of three layers of polypropylene material with a center layer of microporous film. Because the pores are 20,000 times smaller than a water droplet, moisture cannot penetrate. Also, our patented seaming process eliminates needle holes and possible water entry. " Because of this unique design, "Body VAPORS ESCAPE while wind and rain stay out."

    I bought a set of Frogg Toggs to give them a test run. I actually found out about them through a friend that is an avid hiker. He loves the Frogg Toggs because they are so light that they don't add any significant weight to his day pack and they prepare him for any unexpected downpours. The rain suit that I bought runs around $59.99. The material is similar to what you find a doctor wearing during an operation. It is very lightweight and almost feels like paper, yet it is very durable. After just a few uses, I'm sold on Frogg Toggs. They fit very loosely and don't restrict your movement at all. And they are so light, that you hardly feel them on you. Best of all, you don't sweat the whole time you're out fishing so you stay completely comfortable. I recommend them to all of my friends. They are nice to take along on any outing where rain showers are possible.

    There is another similar version of this rain suit now available from a company named Dri Ducks. Check them out. You'll love em.


    This post was posted in Fishing, Outdoor Gear

  • First Comes Love, Next Comes Marriage, Then Comes . . . An End to Outdoor Fun?

    Posted on May 3, 2006 by Justin

    Have you recently been introduced to the wonderful world of sleepless nights tending to a newborn? If your newborn is several months old, you’re probably thinking that your whole life has been turned upside down. Gone are the days of fun and adventure with just you and your spouse. The baby gets all of the attention and all you can do is find ways to keep the baby from crying, right? That’s exactly the way I felt a few months after our daughter was born. Don’t get me wrong. I loved everything about our new addition to the family. But, I was starting to wonder if things would ever get back to normal. Not long before the baby, my wife and I were enjoying almost daily hikes through the mountains, campouts in the great outdoors, and a number of other outdoor activities that we both loved. Would the new baby mean an end to all of the outdoor fun?

    Lucky for me the answer was a definite no! After my wife recovered from the trauma of the whole hospital scene and she was tired of being stuck in the house all of the time, we discussed the possibility of our first adventure outdoors with the little one. I realize here that many parents would call me crazy for even mentioning the idea, but just hear me out on this one. With a little planning and the right preparation, you won’t have to say goodbye to all of the fun outdoor activities you used to enjoy.At two weeks old, my wife and I decided that our daughter was ready for a little nature walk. We stopped by a local outdoor store and picked up one of those big wheeled rigs called a “jogging stroller.” Heading up into one of the local canyons, we found a fairly wide hiking trail that wound up through a majestic forest of tall pines and beautiful aspens. While we were not able to hike too far on this first trip, we realized that there were probably plenty more outdoor activities that we could take our daughter on.

    As our daughter became old enough to hold her head up really well on her own, we invested a new kid carrier. A kid carrier is like a backpack that you put your little one in. The one we bought has a nice canopy over the top to protect the child from the sun. This new advancement in outdoor gear really allowed us to get outdoors with a little one. We took on several lighter hikes to test


    This post was posted in Exercise, Outdoor Gear

  • Trekking Poles: How useful can they be?

    Posted on May 3, 2006 by Justin

    If you've been on a hike recently, you probably noticed some of your fellow hikers trekking along with what looks like ski poles in their hands. The first time I passed a fellow hiker on the trail in the Wasatch Mountains of Utah, I commented to my wife how silly it looked "Why would you need to carry along two poles on a hike. It seems like they would only get in the way. How silly!" I said. Over time, I began seeing more and more hikers and backpackers carrying those useless poles. On rocky hikes, I could hear them coming down the trail before I could even see them. Well, that was one piece of gear that I was sure I would never purchase.

    That same winter, I was getting ready for a snowshoeing trip and I purchased 2 sets of telescoping poles made by MSR for my wife and I. I used them a few times for snowshoeing that winter and then put them away. When spring came, my wife and I geared up for the first hike of the season. I had just purchased some ankle gaiters to keep the dust and debris out of my shoes and I was excited to test them out. As I was digging through the rest of my gear I saw the poles and thought, "why not just take them along and see what all the fuss is about." So I tossed them into the back of the car and off we went. At the trailhead, I handed my wife a pair of poles which she blatantly refused. Off we went. I must admit that I felt a little funny hiking along a the flat part of the trail swinging those poles along. They weren't helping me at all. Things changed when we hit a sudden slope. The kind that make your legs swell with blood and burn by the time you reach the top. Now, I am in better shape than my wife, but I made it to the top without even slowing down. She had to stop for a breather before reaching the top. Somewhat convinced of their effectiveness, she took the poles from me on the next hill to give them a try. I didn't get the poles back after that. Needless to say, after just one hike with trekking poles, we were sold on trekking poles. I later bought some Lekisport Absorbers that have a nice cork grip and a built in shock absorber that both dampens the blow of planting the pole and quiets some of the noise that most trekking poles make.

    So, let's look at all of the benefits of hiking with trekking poles. First of all, as I mentioned earlier, you can hike up hills much easier. They help you do this by allowing you to use your arms as another set of legs to thrust you up the hill. Your posture also benefits from trekking poles as you are more inclined to hike standing up straighter rather than bending forward. This ability to use your arms to hike being able stand more upright puts less stress on the legs and, more notably, the knees each time you hike uphill leaving your legs with more energy to hike greater distances without feeling fatigued. While this may seem like the single greatest advantage from using trekking poles, the next benefit can be a real life saver.

    Have you ever been hiking along and stepped on a rock, only to have the rock move causing you to sprain your ankle? Spraining your ankle is like getting a flat tire on your car and not having a spare. You can't just "shake it off" and keep going. If the injury is bad enough, you may require emergency help to get you off the trail. Ankle sprains and fractures as well as knee strains are some of the most common injuries related to hiking and backpacking. More ankle and knee injuries occur during backpacking due to the extra displaced weight being carried. Trekking poles, when used properly, can almost completely alleviate the menace of ankle and knee injuries. With a pole planted firmly on the ground, if you do happen to slip or roll on a rock, you can shift the support of your weight to your arms to prevent a potentially dangerous injury.

    Now that we've discussed the major reasons to use trekking poles, let's talk about some of the little bonuses that you can also enjoy. Have you ever crossed a creek, balancing on rocks or a log as you go? How easy is it to loose your balance and slip in? With trekking poles, you are sure to keep your balance the whole way. Have you ever had some sort of varmint come after you? Trekking Poles can become your first line of defense against these critters. I personally haven't experienced this bonus, but I feel a little more secure having something in my hand to swat at an unwanted guest rather than just my hand. Now, I'm sure that with a little more thought, we could come up with a larger list of additional uses for trekking poles. But we'll pretty much end with one last area of use. In the last few years, there have been many advancements in hiking and backpacking products to make them lighter, thus allowing hikers and backpackers to lighten their overall load. A lighter load means less aches and pains when all is said and done. A lighter load on your back can allow you to wear lighter shoes that do not have as much ankle support. I personally wear some low top nikes that weigh ounces instead of pounds. The use of trekking poles pretty much assures me that I won't sprain an ankle. Wearing lightweight shoes to hike in is like taking five or more pounds off your back. Here again, you will be able to hike farther with less stress on your body. There are also several companies that make tents to utilize your trekking poles as tent poles. As a result, instead of carrying a 5-10lb tent, you can carry a sil-nylon tent that only weights a few ounces and your trekking poles double as your tent poles. This lightens load significantly.

    Are you convinced now? If not, just go to this hiking and backpacking forum on Backpacker.com and type in trekking poles. You'll find countless testimonies from experienced hikers and backpackers on how much they love their trekking poles. So do your legs and ankles a favor and get some trekking poles for your next hike or backpacking trip. If you are still unsure or just don't want to invest a lot of money in some yet, visit a local thrift store. Many thrift stores like salvation army or goodwill carry old ski poles that you can buy for just a few bucks and use them for a test run. Your knees and ankles really will thank you.


    This post was posted in Hiking, Outdoor Gear

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