John’s first backpack is now a museum piece. Sandy went through a variety of packs before settling on the comfortable Osprey Ariel. Here’s what we now carry, and why.
Our essential gear
What's in our gear closet? These are items that we won't go without when we're hiking, camping, backpacking, and traveling to outdoor destinations. Some we received for review and liked them so much we use them all the time. We'll add the full list eventually!
Just before we left for our last Appalachian Trail adventure, we decided to carry only a single bag for the two of us. We’d spent hours trying to see if any of our existing sleeping bags would zip together. Five or six bags later, we had no matches. With only a few weeks before we’d […]
Having received a Blender Bottle GoStak to test some months ago, we’ve been trying to figure out uses for it while backpacking. As hard as we tried, we just couldn’t find a use for them in our very weight-conscious backpacks. It’s just hard to beat a lightweight inexpensive zip closure plastic bag. However, not all […]
John trail-tests the Columbia Omni-Freeze Zero T-shirt after being introduced to the new fabric by a Columbia rep at the grand opening of REI Jacksonville.
If it’s tick season, or if it’s going to be wet and muddy, we break out our Dirty Girl Gaiters. Here’s why we don’t leave home with this piece of gear.
After months of using my Dorcy headlamp as just an everyday flashlight, the opportunity finally came to give it a real test. I headed off on the Florida Trail with the Dorcy 41-2093 as my do-everything light. Winter is the best time to hike in Florida. Cooler, and often with less bugs. But with winter […]
In the spring of 2011, I was sent a Hydrapak for gear testing. Since I was headed out for a week’s worth of travel, I decided to pull out the hydration portion – bladder and tubes – and use the pack as my camera bag for my SLR and general day pack for hiking and […]
After trying an array of camp stoves over the years, from Whisperlite to Zip and Esbit, I found the Jetboil. Now I feel comfortable cooking in the woods again.
My primary boot for backpacking in Florida is the Keen Targhee II hiking boot. They are waterproof – which means they’re good anywhere but in a deep swamp – and provide excellent ankle support. They look sharp enough for a wedding, too.
Can you go lightweight on your feet when hiking? John explains his trial and error with lightweight options and preferences for when to wear lightweight shoes and sandals