Backpacking Skills

The History of Ventilated Backpack Frames

A Deuter AirComfort Ventilated Backpack Frame

When internal frame backpacks were first developed in 1967 by Greg Lowe (who later founded Lowe Alpine and LowePro), they were designed to be more formfitting than external frame packs, bringing the load closer to the wearer’s hips, and making it easier to scramble or go off trail. However, it …

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Winter Backpacking Gear List

Mt Guyot (4580') I'll be headed back here to try and get a better view this time!

I believe in creating a new gear list for every trip I take that takes into consideration the environmental conditions (weather, terrain, water, navigation, sunlight, etc) I’m likely to encounter. There was a time when I had one static gear list, but ever since I started hiking year round in …

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The Rest Step – Hiking Footwork

The Rest Step

When I go hiking in winter, I’m frequently climbing a mountain and carrying 2-4 times the amount of gear by weight that I carry the rest of the year. On top of that, I wear double plastic boots that weigh 5lbs per pair, plus crampons that weigh nearly 3 lbs …

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The Extra Things Trip Leaders Carry


I’m really getting into learning how to be a good hiking and backpacking leader. It’s a very different perspective than being a solo ultralight hiker, that’s for sure, but it’s very rewarding to be able to share my love of the outdoors with someone in person. One area I’m coming …

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What is a Ray Way Tarp?

Ray Way Kit Tarp

If you’re starting to think about camping under a tarp, you will probably come across references to something called a Ray Way tarp. This refers to a shaped tarp design developed by Ray Jardine, one of the early proponents of modern ultralight backpacking, and author of the lightweight backpacking classic, …

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Winter Backpacking Food

One of the best things about winter backpacking and mountaineering trips is the food. You can eat just about anything and never feel guilty about it, including these Ritter Sport Bars which pack over 630 calories each! Seriously though, winter nutrition is an important subject if you’re going to be …

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