Sunday, August 31, 2014

Wild Mushrooms: A Good Haul Today!

Today my family and I went out to pick some wild mushrooms out in the woods, and had a particularly good haul.  

This is yet another aspect I love about being outdoors--and that I have written about on this blog before--so I figured why not take some pictures and do a quick video to show off our harvest.  For those of you that are into mycology, you might appreciate this; and for those of you that are not into the somewhat strange world of fungus hunting, perhaps this can shed some light on the subject.  From my experiences I have found that people that are not in the know tend to think that I am crazy for picking and eating odd looking mushrooms, but so long as you know what you are doing and take some simple precautions, it's really not a big deal.  

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Physical Fitness for Long Distance Backpacking: What I Do to Make Hiking (and Life) Easier

Obligatory disclaimer: I am just reflecting on my own personal goals as far as physical fitness is concerned, as well as what exercises and techniques work for me.  Everyone is different, has different needs, physical abilities, genetics, limitations, etc.  Basically, I am just talking about what level of fitness I want to maintain and how I go about doing that.  I'm not a doctor or a trainer, just my opinion, don't sue me, etc.

I just shot a video where I spoke at length on the subject at hand, and where I cover a lot of ground, so I'll begin with the video this time and then move on to writing the rest of this text.  Please watch the video first before moving on with this article:

Thursday, August 21, 2014

El Saco Rojo: My MYOG / DIY Summer Sleeping Bag and Winter Extra-Warm Sleeping Bag Liner

Finally got around to it after months of planning and then trying to find time to actually make it.  I wish I had a cool name for it, as it's kind of a mouthful to say, looking at the title above.  I guess I can name it now.  So let's check out "Saco Rojo," shall we:

On the scale above it's in a Zpacks Cuben drybag, which weighs 16g--so the total weight of Saco Rojo is 311g / 11oz.  

Pretty light as far as sleeping bags go, but actually a bit heavier than I thought when I planned this project on paper.  Several months ago I wrote that I thought it would be around 250g.  But oh well, sometimes it's hard to make an accurate estimate of weight, especially things like fabric and insulation.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

All of Cesar's Ultralight Backpacks: Specifications, Comparisons, and First Impressions of a New Pack

What you see above you are all of the backpacks that I own and use for wilderness backpacking.  What will follow below will be a full analysis/breakdown of each pack, with specs, history, pros, cons, and when I (or my wife) would use them.  The shinny new green pack in the middle is my brand new custom built Zero from Zpacks, and at the end of this text I will have a video I did with my first impressions of this pack, as well as a brief comparison to my old custom Zero (second one on the left above).

For me having these five packs is a complete collection for all my wants/needs when it comes to wilderness backpacking.  As I have noted before, I go on trips regularly at least once a month all year round, and trips range from overnight to a week.  Plus I intend on if anything, going backpacking more as my children get older and I regain free time.  But not only does this cover all my bases, these packs on occasion are used by my wife.  

I currently have no interest in buying any other backpacks until I run one of these five into the ground, or if one somehow gets very damaged, etc.  And I'd probably just buy an identical or very similar replacement.  Of course things and minds can change, but I doubt that I am going to want/need another pack for a long, long time.  I must admit, feels pretty good :)

I'll begin with the smallest pack by volume (#1) and work my way up to the largest (#5)--or left to right as you can see them neatly arranged above.  If you are interested in reading a long-term review of pack #2 and a first impression of pack #4 from last year (September 2013), you can do so here.  

I'll begin with telling you the name of the packs you're looking at, in case you are unfamiliar with them: