GSMNP PHGT, Part 2: Enlightened Equipment Stronghold Mittens

This is the second part of my GSMNP Post Hike Gear Talk (PHGT) series. As I mentioned in Part 1, I have decided to split this PHGT post up into 3 separate posts so that a little more attention can be focused on each individual item. I have decided to do this because some of my cold weather gear doesn’t get as much talk time here on my blog since I don’t get to use them as much as most of my other gear, but now they will. So, in this second part I have decided to highlight my Enlightened Equipment Stronghold mittens. Continue reading

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GSMNP PHGT, Part 1: ZPacks 20F Sleeping Bag

I am going in a bit of a different direction than I normally do with this Post Hike Gear Talk (PHGT) post. Typically I post once and discuss a number of items I carried on a given hike, however, many of those items are often times mentioned in my PHGT entries (or have their own post elsewhere own my blog). Now that doesn’t mean that those items don’t deserve continued discussion, but there are a few items I wanted to highlight from this hike that I have not mentioned much, or even at all, so I decided to break this PHGT entry up into 3 separate parts. I felt that each of these 3 items deserved their own post so that they didn’t get lost in the sea of all the other items. And since my most recent hike was a colder than normal hike, I wanted to focus on a few items that I relied on to actually keep me warm. So, part 1 of this PHGT series will be covering my ZPacks 20F Sleeping bag. Continue reading

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2016 GSMNP Thanksgiving Hike


While many folks decided to go “Black Friday” shopping this Thanksgiving weekend, a few of us decided to #optoutside instead! In the weeks before the hike, I proceeded to go through all the motions of someone getting ready for a much-needed few days out backpacking! However, this time, it wasn’t just me I was going through the motions for… both my kids were coming along too! As well, one of my coworkers whom has never been backpacking before was going too, so we had to piece together a kit for him. And of course my good buddy Benny Braden (Plug it in on the Appalachian Trail) and his son were also coming along, so we had plenty to get arranged before the time arrived. Continue reading

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Custom GooseFeet Gear Down Anorak First Impressions

Over the last few years I have purchased a few items from Ben Smith at GooseFeet Gear, namely my down socks, my pillow set-up, and my (custom-sized) down pants. When first unboxing these items, I immediately loved them, but where they really earned their keep was on the trail. When the temperatures drop, nothing is better than being wrapped up in a cluster of downy goodness, and that is exactly what the GooseFeet Gear items did for me. On those cold nights, they made me feel like I was wrapped up in a warm, fluffy cloud! Continue reading

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PHGT: October 2016 Mt Roger’s/Grayson Highland Hike


I recently finished a hike in the Mt Roger’s/Grayson Highlands area in VA with my good buddy Benny Braden (Plug It In on the AT). But, this hike was a bit different from my previous hikes from the get-go… While this backpacking adventure did follow the Appalachian Trail for most of it, this hike wasn’t necessarily about the Appalachian Trail, as many of my other hikes have been. This hike was simply about spending some time in this particular area of the world. And it wasn’t about the miles either… Over the 3 days we spent here we only hiked around 22-ish miles, total. This trip was meant to be more of a camping adventure, with some exploring, and that is pretty much what it ended up being! Continue reading

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October 2016 Mt Roger’s & Grayson Highlands Hike


020-mt-rogers-hike-20Last Friday morning I woke up early… like 4 am early (yeah, I know that’s not super early…) I had already packed away some things in my car, but not all. I showered, dressed, then grabbed the ice from the freezer, some beers and cheese from the fridge, and finished loading my car. Then I drove… Continue reading

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