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Category Archives for "Backpacking Tips"

The Buyer’s Guide to The Best Portable Water Purifier

When buying portable water purifiers, there are plenty of things to consider. I personally have tried multiple portable water purifiers in the past few years, and there were a lot of wrong purchases along the way. I’m into portable water purifiers because my family spends a lot of time outdoors. We go hiking, fishing, biking, and other types of outdoor sports together. Thus, portable water purifiers are really handy for us. I will be discussing which portable water purifier is best for each type of situation. Plus, I will also be discussing its different features. So without further ado, here are some of the best portable water purifiers together with their pros and cons.

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Appalachian Trail thru Hike Planning: You Need to Know What Matters

It’s been years since my first hike. From then on, I have met friends, tracked nearby trails and gained the skills and experience that any backpacker should have. Yet, my heart never stops longing for more. That’s when I joined my group for another epic adventure.

Are you ready to tread on the famous Appalachian Trail? The trip won’t be easy, but conquering it sure is worth every sweat and penny I’ve saved. If by any chance, you are planning to go, let me share with you some facts on Appalachian Trail thru-hike planning. 

I did it, I’ve been there!

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Hiking Half Dome Tips: Make it to the Top!

It has been years since this trip was on my bucket list. I cannot believe I just did it! I hiked the rough terrains of the Yosemite National Park and came out victorious. I am glad for the hiking Half Dome Tips that my backpacking mates gave to me. My outdoor experience just hit another high mark!

I never said it was easy. In fact, it was terrifying and exciting at the same time. When I was about to give up, the beauty of the waterfalls along the path gave me the strength to go on. Moreover, when I reached the top, the scenery was breathtaking.

On that very day, as a hiker, I made it to the top!

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How to Waterproof a Backpack for $2 or Less

When it comes to hiking, preparedness can make or break a trip. No matter how stable the weather or how familiar you are with the area, it’s always advisable to pack for the worst.

One thing that I’ve always contended with is unexpected moisture. Rain, fog, or mist could form suddenly. There’s also a chance of passing through a surprise water supply. You could also encounter puddles left by previous precipitation.

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Duck down VS Goose Down: Know What You Need to Pick

Before, I did not know about duck down or goose down. I wear my down jacket and appreciate its warmth. Yet, as I become so engrossed in hiking and camping, I became so particular about the quality of the clothes I wear.

As a backpacker, I am a bit obsessed with the comfort my jackets brings since I often camp in the wild and sleep outdoors. Eventually, I learned about the down clusters as insulation in my favorite winter jackets.  Now, on Duck down VS Goose Down, which one is better?

I tell you, it is best that you know what you need to pick.

The Difference between Duck down and Goose Down

Down traps the heat and flows warm air all over my body serving as a shield between the cold and me.  It matters a lot to me since it is the most comfortable, warm and light of all insulation I have tried.

  • Fill Power

Goose clusters are naturally bigger than the duck. The goose being literally larger than the duck may be the reason behind. Because of this, the goose fill power is famous for being more robust and long-lasting than those of the duck’s.

The age of the bird is also a factor to consider. The older the birds, the more fill power they can give. The longer the bird lives, the better developed the cluster becomes.

I can imagine manufacturers sorting out the different type of clusters to provide different range fill powers and content. When it comes to outdoor gear, average fill power starts at 500 while top-end gears are about 900.

Do you want to learn more about fill power? Here is a video explaining its details.

  • Odor

Goose only eats grass and other types of leaves. Ducks, on the other hand, almost eat anything. Because of this difference, goose tends to have less problem regarding odor compared to ducks.

Down are organic materials, and the presence of fat and oil is the reason it smells. No matter how clean the jackets will be, you cannot avoid sensing some slight scent.

  • Price

The price is actually dependent on the quality of the product. Because of the fill power and the odor issue, goose down is expensive than ducks. However, when by chance I get a high-quality duck down, it could be the other way around.

Besides, price tends to fluctuate because of the availability of the clusters. In seasons that that bird consumption is low, there is not enough supply so the price will naturally go up. As I realize, people eat ducks more that goose. Another reason why ducks are cheaper than a goose.

Of course, I must also consider price factors like budget and your specifications.

  • Durability and Insulation

Goose and duck down provide the same comfort when it comes to insulation. Literally, the feathers have an equal physical structure that is important for a useful insulator. If I take good care of my jackets, for sure, both type will last very long.

Nevertheless, do you know that the fat and oil content of the down affects its durability? There must be enough fat and oil to trap the heat and ensure warmth. Therefore, if it happens that the down is “over-washed” during production, it will drain the oil along with it. The result will be a brittle and dry output that is vulnerable to break down.

Besides the goose or duck down, you also need to consider a reliable brand to ensure durability.

The Truth Behind Down Jackets

I told you that I am hooked with down jackets. I got a collection of them. It is warm and light, perfect for a backpacker.  I often go to extremes while camping, so I need them.

However, the controversy behind live plucking to support the industry is too inhumane for me. I cannot take the cruelty the birds are suffering because of my down jackets. I guess this issue is still open until now and whatever the truth comes out, I still hope that it would be in favor of the birds.

Final Thoughts

Now that I have learned the facts behind when I think about Duck down VS Goose Down, I do not see a big difference in contrary to what I expected. I am most particular with the insulation and the price when it comes to decision making. As I have discovered that goose and down can be equal about their quality of insulation, it all goes down to price.

With the right manufacturer, I believe that duck down is practical to buy than the goose. With the same warmth, it can offer, I still pick the product that can fit into my budget. However, we have different priorities. My choice may contradict yours.

I am curious on how it goes with you. Can you post some comment and tell me what you think about duck down VS goose down?

Best Insoles for Hiking: Reviews and Buying Guide

Going on hikes has always been one of my favourite ways to unwind. Being away from the city and getting that breath of fresh air gives me a relaxing feeling. However, there are times when the pain from hiking distracts me from the beauty of the great outdoors. I get blisters, foot aches, and hot spots that restrain me from enjoying my activities. Luckily, insoles can make things a hundred times better. Here are my top 5 picks of the best insoles for hiking:

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Find Out Which Tops the Best Hiking Backpacks under 100 Dollars

I've heard a lot of people who say that hiking is a costly activity to get into. I beg to disagree. Let me give you one good reason - you don’t need to shell out a lot for a hiking backpack. In this article, I will list down the best hiking backpacks under 100 dollars.

S. No​​​​

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Product Name

Score

1

via amazon.com

OutdoorMaster Hiking Backpack

94
/100

2

via amazon.com

Mountaintop 40-liter Unisex Hiking/Camping Backpack

92
/100

3

via amazon.com

NEEKFOX Lightweight Packable Travel Hiking Backpack

90
/100

4

via amazon.com

AmazonBasics Internal Frame Hiking Backpack with Rainfly

96
/100

OutdoorMaster Hiking Backpack

via amazon.com

Durable and easy to carry with lots of room for your stuff, the OutdoorMaster 50-liters hiking backpack is without a doubt the best affordable hiking backpack today. It’s very versatile. I've used it not only as a hiking backpack but also as a carry-on luggage. It's lightweight and easy to carry around.

There’s plenty of room inside this backpack for a few days’ worth of clothes. The backpack even has a padded laptop compartment which can accommodate a netbook up to 15.6 inches in size. While you won't likely be bringing a laptop outdoors, you would appreciate the space that this pack offers.

There are also small and large pockets that you can use to store your various things. I found its side pockets big and strong enough to hold water bottles.

I think you won’t have problems carrying this backpack around. Its shoulder straps are well padded and spared my body from getting sore. There’s also a waist belt to distribute the weight to that part of the body. The mesh ventilation also helped me stay cool even after hours of trekking.

This backpack is made of durable yet lightweight nylon. I found it easy to clean. Nylon is also a pretty sturdy material that should last a long time.

It's my first pick because it has plenty of room, easy to carry, durable and reasonably priced. You can't go wrong with this pack. 

Pros

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    It is made of durable and lightweight nylon
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    It has plenty of room and pockets for storing various items
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    It is comfortable to carry
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    The backpack has a padded compartment for a 15.6-inch laptop

Cons

  • There’s no hole for headphones to go through
  • Belt strap is a bit thin

Mountaintop 40-liter Unisex Hiking/Camping Backpack

via amazon.com

Available in 12 colors options, the Mountaintop 40 liters unisex hiking backpack is a great alternative for people who find the OutdoorMaster backpack dull with its limited color choices.

But this hiking backpack is not only about style. It's durable, spacious, and comfortable to carry around as well.

This backpack has plenty of room for your stuff. Aside from the spacious room that the main compartment offers, it has two front pocket pouches and two mesh bottle pouches. There is also a hip belt pocket and a bladder sleeve for your various items.

It has a padded shoulder strap that can make carrying a lot easier. It's made of water-resistant nylon and polyester that can repel water and keep your things inside dry. And there is a whistle buckle which you can use to call the attention in case of an emergency.

If you feel that the OutdoorMaster is big for you or you're not fond of its design, I suggest you get this one instead. 

Pros

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    It has enough room and compartments to hold clothes for a few days of hiking
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    The padded shoulder strap is designed to promote comfort when carrying it
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    Made of nylon and polyester fabric that's both water-resistant
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    Available in 12 colors choices

Cons

  • Not enough pockets for small items
  • It is suited more for small people

NEEKFOX Lightweight Packable Travel Hiking Backpack

via amazon.com

If you are just backpacking for 1-2 days, then there's really no reason to buy a large backpack like the OutdoorMaster pack. I suggest that you consider getting this pack instead. It's an ultra lightweight hiking backpack that has a 35-liters capacity and can hold clothes for a couple of days.

I love that this pack can be folded, making it an ideal airport carry-on and help you save on overweight charges in the process. When folded, it measures 8.6 inches by 10 inches by 1.18 inches.

Despite being lightweight and compact, this hiking backpack has enough room for your stuff. There's one main compartment which can hold several clothes and a couple of zip pockets up front. There are also two mesh side pockets where you can slip your water bottle and other items.

This backpack is also designed to make it comfortable for users to carry it around. I appreciate its breathable shoulder straps that are easy to adjust. The backpack itself is durable and capable of enduring heavy loads.

This pack is also made of water-resistant nylon so I believe you won't have to fear about your stuff getting wet when you use it. 

Pros

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    It can be folded
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    It can repel water
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    It is easy to carry because it's small and lightweight
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    Enough pockets for small items

Cons

  • It can hold clothes for 1-2 days only
  • A bit small so maybe awkward for big people to carry

AmazonBasics Internal Frame Hiking Backpack with Rainfly

via amazon.com

This is the backpack I would recommend if you're willing to spend more. I feel that this is the best in this list but it's slightly more expensive than the other backpacks. With a 65 liter capacity, it is more than capable of carrying clothes and items for up to 5 days of hiking. Despite that, this hiking backpack is lightweight and easy to carry around.

It is well-designed to fit all body sizes. This backpack has an adjustable and secure fit around the torso, distributing its weight well in the process. The waist belt is adjustable just like the straps at the shoulder. There is also sufficient padding in the lumbar area.

This backpack has a water-resistant exterior coating. The rainfly, meanwhile, is designed to prevent water from getting inside. If the rains become more intense, you can use its waterproof cover to keep your items dry.

And since this hiking backpack is designed for almost a week of hiking, it has a compartment for storing your sleeping bag.

To sum things up, this pack is what I would get if I have a bigger budget for a hiking backpack.

Pros

  • It is big enough to store clothes and items for up to 5 days of hiking
  • It is lightweight and easy to carry despite its volume/capacity
  • It has a sleeping bag compartment
  • It has a rainfly and waterproof cover to keep items inside dry and protected

Cons

  • It's fairly expensive compared to the other backpacks in the list
  • Just one zipper for the rear compartment

How to Choose the Best Hiking Backpack

Choosing a hiking backpack can be daunting at first especially if you have no idea about the kind of backpack you need. Don’t worry as I will help you better understand what you need for your hiking trip.

The following are the things you have to consider in shopping for a hiking backpack:

Capacity

via amazon.com

Here’s something you should know about carrying backpacks - up to 90% of the weight will be carried on your hips. Thus, padding is crucial especially if you intend to carry a heavier backpack. Look for sufficient padding not only in the hips but also in the shoulders as this can make it less tiring for you to carry the backpack.

If you are to camp out during the summer, you should also look for a backpack with mesh lining to make the bag more comfortable to carry around. Those packs with framing systems designed to keep the back panel away from the skin can also keep you cool in warm weather.

Frame

Most backpacks have an internal frame. These backpacks are intended to hug the shape of the user’s body, dispersing the load in the process. There are also backpacks designed to transfer the load weight to the hips, making the pack easier to carry around.

There are also packs with an external frame. These are ideal for hikers who would carry heavy loads. While backpacks with external frame offer good ventilation, I can say that it’s a bit hard to find this kind of pack on the market today.

Frameless backpacks are best for hikers who want a lightweight pack. These packs are also easier to transport. But the disadvantages include lack of support and a lower capacity for storing gear. 

Materials

I would also recommend that you consider the material from which the backpack is made of. Canvas is a material commonly used in backpacks because it is durable. Nylon is also a good choice as it is inherently lightweight and sturdy.

Features

via amazon.com

From pockets to compartments, there are key features that can make or break your buying decision. For example, pockets mean more storage options especially for small items like a wallet and phone. There are essential pockets you should find in a backpack, like the hip belt pockets.

These are pockets where you can put your phone, GPS and even snacks. Since these pockets are close to you, there’s no need to stop and take off your backpack to get your stored essentials.

Side pockets, too, are important. These are useful in keeping your water bottle. It may also be the place to keep sandals. Front pockets, on the other hand, can be the storage area for your map or even a dry jacket.

Certain backpacks also have lid pockets for stashing small items like gloves which can be handy when you are going to a cold climate territory.

Compartments, too, are important. The main compartment is typically the largest space and where items like clothes, food, and tent are stowed. More and more packs are also being equipped with sleeping bag compartments typically found at the bottom of the backpack.

There are other features that can make a backpack more versatile. For instance, external straps would let you carry gear on the outside of the backpack. These straps are typically found near the bottom, sides, or front of the backpack. You can use these straps in attaching tents or sleeping pads. Straps and loops are also useful in attaching hiking poles to the side or front of the backpack.

These are basically the most important factors you need to consider in shopping for a hiking backpack.

To give you a better appreciation on how to shop for a hiking backpack, you may want to watch this: 

Conclusion

The OutdoorMaster Hiking Backpack is undoubtedly the best in this list. It's a lightweight, affordable, easy to carry and spacious backpack that you can use for several days of trekking.

In terms of capacity, durability, weight, and price, this backpack clearly beats the three other picks. I highly recommend this pack.

But if you're on a budget, the 40-liters unisex hiking backpack from Mountaintop is a good alternative. It's a bit small, though, compared to the OutdoorMaster Hiking Backpack.

The NEEKFOX lightweight travel backpack is also a cheaper and smaller option. It's a good choice if you only intend to be away for 1-2 nights and you aren't inclined to spend more on a backpack.

The AmazonBasics internal frame hiking backpack may be the most expensive but arguably the best in quality. I suggest that you get it if you're not really concerned about the price.

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