Friday, March 28, 2014

Winter Is Over, Now What?

Spring time is finally here which means the snow is melted or is still melting, warmer-ish weather is on the way and it is time to hit the trail, if you are not a deep-snow hiker. We don't get much snow here in Atlanta, but I have seen quite a bit of the Christmas Dust up on Springer from time to time. We like backpacking in the cold weather, in fact, I would love to wake up one morning to find an inch or so of snow covering my rain fly while I hang warm and toasty above the ground in my hammock.

The closest we came to this was in March of 2011. we were up on Springer and the wind was fierce. I mean it was whipping around Springer mountain at about twenty miles an hour or so. Usually when we camp, we are all pretty good about setting up our hammocks and other shelter, but during this trip, it took two people to help one guy with the rain fly setup. the wind was just so bad, it was quite difficult to stake down the rain fly.

Once got set up, the temperature dropped fast and later that night a thick fog bank rolled in. Fog is moisture. so when you mix moisture with fifteen degree air, well, the fog froze to the trees. Here is a YouTube video of the trip. it is not the best video, but you can get an idea of what the weather was like. The fog hit the trees and froze, and more fog, froze, then more fog froze, and we woke to what looked like crystals on the trees and it looked like a winter wonderland.

Once the sun broke, the crystals started to melt and fall from the trees. It sounded like rocks hitting the shelter's roof. it was wild.

Anyhow, now that the colder weather is gone, it's to take out the gear and plan more trips for the year. I have had some health issues so I have not been in a while but 2014 looks like it's going to be a great year. So, how do you get ready for the year's trips you have planned?

Here is what I do.

Organize

 For me, organization is key. How can I knowwhat I have if I don't know where it is? I try to keep all my gear in the same place so when I get ready to plan a trip, I have all my gear at close reach.

Containers are all together.
Fire-making tools together
Shelters together (bought hammocks and DIY hammocks)
Knives
Water Filter and bags

I group all my ger together in my closet except for the items that stay in the pack. I have a few items that stay in the pack, but once a year I drag them out and put them with the rest of my gear so I can see what all I have.

Clean

If any gear needs to be cleaned, I clean it and make sure all the gear is in working order. I test the stove to make sure none of the ports have clogged up. I make sure all my knives are sharpened to a nice edge. I air out my hammocks, rain fly, and my sleeping bag. You know, just general maintenance stuff. I always clean my water bottles, bags, and wash my clothes after every trip, and air out my other gear after each trip as well, but this gets me excited about going and puts the fire in my gut to hit the trail.


Weigh

As a Gram Weenie, I am fanatical about the weight of everything in my pack so I weigh it all, all the time, prior to every trip. That's just me and this is part of my annual routine. as long as I am aware of the gear in my pack as well as the weight of each item, I fell comfortable that I am carrying the lightest pack I can carry.

Organize -again

After I go through the gear, I organize again. the organizing part of my routine is a living organism as I am constantly re-working my gear closet in attempt to reach the perfect order. It my not ever happen, but this allows me to be able to put my hand on every piece of gear I have so I know what I have and where it is.

I'm sure you have your routine that you go through each year, what do you do on a regular basis to get your gear -self -friends ready for the trip?

Comment and share your ideas.

Mike and I hope to see ya on the trail  -Steve

Sunday, March 23, 2014

REI Dividends are in

I got my REI Dividend letter yesterday. With so much going on in my life I had forgotten about them. It was quite a nice surprise. I will tell you that.

If you are not familiar with the REI Dividend program, let me say this:

From the REI site you can find all the information you want. Go to REI.com and click on the MEMBERSHIP tab, then click on the Membership Benefits link just below.

Among one of the benefits, you get 10% back in all your purchases. you get special deals, sales on used gear, and a lot more.

Check them out, and join. the cost is $20 for a LIFTIME membership. You really can't beat that.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Book Signing This Weekend

Hey, Y'all. I am excited to say that my book signing will be this Saturday at the preppers vault, here in GA, for my book "12 Steps To A Lighter Pack". If you are wanting to lighten your pack just a lil' bit, check out my book. It is is on Amazon for just $0.99.

If you are at all into prepping for some sort of apocalypse, the guys at the Preppers Vault can help you out as well. They have anything you can think of to take care of all your prepping needs.

840 Ernest W. Barrett Pkwy Suite 100 Kennesaw, Georgia 30144

If you are in the area, swing by and say hey. You can also stock up on food, water bricks, and solar chargers as well. They have it all. They have backpacks, paracord, knives, amo, and a ton of other stuff as well.