Anatomy of a Hike

I thought I would share my resources and techniques for planning a hike. I live in Seattle and most often hike in the Western Cascades.

First of all, I check the weather report. That helps to decide when and where to go and what to pack, not to mention if you should head that way at all. First and foremost hiking is recreation. The idea is to enjoy the journey and come home safely to do it over and over again. In my humble opinion, no destination is worth a critical injury or death. Never feel bad about canceling your plans or turning around when things aren’t right.

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Ultralight Backpacking Basics

Long before I got into my fascination with bicycles, I discovered ultralight backpacking. In my younger days a typical weekend load could hover around 50 pounds and it was just plain miserable. Gear and techniques have changed greatly over the years and I can now head out with a total load of 20 pounds or so. Ultralight folk use the term base weight to describe the weight of all their gear not including consumables, like water, food and cooking fuel. My 3-season base weight varies from 8-12 pounds per the season (read insulated clothing and sleeping gear) and shelter options I choose. As you lighten your load, you will start to feel the snowball effect and find the need for a heavy pack and boots is offset. You can hike farther and faster with less effort, giving you more time to enjoy the views, or take an afternoon nap in a sunny spot.

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Dirtbag Instant Dog Backpack Bike Panniers

I’ve been thinking about designs for small paniers to carry tools, spare tube and patch kit and my bike lock. I was getting my dog ready for a hike and was putting a backpack on him and the light bulb went on: dog packs are just small saddlebags with a panel at the top just about the same width as the deck on a bicycle rear rack. I tried it on my bike for size and sure enough, it was like a custom made item.

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