This episode features my talk with hiking legend Eric Ryback.
Eric hiked the Appalachian Trail in 1969, the Pacific Crest Trail in 1970, and the Continental Divide Trail in 1972. He is recognized as the first person to thruhike the Pacific Crest Trail and the Continental Divide Trail. And he was the first person to achieve what is now referred to as the Triple Crown (for hiking all three of these national scenic trails).
At the young age of 17, Eric kicked off these ambitious journeys with a zealous yearning for personal discovery and high adventure. Because theses trails were also young, this presented Eric with sparse trip-planning resources and an opportunity to help establish some trail routes sections as we know them today.
Anyone interested in hiking and backpacking will certainly be enriched amd inspired by Eric’s legendary hiking adventures.
In this episode I interview, Ammi Borenstein, the Director of Design and Development for Outdoor Research.
Ammi answers use-specifc questions regarding the company’s wide-ranging line of gloves and mittens. He provides thorough details regarding the technical materials included in various handwear models, for protecting the hands in a variety of wilderness situations.
This episode features details regarding cold-weather insulation clothing in the First Ascent line from Eddie Bauer.
To get the facts on layering, insulative clothing, and insight into the history and outdoor gear offerings of Eddie Bauer, I speak with the company’s Director of Technical Outerwear and Technical Sportwear: Andrew Turner.
Andrew has extensive knowledge of Eddie Bauer products and the technology that goes into making them. He’s both experienced in and enthusiastic about getting out into the backcountry.
In this episode I talk with Dick Hentze. Dick is the Chairman of the Board for the Blue Mountain Heritage Trail Association [501(c)(3)].
Dick amd others are working hard to establish a new, long trail for backpackers and other outdoor enthusiasts to enjoy year-round. The Blue Mountain Heritage Trail (BMHT) is a loop trail of approximately 870 miles of remote, scenic wilderness located largely in northeastern Oregon.
The BMHT provides a footpath through one of America’s greatest treasure troves of majestic scenery – complete with a wide variety of wildlife such as antelope, elk, moose, and wolves. Dick presents an open invitation and an exciting opportunity for listeners to get involved in the beginnings of a wonderful new wilderness trail.
This episode features my interview with former British Army Captain Ed Stafford. Ed is in the midst of an expedition of a lifetime – backpacking the entire length of the Amazon River.
Driving himself through constant obstacles and denying fear’s hold on him, Ed’s spending over 2 years trekking thousands of miles of dense jungles, wading chest-deep swamps, and experiencing interesting encounters with various insects, reptiles, fish, indigenous tribes, and more.
What drives him to do this? What gear does he use? How dangerous is this expedition? Listen in for answers to these and other probing questions.
In this episode Lawton Grinter (Disco) and Felicia Hermosillo (P.O.D.) share what it was like to backpack as a couple for over 5,000 miles.
In recent years, the couple hiked both the Continental Divide Trail (see Walkumentary) and the Pacific Crest Trail, living on love, patience, trial and error, and whatever they could fit into their modest backpacks.
Having spent nearly every minute and mile after mile with mere paces between them, the two learned a lot about each other, themselves, and even how to yogi a thing or two. Listen in to laugh, learn, and dream as this adventurous duo shares their memorable journey.
This episode is all about backpacks! Those with questions such as “Which pack should I get?” or “Is this pack big enough?” will be provided a wealth of information to help them with their decision making process.
Brian Frankle of Ultralight Adventure Equipment (ULA) in on board with me to talk about a full-range of topics related to backpacks. Listen in for a generous overview of pack attributes, usage tips, and problem solving.
Whether you’re planning a dayhike or a trek across country, this episode is likely to touch on something that will be of interest and practical application.
This episode features my conversation with author and wilderness cooking enthusiast Laurie March.
Laurie talks with me about her recently published book A Fork in the Trail, and shares some of her wisdom and tips for making backpacking meals more enjoyable.
If your questions aren’t answered in this episode or if you’re just hungry for more, Laurie’s an active member in the Practical Backpacking Forums and is excited about discussing wilderness cooking with you.
In this episode I talk with Len Zanni, one of the co-owners of Big Agnes – a manufacturer of outdoor equipment that prides itself in being “The Mother of Comfort.”
Our conversation specifically focuses on the new Copper Spur tent line. However, I ask Len to share a concise overview of the other tents, bags, pads, and accessories that the Colorado-based company has to offer.
Listen in to learn about Big Agnes gear – including recent product changes and a few hints on what’s to come.
This episode is a double-feature in which I interview the executives of Gossamer Gear. First up, I talk with Grant Sible, the company’s President, about new products and those that are soon to be released. Grant shares the details regarding new ultralight backpacking accessories and the changes and upcoming additions to their pack lineup.
Also featured is a detailed introduction to Gossamer Gear’s new solo 1-pound shelter, The One, by Founder and Chairman Glen Van Peski.
This episode features my conversation with Petra Hilleberg, President and CEO of Hilleberg (USA), about the company’s new Soulo, Allak, and Kaitum 3 shelters.
Petra shares details regarding the construction and features for each of these new models. Listen in to learn about Hilleberg’s light and durable Kerlon fabric, their spacious tunnel and sturdy dome designs, and other real-world-tested features that go into every Hilleberg tent.
In this episode, Francis Tapon shares the exciting details of his extraordinary Yo-Yo of the Continental Divide Trail.
Francis hiked north on the CDT from Mexico to Canada and immediately turned around at the Canadian border and hiked southbound back to Mexico. This first-ever trek covered nearly 6,000 miles and took over 6 months to complete.
Listen in to hear Francis tell his inspiring story, and to learn how he accomplished such an amazing journey. Why did he do it? How did he manage the cold, bears, loneliness, and seemingly endless miles? Which gear worked for him and which didn’t? What life-lessons did he bring back? This episode is packed with candid answers to these and many other questions.
Warning the information in this episode may be lead to a hiking addiction — but if you want more, be sure to check out the journals, photos, and videos on Francis Tapon’s website.
In this episode I “talk gear” with Kristine Carey – Brand Manager for Sierra Designs. For over 4 decades the Colorado based company has been enabling backpackers and other outdoor enthusiasts to venture into the wild equipped with innovative and reliable clothing and gear.
Kristine answers a variety of questions regarding a selection of outerwear, sleeping bags, and tents from the Sierra Designs product catalog.
Listen in to see which of these durable and feature-rich products may be right for you.
This episode features the Western Mountaineering line of sleeping bags. I recently interviewed Gary Peterson, the company’s knowledgeable (and very busy) production manager. Gary wears many hats. He’s directly involved in Western Mountaineering’s sourcing of raw materials and research and development – among other things such as sales and human resources management.
Gary answered an hour’s worth of questions regarding the down, fabric, sleeping bag models, care and cleaning, and even repairs and warranty issues. If you’re interested in the company’s history (over 35 years), you’ll have to visit their website or contact them directly. This podcast is about sleeping bags – excellent ones – and all that goes into making a comfortable, feature-rich bag for people of all shape, sizes, and needs.
This episode features the Pacific Outdoor Equipment line of sleeping mats. Greg Garrigues is the company’s General Manager who is directly involved in product design and development.
Greg is quite knowledgeable about the materials and technology that goes into making comfortable sleeping mats. And he explains the season, gender, size, and genre-of-user specific features that are available in the Pacific Outdoor Equipment line of sleeping mats.
Whether in need of a new backcountry mattress or not, you’re sure to gain some helpful insight and tips from this episode.
In this episode Andrew Skurka answers questions about his long distance hikes and wilderness experiences. Andy became widely known in the backpacking community after the completion of his 11-month, 7,778-mile Sea-to-Sea hiking journey in 2005.
This spring (2007), Andy will begin a 7,000 mile Great Western Loop hike comprised of the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT), Pacific Northwest Trail (PNT), Continental Divide Trail (CDT), Grand Enchantment Trail (GET), Arizona Trail (AZT), and a self-made route across the Mohave and Sonoran deserts of Arizona and California.
Andy put this hike together so that he could set out to see some of the best that the West has to offer. He will journey though 12 national parks and over 75 wilderness areas along the way.
Someone who hikes this many miles certainly has something to say about backpacking gear, experience, and technique. Listen in to hear about Andy’s extraordinary adventures.
In this Gear Mix episode, I’ve included concise interviews with 4 cottage industry gear manufacturers: Brian Frankle of Ultralight Adventure Equipment, Ron Bell of Mountain Laurel Designs, Joe Valesko of Zpacks, and Henry Shires of TarpTent.
Gear Mix 1 features: the new ULA Amp pack, the recently released SUL products of Mountain Laurel Designs, the newly updated Zpacks Z1 pack, and the latest edition to the TarpTent shelter lineup – the TarpTent Contrail.
Are you considering a Pacific Crest Trail thru-hike or wondering what it takes to accomplish this 2,650 mile journey? If so, you’ll want to listen in to Robert Francisco answering important questions regarding this hike through the beautiful and challenging wilderness areas of California, Oregon, and Washington.
Robert is an active volunteer advocate for the Pacific Crest Trail Association (PCTA). And he frequently speaks on topics related to and in benefit of the Pacific Crest Trail. Robert also serves as a mentor – helping others succeed in their goal of hiking this spectacular National Scenic Trail.
The focus of this episode is on the detail-packed planning that is necessary to complete a PCT thru-hike.
This episode features a conversation that I had with Ron Moak. Ron is a long-time lightweight backpacker who’s taken his passion for hiking and gear and invested it into an ultralight packs and shelter manufacturing business: Six Moon Designs.
Ron shares some of his personal hiking experience on popular national trails, and gives detailed information for his company’s unique gear designs.
There are some time-tested tips to be learned from Ron. He’s been backpacking and making gear for decades and has gained a wealth of practical insight from trial and error along the way.
In this episode I talk with Jon Almquist and Lee Getzewich of Mountain Safety Research (MSR). MSR designs, manufactures, and markets innovative adventure gear for outdoor enthusiasts. My conversation with Jon and Lee is focused on snowshoeing and the MSR line of snowshoes. Jon is a MSR Global Brand Manager and Lee is a Product Manager who specializes in MSR’s winter gear. Both are experienced snowshoers and full of helpful information about snowshoeing as it relates to winter backpacking. Want to know more about snowshoeing and the MSR line of snowshoes? Listen in. This episode features a thorough introduction to setting out on a winter backpacking trip – equipped with the traction and advice you’ll need to float (hike) safely on the snow.
This episode features my talk with Buck Tilton. Buck is the co-founder of the NOLS Wilderness Medicine Institute (WMI). He has authored 24 books, including NOLS Winter Camping, and written more than 1,000 magazine articles.
Buck has also been awarded the Paul Petzoldt Award for excellence in wilderness education and the Warren Bowman Award for contributions to wilderness medicine.
Listen in and pick up some of Buck’s useful tips for winter backpacking gear and safety.
In this episode I talk with Joe White and Bryan Wolf. Bryan and Joe are in the midst of a Fall and Winter southbound Appalachian Trail thruhike.
These young men are carrying traditional, durable gear with pack weights that have been as high as 65 pounds. They’ve managed to cut the weight in half along the way, as they’ve become more familiar with their needs and comfort requirements. It didn’t take them long, for example, to send a 12 pound tent home.
Joe and Bryan’s AT thru-hike is also raising awareness and support for the Make a Wish Foundation.
I’m sure you’ll find both of these hikers and what they have to say about their gear and journey both interesting and inspiring.
In this episode I interview Petra Hilleberg. Petra is the President and CEO of Hilleberg USA.
Hilleberg The Tentmaker has been manufacturing all-season tents, by hand, for over 30 years. These tents are well-known for their brilliant attention to detail, durability, and all-season construction.
Petra shares details about several tent designs that are well-suited for backpackers – regardless of the season or weather conditions.
Tips on dealing with condensation and tent care are also discussed.
This episode features a conversation that I had with Demetri Coupounas. Coup, as he’s casually known, is a co-founder and President of a lightweight clothing and gear manufacturing company known as GoLite.
Coup explains the concept and benefits of going light, and brings us up-to-date on the new products that GoLite has to offer.
You’ll also get to know more about Coup as a backpacker, including some details regarding his recent backpacking trips.
In this episode I speak with author and hiker Karen Berger. Karen has hiked thousands of miles, including thu-hikes of the AT, CDT, and PCT, and has authored nearly a dozen helpful books on backpacking related topics.
Karen tells us about her hikes across the USA and Europe, and shares tips on how those who carry heavy gear can reduce their overall pack weight.
Today I spoke with Barry Robertson of Sea to Summit. Barry answers questions regarding several Sea to Summit products that feature various levels of protection, for both backpackers and their gear, from the sometimes unpredictable elements in the backcountry.
Listen in and hear all about Sea to Summit’s pack liners, pack covers, dry sacks, tarp-ponchos, and more.
In this episode you’ll hear my conversation with Laurent Gaudreau (aka Maverick). Maverick has hiked the Grand Canyon, from rim to rim, over 100 times, and is currently attempting to hike it 80 times this year – one complete rim to rim hike for each year of age.
That’s right, Maverick is 80 years old and going strong. When he’s not hiking he’s lifting weights. How many 80 year olds do you know who hike the Grand Canyon and pump iron?
Listen in and hear Maverick discuss his Grand Canyon adventures and the non-traditional gear that he uses.
In this episode I share the conversation that I had with Jeff Knight the CEO and Co-Founder of Granite Gear.
Granite Gear is an innovative manufacturer of backpacks and other outdoor gear products. The focus of my talk with Jeff is on the company’s Ultralight pack series – including the popular Vapor Trail and Nimbus Ozone packs.
[Note: This episode also includes a preview of the new Nimbus Meridian pack.]
Today I met with Justin Lichter, also known by his trail-name Trauma, and his dog Yoni on the Eagle Creek Trail in Oregon. The Eagle Creek Trail is a PCT alternate route that thru-hikers often take because of its amazing scenery – including several spectacular waterfalls.
Trauma and Yoni have been hiking the last 7 months or so as part of a 10,000 mile journey. Their entire trip consists of the Eastern Continental Trail (including the Appalachian Trail), the Pacific Crest Trail, and the Continental Divide Trail.
There are no phones in the wilderness, so I packed up and did the podcast on the trail. You’ll hear the constant flow of the water of Eagle Creek in the background and other occasional sounds. If you listen closely, you’ll even hear from Yoni.
In this episode you’ll hear the conversation that I had with Shana Tarter.
In over 10 years with the Wilderness Medicine Institute (WMI) of the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS), Shana has trained thousands of students and instructors in the prevention, recognition, and treatment of wilderness injuries and illnesses. In her current role as the Assistant Director of WMI, Shana consults for outdoor programs developing medical and evacuation protocols unique to remote environments.
Listen in and hear Shana’s answers to question on topics such as Blister Prevention and Care, Hydration, Personal Hygiene, Snake Bites, Altitude Sickness, and the minimum first aid supplies that should be carried in the backcountry.
In this episode I talk with author, thru-hiker, and world-traveler Francis Tapon on the eve of his PCT southbound thru-hike.
Francis has traveled to over 60 countries and has thru-hiked the entire Appalachian Trail from Maine to Georgia. You’ll hear some of his urban and rural backpacking experiences he’s had around the world, his close call with death in the Olympic National Park in Washington state, and details regarding his gear choices for his Pacific Crest Trail journey.
Francis is also the author of the book Hike Your Own Hike – 7 Life Lessons from Backpacking Across America. He shares an overview of this unique book that merges the lessons he’s learned on his AT thru-hike with practical wisdom for successful living.
You may even learn a secret or two on how to budget and manage an extended backpacking trip of your own. His book is offered at a special price on the Practical Backpacking™ Podcast site.
In this episode, I had the pleasure of talking with Victoria (Tori) Seher. Tori has worked in Yosemite National Park for thirteen years and has worked for the Wildlife Management Branch for the last nine years. As a Wildlife Biologist, Tori oversees the park’s Human-Bear Management Program.
Tori discusses such topics as the importance of proper food storage and what to do when confronted by a black bear.
Dusty and Amy provide hands-on educational workshops and training to help others minimize any adverse impact on natural areas. Their presentations range from an hour-long workshop to a two-day Leave No Trace Trainer Course. They work with a wide range of audiences such as youth and scouting organizations, college students, outdoor guides, land management employees, and various outdoor companies.
During this interview Dusty shares the 7 Leave No Trace principles that form the framework of the Leave No Trace message.
In this episode, I speak with survival and outdoor skills expert Cody Lundin.
Cody has been featured on national and international media programs such as The Today Show, The Discovery Channel, The History Channel, Dateline NBC, and CBC Radio One in Canada.
Cody has been a consultant and/or instructor for various organizations including (but not limited to) FEMA, The Travel Channel, Men’s Health Magazine, REI, the Boy Scouts of America, the United States Forest Service, National Geographic Television, National Geographic Adventure Magazine, The Discovery Channel, and Damascus Trail Days.
In this episode, you’ll hear a recent conversation that I had with Brian Frankle of ULA Equipment in Logan, Utah.
Brian is an accomplished backpacker who, in recent years, has thru-hiked the Pacific Crest Trail, Hayduke Trail, and the Arizona Trail. Brian shares what he carries in his pack, and will tell you all about the packs that he designs and manufactures, with the help of his talented staff, in his 1200 square foot garage.