After sampling multiple closed cell foam and air mattresses on trips ranging from single nights in the Appalachians to multi-day trips on snow, I can confidently say I’m not really sure why someone would use any other camping mattress besides the Therm-a-rest NeoAir Xlite and Xtherm. On 90% of trips, one of those two mattresses will be my go to. But it’s not without its downsides, so I will look to highlight why I personally think the Therm-a-rest NeoAir Xlite is the best mattress on the market but also some of its pitfalls.
Continue reading Therm-a-rest NeoAir Xlite review: best camping mattress on the market
A few days ago I hiked up from the valley in southwest Virginia to scout out rock climbing Tinker Cliffs and check out the possibility of setting up some solid routes. From a mile down in the valley, the possibility for rock climbing on Tinker cliffs appear endless. And up the 3+ mile Andy Layne Trail to reach the summit of Tinker Cliffs, I found exactly that. The beta for the Cliffs is sparse, with the Mountain Project info limited to a few comments on a forum and other sites simply hinting at the possibility. So I wanted to hop up there and see what rock climbing Tinker Cliffs would look like up close.
Continue reading Exploring Rock Climbing Tinker Cliffs
There we were, scrubbing horse crap off my dog, chronicling another installment of the misadventures of Snotty Booger and The Grace Face. Scott held Rosie’s ass in the air as I scrubbed the horse shit off the back of her neck. After a long day of climbing at Pilot Mountain State Park from nearly dawn till dusk, there we were in the park bathroom bathing my dog and she was not happy about it. She tried to wrestle her way out of it, sliding her soap covered paws around the bottom of the small sink with her ass unflatteringly held in the air by Scott. Speckles of horse poo trickled down into the sink and the odor of feces became replaced by the aroma of the cheap hand soap that I scrubbed into her fur. I wasn’t about to put this poopy face mutt back into my backseat for the drive home and was feeling sympathetic toward Scott for having to ride back there with her. In lieu of a knob, the sink had one of those horrible satanic plungers that you have to depress every three seconds to keep the water running. And I honestly struggled to understand how water so cold could remain in liquid form. But hey, guess what you little turd neck, play stupid games, win stupid prizes. I freed her when the soap and poop particles were all gone and she bolted around the bathroom like a maniac, dodging the vicious beastly hand dryer on the wall and shaking as she stormed around. Continue reading Climbing at Pilot Mountain
My granddad just turned 83 a few days ago. And as a former cop, he didn’t get there by being a dummy. He has always taken care of himself, paid attention to risks around him, avoided alcohol, and kept himself busy. I’ll never forget seeing him clearing downed trees in his driveway despite being in his 70s. But one thing that has always stood out to me was how he refused to fly on planes. He had helped clean up a plane crash with the bodies of 74 corpses of young soldiers just outside of Richmond in 1961. But despite improvements on air travel and being told about the safety of flying, he decided he would never accept the risk of it, and there was no changing his mind. Continue reading Assumption of Risk
Last year at this time I was out in Colorado living out of my car climbing 14,000ft peaks. I was single, voluntarily homeless, and smelly. I had left school for a 10 month leave of absence just a couple months earlier and was taking advantage of that time to spend some introspective time out in the backcountry. But this year things have been going a lot differently and I couldn’t be more thrilled about it. Continue reading 3/8 MD
Family and friends of adventurers, we understand shopping for us for the holidays is difficult. We get it that our alternative lifestyle of living out of cars and rucksacks makes us seem foreign to normal people. We don’t wear jewelry or fancy clothes; our gear is honed for very specific purposes; and what you know about us is based on hair-raising stories and Facebook pictures. So I want to help you on what to shop for that special family member who shows up with a ratty beard and uncombed hair for the holidays. I put together a gift list that may help guide your shopping. Continue reading Backpacker gift guide 2016
Trump’s electoral college win this month and the failure of logic and reason to prevent a Trump presidency will probably go down in history as nearly analyzed as much as Hitler’s rise to power. In only two weeks I’ve read proposed hundreds of reasons for his success, from lying news to liberal arrogance. And it’s taken me a while to compose myself enough to analyze it and get past the pure vitriol and disgust I have for anyone who voted for that man. But while we cling to simple answers and quick solutions, and of course if we changed any one element of the campaigns and election, the outcome could have and should have been drastically different. I’m not sure though that my thoughts on the matter constitute a simple answer, because the question I’m asking myself is not how he won, but rather how he got any votes at all. And the answer to that question, the source of Donald Trump’s rise to power stems not from liberal media bias or Hillary’s slip ups, but rather from the ignorance, lack of education, and inability to think critically that plagues humanity. And the only way to prevent another Trump presidency is to combat all those things. Continue reading How to prevent another Trump presidency
Since the election last Tuesday, I’ve been very disoriented and confused and not quite sure what to make of the future of the country and my family. I grew up in a Republican household, my dad is a small business owner and understandably wanted fewer taxes and regulations to allow him to grow his business. My mom listened to Fox and Friends every morning while she drove us to school, CNN was never on, the New York Times was not our daily paper, and my parents had always voted Republican with the exception of our family friend and neighbor, Tim Kaine. I remember growing up thinking Bill Clinton, AL Gore, and John Kerry were entirely unfit for the job of president. But I couldn’t have told you why other than that’s just the way I grew up. But with the recent fear of a Trump presidency and more specifically Trump repealing DACA and their other attacks on marginalized groups in this country, we’ve all drifted from any semblance of understanding of the Republican Party. Continue reading Trump repealing DACA
I came into town just now and saw the secret service was gone. As I was pulling into my parent’s driveway I noticed everything looked different; it looked the way things used to look before Tim’s nomination for VP. The black SUVs were gone, the trailer was gone, the cop cars, and other cars parked outside of my parent’s home were all gone. And with the realization of what that all meant, I couldn’t hold back the tears. I sat in my car for a moment attempting, once again, to comprehend the reality of this situation. And I cried. Continue reading An open letter to Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine
It’s days like this that put it all into perspective. I remember trudging through knee deep mud in New England, fording flooded rivers that threatened to sweep my legs out from under me and send me downstream. I remember hypothermia, the cold rain seeping into the cracks and seams of my rain gear and drenching me to my core. I remember having to hike faster to stay warm, wake up and get moving to stay alive. I remember being wet for day after day after day, throwing away a rotting pair of shoes that had never seen dryness. I ate soggy food with swollen hands slept in wet clothes in a wet sleeping bag. Continue reading Indoors