Camping Gear Review: Eureka Casper

De Soto National Forest, just thirty minutes north of Biloxi, Mississippi, is one of my favorite spots to camp in the Gulf South.  The area is home to over 518,000 acres of national forest and peppered with primitive and managed campsites.

Last weekend I trekked to one of my favorites, POW lake, to take a brief respite from Mardi Gras.  The area formerly housed German prisoners of war during World War II. Today, it features a small bass-filled lake, a primitive camping site, and a couple of gorgeous camping trails.

While there, I debuted my new sleeping bag, the Casper from Eureka.  I’ve never had a mummy bag before, so I was excited to see how the Casper stacked up against other sleeping bags I’d used in the past.

Comfort Level

Casper From Front

The Casper is one of three models in Eureka’s high-performance mummy series.  With a temperature rating of 15 degrees Fahrenheit, it is positioned between the Kayce (0 F) and the Silver City (30 F).  Since I live in Louisiana, I’m rarely camping in weather under 30 degrees.  However, I still opted for the Casper over the Silver City, as I’d rather be too warm then too cold when it comes to sleeping in the outdoors.

On the evening that I used the Casper, the temperature was in the high 40s with a light rain.  I was sleeping in a one-man tent, the Eureka Solitaire (see my earlier review).  For the weather, the Casper was perfectly snug. Though I started the night with my sweatshirt on, the sleeping bag kept me warm enough that I took it off during the evening.

The Casper features Eureka’s Rteq insulation, which is a proprietary blend of 4 unique polyester fibers.  The interior is soft and cushy.  I was sleeping without a air mattress and felt that the bag gave me an extra cushion from the ground.

Casper Hood

Though I didn’t use the hood for more than a few minutes, as it wasn’t cold enough, it warmed my head sufficiently.  More importantly, at least for me, the trapezoidal foot box was ergonomically suited for snuggling up in a tight space.  One of my biggest beefs with sleeping bags is the awkward position they often orient your feet toward, but the Casper didn’t fall victim to this flaw. My one-man tent gives me limited room to maneuver, but I didn’t have any problems slipping in and out of the Casper, even in the  dark.

Additional Features

In my opinion, the core functionality of a sleeping bag is for sleeping, not for a repository of bling, bells and whistles.  The Casper’s only flair is a sole internal pocket, where I stored my phone for the night.  It worked well and also features a hook and loop closure that ensures items stay in place during slumber.

The Anti-Snag Zip Guard

I’m terrible with zippers, literally a mess.  I still have painful childhood memories of snagging my sleeping bags to the point of no return.  So, I was stoked to give the anti-snag guard a solid test.  I zipped the Casper up and down with reckless abandon and the experience was a snag-free one.

Transport and Stuff Sack

Eureka Casper in Stuff Sack

The Casper bills itself as a sleeping bag that’s lightweight and easy to transport.  The bag weighs in at a svelte carrying weight of 3 pounds and has an easy to use stuff sack that tightens with a pair of  straps to further economize space.  I had no problem getting the Casper in and out of its sack and it also easily fit into my camping back.

Overall

Sleeping bags can be tough to review, because if they work, there’s not a ton to say about them except just that.  The Casper works.  It’s a good mid-priced bag ($129) that will keep you warm enough for most climates and is easy enough to lug around. Additionally, it’s pretty comfy inside.

Did I enjoy a great night’s sleep at the POW camp?  No, I can’t say I did, there were visions of Nazi soldiers plundering the landscape dancing through my head.  However, when I awoke from the terror, I was snug and comfy in the confines of my sleeping bag.  For that, I give the Casper from Eureka a big thumbs up.

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Birding Hot Spots: 5 Spots to Set Up Camp and Wait for the Great Migrations

This is a guest post from Joe Laing.  You can learn more about Joe in the bio box below.

You don’t have to be a ‘bird nerd’ to appreciate the grandeur of hundreds of sandhill cranes circling overhead in unison, or a gaggle of thousands of geese creating a deafening roar as they settle in for the night at a desert lake. Although we won’t all plan our vacations with fingers crossed around the chance of spotting a glimpse of a rare tropical bird, anybody can find themselves awestruck by the spring and fall migrations across the United States.

Best of all, the prime spots for birding ‘en masse’ are also incredibly beautiful natural areas, many of which offer onsite or nearby long-term camping. If you’re ready to become ‘one with the birds’ (or simply hang out and enjoy the show), consider these spots on your next outdoor adventure itinerary:

The Outer Banks, North Carolina

Pelicans off the Outer Banks

Brown pelicans can be spotted year-round throughout the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

Few places feel more like you’re truly out on the edge of America than North Carolina’s Cape Hatteras National Seashore. In the spring, hundreds of thousands of seabirds descend on the narrow strips of sand and maritime forest jutting out into the ocean. Look out for terns, kites, and huge numbers of falcon-like jaegers. Late April and early May are peak season for migration, and some beach areas are closed to vehicles to protect the piping plovers that nest here — but, of course, a long walk on the beach is never an unwelcome diversion! Set up camp at one of many private campgrounds, or grab a spot at the four campgrounds operated by the National Park Service (including one on remote and beautiful Ocracoke Island, accessible only by ferry).

Bosque del Apache, New Mexico

Sandhill Crane

Sandhill cranes can stand nearly four feet tall

Quite literally in the middle of nowhere in central New Mexico, Bosque del Apache is a rare oasis along the Rio Grande where the water spreads out across the desert, providing a haven and resting place for over 10,000 sandhill cranes and 20,000 snow geese. Fall is peak time, including the annual Festival of the Cranes in mid-November, but late April and early May are also abundant, with a high diversity that includes bitterns and herons (among 377 species spotted here in total). The Bosque Birdwatchers RV Park provides affordable nearby accommodation, where birders swap their ‘war stories’ after long, relaxed days exploring the refuge.

Cape May, New Jersey

At the Garden State’s southern coastal tip, Cape May serves as a ‘must see’ destination for over a million migrating songbirds each spring and fall. Sunrise is the best time to see the birds flock together, on their way to feed. From oystercatchers to swallows to egrets and osprey, the diversity of bird species in this marshy, sandy area is truly astounding, and you’re bound to encounter a few ‘serious birders’ along the way, hauling impressive camera lenses and spotting scopes. Even the amateur birder will appreciate the sheer abundance of feathered friends here, with many present year round. It’s also possible to camp almost directly on the beach at spots like the Seashore Campsites Campground.

Grand Isle, Louisiana

Palm Warbler (Dendroica palmarum)

Songbirds like this Palm Warbler are common throughout the spring on Grand Isle

The soggy coastline of southern Louisiana has taken a beating in recent years from storms and the tragic oil spill, but migrating birds still flock there in huge numbers throughout the spring. The sandy ridges of oak that line the marsh near Grand Isle create a perfect haven for warblers, tanagers, orioles, and vireos. After the long flight north across the Gulf of Mexico, these welcoming woodlands present a much-needed spot to feed, rest, and refuel before continuing on their journey. Go in late April to catch a colorful array of over 300 species dropping in almost simultaneously. For comfortable camping, set up shop at Grand Isle State Park, directly on the beach at the island’s northern end.

Lac qui Parle, Minnesota

Translating to “lake that speaks” in French, this lake and state park in western Minnesota earned its name and reputation from the thousands of geese and waterfowl that stop here in the spring on their way north. The 33,000 acre wildlife management area provides a refuge to ducks, sandhill cranes, shorebirds, and warblers, with cranes arriving as early as March and the others following throughout the spring. Year-round, keep your eyes peeled for bald eagles, many of which actually overwinter there. Lac qui Parle State Park includes an RV park with over 50 sites that include electric and water hookups.

For family fun or a relaxing vacation alone or with a loved one, it’s often wise to follow the birds. The places around the nation that serve as stopovers for migrating flocks of birds double as some of the best unspoiled wild areas in our country. Where is your favorite birding hotspot?

About the Author

Joe Laing is the Marketing Director for El Monte RV Rentals, your nationwide source for RV rentals. El Monte RV also sells used motorhomes through eight different locations across the United States. For more information on purchasing a used motorhome see http://www.elmontervsales.com/.

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The Shamanic Path: A Profile of Musician, Artist and Nature Lover David Crews

David Crews at the Bonneville Salt Flats

“We were descending rapidly as the tunnels spiraled around like DNA helixes, sometimes branching off in diverse directions. The snake seemed to know exactly where we were going, though, and there was no hesitation in his path choosing. Left, then suddenly right; up a bit and then down and down. I knew we were traveling deep into Ayahuasca space. “

–David Crews

The Amazon, deep in the wild recesses of Peru, and David Crews is racing through cosmic pathways on a giant, electric blue snake. How did he get here?  He tried to board a train that had materialized out of thin air, but the doors were too tiny to enter. So, instead, he climbed on top and watched in amusement as the metal underneath him morphed into the coils of a serpent.

“I sat, straddling the body the best I could,” he says.

Then, like a bronco, the snake jerked and took flight, crashing through the portals of reality at a blistering fast pace, with Crews as the cowboy on its back, ducking and diving through tunnels full of neon blue lines, helices of DNA, phantasmagoria more vibrant than the mind can fathom.

He trusts the snake–he has to–as it criss-crosses through the psychotropic milieu, leaving behind one cluster of fantastical geometry for the next. Then, finally, it glides to a stop in the midst of a dome littered with white dots. It must be a challenge, Crews thinks.

“How do I get past?” he shouts into the abyss.  “Isn’t there a door or something?”

Just like that, a wooden door manifests in front of his eyes, and on the other side is a native woman with long, straight black hair, dressed in tribal clothing, smiling and motioning for him to come along. He quickly realizes that he is communing with Mother Ayahuasca, the elemental feminine presence commonplace in such visions.  After ten years of research, planning and anticipation, he has arrived.

I’ll try to tell you in nutshell…

That’s what Crews says to me by phone when I ask him how he transformed from a strict Christian to a desert-wandering truth-seeker, who six years ago took a shamanic pilgrimage to the Amazon to eat the psychotropic entheogen Ayahuasca in Peru. He talks of a steady progression of self-learning that sent him diving into Zoroastrianism, the Vedic Scriptures and the works of psychedelic pioneers such as Terence McKenna and the Swiss writer Jeremy Narby. He explains that it was all centered around ontology: the consideration of what is real vs. what is imagined. That’s what motivated a 57-year-old Texas-based music and video producer who has never had a drink, smoked a cigarette or taken a drug, to travel to South America to take a powerful hallucinogenic.

“From what I had read Ayahuasca guaranteed that you would step into another realm.  Nothing in my background had given me that, given me what you might call a religious experience.  It had all been intellectual, cognitive, whereas this would take me deep into the spiritual world,” Crews says.

The substance, which is a mixture of a number of naturally-occurring plant materials, is illegal in the U.S., but has been used in the Amazon for thousands of years by shamans to catalyze spiritual awakening. Its active ingredient, DMT, can cause powerful visions, like the ones documented above.

Crews spent close to ten years researching the drug, before deciding to venture to the Amazon and consume it under the guidance of the shaman Don Roberto Jurama and a company called Vision Quest, which provided accommodations.

He took the substance three times, the results of which he documented extensively in a four-part series on his blog. Though his first experience was less than pleasant, Crews describes the results of the journey as life changing.

“For me, it was enough to be able to say that there is something beyond this reductionist world, that this is not the only reality, but just another dimension, and that our brains are less like a computer and more like a tuner.  If we can just re-tune, we can access other universes,” he said.

A Circle in the Desert

Photo of Bryce Canyon by David Crews

Crews’s trip to Peru was one of a handful of foreign excursions that he has been on in his life.  An avid traveler, he’s scaled the Matterhorn in the Swiss Alps, hiked in Hawaii in Alaska, and trekked through Mayan ruins in both Guatemala and Belize. However, his favorite outdoors spots are the deserts of the American Southwest.

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Camping Gear Review: Eureka Panther Peak 30L Backpack

Eureka Panther Peak Backpack

Eureka Panther Peak 30L Backpack

For a while now, I’ve been in desperate need of a good backpack, as all the ones I own are tattered old bags from my high school days long ago. Living in New York City,where traveling to nature requires a trip on public transportation through a painfully dense city, makes my backpack my livelihood. It’s how I carry all my gear and belongings.

Lugging around a large backpack is simply implausible for regular use in the city, which is why when I was given the opportunity to review a backpack from Eureka Tents, I chose the smaller Panther Peak 30L.

First Impressions

At less than two and a half pounds with a capacity of 30L, the backpack was exactly what I expected. It was small and light enough to be used for “light urban travel,” as it was billed, but heavy duty enough to be taken on more hard-core adventures. I was initially afraid it would be too small for anything slightly longer than a day trip, but my fears were quickly assuaged when I started stuffing gear and clothing inside.

Exterior

Front View of Eureka Panther Peak

The front has a deep stash pocket, reflective bungee and side mesh pockets for water bottles.

The red Panther Peak has a nice exterior design with the exclamation point logo clearly visible. It has a reflective bungee for attaching more gear, two side water bottle pockets and a really deep stash pocket that closes with two buckles at the top. This pocket is pretty convenient, though the fact that it’s as deep as the backpack itself makes digging out smaller things more difficult.

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Hiking Tunica Falls: An Outdoor Adventure on the Louisiana-Mississippi Border

Outdoor enthusiast Joe Amato treks through Tunica Falls in Mississippi

This is a guest post from Joe Amato.  An avid traveler and outdoorsman, Joe lives to explore and discover the beauty of the world in all its forms.

“Did you know there are mountains and waterfalls only two hours from here?” my friend Kyle asked.
“Bullcrap,” I scoffed, seeing as how we live in New Orleans.
“Tunica Falls,” he said

I immediately Googled it.  After five minutes of research, I knew I had to go.

A few days later I was in route to the waterfalls.  The drive took me through Baton Rogue, which was a stress test.  All around was the choke of hurry and merchandising, and red lights and strip malls extended far into the horizon.  The urban sprawl continued on for miles, eventually fading away in the quaint Mississippi River town of St. Francisville, home to scenic bluffs, plantations and massive live oaks.  There, I bumped down a beautiful country road replete with old wooden fences, sprawling fields and overhanging trees that felt like arches ushering me into a new portal.  I had arrived.

Visiting Clark Creek Natural Area

A waterfall in Tunica Falls

Approximately 700 acres in size, Clark Creek Natural Area is home to over 50 total waterfalls and a number of primitive and improved trails.  I stocked up on snacks and supplies at a general store outside of the park and then headed in.  As I began to hike, I was quickly surprised by the steepness of the terrain. Though they may not have been mountains, the 300-foot bluffs looked quite imposing from sea level.

The surrounding forest was lush and diverse, with rolling hills unfurling in every direction and the sounds of small animals rustling.  I trekked to the first waterfall, which was a real Deep South doozy. There was a stair built into the terrain, enabling me to descend into a pool where I could feel the full force of the 25-foot waterfall cascade down upon me.

I left and followed the river through a full-blown canyon, from which I eventually bouldered down to an even larger fall with a deep pool that was perfect for swimming.  After splashing about for a bit, I decided to take a solo jaunt on the 4.6-mile primitive trail. Continue reading »

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Camping Gear Review: The Eureka Solitaire Tent

1-person camping tent
I’ve always wanted a 1-man tent.  I think the idea just jibes with the core of my camping philosophy: get as minimalistic as possible. For this reason, it’s always seemed futile to lug a 2 or 3-person tent out into the wild when I was only solo camping.  So when Eureka Tents asked if I’d be interested in reviewing some of their products, I quickly opted to try out the Eureka Solitaire, the most spartan of their 1-man models.

First Impressions 


The Eureka Solitaire is light, small and easy to transport.  The tent weighs only 2 pounds 9 ounces and folds up to a 17 inch by 4 inch pack size.  Above, you can see an image of the tent next to a leaf for a bit of perspective.  I tossed it in my pack and walked around with it for a while and could barely feel it. It’s got a quality, easy-to-use stuff sack as well.

Set Up


I am admittedly terrible at setting up tents.  I’m not sure if it’s due to my epic failures in 10th grade geometry or simply a genetic defect that has rendered me without spatial thinking skills, but I often cringe at the prospect of having to configure new camping equipment

Yet, the Solitaire is so simple a 3-year-old could probably figure it out.  There are only two poles, which you slip through hoops at the front and back of the tent.  After this, you simply stake the loops at a half-dozen different junctions and then the tent is up.  It took me 10 minutes; it could probably be done by a more competent person in 3.

The tent has an attached rainfly, which is easily affixed by staking shock cords.  It began to rain within minutes of when I set up my tent and continued for an hour or so.  The rainfly worked well, keeping me completely dry.

Interior

Front Side of Tent
It’s snug inside the Solitaire, but that’s to be expected from a 1-man tent.  The 8 feet of length is suitable for anyone who isn’t a giant and  it’s width, 2 feet 8 inches, is roomy enough for most. In fact, a skinny couple could easily double-up in the Solitaire, though heavy spooning would be a necessity and lovemaking might prove comically difficult.  The primary issue I had with the tent’s dimensions were its height.  At only 2-feet 4 inches, I wasn’t able to sit without craning my head a bit.  This was really only problematic when I was moving in and out of tent.

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Camping in De Soto National Park: My Sweaty Weekend in a Mississippi POW Camp

The author being swarmed by bugs while hiking the Black Creek Trail

Crushing.
That’s the best adjective to describe the heat in Mississippi in September. At least that’s how it felt inside of my tent on a steamy Friday evening, as I slapped at mosquitos and focused my mind on conjuring the breeze. It was too warm to be encased in a sleeping bag, so instead I slept on top of mine.  The insulated shell stuck to the sweat that had pooled on the backs of my legs, creating a reservoir of perspiration.

I was camping at an old WWII POW camp in the Black Creek Wilderness area of De Soto National Forest.  Located approximately two hours northeast of New Orleans, De Soto is home to over 518,00 acres of national forest, ranging from longleaf pine savannas to pine flatwoods and longleaf pine forests.  The Black Creek meanders through much of it.  The creek’s caramel color doesn’t make it seem appealing for swimming, but the unusual hue is actually just a result of tannic acid from dying vegetation.

My intention was to hike from the trailhead down the white-sand beach that abuts the creek and eventually cool down with some swimming.  However, these aspirations were crushed by a self-proclaimed “drifter”  hanging out along the trail.

“You’ve got some bug spray, right,” he asked.

“No, actually I forgot it.”

“Well, you’d be crazy to go in there without it,” he said.

And he was right.  The mosquitos swarmed me with such violent enthusiasm that within minutes I was forced to turn back.  I decided to head to town to buy some bug spray and plot my next move.

On the way back, I stopped by the ranger station, where a supremely nice woman gave me a map of the area and its most choice camping spots. One of them, which she didn’t recommend due to its lack of swimming access and potable water, was a former WWII POW camp.  It sounded unique, so I decided to check it out.

Arriving at the POW camp

Ammunition Bunkers @ Desoto POW Camp

From Wiggins, the town at the hub of De Soto, I traveled south for about 15 miles on Highway 49, before eventually pulling into the camp.  According to a few history articles I located, over a dozen POW camps were established in Mississippi for German soldiers captured in North Africa.  The allies had decided to ship the prisoners back to the U.S. because it was cheaper to feed and house them domestically than abroad.  Additionally, they could be used for a source of labor; many of them spent their days picking cotton and doing other manual chores.

There were no signs of the former camp’s infrastructure when I arrived, outside of a few ammunition bunkers. The site looked out over a small lake, where, according to the signs, a sole alligator lived.  There was no one on the grounds except for me, so I set up my tent, made a fire using the abundant pine needles and branches scattered nearby, and munched on trail mix while reading a book.

Eventually, I headed to bed, sweating madly and thinking about the strangeness of camping on land that was once the home of Nazi soldiers. Later, I would read that a group of the POWs actually carved a giant swastika–2o feet by 20 feet– in the ground a few miles in away.  According to one comment thread, the intention was to fill it with gasoline and light it ablaze to signal to German airplanes. Apparently, the landmark is still there.

A stroll down the Tuxachanie Trail

Black Creek in Desoto Park in Mississippi

In the morning, I rustled myself from slumber and  jumped on the southern end of the Tuxachanie Trail.  It was a fairly pleasant stroll, though on a few occasions I unwittingly slammed headfirst into giant spiderwebs.  The trail was teeming with squirrels and birds and I also saw a large black snake, which slithered off the path as I approached.  At numerous intersections, it was possible to view Black Creek and the white-sand beach alongside it.

After an hour or so, I turned around, jumped in my car and headed back to New Orleans.

All and all, I would say that I really enjoyed my day in De Soto and plan on returning and discovering more of the park soon. I’m also somewhat fascinated with the POW history and plan to research it further on my next visit, which will likely occur once fall has arrived and the bugs have subsided.

Do you have a cool camping story you’d like to share?  Send it to Dan@camping-gear-outlet.  If I like it, I’ll publish it on the blog and even send you some free gear.

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Take Your Outdoor Love to the Treetops with America’s Favorite Ropes Courses

Ropes courses are not just a team-building destination for corporate retreats. They are also a relaxing combination of a few favorite outdoor activities: The best ropes courses involve hiking to and from the site. Climbers can often put their bouldering skills to work along the course. And, of course, ropes courses give you a few hours to enjoy yourself in nature.

Here is a look at some of the best ropes courses in America.

Ruby Falls ZIPstream, Lookout Mountain, TN

It is easy to forget you’re high above one of Tennessee’s largest cities when you are harnessed into Ruby Falls’ ZIPstream. This course takes you into a canopy of trees on Lookout Mountain and gives peaks of Chattanooga far below.

While the ropes course itself is incredible, the surrounding area makes this a go-to destination. Camping and climbing enthusiasts flock to the region year-round for its incredible climbs and campgrounds.

Go Ape! Course, Rock Creek Park, Rockville, MD

Rock Creek Park is a glorious natural escape for residents of the Washington, D.C. area. In an extremely urban area, the national park is a refuge for coyotes and white-tailed deer, as well as the camping enthusiast.

After a night of camping, head to the Go Ape! ropes course to get high into the treetops of the park. The highlights of this course are two Tarzan-style rope swings that let you fly through the deliciously refreshing air.

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Canoeing in the Yukon with Alex Hutchinson

Mill Creek.  A tributary of the snake river in the Yukon

Mill Creek in the Yukon: @ NYTimes

If you’re a lover of good, crisp writing, spellbinding adventure and the great outdoors, then there’s little not to like about Alex Hutchinson’s badass piece in the New York Times on canoeing in the Yukon.

The first-person narrative chronicles Hutchinson’s ten-day mission down the Snake River in the Peel Watershed.  The river drops over 4,000 feet in elevation without any waterfalls, which makes for a snappy pace of about 10 miles-per-hour.

A day into the trip, Hutchinson and his cohorts quickly feel the brunt of the river’s rage:

Rounding a tight corner, we took on water once again — but before we could get to shore to bail, we were swept into the next rapids and capsized. Mike and I suddenly found ourselves thrashing desperately across the current toward the rocky shore, each clinging to a pack, as our upturned canoe hurtled down the river to oblivion.

They’re able to extricate themselves from the situation, but encounter a number of tough challenges along their trip, including the malfunction of their water purifiers and a close encounter with a Grizzly Bear who happens to be fishing in their path.

In addition the adventure, there are striking descriptions of the lush scenery of the Yukon, a place I’ve never visited, but would badly like to some day.  One of my favorite sections is the description of “Fireweed,” which is the first plant to grow after fires.

As we emerged from a winding canyon the next afternoon, a startling sight greeted us: the entire hillside ahead was a vibrant purple, as if it had been colored by a giant magic marker.

This is one of those great pieces of travel journalism that makes me not only want to get in the outdoors, but write about it.

Check it out and let me know what you think?

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Fastpacking: The Minimalist’s Response to Glamping

It’s Not Glamping
Running shoes, instead of hiking boots; one sleeping bag to be shared among the group; energy bars in place of hobo packs and more substantial camping food.

These are the concessions made by fans of the newest camping fad. Fastpacking is the minimalist’s response to last year’s glamping trend. Standard camping gear is traded in for the bare minimum in gear, so fastpackers can travel the trail as quickly as possible.

Pack Light
In a story about three fastpackers in Juneau, Alaska, The Bellingham Herald, a local newspaper in Washington, revealed a typical packing list.

Their packs contained only the essentials: When combined they held a single tent, a handful of Gu packets, electrolight tablets, ice axes, a length of cord, light climbing gear, one sleeping bag, running shoes and a few clothes.

With backpacks lighter than a businesswoman’s purse, it is not surprising that this trio was able to travel quickly. Rather than hiking, fastpackers essentially are trail running. These Alaskan hikers started jogging through the Juneau Icefield on a Saturday evening, reached the fifth Mendenhall Tower by Sunday morning, climbed to the summit by the afternoon, and, by midday Monday, had run back to the parking lot.

Discipline and Endurance
Hiking and camping are both normally touted as fun and relaxing activities; a person of any skill level can enjoy the outdoor fun. Fastpacking is different.

While none of the hikers in Juneau had fastpacked before, they were each in exceptional shape and were experienced in outdoor activities in the area. One was a marathon runner, another was a skilled climber and the third regularly hiked and skied the area.

Fastpacking requires the hiker to subsist on little sleep and little food. Like those men, you must be in shape and have the discipline to endure a few days without the small creature comforts—like hot food or a sleeping pad—of typical camping.

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