2020 threw my summer tradition for a loop (understatement for the world). Every June, we meet friends from Denver for the Telluride Bluegrass Festival. It’s my favorite — it falls on my birthday, Telluride is one of the most beautiful towns in the country, and the festival vibes can’t be beat.
Well, surprise, no Telluride Bluegrass this year! But every great tradition improvises as needed, and our annual meetup shifted from summer in Telluride to September in Durango, Colorado.
I thought I knew Colorado mountain towns — I’d seen a few from Winter Park to Breckenridge — but these mountain towns had a little something different for us. …
A leaky sleeping pad is one of the worst gear failures you can encounter in the backcountry. A good pad isn’t just for comfort — it’s what separates your warm body from the cold ground. When it deflates, you wake up freezing in the middle of the night. No fun, people.
A leak is hard to find in the backcountry but you can do it easily at home. If you backpack with a foam pad, you probably don’t need to worry about this. But air pad users will tell you — sooner or later a leak will happen.
My Thermarest NeoAir went flat a few months during a trip out in Superstition Mountains. It was a one-nighter, so I was lucky, but I needed to get it patched before going out on the next adventure. With the help of a very helpful pro at Arizona Hiking Shack, a tried a new technique to get this pesky little leak patched up once and for all. …
Backpacking gear is 100 percent function over form — I love that. Trendy retailers like Huckberry sell gear that looks great, some of it very useful, but all of it marked up and expensive.
You can easily spend more than $100 on a knife. Here’s one by Benchmade for $145. It’s probably a fantastic knife. It sure looks cool and rustic and all the things you’d want a $145 knife to be, but it’s not for me.
I carry what I need in the backcountry. I spend more on boots and trail runners because they protect my feet, more on a sleeping bag and pad because I value warmth and good sleep, but not more on a knife when the Morakniv Companion delivers everything I need for $20. …