Trip reports and gear reviews

Tahoe Rim Trail 2021 trip report – 8 days, 182 miles

Tahoe Rim Trail 2021 trip report – 8 days, 182 miles

Trip date: June 9-16, 2021.

This was my second thru-hike of the TRT. On my first TRT hike in 2018, I missed out on much of the views due to wildfire smoke. This time around, I headed out earlier in the summer to avoid getting caught in the middle of fire season. The 2020-2021 winter was the third-driest winter on record, so the snow was not a major issue despite the early date.

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Hetch Hetchy backpacking trip (3 days, 31 miles)

Hetch Hetchy backpacking trip (3 days, 31 miles)

Trip date: May 7-9, 2021.

The third time’s the charm. After two unsuccessful plans to hike in Hetch Hetchy (the first one because of an early snowstorm and the second because of COVID closures), I was finally headed to explore the northern parts of Yosemite National Park. I was joined by Brandon and Steve, the same guys I backpacked with in Kings Canyon last summer, certified ultralight nerds and awesome adventurers.

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Tahoe Rim Trail 2021 backpacking: planning and gear list

Tahoe Rim Trail 2021 backpacking: planning and gear list

Although I managed to get in a few great hikes in 2020, like the Kings Canyon trip, I wasn’t comfortable doing a longer hike that required resupplying during the pandemic. As the COVID situation is finally improving in the US, I want to do a proper thru-hike in 2021. I want to spend the better part of two weeks on the trail to get into the long-distance backpacking rhythm.

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Jetboil Stash review and boil test: an efficient and convenient ultralight stove

Jetboil Stash review and boil test: an efficient and convenient ultralight stove

For the past several years, my go-to stove and pot combo for trips where I want more capacity has been the MSR PocketRocket 2 and 800ml MSR Titan Kettle. The pot is large enough to accommodate cooking larger meals and, when empty, can fit a 100g gas canister, the stove, and a lighter with room to spare. 

I recently ran across the new Jetboil Stash, Jetboil’s first venture into the ultralight stove game. I’ve been a long-time fan of the Jetboil Flash for quick boil times, but its weight makes it impractical to bring on longer backpacking trips. Could the Stash deliver quick boil times and low fuel consumption while shedding almost half the weight?

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Bay Area bikepacking trip to the beach and redwoods

Bay Area bikepacking trip to the beach and redwoods

The 2020 fire season in California was brutal. Many of the trails near the Bay Area that I’ve hiked in the winter went up in smoke. The fire in the Santa Cruz mountains meant that the alternate routes I planned before my last bikepacking trip through Pacifica, Half Moon Bay, and Big Basin were no longer options.

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30-mile overnighter in California’s Emigrant Wilderness

30-mile overnighter in California’s Emigrant Wilderness

2020 has been a tough year for backpacking in California. Most parks and forests were closed in the early season due to COVID restrictions. After a short summer, the Californa fire season kicked in, forcing most Californians to stay home for almost two months because of unhealthy smoke levels. 

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GSI Halulite Minimalist II review: the best budget ultralight cook set (in my opinion)

GSI Halulite Minimalist II review: the best budget ultralight cook set (in my opinion)

Confession: I have a lot of backpacking stoves and pots. I have a Jetboil that’s fast and fuel-efficient, but heavy. I also have a couple of different sized titanium pots that I use with a MSR Pocket Rocket 2 stove

But the stove setup I most often end up using is the GSI Halulite Minimalist. It’s light enough, it packs small and comes with an insulated sleeve. And perhaps best of all: it’s cheap—less than $30 on Amazon. 

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