Best Ultralight Backpacks for Long Distance & Short Distance Backpacking

My many years of trekking and hiking have literally turned me into a consultant for young stars in my neighborhood. For reasons I am yet to know, most of the young stars that come to me for such advice and recommendations prefer the ultra lightweight backpacks. However, I have an idea as to why they […]

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Top 5 Best Camping Stoves that will perfectly fit your backpack

Nothing makes camping more amusing than having a hot cup of tea, coffee or even your favorite hot meal while exploring the nature’s best in the middle of nowhere. Luckily, today’s market offers a variety of stoves that are lighter, smaller and easy to carry in your backpack. Sadly, not all are equal. If you […]

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Benefits Of Using Custom Hiking Boots

If you want safety and comfort while you are hiking then the right footwear is a must. Your options are virtually unlimited with custom depending on whether you will be using them for short walks on the ground that is level or whether you intend hiking in unknown or challenging areas and intend to wear them for much longer periods.

The type of surface area that you intend to cover will play a significant part in deciding what sort of custom hiking boots will be needed for your trip. The ground you are traversing will dictate whether you need soles that or flat or that have a deep tread. Hiking boots with the right type of sole for the terrain will also increase the safety levels.


If you prefer hiking shoes rather than boots then you should know that they are meant for short hikes, no more than a day, on familiar ground that does not require much climbing.

When you are buying custom hiking boots then the first thing you should make sure of is that you have the correct size. Any hiking boots or shoes that do not fit well could result in blistered feet.

The wrong size boot or shoe may also cause your socks to bunch up under a particular area of the foot which will very soon result in a great deal of discomfort. Custom hiking boots that are too small will be uncomfortable, tightness may well result in painful cramps during the course of the day.

You may experience pain across the instep from ill-fitting hiking boots; if this happens then the laces should be loosened a bit as this can ease the discomfort. If, for example, your hiking boots feel too tight around the ankle then it makes sense to undo the laces and then retire them but leave the eyes near the top unlaced.

Unlacing only part of the boot means that it remains securely on your foot while at the same time lessening the discomfort felt in a particular place.


Custom hiking boots with a smoother sole will be more comfortable if you plan to be hiking on mostly level ground. Boots that have deeper treads can soon become uncomfortable on this type of ground although they are ideal for ground that is stony or loose.

If the area you plan to walk in is unfamiliar, however, then it is better to be prepared for conditions that may be less than ideal for hiking. It is preferable to wear custom hiking boots that are designed for rough trails when you are on smooth terrain than to wear boots that are designed for level ground and then slip when you come across rough areas.


Before you go for a long hike you should get yourself some socks that are made from something other than cotton.


An important aspect of custom hiking boots that you should bear in mind is how strong the bottom of the sole might be. Hiking boot soles should be strong enough to prevent your feeling any stones that you may walk on while at the same time being impenetrable by sharp objects. If you plan on walking where the ground is rough and rocky then you should have an arch support made from metal, however, if you are on the smoother ground then a lightweight plastic support should suffice

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Backpacking Tent Fundamentals

Backpacking Tent Fundamentals

Tent Weight and Size

The qualities desirable in a backpacking tent are different from those tents being pitched next to a car in a campground.  The biggest difference being that the backpacking tent will be carried with you and therefore, should be small and lightweight.  Most modern two person tents weight around four to five lbs. whereas a roomy family camping tent can weigh twenty lbs or more.  Solo or single person tents can weigh less than three lbs and are great if you are hiking alone.  However, if you are hiking with someone else, it usually works out better weight wise to split the gear and take a two person tent.

Tent Quality

The quality of the tent is more important when backpacking because there is usually nowhere dry to go if the tent starts leaking.  While a top quality tent is not necessary, cheap discount store tents should only be used if the forecast calls for clear weather.

Being tired, wet, and cold knowing the next dry place is at least ten miles away on a rocky trail will quickly put a damper on what should be an enjoyable outdoor experience.

Clips and Sleeves

There are two common ways that tent poles are attached to the tent.  One is using sleeves that the poles slide through and the other is using clips that latch over the poles.  Some tents even use a combination of clips and sleeves.  In general, clip based designs are easier and faster to set up, while sleeve based designs are stronger and can be easily repaired with a needle and thread right at the camp site.  For most conditions, I believe the clips are plenty strong and are generally better because of how quickly they allow the tent to be set up and dismantled.

Free Standing and Staked Designs

Free standing tents seem to have become the norm.  Their primary advantage is that they can be set up without being staked into the ground.  Stakes are still important to keep the tent from blowing around, but the stakes usually do not need to be driven far into the ground.  Staked tents tend to be a bit lighter than free standing tents, but need to be staked solidly into the ground to hold their shape.  Staked tents can be difficult to set up or keep up if the soil is hard or rocky.  I’ve become a convert from staked tents to freestanding tents after bending multiple tent pegs beyond repair trying to pitch the tent on the hard rocky ground.

Single Wall and Double Wall Construction

Double wall tents are tents that require a separate rain fly to keep out water.  Although they are slightly heavier than their single walled counterparts and take a bit longer to set up, they are generally less expensive, warmer, and hold up better in wet conditions.  While the lower weight specifications and small packing size of the single wall tents make them attractive, the double wall tents are generally a better deal economically.

Three Season and Four Season Specifications

Three season tents are just that; tents designed for Spring, Summer, and Fall camping.  Few people go backpacking in the winter compared to the other three seasons, so the vast majority of tents sold are three season tents.  Four-season tents are built from heavier materials in order to hold up against the winter weather and are bulkier and harder to carry.  Some manufacturers offer a 3+ season tent if you are camping early in the Spring or late in the Fall, but unless you are planning specifically to camp in the winter months a three-season tent is more than sufficient without undue bulk and weight.


If you don’t have room to keep your shoes in the tent with you, vestibules are a great place to keep them dry and yet outside the main tent.  Some vestibules provide enough of an overhang to allow the screen or even the door to be open during the rain.  I personally enjoy feeling the breeze from a storm while I am dry inside the tent.  Most people probably would not consider the vestibule worth the weight, but they are a nice luxury.


While different individuals will select different tests based on various factors, understanding the fundamentals differences between tents can help you pick the tent design that fits your hiking style and conditions.

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Backpacking In The Sleeping Bear Dunes

I was backpacking in the Sleeping Bear Dunes. It was March, so when I made it through the woods and over the dunes, I’d have miles of beach to myself. It was an over-nighter, a chance to test new ultralight backpacking equipment. I hiked the wooded hills quickly, enjoying the cold air.

Halfway through the forest, I stopped to cook noodles. The cheap 3-ounce pot was from a dollar store, and it worked fine. I was happy, because, from the catalog descriptions, the expensive titanium pots are all heavier, probably because they’re too thick and with too many gadgets.

I had to use a small twig fire when my homemade alcohol stove didn’t provide enough heat. I later learned that isopropyl alcohol doesn’t burn as hot as the alcohol used as a gas additive, but the twigs worked in any case.

Backpacking On The Beach

After eating, I hiked to Lake Michigan and sat up on a large sand dune. I watched the waves push ice up onto the empty beach. Coyotes began to howl in the distance, and the clouds rolled in. I was on the beach looking for Petoskey stones when the snow began. Backpacking in March has its risks.

I was in running shoes, and it would be below freezing that night. In northern Michigan, March is definitely part of winter. My feet stayed warm while I hiked, but I hadn’t planned on them getting wet. At least I had a pair of warm, dry socks for sleeping.

Ultralight Backpacking Equipment

It was the first time I used my GoLite Breeze backpack, which weighed only 13 ounces. I was hiking with about nine pounds on my back, and that only because I threw in some canned food. I was going light, but I knew the forests here and felt comfortable with my abilities.

My down sleeping bag was a 17-ounce Western Mountaineering HighLite. It was the first time I would use it below freezing (It hit 25 degrees Fahrenheit that night). Fortunately, it wasn’t too windy.

At the edge of the forest, behind the dunes, I set up my small tarp. I piled pine needles and dead bracken ferns under it, finishing just as it became dark. This made a warm mattress, and I slept well, listening to the coyotes, and to the waves pushing ice around in the lake.

In the morning I was happy to see only a dusting of snow. My one-pound sleeping bag had been warmer than my three-pounder – and I thought that was light. I poured alcohol in the cut-off bottom of a Pepsi can (my 1/2-ounce backpacking stove) and made tea. After some crackers, I was soon hiking in my mostly-dry shoes, along with the Lake Michigan shoreline.

Backpacking Lessons Learned

I ended my trip that afternoon, with a hike to the village of Empire, seven miles away. I was mostly satisfied. Only two problems: My tarp was too small, and the alcohol I brought was the wrong type.

After backpacking in Michigan for years, I know it well. I know where to find dead grass and bracken ferns, for example, to make a warm mattress in a few minutes. Knowledge, obviously, can be as valuable as expensive backpacking gear

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Back Packing Gear, Where Do You Start?

The first place is with your backpack.

The cornerstone of any backpacking venture begins with your backpacking gear, specifically the backpack itself. Call it the cornerstone of your venture since everything that you need to take with you will be carried within the bounds of this one and only entity and that causes things to be quite a challenge for you since you have to shoulder the load.

However, you decide on your backpacking gear will be grounded on how frequently you go on outside ventures in addition to however long these ventures are and what the weather will likely be.

Two Types of Back Packs

Frameless vs. Framed.

Among the first things that the majority of salespersons are going to inquire of you in reference to your backpacking gear is whether you require a frameless or a framed backpack. Backpacks that do not have frames are the most affordable of the bunch as well as being lighter and offering less mass. All the same, frameless backpacks should only be used for short light day activates and they do not come equipped to handle heavy bulky loads.

The backpacks that come with an external frame are low-cost pieces of backpacking gear that make it much easier to pack for your outdoor venture. They come with many outside pockets as well as the fact that the external frame keeps the backpack itself away from your body and lessen the possibility of trapping sweat and moisture against you. External framed backpacks can hold bigger loads but they place the weight on the hips and the center of gravity is a little too high when compared to other backpack models.

The internally framed backpacks are the most suitable for all backpacking gear and are additionally among the most expensive. However, these kinds of backpacks are more efficient and can shape to your body much better allowing you a lot more ease of movement plus they are able to distribute the weight of the load more equally throughout the hips and lower back area. With much more ventilation, the interior framed backpacks are quickly becoming the most common option in terms of backpacking gear.

Staying Comfortable.

The costliest backpacks around do not necessarily mean that they are the best choice of backpacking gear for your specific needs. A good salesperson will assist you in fitting the backpack to your body and point out all of the straps, buckles, and other adjustable parts as well as the backpacks strong and weak points.

Walk into the store with your backpack and ask for weights you can place inside the backpack so you are able to get a good idea of how it will really feel for you outdoors on the trail.

Scrutinize the fabric for durability and determine if there are adequate compartments for storage in addition to adequate room for all of your equipment such as a sleeping bag, foam pad and more. Scrunch down and look up, try and feel for any binding or tightness to see if any of your movements are restrained in any way by your potentiality new backpack.

A lot of people every year see Doctors because of injuries that were caused by improper backpack usage so you’ll need to exhaustively examine each piece of backpacking gear that appears suitable to your tasks.

Prior to you making a final decision on your backpack, check the manufacturer’s website to see if replacement parts are available should something wear out or break. Being equipped for all contingencies is a part of the backpacking gear buying process

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