Category Archives: Backpacking Gear

When Should Your Retire (backpacking gear)?

A lot of people retire (a.k.a replace) gear when a  “new and improved” model appears on the market.  I prefer to replace gear when something wears out and can no longer be repaired. Instead of constantly “upgrading” the money saved can be saved and invested.

Looks like it’s time for me to retire some gear.

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Throwaway Backpacking Gear? Photon Micro-Light II

How to Replace Photon Micro-Light II Batteries

Back in June I presented my Headlamp Buyer’s Guide.  One of the lights I have been using for ten years is the Photon Micro-Light II and in the guide I recommended not trying to replace the batteries in the field.

These little lights retail for around $12 and are sturdy. They last a long time, only weigh ¼ ounce (7 grams) and are a favorite of many hikers. Most people I know who like these lights just throw them away when the batteries are dead and buy a new once. Some don’t even know the battery can be replaced.

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New & Improved Backpacking Gear!

What’s Up With That?

It’s that time of year. Back in June the big European Outdoor Gear Retailer Show was held. At the end of July the big US show was in progress in Utah. I’ve never been to one of these events, but I’ve been to trade shows in other industries, which usually are not open to the public. So I have a very good and probably accurate perception about what goes on at the outdoor gear shows.

So what are these show? Manufacturers show off their “New” and often “Improved” gear in hopes retailers will place orders.

Out in the world of consumers, backpackers are waiting impatiently for newest and greatest offerings. On Internet forums the gear faithful are posting, “Anyone hear what is new at the show?” Folks with press credentials roam the floors of the shows taking pictures, grabbing brochures, and talking to sales reps, so they can run home and share all this wonderful information on their blogs for the panting public to lap up.

What’s not to be excited about? And of course everyone can’t wait until these products are released, usually in the fall or next spring, so their favorite blog or magazine can review all the new and improved stuff, and of course tell us what is best, what we must have, and where to buy it. It’s AWESOME!

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Set Up Your Compass Faster & More Accurately With A Map Protractor, Part 2

In this post we will learn how to determine our location on the map using any compass and a map protractor. But first let’s review Part 1, with a little different spin so the concepts will start to become clearer.

Part 1 discussed the many steps needed to read a bearing on a map using a typical baseplate compass. It also discussed how many fewer steps were needed to read a bearing using a map protractor. In both cases, we are adjusting our compass by compensating for variance between Grid North and Magnetic North on the compass. The only difference being that using a map protractor requires the user to truly understand how magnetic north relates to the map so the bearing can be adjusted using 3rd grade math.

In Part 1, we described how to take a bearing from a map using a map protractor and transferring it to a compass utilizing the

EAST IS LEAST, WEST IS BEST method.

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PopUpBackpacker’s Headlamp Buyer’s Guide

Here we go again…

A frequent question I see on the Internet is, “What headlamp should I buy for backpacking?”

And of course, as the modern technology obsessed society that we are, it turns into a debate with a focus on such things a lumens, regulated output, reverse polarity, etc., etc. etc.

jesus h. christ. Its just a frickin’ light.

How to boggle your mind

I did an Amazon search for “flashlight” and got 134,831 results. “Headlamp” yielded only 89,472 results. How can something so simple be so difficult?

So, I am going to simplify things for you. However, I have no credentials that would make me some sort of subject matter expert. I do hike and camp a lot using headlamps and flashlights.

So, caveat emptor.

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