Furoshiki Shoes

This isn’t a review…

My kids gave these to me as a gift. My son, Joe, is a runner so he picked them out knowing I have a preference for minimal shoes. I think they’ve been around for a couple of years, but I don’t spend my time reading about shoes.

Furoshiki is a type of wrapping cloth used in Japan for centuries to carry stuff, sort of like a poor man’s duffle bag.


But obviously more elegant

By katorisi – Own work, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3201706

Continue reading Furoshiki Shoes

How To Become (or not become) A Famous Backpacker

One day, a few weeks ago, two events happened. First I read an article about Kim Kardashian who apparently is famous for simply being famous. The second was a SPOT message I received that was generated from 68˚ North.

These two events are a cataclysmic intersection of humanity and the insanity of a smidgen of modern technology.

Continue reading How To Become (or not become) A Famous Backpacker

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

I am going to show you how to navigate quicker and more accurately with a map and any compass, by using a map protractor.

Few subjects elicit more debates among hikers and backpackers than the subject of map and compass. Nowadays the subject includes GPS units, smart phones, base plate compass vs. fixed compass vs. lensatic compass, what map to use, etc. Then there is the fact electronic solutions (GPS and smart phones) can fail or end up with a dead battery. Many of the electronic persuasion carry and map and compass as a backup, which means duplicate items to do the same task, meaning unnecessary weight. Some of the backup maps and compasses in use are less than optimal and in a no-shit-need-to-have situation might be poor options (think button sized compass and a large scale general map).

We need to keep in mind that the goal of using a map and compass is to always know where you are, not figure out your location because you are lost. Of course, with practice you can use a map and compass to figure out your location if you do get lost.

Most backpackers bring a map and compass whether or not they know how to really use it. One piece of navigation equipment I rarely see in use by backpackers is a map protractor. In this post the protractor will be presented as a serious tool that backpackers may want to consider, and for those who have used and then abandoned a map protractor, perhaps a re-visit might be worthwhile.

Continue reading Set Up Your Compass Faster & More Accurately With A Map Protractor

How to Maintain Your Backpacking Gear

With proper maintenance you can reduce the amount of gear you need to purchase.

In January of this year I did a couple of trips using mostly 30-40 year old gear that has lasted.

There was a time when the average American maintained things. People did the required maintenance on vehicles, and instead of replacing simple things like household appliances they fixed them, often doing the work themselves. Today we are a throw-away society. If something breaks we simply put it in the trash and buy a new one. Our society has become insane. Plus all this trash isn’t good for our environment.

Continue reading How to Maintain Your Backpacking Gear

What Is A RV Awning/Patio Mat And Which One Is Best?

Reader Beware: this is a product review. After 20+ years of using this product it is safe to say it has been tested thoroughly and long enough.

When my kids were young we did a lot of tent camping and most trips were 1 – 2 weeks long. When they were 5 and 7 years old (in 1992) the tenting experience was becoming somewhat of a hassle and a small camper was an obvious solution. Owning a 4 cylinder Dodge Caravan, with a modest towing capacity, trailer choices were limited. And being 1992, the Internet as we know it today didn’t exist and neither did Yahoo or Google. Plus camping was such a simple thing to do, it didn’t dawn on me to check and see if there was such a thing as a trailer-based camping magazine – so I decided to purchase a trailer the old fashioned way… go look at campers and figure out own my own what was best without asking anyone for advice  — what a concept! After visiting several RV dealers I ended up buying a small Starcraft Meteorite tent trailer, which turned out to be an excellent decision. It was a great little trailer.

Anyway… let’s get back to the title of this post.

Continue reading What Is A RV Awning/Patio Mat And Which One Is Best?