All posts by FlipNC

Gear Review Page Updated

I just updated the gear review page and now have links to Trailspace for the following reviews:

  • Trail Designs Sidewinder Ti Tri Stove – 5 STARS
  • Lightheart Gear Solong 6 Tent – 4 STARS
  • Feathered Friends Osprey UL30 Sleeping Bag – 5 STARS
  • REI Campware Cup – 5 STARS
  • Princeton Tec Sync Headlamp  – 4 STARS
  • NEMO Astro Insulated Lite Sleeping Pad – 4.5 STARS
  • Marmot Tungsten 3P Tent – 4 STARS
  • Sea to Summit Delta Insul-Mug – 3 STARS
  • Merrel Moab Mid Waterproof Boots – 3.5 STARS
  • Trail Designs Ultralight Glasses – 4 STARS
  • Vargo 1.3L Titanium Pot – 4 STARS
  • Rite in the Rain All-Weather Memo Book – 5 STARS

Hope some of these reviews are useful in your gear quest, as well as the over 30,000 other reviews on Trailspace!

Headlamps & Flashlights

So I used a flashlight with a headband for almost 20 years of backpacking before finally switching to a headlamp several years ago.  I started off cheap with the Princeton Sync and am considering upgrading. But in looking at the other options for headlamps I am drifting back to my flashlight headband combo and considering buying a new flashlight. Why?

Headlamps make so much more sense…generally they are lighter, more adaptable in angle of projection, and more convenient.  But sometimes I want to hold the light or shine it in a different direction from where I am looking.  In those cases I would prefer a flashlight.  With the old reliable Nite Ize flashlight headband, I can use the flash as a headlamp or flashlight. It doesn’t have the ability to change angle but serves as a decent light for camp chores.

Since I avoid night hiking like the plague, I don’t need the long term hands free use of the headlamp. Nothing against night hikes, but as most of my trips are solo I don’t like to risk much. I think there is no logical reason for me to switch back from lamp to light, but it’s a personal comfort thing and probably just old habits coming back.

I might invest in a good flashlight and a good headlamp and carry both for a while…I see a couple more reviews in the future.

Hiking “Shtick”s

When I got the spark to start a blog, I was refinishing an old hiking stick – shaving the last of the bark that was hanging on it, smoothing the rough spots, and adding some water repellent and a rubber tip. It’s nothing fancy but there is something nice about a simple hiking staff.

I don’t use them much any more, having converted over to trekking poles a couple of years ago to help the knees, but still love a classic natural wood hiking staff. When used correctly, trekking poles are so much better on my knees especially on a downhill and allow me to do more miles as I age or just make the miles so much easier. However, they just don’t feel the same as a good old fashioned wooden staff.  On easy trips and day hikes I still go back to a hiking stick.

“Hiking shtick” came to me while sanding the staff and I checked Webster’s, which defines “shtick” as a regular activity or something you like to do.  I thought that fit well for the blog, although another definition is of the comedy side of things…don’t expect too much of that and I’ll plan to keep my day job.

Hi There!


My first blog post…hmmm.  I’ll start with what my intentions are:

A blog about hiking, backpacking, and camping from a regular guy with kids and a full time job who has backpacked for 30 years.  Not from an expert, just “experienced” (you can read aging here if you want) enough to know there is a lot to learn yet.

I have no ties to outdoor manufacturers and I buy all my own gear, and generally keep favorites for a long time (not a gear junkie but I appreciate the good stuff as well as good deals).  I’ll post my genuine opinion of my gear under normal circumstances (don’t expect any test results from Everest or a thru hike of the PCT – there are other great sites for that). No extreme adventures or long distance hikes, just your average 2 to 7 day trips with a few longer ones scattered in at times.

And just as important or maybe more so for me, a place to put ideas on “paper” and have respectful discussions and disagreements about those thoughts.  Also a place for questions and comments from novice to seasoned backpackers where the answers will be honest and may include links to more experienced sites or folks when it surpasses my knowledge or comfort level.

Looking forward to the journey!