Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Equipment Spotlight: Sierra Designs Backcountry Bed

The Sierra Designs Backcountry Bed is a fun new sleeping bag design that allows for some seriously comfortable backcountry sleeping. The bags weigh around 3 pounds and come with a variety of fill types (poly synthetic fiber or down) and season levels (from 1.5 season to 3 season). There is even an extra large Duo bag that sleeps 2.

Unlike traditional mummy sleeping bags, the Backcountry Bed has no zipper and allows for a quick and quiet exit for those late night calls of nature. No more getting a zipper stuck and fighting off panic while you try to escape your bag like Houdini! The shell and liner are a very soft nylon, and while they seem very thin, I have had no problems with rips or tears.

The comforter style top is over-sized and allows for incredibly easy temperature regulation. Fold it up and tuck in the sides for extra warmth or throw it down for extra air. The comforter top also has built in insulated hand pockets to keep your hands warm on cold nights. The bag comes with a sleeping pad sleeve along the upper third which keeps your pad in place without sacrificing your ability to sleep on your side.

One last feature that makes temperature regulation a breeze is the self-sealing foot vent. A little too warm? Pop those feet outside the vent and cool down in a hurry.

Socks not included.

For more info on Sierra Designs Backcountry Beds head over to the Sierra Designs website.

Cat Tested and Approved

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Spend a Week in Paradise & Take a Walk in the Clouds

Koke'e State Park, Kauai, Hawai'i (Oct 4th - Oct 10th 2015)

Located north of Waimea Canyon on the west side of Kauai, Koke'e State Park covers over 4000 acres of fluted cliffs, lush green tropical rainforest and cloud covered bogs at an elevation of roughly 3000 to 4000 feet above sea level.

With over 45 miles of hiking trails through cloud forests covered in mosses and ferns, Koke'e State Park is an excellent spot to see native Hawaiian plants (like koa, 'ohi'a, and mamane trees) and colorful endemic Hawaiian forest birds (like the apapane, i'iwi and 'amakihi).

Koa trees can reach heights of well over 100 feet.
I'iwi are bright orange-red and have long curved bills.
Apapane rely heavily on the nectar of 'ohia blossoms.
Beautiful 'Ohi'a trees are common in Hawai'i
Mamane trees can grow to over 50 feet and prefer higher elevations.
 'Amakihi are green-yellow Hawaiian honeycreepers.

Akala (giant Hawaiian raspberry)
Koke'e's ecologically rich high elevation forests are truly unique in the world and are in need of protection from invasive plants which threaten their existence.

On the Wilderness Volunteers Koke'e trip our service project will focus on the removal of non-native, invasive plants and vines such as Kahili ginger, Strawberry guava, Firetree, and Banana poka.

Our partner organization on this project is the Koke'e Resource Conservation Program, a volunteer based alien species control program working in cooperation with the HawaiĘ»i Department of Land & Natural Resources State Parks Division.

The Banana Poka is an aggressive woody vine that can entangle and kill large stands of forest.   
Learn more about Kauai’s native plants, flowers, trees and birds in the cloud forests of Koke'e with Wilderness Volunteers!

Read more about the area and the project here.

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

North America's Tallest Mountain Has A New (Old) Name


This week President Obama announced that he would be issuing an executive order to change the name of North America's tallest mountain. 

In 1917 the 20,237 foot peak (called Denali by indigenous Athabascan people) was federally recognized as Mt. McKinley in honor of assassinated President McKinley. After decades of controversy over the name and repeated attempts by the state of Alaska to rename the peak against fervent opposition from Ohio (McKinley's home state) the matter was finally decided this week.  

Read more about it here.