Root Family

Root Family

Feb 20, 2012

Camping gear

As the camping season approaches, I'm really excited to get out and try out some new gear we recently purchased. I'm posting pictures and short descriptions of the gear I recently purchased and I'll later post reviews of this gear after I use it later this year. I'm also going to include a few pictures of some gear I've used in the past and brief reviews.

MSR Hubba Hubba 2 person tent

This tent is classified as an lightweight backpacking tent weighing just 4 lbs 5 oz, which includes the tent, poles, rain fly, and footprint (basically a tarp that is designed to fit exactly under your tent). This tent is great because if you want to ditch another 2 lbs from your pack you can just use the tent mat, rain fly, and poles (poles/rain fly connect to the mat). Of course you'll be a bit exposed at the sides of the tent along the bottom, but it still provides adequate shelter.

MSR Hubba Hubba

With a compression stuff sack I can get the tent, rain fly, and footprint compressed down really tight to fit in my pack

MSR Hubba Hubba

Hoping to try this out on our trip to CA in April

Kelty Light Trekker 20 degree down filled sleeping bag

We had a couple of synthetic filled lightweight sleeping bags, but they were still limited at how small you could compress them to fit in your backpack. The down-filled sleeping bags are truly ultralight and compress amazingly, while also holding in some serious warmth. We should be trying these out in at least by our trip in April

Kelty light Trekker 20* down bag

Big Agnes Insulated Air Core sleeping pads - 20"x72"

I'm really excited at the chance to sleep on these. After blowing one up in my house and resting on it I wanted to fall asleep right there. The fact that these are insulated is a huge perk as they'll keep us warm off the ground. We had previously been using some cheap, HEAVY pads from walmart, along with a couple of Alps Mountaineering pads, neither of which are designed for backpacking. I'm excited for these because they compress up to the size of a 32 ounce nalgene bottle.

Big Agnes Insulated Air Core 72x20

Jetboil Zip

When I first heard about the Jetboil brand of stoves I was pretty stoked about the chance to get my water boiling a lot faster than my old stove. I have an ultralight MSR Simmerlite stove, which I love for how small it is, but it takes FOREVER to boil water. Comparatively my large car-camping stove takes about just as long. I have not fired this bad boy up yet, but I'm anxious to see what it can do

Jetboil zip

Sea to Summit compression dry sacks

When I had some extra money to spend at REI on a gift card Bill suggested some compression dry sacks. They're expensive, but as he pointed out, worth it because you can obviously get a lot of gear compressed in it, but it will also stay dry if you get in a wet situation. I picked up two of these 35 Liter sacks. I'l be using these in April as well.

Sea to Summit compression dry sack

Steripen Adventurer

I'm not sure when I'll actually get to test this out, but a little technology along the trail never hurt anyone. This thing emits UV light into the water, guaranteeing to kill off 99.9% of all bacteria in the water. I'll always plan to have my filter system with me, but I'll use this as an extra kick to ensure everything is killed off.

SteriPen Adventurer

Osprey Ace 48 Backpack

Bill was able to use a pro deal to get me this pack and it's GREATLY appreciated. I have a 12 year old that is super tall, but not super strong (yet) and it was looking like he was going to have to use the 4500 (see below) for our up-coming trip until I was able to pull this off. As you can see from the picture we loaded his sleeping bag, pad, and 2 person tent into it and we still have room for his clothes, some food, and a few misc. items he may want to bring (the top is pulled down tight over the pack, so you can't really tell, but there is room). His pack weight will be around 20 lbs, which is a bit big for his 105 lbs frame, but he's about 5'3" right now so I think he'll be OK.

Osprey Ace 48

Kelty Camp Hauler 2

I got this as a gift because I lucked out (again) with Bill having the honor of being my santa at this year's family christmas. Of course he's going to hook me up with something cool. This will be great for storing our gear, etc. when we're car camping. Right now we've been using a huge storage bin that at times takes up too much room. This will force us to get rid of stuff we don't really need to bring and take up much less space in the car.

Kelty camp hauler2

Here is a bit of my existing gear that I'll be using this year

Kelty Redcloud 6500

This is a HUGE pack and I bought this back when I thought you had to have a TON of room in your backpack (and back when I actually NEEDED a ton of room because all my gear was so big). This is a great pack, but I'm thinking I won't be using it much now that I have a lot of light gear. I did a test load and put both mine and Alene's sleeping bags and mini-pillows, our tent/stakes, 2 sleeping pads, the jetboil, fuel, cookset, 2.2 liters of water, multitool, shovel, and spare clothing and my pack was only at 30.5 lbs. I still have to add food, but other than that I'm set AND my pack was only 3/4 full.

Kelty Redcloud 6500

Ketly Coyote 4500

We had purchased this one with the intention of it being Alene's pack since it was smaller. I'm almost wondering if I should start using this one. We'll give it a test on our trip to CA since Alene won't be using it, to see if I should take it or not. I used it once on a snowshoeing trip up to the Uintas about 5 years ago and it worked out great.

Kelty Coyote 4500

Northface Tera 30

This is a day pack mostly, but could be used as an ultralight backpacking pack I think. I have it designed as our canyoneering backpack (notice the grommets I placed at the bottom of the pack to allow water to spill out). It's a great pack and fits well. I'm a little curious to see how it would stuff for a 1-2 night packpacking trip.

The North Face Tera 30

Last but not least.....

My "Hose Protection"

People always laugh at me when I bring this along on trips, but once they see the damage it can do they understand why I bring it. I came up with this idea when my dogs chewed through my heavy duty hose in my backyard. I was really pissed off (because it was expensive) and I had grabbed this leftover end piece and smashed it against a piece of wood. When I noticed the dent it left in the wood and the amount of force I came down on it with, I realized this could be a decent piece of defense equipment against a person, or a small to medium sized animal if need be. One crack on the skull and I'm POSITIVE it will make the attacker think twice. I do have a handgun I'd consider carrying, but for an average hike and when I don't want all that extra weight, this is perfect. I recently purchased a galvanized cap that I've screwed on top of this now. I plan to fill it with a bit more lead to give it a bit of solidness. The flexibility of the tough hose gives the weapon a great kick as you bring it down on its target (like a whip, but with a metal object at the end). People laugh, but if I ever need it, I know it will work

Defense hose

Here is a link to a set of pictures of all my camping gear if you're interested

Feb 13, 2012

Moab/Canyonlands/Arches Feburary 2012

It was time to get away from the daily hustle and head down to Moab where it was 5-10 degrees warmer and a whole lot sunnier. Our plan was to head down early Saturday morning but I got really sick the day before and was hoping I'd sleep it off, but to my dismay, I was not able to get up early Saturday, so we didn't leave our house until 10am. Bill and April had left earlier, but due to some bad luck with Bill's sister's truck (flat tire) we only ended up an hour behind them.

This would be our first long trip with our newborn Waylon (4 months) and his first hikes. The drive down was not too bad. We had to stop a few times for some feedings, but for the most part he was a pretty good traveler.

On our way down we headed immediately to Canyonlands NP at Island in the Sky and drove to the trailhead for the somewhat secretive "False Kiva" trail. Bill gave me great directions over the phone on how to find it and said they would be hanging out there. We immediately headed out on the trail.

False Kiva trail

False Kiva trail

We ran into Bill and April as we came close to the approach. They were going to move on and see Upheaval dome and meet us at Mesa Arch while we checked out False Kiva.

Sunburst along the trail

False Kiva trail sunburst

Caiden taking a mini-break

False Kiva trail

False Kiva

False Kiva

Tyler at False Kiva

At False Kiva there was an Englishman hanging out there waiting for the perfect picture. He said he had been there 39 times trying to find the right one. He was an awesome guy and I REALLY wished I had gotten his name/photo site. He spends about 6 months at a time in the states taking pictures, then working the other 6 months on a yatch. After hanging out about 20 minutes or so, we headed back to meet up with everyone else.

Alene and Waylon

Alene & Waylon on False Kiva trail

Me and Caiden

Caiden & Tyler on False Kiva trail

View near False Kiva

Selfie along the trail

Almost sunset leaving False Kiva trail

After False Kiva we drove over to Mesa Arch. It was my first time there and it made me VERY nervous with the young kids around. I could not believe how much of a sheer drop it was below the arch. The Arch itself was amazing how it shot right out of the cliff.

Mesa Arch sunset

Picture of the canyon below from on top of Mesa Arch

View from Mesa Arch

After that we booked it over to the Green River viewpoint to catch some sunset. I loved seeing the white rim trail below and thought about how fun it would be to bike that someday (a guy can dream)


Green River viewpoint sunset

Sunset with a different lens

Green River viewpoint sunset

After that it got really dark and we headed to our Hotel in Moab for the night.

The next morning Bill, Mark (along with his girlfriend Britnee), and I got up really early and drove back to Island in the Sky to catch the sunrise at Mesa Arch. It was a dud, but we had a lot of fun. Our Englishman friend was sleeping at the trailhead and hiked along with us to set up for pictures. We had a good time just chatting.

Waiting for sunrise

Mesa Arch - Waiting for sunrise

Non-sunrise. View was still spectacular as usual

Mesa Arch (non) sunrise

We then headed back to the hotel to get the rest of our families and headed over to Arches. Weather was looking a bit sketchy, so we headed over to Devils Garden hoping the area would shield us a bit from the wind.

Landscape Arch

Landscape Arch

Hanging out at Navajo Arch for a break


Navajo Arch

Navajo Arch

I carried li'l Waylon back to the car while he slept


Little sleeper

Sleeping Waylon

After grabbing some lunch, we dropped Alene and April off in the campground and let them do the short hike through broken arch over to Sand Dune arch to meet us with the kids. We let the kids hang out and play, but it became very windy, so we headed back to the cars to wait.


Waylon at Sand Dune arch



Kids at Sand Dune arch

After the mom's arrived it started to pour rain, so we headed back to the hotel for a bit. Once it let up Bill, his sister Whitney, and I headed back up to Arches looking for a sunset. It lasted all of about 15 seconds. I can't really decide which picture I liked best, so I'm posting two of each.

View from the Windows

Arches Sunset

Arches sunset

View from the Windows with Turret Arch

Turret Arch sunset

Turret Arch sunset

We headed back to the hotel, got cleaned up and our family headed to the Moab Brewery. I had a mountain full of nachos that I barely made a dent in and the family returned stuffed.

The next morning we headed up the Potash road over to the Corona Arch trailhead to do that hike.

Heading up the trail

Corona Arch trail

The view from the top of the trail before you hit the train tracks (looking back at the Colorado River)

Corona Arch trail

The train track crossing

Corona Arch trail

Kids on the trail

Corona Arch trail

Getting closer (you can see Corona arch)

Corona arch

Climbing up the ladder (this was Bailey's favorite part and she demanded no help)

Corona Arch trail

Bowtie arch (literally right next to Corona Arch)

Bowtie Arch

Corona Arch - This arch was MASSIVE

Corona Arch

Coming back down the trail

Corona Arch trail

Mommies with the babies

Corona Arch trail

Corona arch was actually a lot of fun. Very scenic and short and something I'd definitely come back to see.

It was really nice to get away and be in an environment we all love. We can't wait to do it again.