Monday, August 25, 2014

Granite Gear Virga 2 Backpack Review

Granite Gear Virga 2 Backpack

The Granite Gear Virga 2 is a 54 liter ultralight backpack that is lightweight even by today’s standards. Weighing just 1 pound and 3 ounces (19 ounces) it is truly frameless, without even a foam back pad behind the shoulder straps. Despite its low weight, the Virga 2 is a fully featured Granite Gear backpack with all of the standard amenities that come on their other overnight packs, including large external mesh pockets, an excellent compression system, and a roll top closure, making the Virga 2 a good choice for minimalist backpacking, short trips, or more technical day hiking.



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Friday, August 22, 2014

We would like to invite you to our new social network for Monarch enthusiasts.

Monarch Conservation Network http://monarchconservation.yooco.org/

Our network is a lot like facebook, twitter and myspace combined. I chose this site for the features that best suited my interests which is to spread the word and unite the people. There is a lot of information and interest in the monarch butterfly but is doesnt seem to be as localized as it could be. Hopefully, with your help we can create a community based on monarch butterfly awareness and education.

Membership is free.

Features on our network include:

Pictures and Videos- upload your videos or embed from Youtube. Private Messages Forum - share your ideas and concerns with others, share seeds or help someone new. Chat Event Calendar - Post an event for all to see. Personal website creation. - create your own website of interest within out network. Promote your own site. Links and info - Links to monarch information and othe great resources. Much like other networks, the basis is about sharing our info and ideas with a common goal, meeting and communicating with others who share a common interest. Other great features include the ability to invite others by email. with your help and support we can build a caring community. Invite your friends, your family or anyone you wish to be involved.

Hope to see you soon!

Regards, Tim

Beautiful and graceful, varied and

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

A Taste of the Cohos Trail: Northbound Wanderlust

North of the White Mountains

The Cohos Trail runs the length of Coos County, starting in the White Mountains to the south, and threading its way through Northern New Hampshire to the Canadian Border. While I’ve hiked most of the southern sections of the Cohos (pronounced co’-haus), this was the first section I’d hiked north of the Kilkenny Wilderness, which is the northernmost extent of the White Mountain National Forest, and the edge of the world as far as most White Mountain hikers are concerned.

I’d tagged along on an Appalachian Mountain Club weekend section hike led by two close friends, to get a first hand look at this section of the Cohos Trail and see what hiking in the north country was all about.

I’m hooked.



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Reader Poll: What’s the Worst Weather You’ve Ever Hiked In?

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Zpacks.com Cuben Fiber Stuff Sacks

Summer UL gear List – 9.93 Pounds

Upgrading your stuff sacks to ultralight cuben fiber stuff sacks is often overlooked as a way to reduce your pack weight, but it can have a huge impact if you use heavier waterproof stuff sacks or compression sacks today.

I switched to cuben fiber stuff sacks this spring because a lot of my older silnylon stuff sacks had bitten the dust. I upgraded to the cuben fiber stuff sacks made by Zpacks.com because they’re super lightweight, and they come in lots of different sizes and colors which helps me keep my gear organized, and Zpack’s prices are very competitive for cuben fiber gear.

How much lighter are Zpack’s stuff sacks? They’re often 50%-75% lighter weight by volume for a comparable silnylon stuff sack with a roll top closure like the Sea-to-Summit Ultra-Sil Nano, and even more if you use compression sacks.

For example, here are the weights of the bags I purchased and the gear that I store in them:

1. Large, (Rectangular shape) with 12.3 liters of capacity - weight: .4 oz.  /  11 grams

Used to store my sleeping quilt or  down sleeping bag

2. Medium, with 5.6 liters of capacity - weight: .3 oz.  /  8.5 grams

Used to store extra socks, fleece sleeping hat, long underwear top of bottom

3. Slim, with 4.0 liter of capacity - weight: .2 oz.  /  5.7 grams

Used to store shelter

4, Small-Plus, with 3.3 liters of capacity - weight: .2 oz.  /  5.7 grams

Used to store my  first aid and gear repair kits

5. Mini, with 0.9 liters of capacity - weight: .13 oz. / 3.5 grams

Used to store personal items

When you have to measure gear weights  in grams, you know it’s ultralight!



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Campsite Regulations: The 200 Foot Rule

Camping at a  non-designated, pre-existing campsite

I recently met a pair of new backpackers, Bill and Elena, and they asked me my opinion about the 200 foot rule. This is a  a backcountry camping rule in many federally regulated forests.

Check your local regulations for specifics because they vary accross different federal and state jurisdictions. If you hike within the White Mountain National Forest, here is a link to their Backcountry Camping Rules. In certain fragile areas, the 200 foot rule is replaced by a distance of is 1/4 mile.

The 200 foot rule says: No camping within 200 feet of any trail except at designated campsites.

Taken literally, it means that you can’t pop your tent or shelter down anywhere you choose within 200 feet of a trail, unless you’re at a designated campsite. Designated campsites are signed by the forest service or local administrative authority and are usually listed on maps. They can be free to use or may require payment.

Contrary to the rule, a White Mountain forest ranger had told Bill and Elena that it’s ok to camp in a non-designated campsite within 200 feet of the trail, if it’s at a pre-existing campsite, because it’s better to camp at a site that’s already been impacted than to create a new campsite on virgin turf.

You’d be surprised how little it takes damage or kill off the vegetation under your tent or to create a discernable pathway through an area if you walk over it several times. That’s why it’s recommended that you use an existing tent site if one is already available.



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Monarch Conservation Network - Monarch Butterfly Support Community

Monarch Conservation Network - Monarch Butterfly Support Community

Monarch Conservation Network - Monarch Butterfly Support Community
MONARCHCONSERVATION.YOOCO.ORG
Providing awareness to support and sustain wildlife habitat for the Monarch Butterfly. Description The number of monarch butterflies has steadily dropped around 80 percent or more by some estimates in the past 15 years, barely recovering from the lowest