Author: Hike Mike

The 7 Coolest New Products for Backpackers We Found at Outdoor Retailer

We scoured the massive show floor of last week’s Outdoor Retailer trade show in Denver in search of the most exciting pieces of backpacking gear hitting shelves—and trails—in the coming months. From stoves to sleeping pads to backpacks, the innovation of your favorite brands didn’t disappoint. Backpacking gear is getting lighter, more comfortable and more feature-rich.

Primus Firestick Ti Stove
The tiny Firestick Ti has a place in our packs (or hipbelt pockets). (Photo Credit: Ryan Wichelns)

At just 3.1 ounces (with an included, external Piezo igniter), the titanium Primus Firestick weighs less than your headlamp but doesn’t sacrifice any camp-cooking performance. (It’s also available in a steel version that weighs 3.7 ounces.) Air intake holes, a recessed burner head and a fine-tunable pressure regulator (with a large, foldable control knob) give the stove top-notch fuel efficiency and cook times: This 8,530-BTU stove will bring 1 liter of water to a boil in a little more than thre..

Black Diamond ReVolt 350

We scoured the massive show floor of last week’s Outdoor Retailer trade show in Denver in search of the most exciting pieces of backpacking gear hitting shelves—and trails—in the coming months. From stoves to sleeping pads to backpacks, the innovation of your favorite brands didn’t disappoint. Backpacking gear is getting lighter, more comfortable and more feature-rich.

Primus Firestick Ti Stove

Primus Firestick Ti

The tiny Firestick Ti has a place in our packs (or hipbelt pockets). (Photo Credit: Ryan Wichelns)

At just 3.1 ounces (with an included, external Piezo igniter), the titanium Primus Firestick weighs less than your headlamp but doesn’t sacrifice any camp-cooking performance. (It’s also available in a steel version that weighs 3.7 ounces.) Air intake holes, a recessed burner head and a fine-tunable pressure regulator (with a large, foldable control knob) give the stove top-notch fuel efficiency and cook times: This 8,530-BTU stove will bring 1 liter of water to a boil in a little more than three minutes, and an 8-ounce canister of fuel will burn on full for up to 1 hour and 15 minutes. Plus, the sturdy pot support arms click into place over the burner when it’s not in use, keeping it protected while eliminating the need for a separate case. It packs down to just over 4 inches long with a 1.4-inch diameter—about the same size as a candy bar. Pick up the Firestick online in spring 2020. ($120)

Black Diamond ReVolt 350 Headlamp

Black Diamond ReVolt 350

The dimmable ReVolt 350 boasts 350 lumens. (Photo Credit: Ryan Wichelns)

The headlamp power arms race is still in full swing. Black Diamond’s rechargeable ReVolt Headlamp is getting a boost from 175 lumens up to 350, the upper end available for headlamps this size. Of course, you likely won’t need all that power all the time, so the ReVolt is easily dimmable. (Nice touch: Like most Black Diamond headlamps, once you find a power you like, the light will remain set there until you manually change it, even after it’s turned off and on.) It also features Black Diamond’s new 1,800-mAh, removable lithium-ion battery, which can be recharged in a cradle and swapped in for a fresh one (or throw regular AAAs in there). This allows you to carry an extra or two for long trips, rather than needing to plug the light into a power bank while on the trail. Once you get home, a quick recharge ensures you always head out at 100 percent and don’t need to worry about disposable batteries. Buy the new ReVolt at select REI stores or online in spring 2020. ($65)

Goal Zero Nomad 5 Solar Panel

Goal Zero Nomad 5

Juice your gadgets with the Nomad 5. (Photo Credit: Ryan Wichelns)

For backpackers who like to charge on the go, this featherlight solar panel may become your new standard. The single monocrystalline panel—protected behind a durable, rugged plastic enclosure—weighs 12.7 ounces, smaller and lighter than any Goal Zero panel before. (At $59.95, it’s cheaper, too.) It’s the perfect size for shoving into the brain of your pack. The 5-watt output might not keep your mirrorless camera alive in the backcountry, but for phones, headlamps and small power banks, it’s all you need. A single female USB port on the back makes charging phones and Goal Zero’s Flip chargers simple, and a kickstand on the back and lash points around the perimeter make setup easy. (You can prop it on a boulder or the ground at camp or affix it to the outside of your pack when you’re hiking.) Pre-order the Nomad 5 online now; it will be available at all REI stores in July 2019. ($60)

Gregory Paragon 58 / Maven 55 Packs

Gregory Paragon 58 / Maven 55

The Paragon and Maven now have dynamic carry. (Photo courtesy of John Sears)

The updated 58-liter Paragon and women-specific, 55-liter Maven have backpackers and weekend warriors drooling. Now made with Gregory’s patent-pending FreeFloat Hybrid suspension system, the load haulers boast dynamic fit and carry (so the packs move with you as you hike and high-step). The precurved hipbelt is designed to comfortably hug your body, and the back panel has airflow channels. Stretchy exterior mesh pockets, including a huge one on the back and narrower ones on each side, give you lots of options for stashing wet clothes, extra snacks and other items you might want to grab on the go. With all that, the Paragon 58 comes in at just 3 pounds, 5 ounces. REI will have the first-to-market exclusive beginning in November 2019, and the packs will be available in most stores and online. ($200)

Exped Outer Space II Tent

EXPED Outer Space II

Unclear what we'll do with the 37 square feet of vestibule space in the Outer Space II, but we'll certainly enjoy it. (Photo Credit: Ryan Wichelns)

Weathering storms by lying on your back and staring at a mesh tent body are a thing of the past, thanks to the Exped Outer Space. Designed for maximum livability without losing its lightweight backpacking credentials, this two-person, three-season shelter weighs 5 pounds, 11 ounces with a staggering 37 square feet of vestibule space. With the inner tent body set up inside and the fly zipped down, there’s enough room for campers to eat, play cards or even sit in chairs. If the weather is nice, open it up in porch mode (pictured) for even more space—and a view. Find the Outer Space II in select REI stores and online in spring 2020; it will also be available in a three-person version. ($449)

NEMO Flyer Sleeping Pad

NEMO Flyer

Foam and air, a backpacker's best friends. (Photo Credit: Ryan Wichelns)

The Flyer blurs the line between lightweight inflatable pad and luxe self-inflating pad. NEMO took a standard foam pad and cored out about 60 percent of the actual foam to create hollow air channels. The result is a $120, 1-pound-7-ounce sleeping pad that packs down to the size of a football—but still inflates on its own. On the show floor, it seemed to provide a generous amount of support, even for side sleepers. Added bonus: If you puncture it or bust an air chamber, the foam on the inside makes it still relatively comfortable when deflated. A durable-yet-supple, 20-denier fabric adds to the plush factor, and an R-value of 3 means you can push it into cooler temperatures if paired with a warm sleeping bag. The Flyer will be available in all REI stores and online in spring 2020. ($120)

Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2 Tent

Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2

The Copper Spur gets awnings. (Photo Credit: Ryan Wichelns)

Who knew a single zipper could make such a difference? By adding a second zipper to the fly of Big Agnes’s super-popular, lightweight backpacking tent, you can now prop both sides up with a trekking pole to create awnings. If you don’t need open porches (in the event that the weather is a little spicy), just close up that new zipper and use it as a traditional fly. Even with the new porch feature and an updated, more durable ripstop nylon throughout the fly, the revised Copper Spur still comes in at 2 pounds, 13 ounces. REI will have the first-to-market exclusive beginning in November 2019, and it will be available in all stores and online. ($500)

Looking for more new product picks scouted from the show floor at Outdoor Retailer? Find our favorite gear for the trail here.

The post The 7 Coolest New Products for Backpackers We Found at Outdoor Retailer appeared first on REI Co-op Journal.

Comments Off on The 7 Coolest New Products for Backpackers We Found at Outdoor Retailer

Hiking For Beginners: 11 Essential Tips

Hiking for beginners can be intimidating, but there’s really not much to it. You don’t need any special skills to hike; you just have to be able to walk and know where you are. It’s a great way to immerse yourself in nature, get a good workout in, and recharge your batteries. This guide will give you some essential hiking for beginners tips to make your hike safe and fun.

The post Hiking For Beginners: 11 Essential Tips appeared first on HikingGuy.com.

Hiking For Beginners: 11 Essential Tips

Hiking for beginners can be intimidating, but there’s really not much to it. You don’t need any special skills to hike; you just have to be able to walk and know where you are. It’s a great way to immerse yourself in nature, get a good workout in, and recharge your batteries. This guide will give you some essential hiking for beginners tips to make your hike safe and fun.

The post Hiking For Beginners: 11 Essential Tips appeared first on HikingGuy.com.

Comments Off on Hiking For Beginners: 11 Essential Tips

The Top Grand Canyon Waterfall Hikes

Thousands of feet below the rim, the mighty Colorado River hints at the forces that created the Grand Canyon, an unprecedented confluence of rock, water and time. But the river is far from the only water feature found within the 277-mile-long chasm, and those who venture down the canyon’s walls, along its intricate network of trails, are often rewarded with views of some of the national park’s most alluring features: its waterfalls.

But beware. The canyon’s steep walls mean reaching these often hidden oases is demanding, and summer brings temperatures of over 100 degrees at the canyon bottom. Winter snows can also close the North Rim, so plan these hikes for May and early June or September through October. No matter the season, accessing these eight cascades requires traveling through 1.8 billion years of geological time and witnessing the life source of this place, the untamed water that spills over—and sometimes through—the canyon walls from tributary creeks, underground rivers, unk..

Thunder Falls cascades from a cave mouth high above the canyon floor.

Thousands of feet below the rim, the mighty Colorado River hints at the forces that created the Grand Canyon, an unprecedented confluence of rock, water and time. But the river is far from the only water feature found within the 277-mile-long chasm, and those who venture down the canyon’s walls, along its intricate network of trails, are often rewarded with views of some of the national park’s most alluring features: its waterfalls.

But beware. The canyon’s steep walls mean reaching these often hidden oases is demanding, and summer brings temperatures of over 100 degrees at the canyon bottom. Winter snows can also close the North Rim, so plan these hikes for May and early June or September through October. No matter the season, accessing these eight cascades requires traveling through 1.8 billion years of geological time and witnessing the life source of this place, the untamed water that spills over—and sometimes through—the canyon walls from tributary creeks, underground rivers, unknown springs and secluded caves.

Deer Creek Falls

  • Location: North Rim
  • Length: 20.4 miles round-trip
  • Difficulty: Intermediate
  • Best for: Overnight backpackers
  • Dogs: No dogs

Tucked into a remote pocket below the Grand Canyon’s North Rim, spring-fed Deer Creek free-falls 180 feet into the Colorado River in a single plunge. To get there, head to Monument Point from the Bill Hall trailhead, which though more challenging, will save you 2.5 miles compared to the older Thunder River trailhead. In a few miles, at the Esplanade, you’ll join the Thunder River Trail. Continue down into the sun-drenched Surprise Valley, keeping an eye out for the cairns marking the route, especially the large one that marks the right turn onto Deer Creek Trail, which leads to the falls. Don’t miss it, or you’ll end up at the wrong waterfall. Continue past the cooling waters of Deer Spring to a rock ledge known as The Patio to take in incredible views of The Narrows, a slot canyon which is now closed to hiking, climbing and canyoneering to protect it from damage. The final stretch descends a steep set of switchbacks. Soak in the pool at the base of the cascade to cool off. You’ll have earned it.

Thunder Falls

  • Location: North Rim
  • Total length: 25 miles round-trip
  • Difficulty: Intermediate/difficult
  • Best for: Backpackers with basic canyoneering experience
  • Dogs: No dogs

The Thunder River flows underground before unleashing its torrent through a cave mouth high up the canyon’s Muav Limestone cliffs. Though its source remains a mystery, cave explorer Steve Eginoire, who has spent extensive time mapping these underground waterways, theorizes the North Rim’s porous rock funnels snowmelt and rain to replenish underground springs.

A trip to study the falls yourself usually takes three days and begins as a relatively flat slickrock stroll along the Esplanade via the Thunder River Trail or Bill Hall Trail, then abruptly shifts to a steep switchback descent through the colorful Supai and Redwall formations to the floor of Surprise Valley. Stay left where the trail splits as the right fork leads to Deer Creek Falls. The route then flattens for about a mile. Take advantage of the brief respite before drawing on your canyoneering experience to safely reach Thunder Falls: There’s an eight-foot down-climb where you may opt to use a rope to lower your packs. After tumbling down the steep canyon wall, the Thunder River runs above ground for just half a mile before joining Tapeats Creek.

Keep in mind, temperatures in the south-facing Surprise Valley can be dangerously high. Hiking here after 10am or before 4pm during warmer months is not recommended.

Elves Chasm

  • Location: South Rim
  • Total length: 29 miles round-trip
  • Difficulty: Difficult
  • Best for: Fit canyoneers with strong technical and rappelling skills
  • Dogs: No dogs

Swimming in the pools carved by this waterfall is a worthy reward for the scrambling, slithering, hopping and rappelling it takes to reach the secluded oasis. The route begins at the South Bass trailhead, located on the South Rim approximately 25 miles west of the Grand Canyon Village, before turning left off that trail onto the Royal Arch Route. A 20-foot rappel is required, so this hike is only suitable for those with technical canyoneering and rappelling experience. If you’re not sure that’s you, you shouldn’t attempt it. The final section along the river via Elves Chasm Trail follows rough terrain. Expect plenty of boulder hopping and bushwacking to reach the grotto which houses the falls.

Ribbon Falls

  • Location: North Rim
  • Total length: 24.7 miles round-trip
  • Difficulty: Intermediate/difficult
  • Best for: Strong day hikers and overnight backpackers
  • Dogs: No dogs

Although it’s easier to reach this 100-foot-tall cascade along a 16.4-mile round-trip route from the North Rim, the approach from the South Rim is open all year and has more amenities near the trailhead for road-weary travelers. The route starts just east of Grand Canyon Village, home to the park’s iconic El Tovar Hotel and plenty of services, at the South Kaibab Trail before switching to the Ribbon Falls Trail for the final push. Keep in mind that the trailhead is closed to private vehicles, so you’ll need to plan to take the NPS Shuttle System.

At almost 14 miles one-way, it’s worth taking two days to backpack the route, but be sure to obtain a backcountry permit from the Park Service and check the camping and backcountry travel regulations. But whether you’re camping or making a very long day of it, be sure to swim in the pool below the falls and hike around to the backside of the torrent for a view straight down the side canyon through the cascade.

(Editor's note: As of July 1, 2019, the Ribbon Falls Bridge remains closed after sustaining damage in April, and access to the falls is restricted until further notice. Check with the National Parks Service for updates and other trail closures in the park.)

Havasupai Indian Reservation

  • Location: Havasupai Indian Reservation
  • Total length: 20.6 miles round-trip
  • Difficulty: Intermediate/Difficult
  • Best for: Average hikers hikers and families with older children
  • Dogs: No dogs

Havasupai means “people of the blue green water,” and the residents of the Havasupai Indian Reservation consider these spectacular, colorful falls their life source. Thus, it’s imperative that hikers visiting the area treat it with respect and use ethical hiking practices to honor the landscape’s sacred heritage, modern inhabitants and surrounding wilderness.

And while you’ve no doubt seen stunning photos of the reservation’s sparkling waterfalls all over the internet, access is restricted to protect it from being over-impacted and spoiled. Permits can be obtained directly through the Havasupai Tribe and typically close in February. Apply as soon as possible as they’re often gone shortly after becoming available.

But trust us. The paperwork is worth it. In addition to the watercolor-painted cascade, travertine dams create natural infinity pools below each falls. The first 10.5 miles along Havasu Canyon Trail from Hualapai Hilltop to Havasupai Campground (where you’ll need to stop and check in at the ranger station) alternate between stretches of relatively flat or downhill non-technical terrain. You’ll pass Havasu and Little Navajo Falls, then the trail steepens dramatically, descending ladders and chains to reach finally reaching the 200-foot-tall Mooney Falls.

Havasu Falls is just one of the many iconic water features found in the Havasupai Indian Reservation.

Cheyava Falls

  • Location: North Rim
  • Total length: 43.4 round-trip
  • Difficulty: Intermediate/difficult
  • Best for: Serious backpackers
  • Dogs: No dogs

The stunning 800-foot Cheyava Falls only flows when snow is melting or after significant rainfall. In fact, Cheyava is a Hopi word meaning “intermittent waters.” With that in mind, you’ll want to plan this hike for late spring when runoff is at its highest. And though the 43-mile round-trip requires a minimum of three to four days for even hearty hikers, the greatest challenge may be obtaining a permit, as it is necessary to apply four months before your proposed start date with no guarantee of acceptance.

While the falls sit within the North Rim, the South Rim’s popular South Kaibab Trail is the shortest approach. After crossing the Colorado River at famed Phantom Ranch 6.5 miles in, you’ll join the North Kaibab Trail for a mile to reach the junction with Clear Creek Trail. This entire south-facing stretch is exposed, notoriously hot and devoid of water sources. Plan to hike in the morning and evening hours with ample water. From the end of the trail, you must hike an additional 5 miles upstream along the creek to reach the falls. This is an off-trail route and will be challenging, but it the water is flowing, you’ll be treated to the tallest waterfall in the Grand Canyon.

Vasey's Paradise

  • Name: https://www.hikingproject.com/trail/7003286/south-canyon
  • Location: North Rim
  • Total length: 13 miles round-trip
  • Difficulty: Difficult
  • Best for: Experienced and fit canyon hikers
  • Dogs: No dogs

Arriving at Vasey’s Paradise always comes with a cost, and the demanding waterless approach via the South Canyon Trail is no exception. The trail is a steep scramble marked only by a series of faint cairns so hikers should be well versed in route finding and navigating technical terrain. This classic and unrelenting desert trek requires frequent bushwacking and switchback descents. Save your energy for the final 12-foot dryfall downclimb near the dueling falls that spill from groundwater springs and fuel this lush oasis.

This local guide is presented by Teva. Teva was born in the Grand Canyon back in 1984, when a river guide rigged two Velcro watchbands to an old pair of flip flops and created a shoe that wouldn’t float away. This year, Teva is celebrating its roots and the 100th anniversary of the Grand Canyon National Park with its GC100 Collection.

The post The Top Grand Canyon Waterfall Hikes appeared first on REI Co-op Journal.

Comments Off on The Top Grand Canyon Waterfall Hikes

Hike Holy Jim Falls Trail

The Holy Jim Falls Trail hike is an easy hike to a small waterfall tucked into the heart of the Santa Ana Mountains. The hike follows Holy Jim Creek, which is one of the pristine mountain tributaries of Trabuco Creek, and eventually flows out to the ocean at Dana Point. Today the Holy Jim Falls Trail is family friendly, relatively easy, and well marked hike.

The post Hike Holy Jim Falls Trail appeared first on HikingGuy.com.

Hike Holy Jim Falls Trail

The Holy Jim Falls Trail hike is an easy hike to a small waterfall tucked into the heart of the Santa Ana Mountains. The hike follows Holy Jim Creek, which is one of the pristine mountain tributaries of Trabuco Creek, and eventually flows out to the ocean at Dana Point. Today the Holy Jim Falls Trail is family friendly, relatively easy, and well marked hike.

The post Hike Holy Jim Falls Trail appeared first on HikingGuy.com.

Comments Off on Hike Holy Jim Falls Trail

In Search of the Perfect Sports Bra

I hiked the Pacific Crest Trail with one sports bra. Yes, one. For six months. Am I crazy? Probably. But that’s beside the point, which is that I searched for the perfect bra for months, and when I found it, it was all I needed.

Of course, I didn’t realize finding it was going to be such a problem. When planning a thru-hike, there are an overwhelming number of gear decisions to make: tent, sleep system, backpack, stove, food (oh, the food), even eating utensils. It took me nearly a year of research to land on the perfect kit. But the one piece of gear this gearhead didn’t anticipate stressing over? A bra.

Finding the right sports bra to hike the Pacific Crest Trail was more than the author bargained for. (Photo Courtesy: Ashley Brown)

A Brief History of Bras in Sport (aka, the Anti-Sports Bra)
Millennia ago, Greek sportswomen wrapped their breasts with cloth and leather bands, which may have been effective, but seems entirely uncomfortable. In the Dark Ages, women didn’t have to dea..

A variety of sports bras.

I hiked the Pacific Crest Trail with one sports bra. Yes, one. For six months. Am I crazy? Probably. But that’s beside the point, which is that I searched for the perfect bra for months, and when I found it, it was all I needed.

Of course, I didn’t realize finding it was going to be such a problem. When planning a thru-hike, there are an overwhelming number of gear decisions to make: tent, sleep system, backpack, stove, food (oh, the food), even eating utensils. It took me nearly a year of research to land on the perfect kit. But the one piece of gear this gearhead didn’t anticipate stressing over? A bra.

Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail

Finding the right sports bra to hike the Pacific Crest Trail was more than the author bargained for. (Photo Courtesy: Ashley Brown)

A Brief History of Bras in Sport (aka, the Anti-Sports Bra)

Millennia ago, Greek sportswomen wrapped their breasts with cloth and leather bands, which may have been effective, but seems entirely uncomfortable. In the Dark Ages, women didn’t have to deal with such DIY compression because, well, they weren’t the ones jousting. From there, we moved to corsets, which is to say, we didn’t move at all for the next 500 years.

Another shift in the evolution of female undergarments came in 1911 when a “sports” corset debuted with elastic instead of metal, and in 1914 when, thanks to the popularity of tango, we saw a similar dance-specific model. When women began taking on more physical factory jobs during World War I, they, too, required more comfort and mobility and turned to brassieres, the first example of what we think of today as a traditional bra.

Fast-forward to 1966, when Roberta “Bobbi” Gibb ran the Boston Marathon in a tank-top bathing suit, a precursor to the jogging craze that hit the United States in the early 1970s. As more women laced up their trainers, more women encountered the pain and frustration of running without proper breast support. Finally, in 1977, Lisa Lindahl had had enough. She recruited her friend and costume designer Polly Smith, and together they deconstructed two jock straps and started sewing. The result? The Jogbra, the first modern-day sports bra.

Think about that: We put a man on the moon before we put a woman in a sports bra.

Picking the Right Sports Bra

Today, we have so many options, it’s overwhelming. (The global sports-bra market has ballooned over $7 billion.) Though every sports bra has the same purpose—to limit the movement of breasts during physical activity—it’s more complex than you’d think. Breasts have no muscle tissue and vary in size, shape and density from woman to woman. They move up, down, in, out, side to side—no wonder so many women experience pain during exercise (around 50 percent, according to a 2007 study by the University of Portsmouth).

Furthermore, “where the breasts are located is very complicated topology,” explains Dr. LaJean Lawson, a former researcher at Oregon State University who now consults with brands on sports bra research and development. “[The same] volume of breast, that shape that sits on the front of your chest can be high, low, they can be more outside, inside, down, things can be slanted, so even with the same cup volume, those breasts can be positioned and act very different on the body.”

Where to start when searching for a sports bra? First, think about the impact level, or the amount of force sent through the body when it hits the ground. Sports bras are often designed around a specific impact level: Yoga is generally considered low-impact, while running is high-impact.

The three types of sports bras.

  • Compression bras: Best for lower-impact sports, these bras use stretch material to hold the breasts close to the body. (Check out the Patagonia Active Mesh.)
  • Encapsulation bras: Best for medium-impact activities, these bras take their DNA from a traditional bra, featuring two distinct cups to isolate and hold the breasts in place. (Check out the Odlo Seamless High.)
  • Combination bras: Best for the highest-impact disciplines, these bras blend the benefits of both compression and encapsulation bras to securely support the breasts and hold them tight against the body. (Check out the Brooks Fiona.)

Second, consider fit. Get professionally measured at a store, or use the fit guide here to help determine your correct size. And do it often: Bodies change over time and so do breasts.

Last, think about what you want in a bra for your specific activity. If you’re mountain biking, consider how the sport can elongate and stretch your back, and look for a bra that you don’t have to fight. Rock climbers may want to seek out bras with adjustable straps so they can lengthen them for particularly reachy objectives. Are you in a boot camp where you do lots of crunches and other activities on your back? Maybe avoid metal closures that could dig in. Running in the heat? A bra with removable pads (or no pads) can be more breathable.

My Quest for the Perfect Sports Bra

So into this sea of confusion and possibilities I waded before my thru-hike.

Given that hiking is low- to moderate-impact, I knew I needed a compression bra. Removable modesty pads were key since I had no interest in alerting the world when I was cold. I looked for a standard, tank top-style fit (no racerback) to avoid having extra fabric along my spine under my pack (which could be hot or, worse, chafe). Anything with hardware that could pinch or dig in was out. Style mattered, too: I wanted something that looked decent enough to jump into a lake with other thru-hikers around.

My list of requirements limited the selection process a bit, but I still tried out half a dozen. A U-back bra with an interesting band turned out to be impossible to get off when sweaty. I don’t know what I was thinking when I went for a fancy, V-front bra. I tried bras that chafed me, bras that dug into my collarbone and bras that pinched me.

Finally, after months of searching, I found my holy grail. Made by Moving Comfort (now owned by and branded as Brooks), the Hot Shot was everything I was looking for. It has wide, soft straps, removable cups, no metal or plastic anywhere, and I dug the pale-yellow color. Huzzah!

One question remained: Would it stand up to 2,650 miles of dirt, sweat and cheap laundry detergent?

The Ultimate Trail Test

The author at the Southern Monument of the Pacific Crest Trail.

The author at the Southern Monument of the Pacific Crest Trail. (Photo Courtesy: Ashley Brown)

Standing nervously at the southern terminus of the PCT on the U.S.-Mexico border, my bra was the last thing on my mind despite the effort it took to select. In fact, it treated me so well on my hike to Canada that I barely remembered it was there.

The Hot Shot never chafed, even with the layers of salt and grime on my skin. When the nights were too hot to sleep in my wool base layer, it served as a pajama top. In alpine lakes, it was my bathing suit (I’m sure it appreciated the rinse). On the summer solstice, aka Hike Naked Day, it was my outer layer when I was too chicken to actually bare it all. Day in and day out, it supported me until one day, the miles ended and I found myself at the trail’s northern terminus on the Canada border. My bra and I could finally rest.

The author at the Northern Terminus of the Pacific Crest Trail on the Canadian border.

At the northern terminus of the PCT on the Canadian border. (Photo Courtesy: Ashley Brown)

Four years later, I still own that same sports bra. The cheery, yellow color is a bit faded, but it’s still as comfortable as the first day I put it on. And now I own three more of them.

Learn More

Find your perfect fit in our selection of sports bras. If you're having a hard time finding the right bra for your activity, reach out to other women in your sport to see what worked for them and check out our Expert Advice guide on selecting and fitting the right bra for you.

The post In Search of the Perfect Sports Bra appeared first on REI Co-op Journal.

Comments Off on In Search of the Perfect Sports Bra

Sitton Peak Hike

The Sitton Peak hike offers great 360 views of the Santa Ana Mountains, San Diego County, Orange County, and Catalina on a clear day. Sitton Peak (3,273ft) is one of the high peaks in the southern part of Cleveland National Forest, and this hike is much easier than the hike to Saddleback Mountain, with views that are comparable. The trail has some flat sections to catch your breath, making it a great hike for beginners.

The post Sitton Peak Hike appeared first on HikingGuy.com.

Sitton Peak Hike

The Sitton Peak hike offers great 360 views of the Santa Ana Mountains, San Diego County, Orange County, and Catalina on a clear day. Sitton Peak (3,273ft) is one of the high peaks in the southern part of Cleveland National Forest, and this hike is much easier than the hike to Saddleback Mountain, with views that are comparable. The trail has some flat sections to catch your breath, making it a great hike for beginners.

The post Sitton Peak Hike appeared first on HikingGuy.com.

Comments Off on Sitton Peak Hike

Ralph Stover State Park High Rocks Hike

The High Rocks hike at Ralph Stover State Park is a local’s favorite. The High Rocks trail follows along a (fenced) 200 foot sheer rock face cliff overlooking Tohickon Creek, eventually reaching the creek itself. As you hike along High Rocks, you might notice ropes leading off the cliff edge, it’s a popular spot for climbers. And as you look down into Tohickon Creek (Lenape for “Deer-Bone-Creek”), keep your eyes open for whitewater kayakers. It’ss a popular whitewater kayaking spot when spring rains flood it. Occasionally they release water from Lake Nockamixon, another popular time for kayakers. It’s a fun hike on many levels, and offers that quintessential Bucks County scenery that people drive miles for.

The post Ralph Stover State Park High Rocks Hike appeared first on HikingGuy.com.

Ralph Stover State Park High Rocks Hike

The High Rocks hike at Ralph Stover State Park is a local’s favorite. The High Rocks trail follows along a (fenced) 200 foot sheer rock face cliff overlooking Tohickon Creek, eventually reaching the creek itself. As you hike along High Rocks, you might notice ropes leading off the cliff edge, it’s a popular spot for climbers. And as you look down into Tohickon Creek (Lenape for “Deer-Bone-Creek”), keep your eyes open for whitewater kayakers. It’ss a popular whitewater kayaking spot when spring rains flood it. Occasionally they release water from Lake Nockamixon, another popular time for kayakers. It’s a fun hike on many levels, and offers that quintessential Bucks County scenery that people drive miles for.

The post Ralph Stover State Park High Rocks Hike appeared first on HikingGuy.com.

Comments Off on Ralph Stover State Park High Rocks Hike

Washington Crossing State Park Hike to Bowmans Tower

This easy hike takes you to Bowman’s Tower, through Bowman’s Hill Wildflower Preserve, and then ends at historic soldier graves from 1776 at Washington Crossing State Park. It’s a great hike with tons to see in a short distance.

The post Washington Crossing State Park Hike to Bowmans Tower appeared first on HikingGuy.com.

Washington Crossing State Park Hike to Bowmans Tower

This easy hike takes you to Bowman’s Tower, through Bowman’s Hill Wildflower Preserve, and then ends at historic soldier graves from 1776 at Washington Crossing State Park. It’s a great hike with tons to see in a short distance.

The post Washington Crossing State Park Hike to Bowmans Tower appeared first on HikingGuy.com.

Comments Off on Washington Crossing State Park Hike to Bowmans Tower

Caspers Wilderness Park – Hike San Juan Hot Springs

This is a a fun hike to San Juan Hot Springs, which is located in Caspers Wilderness Park, a lightly-visited, 8,000 acre, protected wilderness preserve in the foothills of the Santa Ana Mountains. The San Juan Hot Springs were first opened in the late 1800s as a full blown resort, complete with cabins, soaking tubs, and pools. Over the years they’ve closed and opened again, with the latest version being closed down in 1992. Today you can hike to San Juan Hot Springs, but whether you can go in them is up for debate (see the article for more). This hike to the hot springs can be done as an 10.5 mile out-and-back trip, or you can do a longer 14 mile loop that circles through the ridges in Caspers Wilderness Park, offering incredible views.

The post Caspers Wilderness Park – Hike San Juan Hot Springs appeared first on HikingGuy.com.

Caspers Wilderness Park – Hike San Juan Hot Springs

This is a a fun hike to San Juan Hot Springs, which is located in Caspers Wilderness Park, a lightly-visited, 8,000 acre, protected wilderness preserve in the foothills of the Santa Ana Mountains. The San Juan Hot Springs were first opened in the late 1800s as a full blown resort, complete with cabins, soaking tubs, and pools. Over the years they’ve closed and opened again, with the latest version being closed down in 1992. Today you can hike to San Juan Hot Springs, but whether you can go in them is up for debate (see the article for more). This hike to the hot springs can be done as an 10.5 mile out-and-back trip, or you can do a longer 14 mile loop that circles through the ridges in Caspers Wilderness Park, offering incredible views.

The post Caspers Wilderness Park – Hike San Juan Hot Springs appeared first on HikingGuy.com.

Comments Off on Caspers Wilderness Park – Hike San Juan Hot Springs

Hike the Three T’s Trail

The Three T’s Trail hike is one of the more peaceful hikes in the Mt Baldy area. This loop hike starts at Icehouse Canyon, climbs to Icehouse Saddle, then hits Timber Mountain (elevation 8,303ft), Telegraph Peak (elevation 8,985ft), and Thunder Mountain (elevation 8,587ft), and then descends down to Baldy Notch, Manker Flats, and back to Icehouse Canyon. It’s a long hike, but a favorite for those avoiding crowds.

The post Hike the Three T’s Trail appeared first on HikingGuy.com.

Hike the Three T’s Trail

The Three T’s Trail hike is one of the more peaceful hikes in the Mt Baldy area. This loop hike starts at Icehouse Canyon, climbs to Icehouse Saddle, then hits Timber Mountain (elevation 8,303ft), Telegraph Peak (elevation 8,985ft), and Thunder Mountain (elevation 8,587ft), and then descends down to Baldy Notch, Manker Flats, and back to Icehouse Canyon. It’s a long hike, but a favorite for those avoiding crowds.

The post Hike the Three T’s Trail appeared first on HikingGuy.com.

Comments Off on Hike the Three T’s Trail

Type on the field below and hit Enter/Return to search