Hike Hurricane Hill Trail in Winter

  It was a lovely springlike day at Hurricane Ridge, Olympic National Park.  Except it was not spring at all, it was winter.  One could see all the way across the Park.  Such a beautiful day in the mountains.  Weather conditions even made it possible to be in a t-shirt all day.  

  We experienced an inversion in the Olympic Mountains, making the cold air sink into the valleys and heat rising into the alpine were we were spending our afternoon.  This also made the air quality superb for photography.  Days like this leaves a lifelong impact to ones sole.  

  The clouds held off to the west long enough for a picture perfect sunset.  I am glad we stuck around to see it.  Such beautiful colors in the sky, it was just like walking in a painting.  Not even a breeze, as the sun dipped behind the Bailey Range.  I will forever remember that evening spent in Olympic.  

winter hurricane hill
Hiking the Hurricane Hill Snowshoe Route.


Petzl Tikka XP 2 - New Backpacking Gear Purchase

  Recently purchased the Petzl Tikka XP 2 Headlamp to use on upcoming adventures on the Olympic Peninsula.   My last torch broke; making it unusable in the backcountry.  This is a real problem this time of year, when there is so many hours of darkness outdoors.  The search for a new piece of gear began, upon returning home from the last backpacking trip.

  I briefly did some online research, but quickly became discouraged.  So I reached out to my readers using the social media channel Facebook; asking what was working out for other hikers.  This would save racking my brain for hours trying to come up with a solution.

  Reliability for my readers is a good enough reason for making the purchase.  Having the best group of hikers that follow my blog.  Knew I could count on them for a honest opinion on what really works.

 I don't need all the bells and whistles for a device.  Wanting only a reliable source of light.  When I push the power on button, all I want is for the night to be illuminated.  Simple as that.

Petzl Tikka XP 2 review
Petzl Tikka XP 2

Basic Stats
-  Petzl no longer makes this product
-  3.1 oz with 3 AAA batteries
-  3 light modes, 1 of which is flashing
-  2 red light modes
-  80 lumens on max output setting
-  190 hours estimated on low output setting

Do you use a Petzl Tikka XP 2?  Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Disclaimer:  This piece of gear was purchased with funds donated to this site by its readership and was under no obligation to this basic review.  


Princeton Tec Fuel Headlamp Review - Long Term

  The Princeton Tec Fuel Headlamp has been my go-to source of light for the last 4 hiking seasons.  Illuminating the trail for countless miles of night adventure.  This tool has allowed me to see around camp as well, ensuring I didn't trip over a log during a mid-sleep bathroom break. I used this torch in 4 season conditions.  Doing everything from night hiking, trail running and making camp behind schedule.  There is no way of counting how many hours this headlamp has been used, but we will just say heavily. No complaints on the battery life during my adventures.

  I originally received this piece of gear as a birthday gift from a friend.  He would be pleased to hear how much use it got.  Many adventures in its lifetime, before going into retirement.  Now that's a gift that keeps on giving!

  I had to pull this device out of my gear line up because of the serious problems it has been having.  Had to put two new battery doors on this headlamp, because they kept breaking.  Now the on-off button is having major problems; making it impossible to shut the headlamp off.

Princeton Tec Fuel Review
Princeton Tec Fuel with Broken Door & on-off Button

-  Bulb type:  4 LED's
-  Weight:  2.88 oz with batteries
-  Max Light Output:  70 lumens
-  Brightness Levels:  3; one of which is strobe
-  Wear type:  Headband
-  Battery Door:  Keeps breaking - needs a 3rd to bring back to life
-  Button:  Shorted out - need take out batteries to shut the device off

  I would defiantly say the Princeton Tec Fuel Headlamp had a long and happy life.  This might lead to a question, that applies to all outdoor tools.  How many hours of use should a piece of gear have?  For me, a tool should never fail on you in the backcountry; since that is where the user rely on it the most.  It really sucks when it happens mid-trip and you're hours away from home.  That's what you are paying for when you invest in name brand items. Reliability, right?

I replaced this headlamp.

Disclaimer:  I received this headlamp as a gift and was under no obligation for this review.  

Peak Design P.O.V. Kit Review

  I wanted to try the Peak Design P.O.V. Kit in the Olympic Mountains, after first seeing the mount on their website last year.  This piece of equipment would replace my 7.2 oz GoPro Chesty Mount, which I have been using for years to shoot video and action photography.  I would pair this with the Capture Pro Capture Clip; mounting right to my backpack shoulder strap.  Lets take a look at my thoughts of this handy tool.

peak design
Field testing in an Olympic Rainforest

Adventure Hike Arches National Park, Utah

  Our next adventure would lead us into a backdoor of Arches National Park.  The day was spent hiking various washes and slickrock; to get a more primitive feel of the area.  Touristy walks are great, but we wanted to see what else the desert had to offer.

hike arches national park
Hiking Arches National Park in Winter

Luna Trail Sandal Oso Review

  The Luna Sandal Oso could very well be the answer to a long day on the trail.  I wanted to try this pair of footwear for its unique tread design and new lace options.  After receiving them, I put them through some quality testing in the Olympic Mountains.

Tested Surfaces

- Urban Hiking
- Rock
- Mud
- Moss
- Downed Trees
- Trail
- Off Trail

Luna Sandals Oso
Backpacking the Queets Rainforest with the Luna Sandals Oso.  Note:  Testing with Merino Wool Socks for extreme wet conditions.  

Adventure Hike the Needles District Canyonlands

  We all loaded into various cars at our base camp in Moab, Utah.  This would be a fun day of exploring - The Needles District of Canyonlands National Park.  After a few hours sitting in an automobile, we were finally walking.  I was ready to burn off some energy.

Needles District
Hiking Canyonlands National Park