this link goes to the current camping & hiking close-outs and specials on amazon.com ...deep discounts on better quality gear
Slackpacker's Gear Guide
How they function, down vs. synthetic, mummy vs. rectangular, extreme bags, compression sacks, how to select a bag, tips & tricks.
Here's the real pro & con about trekking poles, including a guest rebuttal to slackpacker.com's anti-pole rant.
This link goes off-site to the "Dirtbaggers" website, and their take on using tarps. These are minimalist hikers -- slackpackers to the extreme. Good information if you can deal with their quirky approach.
Buying Gear on e-bay
Bargains abound! what a deal! You can also get hosed...
Hiking boots for children, women's hiking boots, men...they aren't as different as you might think. But hiking boots come in all shapes, weights, and methods of construction, and this brief essay will arm you with enough knowledge to make intelligent decisions.
Sunscreen & the UV Index
click here if you have any doubt at all about what the cryptic UV Index numbers mean.
Cooking & Cooking Gear
Here's a website called OnePanWonders.com which has some outstanding recipes for backpackers. I happen to like the Spinach Linguine with Salmon Lemon and Dill recipe. This site has all sorts of suggestions for what to carry, how to cook it, etc. Describes various one pan meals for breakfast, snacks, dinners, even stuff for Vegans. And of course like any good gourmand, it offers ideas using cous-cous. Does anybody really like cous-cous? Does anybody actually know what it is? The answer to both questions is of course, "no." How does this stuff manage to stick around, let alone remain as popular as it is? Last time I checked, cous-cous even outsells Marshmallow Fluff. I can't explain that. Anyway, enough about that. Cous-cous recipes aside, this "one pan wonders" is a terrific website and will tell you everything you need to know about cooking when you go backpacking. Please click here.
Camping Gear/General Info/Checklist
Here's an online "forum" type website with threads on Gear, Food, General Hiking Discussions, Health, etc. Good, active online community: HikingForums.net. Worth checking out!
Here's a site submitted to us in early 2003 called BackpackGearTest.org that is a definite bookmark if you are shopping. Backpackers evaluate gear for six months, then report on it. This BackpackGearTest.org site has a lot of these reports, and they're extremely informative. The intelligent thing for us slackers to do would be to read what they have to say before we purchase the stuff, but you and I both know that seldom happens. Usually we buy some item on impulse and then curse like sailors when we're on the trail. Then we go home and look up the site and want to chime in with our own opinion. In their own words, the info is freely available to "hikers seeking to make educated decisions about gear purchases." What self-respecting slacker would bother looking at a site like that?
What to bring, how much, what to use, how to keep it clean, how to slack it.
-- Rick Bolger
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