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Slackpacker's Gear Guide

Sleeping Bags

How they function, down vs. synthetic, mummy vs. rectangular, extreme bags, compression sacks, how to select a bag, tips & tricks.

Trekking Poles

Here's the real pro & con about trekking poles, including a guest rebuttal to's anti-pole rant.

You guys know I really don't like to use trekking poles but I really like the trekking poles from I really like that they are inexpensive compared to other products I have tried so you don't have to worry about putting a dent in your budget. They also have some good content for slackers if you want to read through their articles.

Tarp Basics

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

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 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: Worth checking out!

Buying Gear

Here's a site submitted to us in early 2003 called that is a definite bookmark if you are shopping. Backpackers evaluate gear for six months, then report on it. This 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?

Canteens, Camelbacks, & Hydration

What to bring, how much, what to use, how to keep it clean, how to slack it.

-- Rick Bolger


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We want to link to your hike reports, trail narratives, etc. If you have worthwhile links for the other pages (intro to Slackpacking, Geology links, etc.) then by all means tell us. If you've taken the pains to create a web page, you probably want people to view it...a free link on will certainly help. Thank you for your participation.

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