A Few of My Favorite Things

Luke 10:3-4

“Go your way; behold, I am sending you out as lambs in the midst of wolves. Carry no moneybag, no knapsack, no sandals, and greet no one on the road.”

One thing most backpackers have to concede – we’re gear junkies. We can’t imagine going on the (road) trail without a few of our favorite things. There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s fun to peruse the latest and greatest gear sites and catalogs, dreaming of how much better our next trip would be IF ONLY we had that piece of gear we’ve been drooling over. With that thought in mind I thought I might suggest a few things (based on my experiences) to might make your Christmas shopping (or catalog browsing) season brighter.


I have carried Granite gear packs for quite few years now. The company has a wonderful reputation and makes a darn comfortable piece of kit in the AC 60.

Granite Gear AC60

Granite Gear AC60

While I still highly recommend their packs for the lightweight crowd, I have most recently become a convert to ULA Equipment. I became the proud owner of a ULA Ohm 2.0, and can honestly say that it instantly became my favorite pack.

ULA Ohm 2.0

ULA Ohm 2.0

The Ohm 2.0 weighs in at half of what my AC 60 did, and is great if you are the type who has his or her gear kit dialed in. If you are looking for a lighter alternative to your current pack I recommend giving ULA a look.


I am a long time tarp user, and for years one of my favorites was the FlatTarp3 by Oware . Dave Olson has a reputation for making quality tarps, and it really shows in the details.

Oware FlatTarp 3

Oware FlatTarp 3

Since becoming a bonafide hammock hanger my choice has changed. I am a huge fan of the Hammock Gear Standard Cuben Tarp w/ Doors .

Hammock Gear Cuben Tarp with Doors

Hammock Gear Cuben Tarp with Doors

You’ll hear me gush whenever I mention Hammock Gear, and rightfully so. They’re quality and customer service is second to none.


If you are in the market for a hammock, in my honest opinion there is no better brand than Warbonnet. I currently use a Warbonnet Traveler , and their Blackbird is legendary among hangers for comfort, quality, and resale value.

Relaxing in my Warbonnet Traveler

Relaxing in my Warbonnet Traveler

Sleeping Gear

There is nothing more important to me than a good nights sleep on the trail, and for years I have sung the praises of Mountain Hardwear Phantom series sleeping bags. I owned a Phantom 15 and a Phantom 45, and I considered these my most essential pieces of gear for years.

Mountain Hardwear Phantom 15

Mountain Hardwear Phantom 15

Lately I have said good bye to my old friends and converted to the Hammock Gear Burrow line of top quilts. Now I get top of the line quality in an even lighter package.

Hammock Gear Burrow 20

Hammock Gear Burrow 20

My Burrow 20  comes in at 17.1 ounces – half of what my Phantom 15 weighed. Combined with my Hammock Gear Incubator 20 under quilt my whole insulation package comes in at the same weight as my old sleeping bag alone!


I’ve owned more than my fair share of cookware – titanium, aluminum and stainless. Of all my cookware the piece that gets the most use is my Evernew Titanium 550 ml cookpot.

Boiling water for breakfast

Evernew 550 ml pot

This pot weighs in at 3 ounces even, including lid and stuffsack, and has the capacity I need for most freeze dried meals. On top of that it’s the perfect size to use as a mug.


I never (NEVER) go on a hike without my Black Rock Gear Down Beenie .

Black Rock Gear Down Beenie

Black Rock Gear Down Beenie

There’s just no reason to leave it home! My BRG Down Beenie provides incredible warmth, whether in camp lounging or settling in for a night in the hammock, and weighs in at a scant 9/10’s of an ounce. Unfortunately the only thing it can’t do is make me look cool.

Another must have for me is my Smartwool Socks.

Smartwool socks

Smartwool socks


You’d think merlino wool would be a problem in the summer, but not these socks. My feet are cool in the summer, warm in the winter, and comfortable anytime I wear them. I have a few pair of Adrenelines from 8-10 years ago that are still wearing like iron. Smartwool socks are a little pricey up front, but you’ll get your money’s worth out of them.

‘Tis the season and Black Friday’s a comin’, so why not treat yourself to some of those goodies you’ve been drooling over? What’s on your wishlist?

New Goodies

Luke 11:9-10

“So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.”

Ok, so I now I’m taking this verse waaaay out of context, but I just wanted to post my latest new toy. I did ask ULA Equipment to build me an Ohm 2.0 in Digicam, and when I got home from vacation today I did seek out the package on my counter. And when I opened the box this is what I found:

ULA Equipment Ohm 2.0 in digicam fabric

ULA Equipment Ohm 2.0 in digicam fabric

I went for the digicam cordura because I wanted something low impact and different. One lousy little picture certainly won’t do the pack justice, but in a week and a half I’m going to give it a complete work out for four days in the Adirondacks. Judging by what I see so far, I’m sure I’ll have some great things to say.

On The Road To Emmaus

Luke 24:13-35

“13That very day two of them were going to a village named Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, 14 and they were talking with each other about all these things that had happened.

Just two plain old ordinary followers of Jesus, just like you and me.

15 While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus himself drew near and went with them. 16 But their eyes were kept from recognizing him.

Isn’t it interesting how our situations or problems blind us and keep us from seeing what is most important?

17 And he said to them, “What is this conversation that you are holding with each other as you walk?” And they stood still, looking sad.18 Then one of them, named Cleopas, answered him, “Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?”

Sometimes we let our situations so overwhelm us that we don’t even realize Jesus is still there, walking with us.

19 And he said to them, “What things?” And they said to him, “Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, a man who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, 20 and how our chief priests and rulers delivered him up to be condemned to death, and crucified him. 21 But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things happened. 22 Moreover, some women of our company amazed us. They were at the tomb early in the morning, 23 and when they did not find his body, they came back saying that they had even seen a vision of angels, who said that he was alive. 24 Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but him they did not see.”

Even though Jesus knows our very heart, he still wants to have a relationship with us, a dialog with us, and looks forward to hearing our concerns.

25 And he said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” 27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.

Jesus knows what’s best for us, even if that means correction. His desire is for us to know him, not just know of him.

28 So they drew near to the village to which they were going. He acted as if he were going farther, 29 but they urged him strongly, saying, “Stay with us, for it is toward evening and the day is now far spent.” So he went in to stay with them.

The Lord will never force himself on you – He waits for your invitation.

30 When he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed and broke it and gave it to them. 31 And their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And he vanished from their sight. 32 They said to each other, “Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?”

Jesus left their sight, but not their hearts.

33 And they rose that same hour and returned to Jerusalem. And they found the eleven and those who were with them gathered together, 34 saying, “The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!” 35 Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he was known to them in the breaking of the bread.”

Resurrection Day (Easter)for me is a day of great joy. My Jesus lives! He defeated sin and He defeated the grave. In 2 Timothy 2:11-13   Paul writes, “It is a faithful saying: For if we are dead  with him, we shall also live with him, if we suffer, we shall also reign with him, if we deny him, he also  will deny us, if we do not believe, he stays faithful, he cannot deny himself.”  and in Deuteronomy 31:8, “It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”

If you are on the road to Emmaus today I pray you will remember that we worship a King who is risen, who desires you to open your eyes and heart to Him. Happy Resurrection Day!


The Greatest Gift Of All

Christmas Offering by Paul Baloche


“Over the skies of Bethlehem appeared a star 
While angels sang to lowly shepherds
Three Wiseman seeking truth they traveled from afar
Hoping to find the child from heaven
Falling on their knees they bow before the humble Prince of Peace”

Do you remember when that light from above shined on you, telling you something special was about to happen? Did you seek out the source of it’s light, searching for a saviour or did you stumble into Bethlehem, ragged and tattered and torn? For most of us the trip to the saving grace of Jesus’ birth, life and atoning death was quite a journey. I wandered through the ‘desert’ for 40 years before coming to a knowledge of God’s only Son.

The first book I read in the bible was John;  “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” John 3:16-17. I need to fall on my knees daily and thank God for making a way to have everlasting life with Him. I am greatful to be able to declare I AM SAVED! If God doesn’t do another thing for me in this lifetime, that’s ok because he’s already given more than I deserve. I thank God for sending Jesus, the greatest gift of all.


Here’s a favorite of mine from my childhood: