Category Archives: gear

Review: Katadyn BeFree Microfilter

After years of searching for the perfect water filter for the backcountry, I recently discovered  the Katadyn BeFree Microfilter with Hydrapak 0.6L flask—a water filter and soft, collapsible bottle that comes very close to the good old days of scooping water directly from streams with a canteen or tin cup. The variety of water filters and various treatment devises nowadays is overwhelming. Some people use tablets or chemical drops (chlorine […]

Made in Canada for hikers

Canada has a lot to celebrate on its 150th birthday. Not the least being  companies that design and manufacture innovative and quality products in Canada for hikers. I’m a big fan of “Made in Canada”, and I recognize the quality of the Canadian product is equal and often superior to its American competitors. In fact, for many Canadian companies, that is the secret to success. If you can’t beat the competition on price, produce […]

Ticks, Permethrin and Canadian hypocrisy

Once again, tick season is upon us. For most in the Rockies wood ticks are an annual nuisance that we suffer for a couple of months. The only defence is to tuck our pants into our socks and check ourselves carefully for the beasties following every hike. But in many parts of Canada, including British Columbia, Lyme disease has long been a serious threat, and the deer ticks that transmit the grim […]

Spring hiking with crampons

With the onset of spring, most well-travelled winter trails turn into skating rinks with the daily freeze-thaw cycle. That’s why I decided to store my skis and snowshoes and try a well-reviewed pair of Hillsound Trail Crampon Ultras. For serious hiking on snowpacked and icy trail, particularly over mixed terrain (occasional mud and rock), I found two brands that fit the bill—the Hillsound Trail Crampon Ultras and Kahtoola Microspikes. Both are made […]

Bug Wars: The Death of DEET?

For over 50 years outdoor folk have been using insect repellents containing DEET (N,N-diethyl-m-toluamide). In concentrations of 15% or more, it has been the most effective and reliable barrier against mosquitoes, ticks, and other blood-sucking critters. Now there are options that may be just as effective and less onerous. Consumer Reports has just published  test results of various bug repellents, and they rate picaridin (aka icaridin) and oil of lemon eucalyptus […]

Measuring the length of Canadian Rockies hiking trails

When we set out to create the first edition of the Canadian Rockies Trail Guide, we needed a way of accurately measuring the trails, many of which had never been measured before. Professional surveying wheels with their small wheels and substantial weight were out of the question; we required a wheel large enough to roll over rocks, roots and other trail obstacles wed to an accurate odometer. That’s when we came up […]

Backpacking with Luci® lights

Technology continues to bloom in the backcountry, but one of the best and simplest I discovered this summer is the Luci solar-powered light. LED lights are nothing new on the trail. LED light output and reliability is used in headlamps and even strip-lights to illuminate tent interiors. The only drawback is the same as with most technology, playing with batteries and, sometimes, weight. Along comes Luci by MPowerd, an innovative, inflatable, solar […]