Whether you’re a beginner minimalist hiker or well-seasoned in all aspects of the outdoors, research and planning is the key to success. There’s plenty of information out there that can be found with a few key strokes on a search engine. But sometimes advice from outdoors experts and some leading websites in the outdoors genre can provide the best information to help you get started.
Here we’ll discuss some key ideas that you’ll need to consider before you begin your outdoors journey; or you’re just looking for some new figures and sites to follow.
Ah, perhaps the most difficult (and most expensive) aspect of hiking and camping and all other areas of the outdoors. Your gear and what you bring with you is something to consider, and proper research can go a long way.
There are plenty of outdoors websites that specialize in gear reviews and sales, but I’ve found two to be the most informational and helpful.
Here they are:
Section Hiker is perhaps one of the best websites out there for researching gear and finding what best suits you. The site posts multiple articles a day that cover all sorts of gear ranging from packs and tents to outdoors clothing and cookware. It also has an expert tone with a whole range of contributing writers with decades worth of combined experience.
Section Hiker’s Backpacking Skills and Ultralight Backpacking sections are also quite informational. However, these sections don’t necessarily offer advice on backpacking. The sections are comprised of links to gear posts that are offered on the site’s main page. I feel these sections only serve as a compilation for related gear posts and a means to better organize the site page.
While Section Hiker may not be considered minimalist, I feel the site offers plenty of information/reviews on gear with authors field-testing the items they are writing about. Certainly a good place to get started.
Gear Junkie is very similar to Section Hiker in its format and what it has to offer. The site offers expert advice on a whole range of outdoors gear and provides means to purchase them. However, Gear Junkie has a bit of a “commercial” feel to it, more so than Section Hiker, and it’s posts have a less personal touch to them.
Getting “Out There” and Trip Planning:
Trip planning is another important aspect needed to be covered. Of course, you could just hit the trail with only the shirt on your back. But I have a feeling you don’t want to sleep in the dirt.
Here are a couple sites to help you get started and provide you with a little inspiration:
The Big Outside is authored and managed by Micheal Lanza, a longtime hiker, backpacker and outdoors-man. The site offers stories, photos, and expert trip-planning advice from Lanza along with gear reviews and e-guides that help with trip-planning. It’s a great site that offers plenty of information to help you get started. The site also has an “ask-me” section that allows the reader to ask the author personalized trip-planning advice.
However, the biggest issue with The Big Outside is its paid-subscription. In order to fully access the site and all its information, you have to subscribe and pay a monthly fee in order to view everything. However, the “free” version is still helpful.
I covered Chris Townsend last week. He’s a longtime backpacker and outdoors-man with decades of experience. His blog, Chris Townsend Outdoors, provides stories from his “long walks” and paints a basic picture of what one might encounter on hiking trips.
While this site doesn’t necessarily offer trip-planning advice, it still serves as a source of inspiration for those in planning stages. The site has a simple design with a substantial archive of Townsend’s many trips.
My favorite subject.
Food is fuel. Simple as that. Everyone is going to need a substantial amount of it to supplement the massive calorie expenditure of hiking, backpacking and camping.
But food can also be heavy and take up a lot of space. Taking a few steps to prep what your going to take out on the trail can minimize the weight and space taken up in your pack.
Here’s a great blog that offers food preparation advice:
Blog.Trailcooking offers advice and information on not only trail-cooking, but freezer-bag cooking and food dehydration as well.
The site also offers simple gluten-free recipes that are packed with nutrients and easy to prepare. The blog’s “Trail Cooking 101” section offers a comprehensive overview of the basics of trail cooking with links to books and other sites detailing freezer-bag and dehydrated food preparation. The design of the blog is also very simplistic and easy to navigate.
Skills and knowledge such as these can greatly reduce weight and space in your pack.
Have any questions or suggestions? Feel free to comment below.