How to stay cooler while hiking.

The other week a guy by the handle of Hiking Padre tried to hike the Tecumseh Trail and had a rough go of it. Now I’m one to give unsolicited advice so here it is.

1. The use of a chromed umbrella cannot be understated. It can reduce the temperate under it by a noticeable amount. You can find them easily by asking Dr. Google, but a good option is:

Gossamer Gear’s Swing Liteflex

Zpacks sells the same one, for a similar price, and it looks to be the old Golite chrome dome too. It’s what I use.

2. The lighter your pack, the less you have to work. Sounds simple right? It can be. The old adage is that ridding pounds costs dollars, and ounces cost hundreds. Once you hit a certain weight true cost for great gear goes up exponentially. A good light sleeping bag costs around a hundred to two hundred, an Ultralight one will run you into the three to four hundred easy. But generally your big three are the best to lighten first. That’s your backpack, sleeping bag, and shelter. I recommend Gossamer Gear, ULA, and Zpacks for the packs. Zpacks, Enlightened Equipment, or Kick Ass Quilts, for the sleeping bag or quilt. And for shelter I really only have experience with hammocks.

3. Stay hydrated! If you aren’t drinking, you’re dying. The average human can go there days without water and it SUCKS. I once did a 17 mile hike on a liter of water due to my stupid, and I will bail on a hike so fast if I’m ever in that situation again. It was the worst.

4. Eat! Andrew Skurka talked about the caloric drip, it pretty much means you are snaking while walking. So I always bring something. Usually peanut M&Ms and some almonds.

5. Wear wicking clothing. Under Armor Heat gear and similar items are good, I like long sleeves and tights under some light gym shorts. But I look terrible. But I don’t care either.

Here is a video with all that put together and in motion. Note it was around 90 degrees that day.

The G.U.H.D.S. all in one hammock suspension

I’ve been thinking a while, and it occurs to me that a unified hammock suspension system shouldn’t be that hard to make. So I am introducing the G.U.H.D.S.(Grand Unified Hammock Dangling System). And if I’m going to make it, I’m going to make it as light as possible. I am a winner.

Notice that there is only one set of tree straps on the tree. YAY! 3 ounces for the pair. EVEN MORE YAY!!
OK. So here is how I made them.
You’ll need:
-One ten foot length of Kevlar straps from Dutch.
-One set of tarp flys, also from Dutch.
– One set of Amsteel continuous loops, or descending rings.
-One set of Dutch hooks, from Dutch.
– One set of Whoopie Hooks, also from Dutch.
– Dutch himself.
-All of it is here:


Start by cutting the Kevlar tree straps in half and then sewing the Dutch hooks into place on the one end of each strap. As you can see, I’ve tested this already. It holds me just fine at 226 pounds.

Then sew the descending rings on. This was complicated, and the easiest thing to do is to sew the loop and then use a larks head to attach the descending ring.
From there attach your tarp tie out on the side of the ring that will be pointing up, and you’re whoopie sling with whoopie hook on it under the tarp tire out. If you look closely you’ll see that I have the tarp tire out bundled to the ring with a sandwich twist tie. That really helps keep stuff all together, and I do it to the tarp corner tie outs too. Free tip! No charge to you, just because I like you guys so much.
Look at my fat fingers! And how this attached to a small tree. It really messed me up at first, I thought oh Sh!t. This is to big and I wasted all that money and my wife is going to kill me. But then, I realized I could just wrap it around twice and I felt pretty dumb. Anyway this is the strap in action.

My other tree is way bigger. There I just loop the Amsteel through the Dutch hook. It’s not as clean as just using a smaller tree but in the back yard it’s all I have. If you find something that’s just the right size then don’t worry mon.

Close up of the tarp in action. You could also use carabineers and Prussik knots too. With the Prussik on the strap side and the carabineer on the Prussik. Clip the carabineer into the tarp, and pull to tighten. But I like Dutch stuff, it’s light and intuitive. So you just wrap up the tarp if you’re using tarp flys. I’m assuming that if you have them you know how to use them, or that you can get to Dutch’s site and watch his how to videos. If not, hit me up and I’ll help you out.

The whole thing. So what I have is a continuous loop on the hammock. The Whoopie Hook attaches to the loop via it’s inherent hook properties. Then you use the Whoopie sling to adjust the hammock to its 30 degree hang.

So there you have it! It’s all there and it’s all pretty light.