A puffy and a shell wrapped into one.Read More
If only I could figure out how to win the lottery.Read More
Because being cold sucks.Read More
I'm not a huge backpacker. So, why should you trust me? I backpack for reasons such as: getting somewhere remote to go for a bigger run, climb a multi-pitch wall or occasionally to just get out a little bit further.
Trust or don't trust it's up to you.
I had backpacked only once before I met my boyfriend. He seems to have this shit dialed. The first time we set out together he took one look at what I was squeezing into my pack and laughed. "Do you really think you need 3 sports bras for 3 days?"
Now I go backpacking with friends and find myself scoffing when they ask who wants to carry the wine. (I of course never regret having it).
Here are a few ways I have slowly whittled down my packing list for longer backcountry trips...
Bring one type of each layer and that's it. This means one pair of shorts, one pair of pants, one shirt and one sports bra (please bring multiple pairs of underwear if that's what ails you, I tend to bring one pair and then go commando, yeeehaw).
Freeze Dried Food
Yeah, it's great you want to cook cous cous and rice and have a master plan. Don't cook in your Jetboil or quick boiler or whatever you have (I use a MSR Reactor). You don't want to clean that shit, you're backpacking. Buy some freeze dried food, it's light, you have no dishes and it is actually pretty delicious. Mountain House is my go to... try the Chicken & White Bean Chili and the Breakfast Skillet
Get a Light Weight Tent & Sleeping Bag
Yes, these things can be pricey.. but we aren't car camping here people. Get a tent and sleeping bag that will take up minimal space in your backpack and is functional for what you're doing. A single wall tent is great because rain or shine, you're good to go. A packable 15-30 degree sleeping bag are perfect for spring/summer/fall and winter if you are on the warm side.
I'm OBSESSED with SteriPen's. First, make sure there is water where you will be camping/backpacking/walking. When you realize there will in fact be water, forget about your dromedary and just bring one Nalgene bottle. With a SteriPen you can drink as you go so you don't have to ever carry more than one liter of water. True bliss.
From the beach to Teton peaks...
Okay, that is cheesy as hell, but seriously. Stio has made a functional multi-purpose outdoor pant that doesn't look like a "hiker." It's about time outdoor world!
This jogger style technical pant, made of Sphero™ HO stretch poplin, looks just as great as it functions. A perfect summer weight stretch fabric breaths, wicks and drys leaving you confused as to whether you should head for the beach or start climbing tall Teton peaks. I've personally done both in these pants and have been really happy with both their function and style.
A slim cut that is somehow also boyfriend-ish (especially while utilizing the hidden cuff bungee) is severely flattering. And don't be fooled by their style forward design, these pants move with you. The stretch is great even while rock climbing and making that tricky heel hook, trust me, just go for it - the gusseted crotch has got your back(side).
I am so pleased to have finally found a pant for both cruising town streets and climbing in the Tetons - especially one that doesn't have awkward cargo pockets, that aren't khaki colors and that look stylish as all hell no matter the location. Cheers Stio!
Sizing questions? Leave a comment below or send a tweet to @mmpurington
Years of being a Salewa fan, a company that truly builds shoes for the mountains, I could not wait to get my hands on a pair of kicks from their all new running line up.
Fresh out of the box, Brady and I took the all the Ultra Train's for a 20(ish) mile test drive up and over the Teton range. Starting from the Death Canyon trailhead we ran 1 mile to the Phelps lake overlook and then down to the mouth of Death Canyon, a mix of dirt single track and loose scree.
From the mouth of the canyon we started the 7 mile, 4,000 vertical foot climb up the blistering hot Death Canyon trail to the Static Peak Divide. This is where I was thankful the Ultra Train's were highly breathable, keeping my feet cool and dry when they should have been a total swamp pool.
Rocky dirt switchbacks lead us along a deliciously cold water source (which makes carrying little water and a Steripen the ultimate set up for the Tetons) until we reached the Static Peak trail fork and turn to climb up and around Albright Peak. The trail turned to mostly rock with about 300 vertical feet left. Views of Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming to the east and the Jedidiah Smith Wilderness in Idaho to the West, a 360 view of my own utopia. Above tree line and finding footing on Teton granite, I came to find full confidence in the SHARP! (watch out for rubbing your calfs and ankles) Michelin tread.
At 10,788 ft we found ourselves feeling accomplished and perhaps in danger of being exposed to weather and quickly turned toward Alaska Basin.
From here we began the 12 miles gradual descent through what you would imagine if the Wizard of Oz took place in the mountains; beautiful meadows full of wildflowers, babbling streams and small alpine lakes in a massive basin surrounded by the ominous peaks of the Tetons.
I wouldn't say it was an easy outing, but well worth it for the views.
Coming in at 8.1 ounces the Ultra Train is aggressive for its petit size. The Michelin sole is sharp! and gives you all the confidence in the world while boulder hopping. The light water resistant coating keeps your feet safe from splashing across alpine streams and with an 8 mm drop (2 mm more than the La Sportiva Bushido) I felt like it was the perfect amount of cushion.
Just under 20 miles in mixed terrain and two pairs of feet, blister free!
Check out a recap of our snap story from the @SalewaTeam snapchat:
Fire away in the comments below.
Getch you some...
There are so many different types of trail - but the Dynafit Feline SL's are made for the trail running you find in the Tetons.
If you find yourself typically running on steep, rocky scree fields this shoe is for you. With a sensitive women's specific fit the alpine mid-sole is super reactive, supportive and allows for dynamic adaptability over rugged terrain.
I initially found this shoe to feel "tippy" and not stable after having been consistently running in the La Sportiva, Bushido, but I found that I just wasn't use to the cushion. I now love the added cushion and Eva Multipad in the central shank of the shoe. I no longer have discomfort in my back and knees after mid-to-long runs. The adaptive rigid grid on the sides of the shoe and quick lacing system create a comfortable and snug embrace throughout your run, without having to re-adjust laces.
I'm not the best distance runner nor do I keep up with my nutrition well while in the mountains so I am prone to constantly tripping and stuffing toes. The rubber toe and heel ballistic bumper keep my feet free of stubbed toes.
The mapping compound sole from Vibram is very grippy on wet rock. I have run through July hail storms, rain storms and yes I even run into the river after long runs and these shoes continue to grip after getting soaked. Not to mention breathability is amazing, as they consistently dry overnight after being drenched.
I'm super stoked on the Dynafit Feline SL - great cushioning and super responsive to extremely rugged high alpine terrain.
- 8mm Drop
- Quick lacing system
What is your favorite trail shoe?
#SkiTourSunday is a weekly glimpse into different aspects of spending days exploring in the backcountry of Western Wyoming and beyond.
No no, not cake.
An exploratory mission that has been on my list since I first heard about it 3 or so years ago has been Pandora, more commonly known as the arch, in the "sidecountry" of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort.
I quote it "sidecountry" as it's not the typical Jackson Hole sidecountry of Rock Springs or Four Pines being accessed by short bootpacks but rather an all day ski touring mission that is made more easily accessibly with the help of that lovely big red box.
With some vague information from a few sources (the best being, "you will find it in the timber") we set off on one of the earlier trams (9:30am) of the morning suspecting we would make it back to the resort boundaries, all things going to plan, right around sunset at 5pm.
The forecast was on the colder side, so even though the day started out with a 20-30 minute bootpack up and around the west side of Cody Peak, I had dressed warm. SmartWool 250 base layer, quilted Polartec high efficiency mid layer, puffy and a shell - by the time we got to a place where we thought it be best to head west torward granite creek fork my face was sweating but my feet were a complete icicle mess.
At that moment I thought about skiing back torward the ski resorts boundaries and abandoning my partners. My feet were screaming and I wasn't sure they would come back for the rest of the day. As I stood shivering in my sweat, "why didn't I delayer before hiking?!" - I noticed the sun line at the bottom of our next ski pitch. "OK," I thought, "if I can get into the sun to transition and start walking, my feet will come back," and I dropped in toward the sun line.
We skied the Jabronie Couliour (named aptly by us, as we weren't exactly sure where we wanted to be) down into the sun where we transitioned to skins.
I had learned my lesson, this time I delayered to a point of being on the cool side before we started moving again. Soon after the transition my feet warmed, the sun thawed my chill and whatever chill that remained was cured by my thermos full of soup.
Knowing we wanted to be west of the summit we made our way through the flats of the creek bottom area and headed up the sunny south face slope as far west as we could. Cautiously staying on ridges where possible and one at a time crossing open faces as the sun was rapidly warming the snow and it was the perfect 32+ degree slope.
We made it to the summit ridge in about an hour from our transition to skins. Traveling along the summit ridge we wanted to explore our options. And options there were! Several north facing shots had our attention, some with hang fire cornices, some with roll over entries - with this seasons instability we decided to go for one of the safer options, an easily entered shot to the east of the summit.
Looking north we realized we were going into the dark side, not to return to the suns warmth for the remainder of the day. I pulled every layer from my pack and layered it on like a wedding cake, chugged the rest of the soup from my thermos and said goodbye to my warm toes.
The ski was ridiculous fun. We decided not to diddle around looking for the all mighty arch and just ski the shots that were readily present, and we were happy with out decision as we believe the actual skiing was better, aesthetics aside.
And then it got cold. We reached the creek and knew the remainder of the day wasn't going to be the most fun. Moving downhill along the creeks edge it took about 20 minutes before we had to transition back to skinning and decide whether it was up and over Tensleep Bowl or the gauntlet of a side step out of Granite. I strongly voted for the Tensleep Bowl up and over and we headed for the hills.
It took a lot longer than I thought it might and we were all having minor melty's (melt-e, noun, to have a melt down) along the way. The hunger level was high, our hands kept burn/freezing and energy was dwindling. I threw on some jams and found a happy place in trying to stay warm and occasionally munching on my snickers bar in my pocket. Up over and around the boulder field, we made it back to the resort boundaries just before 5pm when the sun was setting into the distance.
Layering Tips Tricks & Hints
Its hard to always be prepared for intense temperature variants but I have slowly learned a system that works for me when I know I am going to be in the elements all day. It does take some practice so don't think you will get it right on your first outing, or your 20th for that matter. I still learn new ways to layer each and every time I go for a tour. If you are just starting out here are some of my favorite pieces and tidbits of information I have learned.
1. Wool vs Synthetic Baselayers
They, believe it or not, aren't the same. Until this year I had always worn synthetic and after my first day in my Smartwool 250 baselayers (I went with the thicker weight, as I am inevitably cold) I could tell a huge difference and I'm not just talking smell. My body temperature is more easily regulated, when I start exerting energy on the uphill I don't get creepy crawly hot and I don't freeze as soon as I stop. Wool also keeps you warmer than synthetics, even at a lighter weight - key for me, as again, I run cold.
2. Mid-Layer with a HOOD!
I always also wear a mid-layer, most of the time even when I'm skinning, by this I don't mean a puffy or insulation layer but a waffled thermo layer. Most popular the Patagonia R1 or the Marmot Thermo - I'm a fan of it always being hooded. The hood allows me to even further regulate my temperature of hot/cold or prevent the wind from getting to my neck/ears.
3. Marshmallow PUFF Synthetic vs. Down
Always keep a puffy in your pack, it could save your life. There are great synthetic and down options, and a lot of the decision between the two might depend on where you live. Wet climate? Synthetic. Dry/Cold Climate? Down. Synthetics will still keep you warm if you get wet (or sweat a lot), where down is more likely to keep you warm in a dry scenario. Luckily, living in the Tetons, it's mostly dry and cold in the winter so I go for the down, as it is lighter weight and warmer.
My favorite? The Quasar Hoody from Marmot.
4. Breathable Wind Protection for the Up!
Up and away! You get warm walking up big mountains, but sometimes the wind is whipping and then you get cold. Enters breathable wind protection. A wind breaker that still breaths, it won't protect you from rain or wet snow, but it will shed the dry snow.
5. Pockets for Snacks - Also known as Pants.
Since you can't really undress and redress the bottom half, you have to find the right pair of pants with pockets in all the right places. You will most likely be keeping lots of items in those pockets from your iPhone (for photos, duh), GU's, pretzels, nuts, ski straps, perhaps your beacon, chapstick - what else? Vents in the right places are key as well.
Shop my favorites:
Do you have any pieces you can't live without?
#SkiTourSunday is a weekly glimpse into different aspects of spending days exploring in the backcountry of Western Wyoming. This week I take a look into what I keep in my kit and re-gathering my bearings at the beginning of a new season.Read More
May has been grey so far. With precipitation in the forecast daily, it has been tempting to sit inside all day and drink coffee - but it is spring and I have got to get my legs working before it's time for exciting summer adventures in the mountains. So I've been gearing up in my favorite pieces from Marmot knowing I will stay protected from the grey gloom and getting my butt on the trail...
[Sizing Notes: I am 5'7", 125lb's and I wear an XS in the Interval Capris and a Medium in the Crux Jacket]
What are your favorite training pieces for spring?
This summer I gained a whole new perspective and appreciation for mountain running. 6-8 mile flat single track loops, 18-22 mile high mountain loops, 10-13 mile out and back canyon trails. I got to see a lot of the Teton area on foot and did it all with my feet happily tucked into a pair of La Sportiva Bushido's.
Teton terrain is aggressive and so is this La Sportiva Bushido. Neutral support with great stability and traction.
The "TPU" toe cap is like a helmet for your digits while scrambling up/down mountains and the ever so occasional root stubbing.
Feel like your feet are swimming in your running shoes? Not with the Bushido. STB Control construction hugs your foot with a "TPU" frame around your upper foot to create a secure hold wrapping to the top of the shoe. This control construction will help you stride with confidence knowing your foot is snug in your sneaks.
Live in a warm climate? Often find yourself with sweaty feet? With the upper a blend of air mesh, thermal fibers and ripstop your feet will be breathing easy, if only it helped you keep your heart rate down too.
Stick to boulders, roots and extreme situations with the DriXion XT outsole and the Impact Brake System. With increased friction on inclines you'll climb faster and confidently to mountain tops, town hills or the mailbox.
Take them for a spin at backcountry.com.