John Abela

HikeLighter on Facebook

If you are on facebook and would like to follow me, head over to: https://www.facebook.com/HikeLighter  I tend to be fairly active on my facebook page, often posting two or three times a week. Sometimes I talk about gear that I am working on developing, if I see a cottage company make updates to their gear I try to post about that, sometimes it is simply sharing an awesome articles or videos I have come across, sometimes it is updates on my hiking adventures, and sometimes just about what is going on in my life. I encourage everybody to follow my facebook page if you want to keep up with what is going on. Once you have clicked the “Like” button, please be sure to move your mouse over the updated “Liked” button and a menu will drop-down, and be sure to click on the “Get Notifications” option! Thanks everybody!

Written by John B. Abela

February 24, 2014 at 9:47 am

Posted in News & Updates

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Join me on Patreon!

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Greetings Adventurers!

Well folks, I thought a long time about this… as in pretty much the entire 2016 hiking season… and decided that I would give it a go!

I have joined Patreon and am now inviting folks to become a patron and join me in something new!


There are things that I have wanted to do that my website and facebook are just not really setup to do, and Patreon seems to be the idea solution.

For a dollar, or three dollar, or ten dollar, each month (or more, hey it is totally up to you) you can help me have a bit of extra money for trail food, pay my website bills, and all that good stuff. But that is not the important part here…

What is, is that as a ‘thanks for supporting me‘ – depending on the level of patronage – you will get to have access to stuff that I will not post on my website and/or on facebook, maybe get early access to some of my articles and videos, and maybe even a place to chat with me (which you are always welcome to do so on facebook), and maybe the chance to participate in some live chat sessions (via a mobile app), and perhaps even the chance to have me call you a couple times a year and talk about your gear, or my gear, or almost anything else related to hiking — what features you get is all based on what level you support patron at, which is all explained on my main patreon page.

So how is this going to be different from my website or facebook?

Good question… and the main question that I have been asking myself for most of the year. I really think it will all just come down to the fact that Patreon offers the ability to have a community in a better way than my website, and outside of facebook (which I know, a lot of you are always telling me you refuse to use facebook… so here is your chance to use something other than facebook!!)

Patron, in many ways is a community that perhaps offers me/us the ability to do things that I would not use my website for, and that can be something that is not facebook. Not that I will be abandoning my website and/or facebook, but rather that I want to post more, or perhaps maybe different stuff than what I usually post on my facebook page, and stuff that would not even think about posting on my hikelighter website – which I try really hard to keep focused on articles.

Anyway, yeah, anybody that would like a bit more insight into my life, my thoughts, my writings, my adventures, and all that stuff, I invite you to head on over to my patreon page and become a patron!

If I am lucky enough to have some of you join me over there, and it actually generates some revenue, know that the funds will go right into my annual hiking budget, which, honestly, is insanely expensive, and could use whatever help it can get!

Again, my patreon page is: https://www.patreon.com/hikelighter

ps: while you are over there, you should also become a patron of Joe Brewer!

ps: yes, I am very hairy right now… getting close to one year without taking any scissors or shears to my body… why… I really have no idea… doh!

ps: to those who are anti-patreon, anti-kickstart, and as the great PMags terms it, the Go Fund-Yourself issue (which what guys like Joe Brewer and now myself are doing are far from that)… anyway… yeah, I know… really… I know… it is why I hesitated for an entire year! I just think patreon has the potential to help open up some new ways to doing things I have wanted to do. Trust me when I say it is not about the money… I came really close to just having a single patron level of $1.00 (the minimum amount you can have at patreon) but then a friend and fellow hiker that I respect brought up the issue of how insane it would be to try to call potentially hundreds of people and talk with them for an hour or two. So at some point there needed to be seperation, for my own sake, to be able to accomplish what I really want to accomplish in doing all of this… hopefully helping folks in a closer way than I can here on my website and over on facebook. If we do not try new things, and very few people are these days within the hiking community, than we are all pretty much just shooting ourselves in the foot. I like my feet… without holes in them, so I am sure there are some people out there right now with the “sigh, abela is going money hungry” thoughts in your brain… but please, purge those negative oriented thoughts from your brain… use your brain for good thoughts, not bad thoughts!

Thanks everybody!
+John Abela

Written by John B. Abela

August 26, 2016 at 2:08 am

Posted in News & Updates

Massdrop x Klymit Pillow Ultra Light

with 5 comments

Massdrop x Klymit Static V Ultralight Pad & Pillow X UL

Greetings Adventurers!

Wanted to talk Klymit pillows for a couple of minutes, with a primary focus on the newly introduced “Pillow Ultra Light” – a collaborative pillow with Massdrop and Klymit.

At the moment Klymit has three pillows on the market:

  1. Pillow X
  2. Cush Seat
  3. Pillow Ultra Light

I have used all three of these and as one would expect, they each have their highlights.

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Written by John B. Abela

August 24, 2016 at 12:08 am

Posted in Gear Announcements

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Vargo ‘ExoTi50’ Backpack (pre-release interview with vargo)

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The Vargo Outdoors ‘ExoTi50’ backpack – a 50L external frame backpack — does “X” mark the spot for this second generation Vargo backpack??


Greetings Adventurers!

For the past year I have been using the Vargo ‘Ti-Arc’ Backpack, an exceptionally lightweight external frame backpack, and the first backpack from Vargo Outdoors.

A few weeks ago Vargo presented their second generation of the backpack, being called the ‘ExoTi50‘.

Very little has been known about the ExoTi50, outside of a couple of folks who took pictures of it at the OR event in SLC, which I was not able to attend.

Being a huge fan/user of the Ti-Arc, and being sponsored by Vargo Outdoors, I figured I would contact them to see if I could find out some additional on this next generation backpack.

If you have not already read it, it might be good to first meander over and read my review on the Ti-Arc, so you can fully understand some of the logic/reasoning behind some of the changes in this second generation backpack, and why I make a big, or not so big deal, out of the different changes in this next generation backpack.

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Written by John B. Abela

August 17, 2016 at 1:48 pm

Posted in Interviews

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Vargo ‘Ti-Arc’ Backpack

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Vargo 'Ti-Arc' Backpack

Greetings Adventurers!

Over the last  year I have been using the Vargo ‘Ti-Arc‘ Backpack and I have to say, I have pretty much fallen in love with it.

The ‘Ti-Arc‘ is an external titanium frame backpack, so, old school style meets up with new school hardware.

Yes, you read that right, I have fallen in love with an external frame backpack!

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Written by John B. Abela

August 17, 2016 at 1:47 pm

Resizing a Therm-a-rest Evolite Sleeping Pad

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Greetings adventurers!

All credit to the photos and stats within this article goes to Derek Weeks – thanks to him for providing them to me and allowing me to republish them!

After publishing my article Resizing the Massdrop x Klymit Static V Ultralight Sleeping Pad I have had a number of people contact me asking about resizing such-and-such sleeping pad. I have been able to respond to all of them with details about the given pad, but then a request came in about details on the Therm-a-rest Evolite sleeping pad.

Some may remember I gave the Evolite my ‘2015 Gear of the Year‘ award for sleeping pads. While it may be on the almost-heavy side of sleeping pads these days, the pure luxurious comfort of the Evolite has made it a fairly popular sleeping pad for the given weight (slightly over 1 pound) category it exists within.

One of the comments within the article was from Derek Weeks, who asked:

Do you think that {resizing a} Therm-a-Rest EvoLite Sleeping Pad would work with the foam inside?

Amazingly, the Evolite is probably the only sleeping pad I have owned in the last five years that I have not resized.

Derek mentioned in a follow-up comment that he was going to give it a try and I asked if he would email me some photos of how it went.

Two days later he emails me the photos you see within this article!

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Written by John B. Abela

August 16, 2016 at 9:51 am

Black Rock Gear ‘The Northern Lights Collection’

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Greetings Adventurers!

About once a year our awesome friends, and a sponsor of mine, over at Black Rock Gear put together a very small production of usually crazy wild colour beanies – and they just did so again!

This time around they are calling them the ‘Northern Light Collection‘ – love that name!

They have a ‘hunter orange’ colour that I suspect is going to be crazy popular – might want to try to be one of the first to grab one, if you are into orange gear, which I know a lot of you are!

The ‘aurora red’ could also be pretty popular. Not sure I have seen that colour of a beanie from BRG before.

The ‘silver pearl’ looks like it could be a really good neutral colour, for those that are not into having their gear stand out and screaming “look at me, I’m a beanie!” – but hey, if you got a BRG beanie, why would you not want it to be doing that!

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Written by John B. Abela

August 11, 2016 at 4:01 pm

Resizing the Massdrop x Klymit Static V Ultralight Sleeping Pad

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Resizing the Massdrop x Klymit Static V Ultralight Sleeping Pad

Greetings adventurers,

Last month I published an article entitled ‘Massdrop x Klymit ‘Static V Ultra Light‘ in which I took at look at the collaboration work between Massdrop and Klymit with the introduction of their new 20d fabric sleeping pad.

Towards the end of the article I made this statement:

I know some of you are going to be wondering about modifying the Massdrop x Klymit ‘Static V Ultra Light’. As some of us have – myself included – with other Klymit (and even TaR) sleeping pads, the Massdrop x Klymit ‘Static V Ultra Light’ is manufactured like all of the other Klymit sleeping pads, that is, with a heat pressure machine. This means that you will easily be able to cut down the Massdrop x Klymit ‘Static V Ultra Light’ from the standard 72″ length to something in the shorter range

I was asked if I would be willing to make a video showing how this is done.

It took me a bit of work, as the video shoot unfortunately turned into about 3.5 hours of total video, as I talked my way through every little step as I was recording. The total shoot time spanned three days of modifying the pad (and thus shooting video) with a one day delay due to my archaic iron not working and having to purchase a new one.

For the sake of everybody, I got the main video shortened down to about 40 minutes.

I realize that is still a very long video and I will not feel bad if anybody skips ahead to the good part, towards the end, but hopefully there will be something in the first 30 or so minutes that will interest some folks.

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Written by John B. Abela

August 9, 2016 at 1:04 am

Posted in Gear Modifications

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