Earlier this year I set out to find an alternative way of hiking in the hot sunny weather of Southern California. Something that did not involve me getting sunburned or carrying the heavy 8.11 ounce GoLite Umbrella that I and many other long distance hikers have used for years. Granted I turn a rather nice shade of golden brown when I get a nice bit of sun on me, but living under the Redwood forest canopy of Northern California for the better part of two decades has not allowed me to keep that nice suntan that I always had while growing up in the Mojave desert. Recently I have been hiking different sections of the PCT in SoCal, and spending time in Joshua Tree National Park and Death Valley, trying to find the best route for my Highest to Lowest trail/hike I am planning.
I was able to find a number of different companies claiming that they provided SPF clothing that was in the 15-30 range, but the real stand-out in the sun clothing world was a product line called “Solumbra” from a company called Sun Precaution. This is a company that designs and makes all of their clothing in Seattle Washington USA.
As most of my longtime readers know, I rarely write reviews on pieces of gear (clothing, shelters, backpacks, whatever) that I have not tested a lot and for a long time. I will typically spend an entire hiking season (or sometimes three or four) before I contemplate writing a review for a piece of gear – this is what makes me stand apart from other authors and gear reviewers in the outdoor community, along with the fact that I traditionally only focus on SUL/XUL hiking. There have only been a few rare exceptions when I have broken that rule of mine, and I think with this clothing from Sun Precaution it is going to be one of those times — the reason being: sometimes a product just proves itself from the very get-go, and this clothing proved itself to me within the first two weeks of me using it. Truthfully, it proved itself within a matter of hours, but I gave it a good three or four days before I allowed myself to whisper to myself “wow, this stuff actually works!”
Ok, I feel kind of funny writing a review about an umbrella… just gotta say.
Over the years I have hiked with very few other hikers, probably less than 25 all put together, but the one constant piece of gear that every single hiker that I have hiked with has, is a good hiking umbrella.
My true love is, and probably always will be, the “GoLite Chrome Dome Trekking Umbrella”. It is one awesome all weather umbrella! It is the leader of the pack and by far the most used umbrella on most of the long distance trails here in the USA. But, it is also a heavy umbrella, at 230 grams (8.11 ounces).
As my readers well know, I spend a whole lot of money in order to save an ounce here and an ounce there as much as I can. So there are times when the necessity of the GoLite Chrome are just not warranted, and thus I am able to go out with a lighter weight umbrella. During the summer and shoulder season I have been fully committed to the GoLLite Chrome, but when I do not need the weight of that umbrella, when it is not hot and sunny outside, it offers me the ability to take the significantly lighter weight Snow Peak Ultra-Lite Umbrella.
I figured with it being mid-June that I should probably start putting some thoughts into the 2012 shoulder and winter hiking season. If you have been following my articles for very long you know I am not a big fan of that white stuff that so many others seem to enjoy so much, and thankfully here in the Redwoods of Northern California we do not get a lot of it.
Earlier today I was catching up on some fellow hiker articles and one of my favorite hikers from New Zealand posted a article about his planned base-layer for the rest of the year, and that is what got me thinking that it is getting close to that time of the year where I need to start planning my own setup.
So below I will outline what I am planning at this point in time for my 2012 shoulder and winter hiking season clothing setup. I would love to have other hikers out there who are planning and writing up their own shoulder/winter gear lists drop me a comment with your own setup! Each year the hiking industry is getting larger and larger and I am sure there is gear out there that some of you are using that I have no idea even exists and could be better than what I am planning to use!! Continue reading “Preparing For Shoulder/Winter Season, Clothing”→
I have to be honest to my readers… this whole “No Gear For 2012” is just soooo not going to happen for me! I do not want to get into whether it is a good thing or a bad thing – that is something only each of us as hikers can answer. I sort of think it is great that hikers are out there trying to commit themselves to it, but for me, it is just never going to happen.
With the exception of a few pieces of cold weather gear I could take my existing hiking gear setups and do almost any hike anywhere in the world. But the thing is, I just love checking out new gear and I so love supporting the outdoor cottage gear companies it would be hard for me. Even though I already have all the gear I could possible need, there are a few items out there that I still really want to buy. Some of them to make my hiking life better, some of them to simply try them and see if I like them enough to use, some of them to see how they perform against existing gear that I already have, and some of them because they are just down-right awesome looking. Continue reading “Yes-Gear For 2012!”→