Hiking with Dogs: Training Hike & Gear Testing (Prado Lane), January 3 2016

I’m hoping to get out for another 50-60 mile backpacking trip in the Sierra this summer. I’ve been reviewing my notes from my HST hike, thinking about gear selection, and have started testing out a few items on training hikes and on my snowshoeing trips. It had been a couple weeks since I’d been able to hike and Riley really needed to get out for some exercise, so I loaded up my pack with gear and some weight(to simulate my expected backpacking pack weight) and hit the local hills.

It was chilly and very windy, but we were treated to an unexpectedly beautiful sunrise. Before I get into the gear that I tested, here are some photos:

The  gallery contains panoramas and will load slowly. Thank you for your patience.

If you regularly hike or backpack in California, please join our Facebook group, California Hiking and Backpacking!
It’s a great place to ask questions and share your photos, trip reports and gear recommendations.


    • Katabatic Gear Helios 55
      • I loaded up the pack with 35 lbs, including my bear canister to see how well it would fit/carry.
      • I’m very impressed with this pack so far. If I can get my packweight under 40 lbs for my upcoming trip, this is the pack I will use.
      • Some detailed photos of this pack, as well as a short review are posted here – Under Review: Katabatic Gear Helios 55 Backpack
    • Minus33 
    • MyFootShop Spring Plate – Carbon/Graphite Fiber Insole
      • I’ll go into more detail in a future post, but I am hoping to transition to using trail runners instead of heavy backpacking boots. One step in this process is finding a way to eliminate the “bottom of foot” pain I usually feel. I’ve been working with the folks at MyFootShop to figure out a solution.
      • I used these insoles in a pair of low top hikers. It was the first time in 8 years that I’d carried that much weight without using a backpacking boot with a full shank. My feet felt great afterwards.
    • Sony Alpha a6000 Digital Camera
      • Recently upgraded to a newer version of my previous camera
      • With the a6000you can use smart phone as a remote. I’m still trying to figure out how to use the app, but I got some nice pics on this trip.