Darn Tough Socks Review on the Pacific Crest Trail

I have been wanting to write a darn tough socks review for several months now. Please know that I was never paid or encouraged to write this review about Darn Tough hiking socks. Instead, I wanted to give an honest account of my personal experience with these socks on my long distance trek.

As you may know, I finished hiking the Pacific Crest Trail recently and went through several pairs of hiking socks during this time. However, aside from my darn tough hiking socks, I tested four different brands. I won’t name these brands but just know that each one is an extremely well known company with a solid reputation. In fact, I was gutted to find that my socks fell apart so quickly and this is mostly the reason I wanted to write this darn tough socks review.

My Darn Tough Socks Review

I purchased my first pair of Darn Tough hiking socks in San Diego just a few days before hitting the trail. On first impressions, I thought the socks looked rather uninspiring. Walking around town that day, I could tell that they had more cushion than what I was used to wearing but at the same time, it was impossible to make any kind of assessment. However, I would wear no less than five pairs on the Pacific Crest Trail so needless to say, my darn tough socks review is based on a hell of a lot of experience.


Darn Tough Vermont

About Darn Tough 

Darn Tough is a sock manufaturer in Vermont, USA. According to the company, every item to leave their backyard is hand crafted and made to withstand all kind of weather. While many hikers outside of North America may be unfamiliar with the brand, rest assured they are well known in this part of the world. Darn Tough hiking socks are produced with hikers, bikers and the ski industry in mind.

Specifications of Hiker 1/4 Sock Cushion

  • Weight – 2.3oz
  • 65% Merino Wool, 31% Nylon, 4% Lycra Spandex
  • Price: US$18

Darn Tough Socks Review

Wearing Darn Tough Hiking Socks on the Pacific Crest Trail

Overview – Simply put, my Darn Tough hiking socks were far superior to every other I tested on the trail. It was incredible what they were able to sustain. Although they eventually met their demise, this should be expected after more than one thousand miles. Comfortable and lightweight, they seemed effortless compared to my previous socks. Also, the holes that appeared in the socks were the result of me clipping my ankles when I was hiking.

Comfort – Without doubt, these were the most comfortable socks I had on trail. In fact, the only time I did not wear my Darn Tough was when I went to bed.

Appearance – As I said, my first impressions left a lot to be desired. Hiking is far from a fashion show. However, I feel that their creative team should be able to come up with something that looks a little more appealing.

Price – Honestly, I would pay the price for Darn Tough hiking socks everytime. At the same token, it does seem like a lot and even just $3 or $4 less would make me feel much better about the purchase.

Guarantee – Okay, let me explain in the next section about this incredible guarantee.


Darn Tough Guarantee & Customer Service

Darn Tough Guarantee

Darn Tough offer the most impressive lifetime guarantee I have ever encountered in the outdoor industry. Without strings and without any conditions, if they are not comfortable or if they do not fit properly, they will replace them immediately. In the case of you not being within reach of a store, you can also send the socks by post instead.

Ironically, I needed to contact their customer service team by email during my hike. Within minutes, I received reply requesting that I take a photograph of my damaged socks. Less than an hour later, I received confirmation that they had just placed my new socks in the post.

Special Guarantee for Pacific Crest Trail Hikers

I do know that this is not the first time Darn Tough have taken this approach. I spoke with three other thruhikers on the Pacific Crest Trail and they all had the very same experience. Apparently, the company is deeply appreciative of their popularity on the trail. For this reason, they make an exception for hikers on the Pacific Crest Trail.

With this in mind, they have got to be the best socks for the Pacific Crest Trail, right?


Disclosure: Please note the trust my audience has for my advice is of utmost importance to me. Hence, I will only recommend equipment I love from brands that I trust. I was not paid to review these socks and I purchased my own socks. I just know that these tents work really well for other outdoor adventurers and so they are likely to work for you too. 

Poodle Dog Bush on the Pacific Crest Trail

Poodle Dog Bush is a real concern for hikers on the Pacific Crest Trail. Afterall, it can pose a serious threat and hikers are sure to encounter the plant at least once on their journey. Thankfully, I have never had any negative experiences with the bush but I have come across several thruhikers who were not so lucky.

In case you might be asking yourself, poodle dog bush is a mountain shrub in California. Unforutnately, this colorful plant secretes a skin irritant which makes it a threat when hiking the Pacific Crest Trail. For this reason, you should avoid contact with Poodle Dog Bush and know how to identify this

What Does Poodle Dog Bush Look Like?

Poodle dog Bush in California

Poodle Dog Bush is a tall shrub with purple flowers. However, you need to be paying attention to spot the plant which is often identified by a rather pungent smell.

What Harm Can Poodle Dog Bush?

Poodle Dog Bush is a form of dermatitis which is sometimes compared to poison oak. Most affected hikers claim to have received a rash of some kind from the plant. At the same time, it can have much greater consequences with blisters and even respiratory distress reported on occasion. Symptoms of the above can appear within hours or days of making contact with the plant.

Where is Poodle Dog Bush on the Pacific Crest Trail?

Although Poodle Dog Bush is most common in the San Gabriel Mountains in California, you will also find it elsewhere.

PS. Contrary to what some hikers believe, the Poodle dog plant is not also known as the Poodle Brush Plant.

What to Do When You Come Across the Plant

As you might have guessed, long sleeves and long pants can reduce exposure to the bush. Try to move around the bush whenever possible and wear long pants/sleeves. However, if you touch this clothing after it comes in contact with the plant, you can also contaminate yourself.

How Can You Treat Skin Rash or Blisters?

Blisters should never be popped and you try to resist any scratching of the affected area. Hydrocortisone creams or calamine lotion can give relief for the itchiness you might be experiencing. Unfortunately, the healing process can take some time. You should also rinse any clothing which came into contact with the Poodle Dog Bush.


Have you any experience with irritations or encounters with the plant? I would love to hear about it – please let me know in the comments!

The Ultimate Gear List for the Pacific Crest Trail

As you may know, I have just finished hiking the Pacific Crest Trail in America. It was a long and punishing trek with endless climbs but there were also endless lessons throughout. Although I had a reasonable idea in terms of the best gear list for the Pacific Crest Trail, there were many insights along the way which sometimes left me wanting alternative gear. In other words, I managed to choose some of the best equipment for my hike but there were also some regrets.

With this in mind, I wanted to give an outline of my gear list for the Pacific Crest Trail and some pointers for equipment that would have been a lot more beneficial during this long distance trek.

My Gear List for the Pacific Crest Trail

My Gear List for the Pacific Crest Trail

Instead of jumping right into the gear, I wanted to make a quick note about certain aspects which need to be considered when choosing the best gear list for the Pacific Crest Trail. If you have hiking experience, please feel free to skip down.

About the Layer System – The weather on the Pacific Crest Trail changes often. You need to be prepared for scorching heat and freezing temperatures too. While you might want to take a heavy waterproof jacket – the better option is to go light and layer up. In other words, take a lightweight waterproof jacket and layers for underneath which will allow you to regulate your temperature.

About Cotton – Avoid it like the plague. When the weather is hot, cotton is know to cause chaffing. Also, when the weather is wet, cotton is difficult to dry which can leave thruhikers at risk of hypothermia. Alternatively, pick a material that dries quick and keeps moisture from the skin such as merino wool, nylon or silk.

About Keeping Everything Dry – If you get into the tent at night with wet gear and rain is still coming down in the morning, resist the temptation to put on dry clothing. Make sure that either your backpack is waterproof or that you use a decent rain-cover and bin liners to keep everything dry inside your backpack.

Here is a quick look at my gear list for the Pacific Crest Trail:

My Big Five

Backpack | Osprey Exos 58
Tent | Big Agnes Copper Spur UL 2
Sleeping Bag | North Face Blue Kazoo
Therma-Rest/Mattress | Z-Lite Sleeping Pad
Trekking Poles | Black Diamond Trekking Poles


My Clothing

Headwear | Columbia Baseball Cap and REI Sunhat
Sunglasses | Fake Ray Bans from Thailand
Jacket| Downjacket from Penney’s
Rain jacket | NorthFace Gortex Jacket
Shirt |Columbia Silver Ridge long sleeve shirt
Shorts | Vuori Trail Shorts
Thermal Leggings | Skins Leggings
Waterproof Trousers | Pac-in-a-sac
Gloves | Thinsulate Gloves
Shoes | Altra Lone Peak 4.0
Hiking Socks | Darn Tough Hiking Socks
Underwear | ExOfficio Boxer


My Smaller Stuff

Headlamp | Petzl Actik Core
Water Treatment | Sawyer Squeeze Mini
Water Bottle | Platypus & Smart water bottles
Camping Knife | Gerber Knife
Raincover | Osprey Pack Cover
Dry Bags | Sea to Summit (9L or 15L)


My Kitchen Gear

Utensil | Titanium Spork by Sea to Summit
Knife | Gerber knife
Food Bag | Sea to Summit waterproof bag
Storage | Ziploc Bags


Electronic Equipment

Phone | Samsung Galaxy Duo
Camera | Canon G7X
Media Storage | iPad Mini
Powerbank | Anker 20,000 AMP & Anker 10,000 AMP
Headphones | Generic headphones
Charger/converter/adapter | Generic Headphones
Cords | USB Phone Cable, iPad cable, camera charger


Miscellaneous

Passport
Travel Insurance
Emergency Foil Blanket
First Aid Kit
Credit/Debit Cards
Cash ($US)
Duct Tape
Toilet Paper
Toothbrush & Toothpaste
Baby Wipes & Hand Sanitizer
Second Skin / Blister Cushions
Moleskin
Electrolyte Sachets
Titanium Spork by Sea to Summit
Ziploc Bags


More in-Depth View of my Gear list for the Pacific Crest Trail

The Backpack – Osprey Exos 58

Picture of an Osprey Exos 58

While I recommend that you jump over and pick one of these up, there are now many options for the best backpack for the Pacific Crest Trail. Make no mistake, putting the right backpack one your gear list for the Pacific Crest Trail is one of the most important gear decisions and the Osprey Exos 58 is a reliable choice.

Read my full Osprey Exos review here.

Microadventureworld Recommends – Osprey Exos 58


My Shelter – Big Agnes Copper Spur UL2

Microadventure Tent

Needless to say, I came across so many tents on the trail. However, the Big Agnes Copper Spur UL2 never let me down and was far superior to most alternatives. I wrote a full review this week for the tent but in short, this is an incredible lightweight tent that should serve you well as part of your gear list for the Pacific Crest Trail.

Read my full Big Agnes Copper Spur UL2 review

Microadventureworld Recommends – Big Agnes Copper Spur UL2


Sleeping Bag – North Face Blue Kazoo

North Face Sleeping Bag

Initially, I wanted a Revelation Quilt as my sleeping bag for the Pacific Crest Trail but settled on the North Face Blue Kazoo. It is an excellent tent with a wonderful mummy hood that can wrap the entire way around your face. However, it was not ideal for freezing temperatures and I was required to wear every stitch of clothing on such nights. In hindsight, this was a great tent for winter camping but not for treks with significant elevation or freezing temps.

Microadventureworld Recommends – Revelation Quilt by Enlightened Equipment


Therma-rest Mattress – Z Iite Mattress

Ultralight Sleeping Mattress

Z-Lite is extremely lightweight and the way this mattress radiates heat back up toward the body is fantastic.  Also, I never understood why thruhikers put up with the frustrations that came with inflating/deflating their thermarests, I was just happy to have this simple piece of outdoor gear which performed equally as good.

Read my full review for the Z-Lite Themarest

Microadventureworld Recommends – Z-Lite Thermarest


Jacket – Downjacket from Penney’s

Derek Cullen

Okay, first off, I do not recommend this option on your gear list for the Pacific Crest Trail. However, I found it interesting that such a cheap jacket was able to provide so much warmth and reliability. That being said, I highly recommend that you consider one of the jackets below – each of which is a common downjacket for the PCT.

Microadventureworld Recommends – Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer


Raincoat – NorthFace Shell

Podcast on Soundcloud called Everything Micro

You obviously need a rain jacket on your gear list for the Pacific Crest Trail and this is certainly true for Washington at the very least. I used a NorthFace shell which worked pretty good but at the same time, your rain jacket stays in the backpack for the most part and this jacket is not the lightest.

Microadventureworld Recommends – Outdoor Research Helium II


Hiking Socks – Darn Tough Hiking Socks

At one time, I was using hiking socks of any kind. However, I went through so many useless pairs of socks on the trail and always came back to Darn Tough. They have an excellent exchange policy for PCT hikers too in which you take a photo of damaged socks and they send out a pair without any questions. Anyway, buy them and forget the alternatives.

Microadventureworld Recommends – Darn Tough Socks

 


Trail Hiking Shoes – Altra Lone Peak 4.0

I had a pair of Columbia Outdry prior to the Pacific Crest Trail and they served me well. However, thruhiking is another story and I found the Altra Lone Peak 4.0 to be an incredible companion on trail. Wide tops reduce the risk of blisters and they dry super quick. I will say that they tend to last 500 miles and no more but this still is pretty impressive.

Microadventureworld Recommends – Altra Lone Peak 4.0


Headlamp – Petzl Actik Core

Headlamp by PetzlWhen you finally purchase an excellent headlamp, you will know the difference they can make. Petzl Actik Core comes with a rechargeable battery which is priceless and an incredibly strong beam.

Read my full review of the Petzl Actik Core

Microadventureworld Recommends – Petzl Actik Core


Water Filtration – Sawyer Squeeze Mini

Small and easy to use, what is there not to like? I got giardia on the Pacific Crest Trail from not using a water filter and never had any issues when I used this filtration system. That being said, please do not buy the mini version – they take forever to filter.

Microadventureworld Recommends – Sawyer Squeeze (Regular Size)

 

 

Sea to Summit Spork

Incredibly useful and useful for every meal. It was also lightweight and was super easy to attach to my backpack. Thruhikers find this especially important as the long handle lets them dig deep into the bottom of their nutella and peanut butter.

Microadventureworld Recommends – Sea to Summit Spork


Anker Powerbank 20,000 AMPH

Tp Link PowerbankProbably the wisest decision of mine was to pick up a 20k powerbank which is enough to charge a smartphone up to five times. Naturally, this can also be used for any electronic equipment.

Microadventureworld Recommends – Anker Powerbank

 


Please know that this gear list for the Pacific Crest Trail is merely a guide and not gospel. You will find many products, brands, and outdoor gear which can serve the same purpose.

However, the outdoor gear above is equipment that I have come to appreciate the most and the next time I consider packing for a long distance trail, these items will most certainly be on there.

Is there any outdoor gear for the Pacific Crest Trail that you recommend? Anything missing from the list above? Please leave a comment below and let me know.


Disclosure: Please note the trust my audience has for my advice is of utmost importance to me. Hence, I will only recommend equipment I love from brands that I trust. I was not paid to review any of these products and I purchase this equipment myself. I am also without obligation to leave positive reviews for any product, I just know that this gear works for me and it is likely to work for you too. This page contains affiliate links meaning I might receive a small amount from the supplier should you decide to purchase an item through one of my links. Thank you for supporting me.

How to Deal with Wildfire on the Pacific Crest Trail

According to scientists, wildfires will be more common in the future. With this in mind, thruhikers should be educated on the basics of how to deal with wildfire on the Pacific Crest Trail.

When I was hiking the Pacific Crest Trail this year, we were extremely lucky with the absence and location of wildfires. Needless to say, these fires can result in fire closures and having to skip sections of trail. At the same time and most importantly, they are extremely dangerous and a real threat to the safety of thruhikers on the Pacific Crest Trail when they happen.

The Rise of Wildfires in the Pacific Crest Trail

PCT Fireman

As already mentioned, scientists are predicting that more than ten states will experience a 500 percent increase in wildlife. For the most part, this is due to environmental factors and wildfire is now set to become part of daily life in the western states.

Scott McClean has 18 years experience as a wildland firefighter and is now tasked with leading the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. In recent comments, the Deputy Chief said that he was expecting more than 700 wildland fires in California next year and outlined the correct procedure for thruhikers who might be caught in a wildfire situation.

Prepare for the Unexpected

Before you hot the trail, you should be fully aware of the conditions that lie ahead. Scott McLean recommends that thruhikers check InciWeb which maps out wildfires across the United States. As you may know, the PCTA website is also a good source of information for fire closures on the Pacific Crest Trail.

At the same time, hikers should also have a reliable GPS system and maps to navigate alternate trails or even off-trail should the situation arise. Further, having a Garmin InReach or SPOT device is essential.

What to Do If You Encounter a Wildfire

Scott McLean advises that hikers should first establish the wind direction which should be visible based on the direction of the smoke:

Smoke Rising Upward – In an instance where smoke is rising straight up, this indicates that there is no wind which is a good sign as it reduces the ability of a wildfire to spread.

Smoke Scattered on the Horizon – If the smoke is moving in one direction on the horizon, this means that the fire will spread quickly. Also, this should tell you which direction the fire will move.

McClean also makes it clear that hikers should always move downhill. “Fires burn uphill. It’s preheating the vegetation in front of it, so your best bet is down low. Travel upwind and downhill on dirt roads or streambeds with little vegetation. Stay away from canyons and draws, which can work to amplify a fire. Keep your distance, and maneuver around the flames as fast as possible.”

If Caught in a Wildfire on the Pacific Crest Trail

Fire on the PCT

If you get caught in the midst of a wildfire on the Pacific Crest Trail, the safest place to be is within an area that has already burned. You can tell such areas as they are mostly black and although uncomfortably hot or dry, this is often the best place to wait until the fire has subsided or past.

You cannot outrun a fire and McLean advises that “waiting it out” is usually the best option. But what else should you do in a wildfire situation?

Lay down on your stomach with your feet pointed toward the fire. Dig a hole and stick your face in it to avoid breathing in smoke. If you have a handkerchief, put that over your face as well. Hunker down, and the fire might change directions. It also might burn around you. But stay there for a good amount of time so there is no chance of it coming back at you. If the fire passes around you, find a way out behind the path of the blaze, sticking to the black whenever possible. – Scott McLean

Hiking in Burn Areas and Charred Forests

Finally, you are likely to encounter burn areas on the Pacific Crest Trail. Watch out for fragile trees and certainly try not to camp beneath anything that looks unstable. If you can, try to exit these areas before camping and if raining, watch out for mudslides in the area.

As you can see, common sense is needed but thruhikers should also be familiar with the best course of action to take in a wildfire situation. Either way, you should always avoid taking risks and take responsibility for keeping up to date with the conditions ahead on the Pacific Crest Trail.

Wondering When to Start the Pacific Crest Trail?

Are you wondering when to start the Pacific Crest Trail? As one of the great long-distance hiking trails in the world, trekking the Pacific Crest Trail, also known as the PCT, is a dream escape for most adventurers. At the same time, do you know the best time to start the PCT? Remember that proper timing is important for your safety and to ensure a truly rewarding hiking experience throughout. With this in mind, to help you plan for this adventure, here is everything you need to know when deciding on the best time to hike the Pacific Crest Trail.

When to Start the Pacfic Crest Trail Hike

Answer – Mid April to Early May

Female Hiker on the PCT
Bailey Started the PCT on May 10th

Most northbound hikers start hiking the Pacific Crest Trail between the middle of April and early May. On the other hand, southbound hikers generally begin around late June or early July. Most hikers would prefer to start early, but most sections of the trail are still covered with snow during spring and early summer which can mean an early start is not always a good idea.

In Southern California, dangerous stretches of snow blankets the trail on the first 200 miles from the border. If you enter the Sierra early enough, you are also likely to come across a significant amount of snow and anxious crossings on particularly treacherous streams. In Washington, steep and dangerous snow slopes also make trekking the PCT quite risky and first time hikers are encouraged to avoid such scenarios whenever possible.

Making a late start is not always the best time to hike the Pacific Crest Trail. During this period, Southern California is likely to be dangerously hot and dehydration or sunstroke are serious concerns. If you intend to start late and plan to finish the entire trail as a thru-hike, there are also consequences which you need to keep in mind.

Checking the Current Weather Conditions

Tent on the PAcific Crest Trail
Camping in the High Sierra

As you can see, weather is one of the most important factors to consider when deciding the best time to hike the Pacific Crest Trail. Therefore, you must make sure to check the weather conditions during the your hike and you should look to follow the Pacific Crest Trail blog to get updated with the conditions of the trail and to know if the snow has already melted.

Study the weather conditions well and work around some windows of opportunity. Above all, ask yourself the important questions – are you fit enough to sustain “Big miles” in order to catch up or get ahead on trail? Will winter be over before you are done with your hike? In case you might be asking yourself, “Big miles” is different for each hiker but in time, most hikers look to cover a minimum of 25 and 30 miles on a daily basis.

Considerations for When to Start the Pacific Crest Trail

Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail is a truly exciting experience, but things could happen along the way that is beyond your control. Injuries are often the reason for delays but also, many hikers love nothing more than taking a day off every once in a while which will set you back in the long run. Although the PCT trails are easy to follow, putting in the miles is a constant challenge even for experienced hikers and catching up is much easier said than done. With this in mind, make a decision to start early rather than late and this is likely to give you an option to take days off whenever needed. Furthermore, in the event of arriving at the foot of the Sierra too soon, you will have time to wait for the snow to dissipate and peace of mind that you are still ahead of the pack.

If you have any questions about when to start your hike on the Pacific Crest Trail, please leave a comment below!

My Big Three For Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail in 2018

As you may know, I will be using this Pacific Crest Trail Blog to document the upcoming trip and before it starts, I would like to let everyone know about the gear I will be using for this journey.

Believe it or not, while this trek will take more than four months to complete, the preparations can take a lot longer. In this sense, I have already spent many months researching the best ultralight outdoor gear for the trip. That being said, I have also spent just as much time researching the logistics of the hike which involves bear canisters, ice equipment, and the best electronic devices for outdoor adventures.

In terms of the cost, I figure the trip will cost approximately $12,000 after flights and insurance. However, one of the most notable costs for the Pacific Crest Trail packing list itself is what we know as “the Big Three”. In case you might be asking yourself, this refers to the tent, sleeping bag, and the backpack. Anyway, here are my big three for the PCT:

My Big Three for Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail in 2018

Backpack – Osprey Exos 58

Picture of an Osprey Exos 58My Osprey Exos 58 has featured on many Microadventures Ireland and I intend to take this on one last hike in Vietnam this week. Either way, this is an incredibly reliable and durable backpack which has endless features which make it suitable for multi-day hiking trips. Although I believe a new version is being released shortly, I am already satisfied with my choice of backpack for the PCT.

You can read my full Osprey Exos 58 Review Here

 



Tent – MSR Hubba Hubba NX

Tent for PCTAlthough I had initially planned on buying a Big Agnes Coppur Spur UL2, the Hubba Hubba NX has impressive reviews which suggest the material is more durable. I have not slept in one of these yet but either way, this is a huge upgrade from my Vango Banshee!

 

 

 


Sleeping Bag – North Face Blue Kazoo

North Face Sleeping Bag

I had wanted a Revelation Quilt for the PCT but decided on the North Face Blue Kazoo instead. I have used this in particular cold weather already and was incredibly surprised by how warm it was in this sleeping bag. On colder nights, I will wear thermal gear but overall, I think this will prove to be a wise investment for the PCT.

 


Have you any of the above outdoor gear? Please let me know in the comments!


Disclosure: Please note the trust my audience has for my advice is of utmost importance to me. Hence, I will only recommend equipment I love from brands that I trust. I was not paid to review the above items and I purchased my own equipment. I am also without obligation to leave positive reviews for these products, I just know that this equipment work really well for other outdoor adventurers and so they are likely to work for you too. This page contains affiliate links meaning I might receive a small amount from the supplier should you decide to purchase an item through one of my links. Thank you for supporting me.

Why I Will Not Be Using My Vango Tent for the Pacific Crest Trail

I genuinely love this tent but allow me to explain why I will not be using my Vango Banshee tent for th Pacific Crest Trail.

You see, I am a sucker when it comes to romanticizing over my outdoor gear. For example, I bought my Vango Banshee 200 several years ago for one reason – it was cheap. As you might expect from the pictures, it was also quite small for carrying around which also appealed but honestly, I bought the tent because it was one of the cheapest I could find.

Storms and Wild Camping in Africa

Serengeti Tours

Since then, I have taken the tent into many wilderness areas but most notably, I have used this backpacking tent in the wilds of Africa. Why is this important? Well, you come face to face with every terrain and logistical matter when you go camping in places like the Serengeti. Terrain is rugged and unspoiled in these areas but the weather is also particularly unpredictable.

On one occasion, I was stood in the middle of a rain storm holding the corner or two tents in each hand while the occupants took shelter under a nearby tree. Seriously, I was pretty much flying two kites as the weather attempted to claim these two tents and send them flying into the wilderness. In case you might be asking yourself, I was leading an adventure tour at that time and fully responsible for the safety of my clients. In hindsight, this was an extremely dangerous as the Serengeti is home to some of the most spectacular lightning storms you are likely to encounter.

Anyway, throughout this episode, my Vango Banshee sat quietly in the corner and let out little more than a whimper as a storm raged around us. In fact, I remember looking back to see how it was doing and laughing at the resilience of my “cheap tent”. After all, the two tents I was holding had a combined value of more than $1500.

Why I Cannot Use My Vango Tent for the Pacific Crest Trail

Best Tents for Microadventures

You see, I am very attached to my outdoor gear and eventually, each piece becomes what seems like an important part of a story. From wildlife corridors and immense volcanoes to deserts, mountains and abandoned buildings; the Vango Banshee was with me for so many outdoor adventures and never let me down.

Alas, I am taking a long distance trek next month from Mexico to Canada and as you will probably see on my Pacific Crest Trail Blog, the weight and size of every item counts. In the case of the tent, my Vango weighs almost 2lb more than the one I have my eye on and this is quite a lot on a long distance hike. In fact, as far as weight goes, this would be considered quite a heavy backpacking tent for the Pacific Crest Trail.

More importantly, the inside of a Vango Banshee is very compact and confined. If you are looking for the best tent for microadventures, this is definitely a good shout in my option, and cheap too. However, while hiking the Pacific Crest Trail in 2018, there are likely to be times when I will need to wait out storms or rest up for the day in the tent and simply put, this is when space will matter.

For this reason, I will be leaving my Vango Banshee somewhere safe and purchasing a new home made of fabric. No mortgages here, my friends.

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Do you have a favorite backpacking tent? Let me know in the comments – I love to hear about other peoples experiences with their outdoor gear!

How To Deal With Post Adventure Blues

Something very strange can happen when you finish an adventure, most especially if it involves a long period of time or a great deal of preparation. In spite of it being such an incredible experience, you can feel disappointed or disillusioned, possibly even depressed when it comes to an end.

I refer to this period or these feelings as “Post Adventure Blues”.

Dealing with Post Adventure Blues

For this reason, I have been watching intently, as an online acquaintance comes to terms with the end of an epic adventure. I am watching because I know what can happen at the end of an outdoor adventure in particular and how returning to conventional life or “normality” can feel disillusioning after so much excitement.

In most instances, these experiences are so filled with joy, uncertainty, fun and deep-rooted emotions that when the journey comes to an end, all these feelings grind to a halt, and it can feel rather confusing.

However, I also know from experience that these unsavory feelings should be expected and that this is what happens in the aftermath of any meaningful journey. Whether you return from an epic backpacking adventure or finish training for a marathon, maybe you just finished cycling around the world or took a challenging quest in aid of charity – a sense of disappointment can ensue.

Can The End Be The Beginning?

Post Adventure BluesWhen I finished a year-long bicycle ride across Africa some years ago, I moved to Canada and took up the role of a travel consultant. It was somewhere entirely new but at the same time, I was still back working nine to five and in the midst of the very cycle from which I had been so determined to escape.

In spite of my “life-changing journey”, I was back at the start and with no idea what I should do about it.

In the end, I decided to leave this particular role and pursue the life of a travel writer. At this time, the prospect of turning my dream career into a reality seemed almost impossible, but then the thought of persisting with a such an unsatisfying lifestyle was even more unbearable.

With this in mind, I sometimes recognize a similar struggle with friends, family or online acquaintances. That is to say, when they reach the end of an adventure of their own, they experience the same disillusion.

At this time, it can feel as though nobody will understand why you feel so disappointed and the truth is, it’s all too easy to fall right back into the way things were before this adventure.

Regardless, gone is the excitement and sense of freedom which brought meaning during the adventure and here you are back in the good ol’ real world.

And it feels disappointing, right?

Finding a Way Past the Glass Ceiling

Adventurer in the forestBecause when you embark on a grand adventure or achieve something significant in life, it is very difficult to go back. In other words; this particular experience was so enjoyable, fun, exciting and meaningful that you rule out any possibility of going back to the way things were before.

However, when this adventure is over and you find yourself back where you began – post adventure blues can make it frustrating, confusing and twice as difficult to know what to do next.

But this is exactly when I believe you must remember something.

When every journey comes to an end, rather than feel upset that the trip is over, it serves better to remember that this adventure was not enough, that this journey was not “it” and that there is always something more, bigger and rewarding to go after in life.

How to Deal with Post Adventure Blues

And so it is here, in the midst of fond memories and times gone by, when I find the most important thing to remember at the end of an adventure – that “it” is never really over. After all, there is always an opportunity to create more memories and evoke these same feelings of uncertainty and excitement.

For this reason, I believe that in order to overcome these post adventure blues and get back to that particular place, it is important to be thinking of now. As in, right now. It is important to be thinking about doing more stuff, planning more adventures and leaving the memories for a time when you are unable to get out there and chase them anymore.

More specifically, I believe that the best way to overcome these inevitable feelings of disappointment and disillusion is to put away the excuses, dust yourself off and start preparing for the next one.