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Backcountry camping is second nature to my friends and I (shores of Lake Superior – Northern Ontario / Minnesota border). Fall backcountry camping has some pros and cons and I thought we would include some gear reviews we feel make fall backcountry camping more enjoyable.
First off, when backcountry camping, always remember to leave a quick note to friends and family on where you are headed, your destination, and when you will be back.
On our last trip, I asked our group to name an item they can’t live without.
We’ll continue to add and update these reviews so be sure to check back!
Let’s dig in.
1. Body Glide’s Foot Glide
Undoubtedly one of the biggest deterrents for prospective hikers is the idea of nursing many painful blisters after an outing. Luckily for you, I’ve endured that all too familiar discomfort and have tested numerous anti-chafing products throughout the years to find what I consider to be one of my ‘holy grail’ hiking accessories.
Body Glide is a company renowned for its wide array of anti-chafing products and one of these balms has been specially formulated to combat foot friction. Foot Glide comes infused with Apricot Kernel Oil, Comfrey Leaf Extract, as well as Vitamins A & C, all of which help to minimize inflammation and work to restore dry, chapped, or chafed skin. To apply, simply run the salve over any area of the foot that is prone to developing hot spots, irritations, or blisters, then put on your socks and shoes as you normally would. As an added bonus, Foot Glide comes in a sleek deodorant-shaped container making it incredibly portable and packable for any adventurers planning to be on the trails for an extended period of time.
Just like any other experienced hiker, I can attest to the value of moleskin. Over the course of my time on the trails, I’ve encountered pesky blisters and hotspots brought on by wearing-in new boots and have had to get my friends and instructors to patch me up many times! Traditional rolls are effective, but they do have a tendency to be cumbersome on the trails as you have to cut and size each individual piece. Misorita moleskin sheets are a true game-changer!
This product includes 12 sheets of pre-cut moleskin in a variety of shapes and sizes. While the look and feel of these adhesives are on par with the traditional rolls, there are a couple of advantages to having them in your hiking arsenal. First, because the pieces are pre-cut, there is no fumbling with knives or scissors to cut and size them while on the trail—simply pick a sticker that suits your needs, and secure it over the skin irritation in question. Second, these sheets are thinner than the traditional rolls of moleskin—a feature that is universally praised by reviewers as they can enjoy the benefits of it without any bulky feeling around the treated area afterwards. It is worth noting that the sheets themselves are also small and easily storable, so they are perfect for anyone looking to expand their collection of minimalist backpacking gear.
3. Merino Wool Base Layer
If merino wool is a material that was previously unbeknownst to you, there are myriads of reasons why products of this particular content make-up are cult favourites among outdoor enthusiasts. Merino wool fibre is sourced from its namesake sheep most commonly found in Australia and New Zealand. Their coats allow these animals to stay warm in unfavourable conditions, yet they remain light enough of a layer so as to not hinder their movement. As you can imagine, this translates well to any outdoor gear. There are a couple of core reasons why these garments are a “must-have.”
When it came time for me to buy my first base layer, the very mention of the word ‘wool’ prompted me to recoil instantly. As someone who is extremely sensitive to most textiles, I had instant flashbacks of being bundled up in itchy, thick, and cumbersome winter sweaters. So I must admit, I was overjoyed to discover that this base layer could not have been more different. Merino wool fibre is incredibly thin, fine and lightweight, meaning that it lacks the substance that allows for traditional wools to stand up on their own. So rather than feeling prickly against your skin as you slip it on, these garments provide a luxurious soft feeling.
Another compelling feature of merino wool products is their ability to regulate body temperature. The structural makeup allows this material to be extremely versatile in that a base layer composed of it will keep adventurers warm in the winter, yet cool and dry in the summer. When exposed to colder temperatures, the fibres bend in such a way that traps air, overall contributing to insulating the wearer; meanwhile in warmer climates merino allows moisture to evaporate, leaving you comfortable during any workout. Personally, I make the most out of my merino garments in the fall and winter seasons, but I do know some other members of TWR’s Adventurer Club who wear theirs for cycling, running, and even paddle boarding!
4. Merino Wool Socks
Though merino wool socks encompass the same benefits as their base layer counterparts mentioned above, there are two other unique characteristics of this fabric that truly shine through when in sock form.
Firstly, all merino wool products have the innate ability to mask any foul odours. Again, their distinctive structural composition allows for bacteria and their accompanying smells to be instantly absorbed and trapped. While this is a trait that is commendable on short day hikes, these products are truly a game-changer for overnight backcountry trips. By drastically reducing the unpleasant scents commonly associated with spending days in the wilderness, these products allow adventurers to wear and re-wear the same garments during a single trip. Overall this is a valuable component as it results in explorers having to pack less clothing and thus saving valuable space in their backpacks on longer treks and trips.
Secondly, merino wool products are known for being incredibly breathable. While wearing wool socks in hiking boots may seem counterintuitive to staying comfortable while hiking, just as their base layer counterparts contain moisture-wicking properties, so do merino socks. The fibres in these socks are arranged in such a way that air can pass easily through and thus the garments can dry out faster. With these particular models amassing an impressive 4 1/2 star rating with 1200+ reviews, you can feel confident taking these on your next adventure!
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