Gear Reviews

With Lake Tahoe Camping With Privacy: Your Guide To The Most Private Campsites Near Tahoe, Truckee, Sly Park, Union Valley Reservoir, And Beyond, the Wilke’s have added to their collection of information about private campsites in the Sierra. I found their other book, “Eastern Sierra and Death Valley Camping with Privacy,” to be very helpful when planning backpacking trips for the Sierra Club or personal trips. Compared to the peace of the backcountry, I am often dismayed by the lack of privacy in campgrounds so for me, this is the most valuable resource I have found to selecting a good site for the night before a backpacking trip. The descriptions of each site are rich in detail about what you’ll see from the site, whether it’s a road, grove of trees or river view. Privacy ratings are provided for the campsite as well as the driveway and the approximate length of the driveway is provided (very helpful for RVers). It’s also helpful that they give a realistic description of how many tents will fit and whether it’s better for tents or motorized vehicles.

Fallen Leaf Lake

There are a lot of campgrounds around Lake Tahoe and the thickness of the book reflects that at a hefty 650 pages. There’s a handy index of campgrounds in the back while the table of contents lists the geographic area and a list of campgrounds in each. At the beginning of each section, an overall description of the campground is provided with such information as whether reservations are taken, contact details, presence of bear boxes and flush toilets, whether dogs are allowed, number of campsites and whether cell service is available. For me, the elevation information is critically important as I am susceptible to altitude sickness above 10,000 feet if I don’t acclimate properly. I plan my first night’s elevation carefully to maximize acclimatization. Nearby restaurants, grocery stores and attractions are listed. There are no maps but when I’m planning a trip, I find it convenient to have the book in front of me while I research the campground online so I can find maps and search for availability. I was so pleased to receive a review copy and look forward to trip planning with this by my side. This is a valuable resource for anyone who spends time camping around Lake Tahoe.

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MSR PocketRocket 2 Mini Stove Kit: Gear Review

The MSR PocketRocket 2, representing an update of a long-running popular stove, the original PocketRocket, has been out for a couple of years. I recently had a chance to test it to compare to my original PocketRocket as part of a convenient MSR Mini Stove Kit. Light backpackers love items that nest together efficiently and … Continue reading »

The One one-person tent from Gossamer Gear

Gossamer Gear’s The One tent is a one-person tent that hits all of my requirements in one small package. I’m picky about one-person tents, more so than with a two-person tent. Most two-person tents I’ve tested inherently feel bigger and have enough headroom, if only because they are obviously wider. One-person tents, however, can look … Continue reading »

Therm-A-Rest Down Pillow

The Therm-a-Rest Down Pillow is a versatile down shell that can be wrapped around an inflatable pillow or clothing to provide a good night’s sleep. The pillow is stuffed with 650 Fill Hydrophobic down and has a cinchable cord that contains the inner padding of the user’s choice. I readily admit that a pillow is … Continue reading »

Tailwind Nutrition Rebuild Recovery Drink

I’m a big fan of recovery snacks and Tailwind Nutrition has developed an easy solution for replenishing needed nutrients efficiently with the new Rebuild drink powder. The recovery period is often overlooked for long-distance backpackers but the concept has been around sports nutrition for a long time. The Recovery Period Nutrient timing is a hot … Continue reading »

Favorite Backpacking Snacks

Is it just me or has there been an explosion of healthy snacks in the last couple of years? When I think back to the days when we thought Power Bars were revolutionary, I realize how many wonderful choices we have now. I had the opportunity to test some new products this year and thought … Continue reading »

Americano Hat by Toad&Co

The Americano Hat from Toad&Co is an attractive, light-weight, crushable Panama-style hat that looks as good in town as it does on the trail. Even more important than looking good, it also protects your face from the harmful rays of the sun. I have a problem when I hike. I overheat unless it’s quite chilly … Continue reading »