Ultimate Camping Gear

With summer just around the corner, I have camping and hiking on the brain. Although I’ve transitioned to more local/car camping trips, I still look forward to quality gear that is easy to set up and ultra light weight. I’ve found the best of the best and I can’t wait to take Athena on her first official camping weekend.

Big Agnes Copper Spur UL3

Big Agnes’s Copper Spur UL3 is just right in almost every camping situation. At 3lb 14oz and plenty of space, it beats out the competition where it matters most.  The Big Agnes Copper Spur Ultralight 3-Person 3-Season Tent gives you enough room to move at night without adding too much weight to your pack. Thanks to gram-saving poles and a silicone-treated, ultralight nylon rainfly, it offers 44 sq. ft. of space at an ultralight weight. The lightweight hubs, featherlite pole system with press fit connectors, color-coded rainfly attachments, and curved clips make the Copper Spur quick and easy to pitch, while abundant mesh, two roof vents, and good cross-ventilation kept warm nights cool and cold nights condensation-free ($499.95; www.bigagnes.com/). Continue reading

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Waterproof Packing Made Easy – Exped Torrent 50

Backpacking, caving, biking, mountaineering, canyoneering, paddling… the list of adventures where you need to keep your gear dry goes on and on. The Exped Torrent 50 backpack keeps water away from your precious gear so it stays dry and you stay carefree. Take on wet conditions with this waterproof pack that offers welded seams and waterproof closures. If you find yourself battling wet conditions, this should be your go-to pack. Continue reading

Notre Dame’s Legend

Every famous building has a story, a legend hidden deep within it, which intrigues people. In the case of the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, it is the story of the hunchback who was the inspiration for the books, movies, and cartoons known as “The Hunchback of Notre Dame”.

The Cathedral itself is the most significant aspect of “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” novel, acting as both the main setting and the focus of the story’s themes. My passion for reading and my love for the hunchback story, brought me to the Notre Dame Cathedral. I had visualized its beauty and imagined the sound of Quasimodo ringing its bells; actually walking inside was like walking through the pages of my mind.  Continue reading

Ultimate Hiking Gear

Some gear is just too good to pass up!

Sherpa Resham 3-Layer Jacket

Built to deflect wind and rain, the Resham Jacket is one streamlined, high-performance piece of equipment. The fabric is an ultra-light, 3-layer polyurethane laminate that’s both waterproof and breathable. Every seam is sealed for durable water repellency. And when you need to ventilate your core on the ascent, unzip the front hand pockets – they’re lined in mesh. The collar is extra tall for maximum face coverage, and the hood adjusts around the face via interior front pulls; volume control is done via a device at the back of the head ($199;http://www.sherpaadventuregear.com).

*Sherpa Adventure Gear manufacturers 80% of their products in Nepal with a local workforce to support the local economy. They also employ actual Sherpas as brand ambassadors who use and test the products in the Himalayas. In short, the great Sherpas of Nepal are directly-benefited by the success of Sherpa AG.With a flagship store in Katmandu, Sherpa AG promotes the use of their products to all climbers and locals alike — offering jobs and opportunities for Sherpas and their families. Continue reading

“Darn Close to the Perfect Daypack for General Duty” – Gregory Z30

Backpacker Magazine claimed that the Gregory Z30 backpack was “Darn close to the perfect daypack for general duty”, and I knew I needed to check it out for myself. The Z30 is part of Gregory’s ‘Fast and Light’ series, which probably tells you everything you need to know. The company says the intention is to “strike a balance between low weight and durability without sacrificing performance”. The positives are endless: the suspension system is lightweight and the thin shoulder straps and hip-belt are wide enough to distribute pressure; the pockets are endless; and the single main compartment of the Z30 is long and wide enough to make loading easy. This ventilated hiking pack is ideal for light and fast overnights and daily hikes. Continue reading

Cead Mile Failte at Tig Cóilí’s in Galway, Ireland

Traditional Irish music 7 nights a week, young, friendly, good-looking staff, and a great atmosphere make Tig Cóilí in Galway, Ireland one of my favorite finds during my European trip.

Tig Cóilí is situated on Mainguard Street at the end of Shop Street in Galway, Ireland and is always filled to the brim like the great Guinness that they serve. Continue reading