By: Jon Sullivan
My name is Jon Sullivan, and, as TETON Sports’ Gear Guide, I am excited to help others get the best out of their time on the trail and under the stars in 2022! Over the years of alpine climbing, backcountry skiing and guiding, I have found some tips and tricks that make life a bit easier when we play outside.
1. Pack Weight & Water
Water is HEAVY! One liter of H20 weighs 2.21lbs. My very first long distance trail run (~30 miles) through the Indian Peaks Wilderness on the Pawnee-Buchanan loop, I learned that carrying all of my water from the start was a bad idea. Look for water sources along the route BEFORE your trip, make a water refill plan with your team, and save your back!
2. Stay Dry Inside & Out
Keeping your sleeping bag dry is key to a good trip (not to mention toilet paper, fire starters, food…). After a two-week backpacking/climbing trip through the Wind River range in Wyoming, I came home with absolutely everything soaked from relentless rain. I keep a black trash bag packed just in case. If rain is expected during a trip or you see storm clouds rolling in, simply line the inside of your backpack with the trash bag, then pack your bag. It’s like a rain jacket for the inside of your pack – and if you also have a rainfly for the exterior of your pack (all TETON packs come with an integrated fly or poncho system!), this just adds another layer of protection from the elements!
3. Trash Management
Always pack out what you pack in. When preparing trail snacks for a big day or an overnight trip, unwrapping trail foods like granola bars and storing them in one big bag (like a gallon zip lock) saves the hassle of packing out trash and accidentally dropping “micro trash” (think corners of a snack wrapper).
4. Start Cold & Layer Smart
Don’t overdress! It’s easy to think that you’re too cold right out of the car, but you warm up quickly when you start moving. Keep yourself from getting uncomfortably sweaty by dressing according to the aerobic output, not how you feel at the trailhead. I like to try hard to not sweat on the trail!
5. Protect Your Fingers With Your Pits
Glove rule number one: During the cold months, one pair of gloves just doesn’t cut it.
Glove rule number two: Don’t drop your gloves into water (or down a crevasse).
Glove rule number three: Gloves are insulators, not heat producers so always start with them warm! Climbing near Mont Blanc many years ago, my wife dropped my only pair of gloves down the couloir we were booting up… we were later rescued by the French mountain rescue service, the Gendarmerie. Make a habit of always carrying at least two pairs of gloves. When you remove gloves, put them in your jacket near your armpits! When the first pair blows away (because you didn't put them in your armpits!), at least you brought that second pair.
About the Author:
Jon Sullivan is the awesome Gear Guide for TETON Sports.