Shakedown Hikes

Shakedown Hikes

I once had someone recommend to me “REI has rental gear why don’t you just rent the stuff when you go on your hike….” I then had to explain to them that backpacking was a system and you have to work with something several times (like a tent) until you can set the thing up in the dark, with wind, rain or what ever else mother nature throws at you.  I would never go on a long distance hike and bring say…a new tent and figure it out on the trail. I’m definitely trying it out before the hike. Its how I like to do all things camping.  I will usually have set up and used a piece of gear once or twice in my own back yard before I take it on a backpacking trip. This way if everything falls apart at 2am you can just walk back inside your house. It may take a few times using something where you decide it’s not for you and you need to find something else. For instance, I purchased the GeerTop 1 person tent that uses hiking poles to set up.

GeerTop 1 Person Tent.

Seemed ok in the front yard. A little tight for space but do-able. But after two shakedown hikes with it I was convinced that I needed more room. The little GeerTop was small and cramped for me personally. If I would have waited to take it on our week long section hike, I would have spent 6 cramped nights wishing I had more room inside my tent.

Now I have a 3F Lanshan 2 person tent that only weights about 2oz more. I will do a full review in a future blog. I’ve only got 3 nights in the tent and so far so good.

Trying out my sleeping system in the front yard.

3F Lanshan 2 person tent in the back yard.

So Jordan and I have done a few shakedowns and worked out our tents and sleeping systems.

I just posted in the Backpacker Dad YouTube channel about a hike we did back in October where we visited the Lost Maples State Natural Area. This is a unique habitat where a relic group of old growth Big Tooth Maples have resided for what’s estimated at 10,000 years. Most of the trees brothers and sisters are indigenous farther north in the mid western US.

Most Bigtooth Maple are found in the Mid Western US.  Courtesy of

My wife and I have been Hiking at LMSNA since the late ’80’s and we’ve taken our children there to hike during the fall colors as well. So Jordan has been coming here all his life.

The kids pose with the Maples in Full fall colors at Lost Maples in 2010

In editing my hikes you will notice that I do list the weather conditions as well as the music I listen to while hiking. The music in the actual video is composed by my music writing partner Dan Walker. The second song is by yours truly ME called “Sunrise on the Santa Anna” Enjoy, and please subscribe to the YouTube channel, and comment.

Get outside.


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