Uncategorized

Kayak Fishing and Hiking in Illinois and Missouri

This past May I went back to my old stomping grounds to visit some family, kayak fishing with my dad, and do a little day hiking. The area I visited is on the Illinois/Missouri border and has many great fresh water fishing ponds and rivers.

Many of the areas my dad and I fish are private ponds that are on his friends land or at a state park in Missouri called Wakonda. A lot of what I was fishing for when I went back up north was bass, blue gill, crappie (sacalait), and catfish. When we went to his friends pond in the Illinois countryside we caught a lot of crappie and ended up doing a fish fry with them later that week.

fish 1

 

 

fish 2

A couple of the crappie my dad and I caught at a private pond and at Wakonda State Park.

 

jackson fishing

Spring time in Illinois and Missouri is full of greenery and flowers. Couple this with amazing 70 degree weather and you get the perfect conditions for day hiking the hilly countryside.

black squirrel

 

A black eastern grey squirrel we saw on a day hike in Missouri.

mississippi overlook missouri

One of the overlooks of the Mississippi from the Missouri side of the Mississippi

Gear Used During the Trip

Columbia Tamiami L/S Fishing Shirt- Offers great UV protection and is quick drying for when you get a little wet.

Free Fly Breeze Short- An amazingly comfortable short for travel, athletic wear, and fishing. Dries quick, lightweight, and comfy. A great “do-whatever” short.

Exoficcio Give-n-Go Boxer Brief- The best underwear I have ever owned, Never bunches up and dries fast if you take a dive into the water.

Costa Fathom 580p Sun Glasses- Lightweight, polarized sunglasses that help you see into murky water while in the kayak.

Keen Uneek Sandal/Shoes- Breathable, lightweight, and comfortable. These will give you great footing on the boat, dock, and bank while fishing, and if you do get them dirty they are easily hosed of for your next adventure.

Yeti Tundra 35- If you are looking for an ice chest that is great for every occasion, look no further. This ice chest is great from the kayak to the car for the road trip. Put it through anything and youll still have ice at the end of the day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Climbing at a Rock Near You! (approximately 7.5hrs)

Sand Rock (Cherokee Rock Village) and Horse Pens 40 are both just north of Birmingham, AL. It’s early April and it’s a gorgeous weekend to #geauxoutthere!

Sand Rock is a maze of cliff sides, pinnacles, chimneys and boulders over looking the Coosa River.  There’s plenty of Sport and Trad to be had here, along with some bouldering. The park has developed a good bit over the years, and there’s a fairly new restroom and shower facility along with a large pavilion area. It’s also easy access; you can park and camp right on top the cliff, and there’s sure to be a route right at your camp site, so watch where you put your tent. And because you’re at the top of the cliff there’s a number of places where you can set up a top rope too. We started our weekend here to get some sport climbing in before we headed back down Hwy 59 for a bit to boulder at Horse Pens 40 the following day.
IMG_7133

Carolina led Pigs In Zen 5.10d! Really fun; I highly recommend this one!

IMG_7134

Here’s Lindsey strutting her stuff on My Dog Has Fleas, 5.8+ in her Prana Meme pants!

IMG_6990

And then there’s me finishing up First Black In Office 5.9.

When the sun starts to go down and it gets a little cooler and you still have plenty of time to be active, I throw on my Smartwool 250 top to stay comfy and keep my body temperature just right.  And when I’m chillin’ at the top cleaning up gear for a rap down or just hanging out mid route to take a breather, the Black Diamond Primrose harness provides just enough comfort. If you’re about to head out on a climbing trip and realize you need a few more slings, an extra quick draw or a random footage of cordelette for a prusik or anchor, we got ya covered; come swing by the store and tell us all about your trip!

Day two at HorsePens40 (home of one of the Triple Crown Bouldering Competition.) With over 400 routes on sandstone the variety is incredible, from cracks to slabs, jugs to crimps, and plenty of slopers in between.  Also, extremely easy access, not only do you get to camp amongst this city of boulders, you’re also only a few yards from Lookout Point, the best place to watch a sunset or do some early morning stretches.

After our early morning stretch, Matt came to grace us with his presence, on his drive out to Greenville, SC where he is moving after 5 years at The Backpacker! If you’ve ever been to The Backpacker in the past five years, you’re sure to have met Matt. He’s that guy; that guy that showed you how to pack a pack, that guy that helped you fix your broken stove, or schooled you on what you need and don’t need for that trip to Philmont or the slopes in Colorado. He’s that guy that biked from Saint Francisville to work and back on a regular basis. He surely spent more time educating you than you may have expected but it was probably worth it. I just wanted to give a shout out to his big butt, and if his can fit in the Prana Zion short, so can yours!

IMG_7003

Matt on Contraband V1

IMG_6994

Another view of Contraband. I’m rocking the Prana Halle pant here; they are able to stretch and twist with me and are still durable enough to take a beating from the rock; hands down my favorite pant. And the TASC Core Racer Tank is so soft and comfy you won’t want to take it off; made of about 50% bamboo, naturally wicking and anti-odor.

As far as shoes go, La Sportiva’s Finale is my new go to climbing shoe, just the right balance of performance and comfort. The Vibram XS Edge rubber outsole and a tensioned heel rand allow for higher-end technical performance than say the Tarantula or Mythos. While at the same time, they aren’t super aggressive; I can keep them on for more than just a single climb.

IMG_7135

The Stranger V2

Goal Zero makes tons of great products to keep you charged up while out on your adventures. I like the Torch 250: solar recharge panel built in to give your phone or camera an extra boost, and it doubles as a flashlight and flood light if you get caught on the trail after the sun goes down.

IMG_6982

Need approach shoes or a can crusher? Matt’s got ideas.

IMG_7002

Lindsey flashing Merlin V1

IMG_6999

Cool rock formations make for some fun scrambling.

IMG_7138

Meanwhile, Carolina crushes this V3+, Panty Shields. Look out y’all!

Hi my name is Shelly and I’m addicted to Prana, Smartwool and Climbing. I’ve been working at The Backpacker for over 2 years. I love hearing about our customers adventures and sharing photos; come by and see us before you #geauxoutthere!

Hot Desert Hiking Checklist

Hot Desert Gear Checklist

From New Mexico to the Sahara, this gear checklist will have to prepped for any desert adventure.

by: The Backpacker Editors

Clothing
Outerwear

  • waterproof/breathable jacket
  • fleece jacket or wool sweater
  • synthetic or softshell hiking pants
  • synthetic shorts

Base Layer

  • midweight long john top
  • midweight long john bottoms
  • synthetic briefs
  • synthetic sports bra
  • synthetic T-shirt
  • cotton T-shirt

Accessories

  • wool or fleece hat
  • synthetic liner gloves

Footwear

  • camp footwear (optional)
  • wool or synthetic socks (3)
  • liner socks (2)

Extras

  • sun hat
  • personal locator beacon (optional)
  • bandanna

Gear

  • Internal or external frame backpack
  • screen tent or tarp
  • down sleeping bag (-30° to 20°F)
  • inflatable sleeping pad
  • closed-cell foam sleeping pad
  • trekking poles
  • canister stove and fuel canisters
  • lighter and waterproof matches
  • cookset
  • eating utensils, bowl, and insulated mug
  • headlamp w/extra batteries and bulb
  • 32 oz. water bottles (2)
  • water treatment (filter, tablets, or drops)
  • pocket knife or multitool
  • compass or GPS (and map)
  • sunglasses
  • first-aid kit with personal medications
  • stuff sacks
  • assorted zipper-lock bags
  • insect repellent (optional)
  • sunscreen (SPF 15+)
  • lip balm (SPF 15+)
  • toilet paper and trowel

#BACKPACKERPHOTO CONTEST IS BACK!

JacksonTeamBackpacker

WE WANT TO SEE YOUR PICTURES FROM WHEN YOU #GEAUXOUTTHERE!!

Have you ever purchased gear from The Backpacker?  Well now you can use your gear to win a $500 GIFT CARD!! This February submit a picture of yourself using gear from The Backpacker on Instagram and your photo will be entered to win a $500 Gift Card!!  Multiple photos can be entered.  ANYTHING BACKPACKER GEAR COUNTS**!  Show us your adventures!  Skiing, Snowboarding, Hammock days, hiking, exercising, paddling, kayak fishing, or ANYTHING RELATED to BACKPACKER OUTDOORS gear counts!

To enter the Instagram #BackpackerPhotoContest, post your picture using Backpacker Gear on Instagram* and include these 3 tags –

@backpackeroutdoors #geauxoutthere #backpackerphotocontest

The winner may be chosen based upon combination of factors including but not limited to originality, likes, shares, and whether or not you applied the tags as stated above**.

TIPS for increasing your chances to WIN:

  • Your Instagram account needs to be visible our judges.  Private accounts may be difficult to see.
  • Be original & make it about the outdoors
  • Make sure you get “@backpackeroutdoors #backpackerphotocontest #geauxoutthere”  all into your post.  This could make or break the winning decision.
  • Email customerservice@backpackeroutdoors.com a link to your post and a copy of your picture to ensure that our judges can see your post.

The winner will be announced on Friday March 3RD!

*IMAGES POSTED TO PRIVATE ACCOUNTS MAY NOT BE SEEN BY OUR JUDGES, SO BE SURE TO CHANGE YOUR PRIVACY SETTINGS ON INSTAGRAM IF YOU WANT TO WIN!

**The Backpacker withholds the right to make final determination of winner.

*** Photos of an offensive nature or depicting dangerous acts will not be considered.  All photos must be submitted by midnight on Tuesday February 28, 2017.  

#BackpackerPhotoContest – October 2016

8-16 Instagram Posts v2-5

WE WANT TO SEE YOUR OUTDOORS PICTURES!!

Have you ever purchased gear from The Backpacker?  Well now you can use your gear to win a $500 GIFT CARD!! This October submit a picture of yourself using gear from The Backpacker on Instagram and your photo will be entered to win a $500 Gift Card!!  Multiple photos can be entered.  ANYTHING BACKPACKER GEAR COUNTS**!  Show us your adventures!  Hammock days, hiking, exercising, skiing, paddling, kayak fishing, or ANYTHING RELATED to BACKPACKER OUTDOORS counts!

To enter the Instagram #BackpackerPhotoContest, post your picture using Backpacker Gear on Instagram* and include these 3 tags –

@backpackeroutdoors #geauxoutthere #backpackerphotocontest

The winner may be chosen based upon combination of factors including but not limited to originality, likes, shares, and whether or not you applied the tags as stated above**.

TIPS for increasing your chances to WIN:

  • Your Instagram account needs to be visible our judges.  Private accounts may be difficult to see.
  • Be original & make it about the outdoors
  • Make sure you get “@backpackeroutdoors #backpackerphotocontest #geauxoutthere”  all into your post.  This could make or break the winning decision.
  • Email customerservice@backpackeroutdoors.com a link to your post and a copy of your picture to ensure that our judges can see your post.

The winner will be announced on Wednesday November 2nd!

*Because images may not be easily found when posted to a private account, the best way for us to see your photo is to email it to customerservice@backpackeroutdoors.com.

**The Backpacker withholds the right to make final determination of winner.

*** Photos of an offensive nature or depicting dangerous acts will not be considered.  Winner will be chosen after midnight on Monday October 31.  

Thresher_P_Lebowitz_6-web

The Backpacker #WinRideTheBull Photo Contest!

The world’s largest kayak fishing tournament, Ride the Bull 7, is on August 27th, 2016!  

To celebrate, The Backpacker is sponsoring an Instagram photo contest with a grand prize of a Wilderness Systems Thresher fishing kayak!

 

WE WANT TO SEE YOUR RIDE THE BULL PICTURES!!

Anything Ride the Bull counts!   Show us how you pre-fish to prepare for Ride the Bull.  Do you have pictures from a previous Ride the Bull?  How do you rig your gear or your boat for Ride the Bull?  Who are you taking to Ride the Bull?  How do you plan to use your winnings?  Multiple photos can be entered.  ANYTHING “RIDE THE BULL” COUNTS**!

To enter the #WinRideTheBull photo contest, post your Ride the Bull picture on Instagram* and include these 3 tags @backpackeroutdoors,  #backpackerphotocontest and #winridethebull.  Winner will be chosen based upon combination of factors including originality, likes, shares, and whether or not you applied the tags as stated above**.

TIPS for increasing your chances to WIN:

  • Your Instagram account needs to be visible our judges.  Private accounts may be difficult to see.
  • Be original!
  • Make sure you get “@backpackeroutdoors #winridethebull #backpackerphotocontest” all into your post.  This could make or break the winning decision.
  • Email customerservice@backpackeroutdoors.com a link to your post and a copy of your picture to ensure that our judges can see your post.

Winner will be announced at awards ceremony for Ride the Bull 7 in Grand Isle, Louisiana on August 27.  Need not be present to win.

*Because images may not be easily found when posted to a private account, the best way for us to see your photo is to email it to customerservice@backpackeroutdoors.com.

**The Backpacker withholds the right to make final determination of winner.

*** Photos of an offensive nature or depicting dangerous acts will not be considered.  Winner will be chosen at Ride the Bull closing ceremonies.  

So You are Going to Take Your Kids Fishing…

I’m planning on taking my 12 year old daughter to Paddlepalooza this year.  Kayak fishing is a real passion for me. I fish often and I fish in all conditions. I’ve fished in rain, wind, I’ve even seen funnel clouds (and that wasn’t the worst day ever). But when I take my kids I have to remember to take it down a notch.  As I plan for that day I wanted to share just a few tips about kayaking with kids – things you might not think about and things you probably would.

If you are going to take a kid you need to have a kayak their size (or they need to fit in yours like the Hobie Pro Angler). My 10 year old paddles a small kayak. A good option is the Hobie Sport.  My daughter will be in a full size boat because she is already as tall as my wife and is an avid paddler.  She will be in the Wilderness Ride 115 my review of that boat is here

sport-studio-blue-3-4-sm

From there you can let them use your gear until they grow into it but be wise and place a length of rope (about 6 feet) for towing.  I pre-tie a pair of carabiners on either end.  When they get tired I just clip our boats together and give them an assist.  I know that if they have an unpleasant experience they won’t do it again.

Good clothing is a must.  For years my dad took me hunting in clothes that didn’t fit, in clothes that were lower quality, I wore tennis shoes into the woods – I froze, I got blisters, and I quit hunting for many years.  Then one day I went back into the woods wearing the right clothing and suddenly I loved it.  Sure it’s and investment but if you want your kids to share a passion for something a small investment will make a lifetime of difference.

One “must have” is a good rain jacket you don’t know when you will need one but don’t put your child in a vinyl jacket.  If they get wet, they get cold, or they get sunburned a rain jacket may be the solution.  I keep one on hand for everyone I fish with including my kids.

Snacks and lots of them – if you want to keep fishing – keep them busy.  Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate keep plenty of water and drinks around.  A good quality water bottle is a must.

Lastly have a fun tradition attached with fishing trips.  For us its as simple as a Hostess Apple Pie on the dashboard (my daughter goes for chocolate) after a day of fishing coming back to a hot pie off the dash builds lifetime memories.

k2-_7d1bb19b-216d-4e08-950b-16e12608a020.v1This is a pretty short list and certainly not a list of the essentials you will need to have:

Personal Flotation Device – Sunscreen – Hat – Sunglasses – footwear – first aid kit – and all the necessary gear for your trip.  Keep it simple – attend a demo day or a kayaking seminar this year – follow us on Facebook for upcoming events!

 

 

Book your trip to the top of One World Trade City at least a couple days in advance.  They give you a 15 minute window to get inside and you get bumped to the end of the day if you miss your window.  The view at sunset was spectacular and certain a must see.

New York City Quick Trip Tips

 

This is the first glimpse you get of NYC when you're flying in to LaGuardia and the image that has stuck with me the most.  My eyes could barely take in what I was seeing.
This is the first glimpse you get of NYC when you’re flying in to LaGuardia and the image that has stuck with me the most. My eyes could barely take in what I was seeing.
And then I realize exactly how big Manhattan really is!  Don't worry, you can easily explore the most famous sights on foot, subway, and boat in 2 or 3 days.
And then I realize exactly how big Manhattan really is! Don’t worry, you can easily explore the most famous sights on foot, subway, and boat in 2 or 3 days.
Book your trip to the top of One World Trade City at least a couple days in advance.  They give you a 15 minute window to get inside and you get bumped to the end of the day if you miss your window.  The view at sunset was spectacular and certain a must see.
Book your trip to the top of One World Trade City at least a couple days in advance. They give you a 15 minute window to get inside and you get bumped to the end of the day if you miss your window. The view at sunset was spectacular and certain a must see.

 

The WTC Memorial is very well done and extremely moving. Give yourself some extra time here.  You're just a couple blocks away from Wall Street, Little Italy, and Chinatown.
The WTC Memorial is very well done and extremely moving. Give yourself some extra time here. You’re just a couple blocks away from Wall Street, Little Italy, and Chinatown.
Central Park is 20 minute walk from Times Square (but a very short subway ride).  I share this, because 20 minutes itsn't very far but once you get to Central Park, there is infinitely more walking.  There are also limited eating options so be prepared.
Central Park is 20 minute walk from Times Square (but a very short subway ride). I share this, because 20 minutes itsn’t very far but once you get to Central Park, there is infinitely more walking. There are also limited eating options so be prepared.
The High Line is a terrific idea of building a public park on an abandoned rail line in the middle of Chelsea.  It offers a unique perspective of the city and an inspiration for how to repurpose the seemingly useless.
The High Line is a terrific idea of building a public park on an abandoned rail line in the middle of Chelsea. It offers a unique perspective of the city and an inspiration for how to repurpose the seemingly useless.
You have to make your Statue of Liberty tours months in advance.  However, the City Tours by boat will bring you really close and give you the opportunity for great pictures of the statue and Ellis Island among other things.
You have to make your Statue of Liberty tours months in advance. However, the City Tours by boat will bring you really close and give you the opportunity for great pictures of the statue and Ellis Island among other things.
Do yourself a favor and take a tour by boat.  Not only will you get some spectacular views, you get dropped off at a new locale every hour and might luck up and get a great guide full of useful info and history.
Do yourself a favor and take a tour by boat. Not only will you get some spectacular views, you get dropped off at a new locale every hour and might luck up and get a great guide full of useful info and history.
The Brooklyn Botanical garden is free on Tuesdays and a 20 minute subway ride from Mid town.
The Brooklyn Botanical garden is free on Tuesdays and a 20 minute subway ride from Mid town.
Be sure to visit the lovely pier parks on the Hudson River.  They are free and give you a great perspective of the city and New Jersey
Be sure to visit the lovely pier parks on the Hudson River. They are free and give you a great perspective of the city and New Jersey
Though a tour bus seems intriguing, we were warned by several sources that all you're paying for is to sit in traffic.  Use the subway and see the sights on foot.
Though a tour bus seems intriguing, we were warned by several sources that all you’re paying for is to sit in traffic. Use the subway and see the sights on foot.
Times Square is as overwhelming as advertised.   Prepare to fight off the souvenir hawkers and beware that photos with cartoon characters come at a price (though that price is up to you).
Times Square is as overwhelming as advertised. Prepare to fight off the souvenir hawkers and beware that photos with cartoon characters come at a price (though that price is up to you).
Tyler
The subway is extremely easy to use and can get you anywhere in lower Manhattan in under 20 minutes. We didnt have any problems but Ill pass on these words of advice: “If a subway car is empty, there’s a reason. Do as the other’s a find a different car.”