Commercial freeze-dried meals are tasty and easy...  but not always packaged the best for UL hikers
Commercial freeze-dried meals are tasty and easy... but not always packaged the best for UL hikers

Freeze-Dried Meal Hack

by Dudley

I like freeze-dried meals a lot. They are simple, easy, and tasty.  I do have 4 issues with them, and I will "fix" 3 of them with this hack.

Issues with Freeze-Dried Meals

Portion Size - Most meal packs claim to be a complete dinner for 2,  I find they generally don't have enough food for two, yet too much for one.  

Weight - The packaging is generally designed to be tough and durable in order to protect the contents and to double as a bowl to prepare and eat your food. The packaging is bulky, heavy, and totally redundant if you already have a pot.

Clean Up - The packages are difficult to clean or burn.

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The GDT was wild, hard and dangerous yet wonderful

My Great Divide Trail Experience

by Dudley

Introduction

The Great Divide Trail (GDT) is widely known as North America’s toughest and wildest thru-hike #wildestthruhike. I remained cynical of these claims as I spent months planning and prepping for the adventure.

How bad can it be?

I have 40 years of backpacking experience, thousands of kilometers on my hikers. Covering every Canadian Province and Territory, and most of the American states. How WILD could the GDT be?

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the pee bottle will save you from bugs and frost
the pee bottle will save you from bugs and frost

Pee In Your Tent

by Dudley

To pee or not to pee, is the question.

Deep in the woods and you suddenly wake up to a subtle calling from your bladder, it's time to pee. You resist and try to go back to sleep. You don't want to leave the warmth and comfort of your cozy sleeping bag. It has taken some time to settle in and toast up the bag, and now you must leave it to wander into the cold, dark, bug-infested night to pee. Every bone in your body resists, but your bladder is starting to create an uncomfortable pressure. Eventually, you have no choice... nature calls and you must answer.

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The Great Divide Trail is beautiful yet challenging *
The Great Divide Trail is beautiful yet challenging *

Planning for the Great Divide Trail

by Dudley

Planning for the Great Divide Trail is so very Canadian. 

Compared to the big 3 scenic hiking trails south of the border (Appalachian Trail, Pacific Crest Trail, and the Continental Divide Trail)  the Great Divide Trail is a reflection of Canada's highly regulated norms.  You will need daily reservations for about 1/3 of your camping sites as the trail snakes 1100 km through many national and provincial parks.  You will also need a Parks Canada Discovery Pass just to enter the 5 National Parks en route. 

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Cold soaking is easy, light and simple
Cold soaking is easy, light and simple

Cold Soaking 101

by Dudley

Going Stoveless is liberating. No fuel, easy to clean, lighter, simple, and easy. I've been going stoveless for the past 5 years and loving it. In this video, I will share what I have learned about going stoveless and more important, my primer on Cold Soaking.

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It was a toxic combination of beans, exhaustion and a closed tent
It was a toxic combination of beans, exhaustion and a closed tent

Toxic Tent

by Dudley

It was a new challenge for 3 keen campers … climb a winter high peak in the beautiful Adirondack Mountains.  However, with our blinded enthusiasm, we never anticipated what was about to happen. We arrogantly assumed we had planned for everything.

In 1993 Dave, Denis, and I were all strong and experienced campers, had done much and seen even more. So to bag a winter peak was just another thing to do for these self-respecting campologists. 

Although collectively we had ascended dozens of the high peaks in the spring, summer, and fall, a winter ascent was a right of passage for mountaineer wannabes. 

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My Pukaskwa National Park Coastal Trail was a "Fail"
My Pukaskwa National Park Coastal Trail was a "Fail"

Pukaskwa Fail

by Dudley

2020 is a strange year, heck it’s a nasty year, so why shouldn’t my Pukaskwa National Park Coastal Trail attempt be any different. 

2020 was supposed to be my Appalachian Trail (AT) year,  but COVID 19 shut that down. Still, I have made the best of it. I spent lots of quality time with family, reconnected with local wilderness, cycled and hiked, yet nothing seemed to be able to fill the gaping void left when the Appalachian Trail was denied.

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Cold weather camping is wonderful if you are prepared, otherwise it can be down-right nasty !

10 Tips to Sleep Warmer

by Dudley

Introduction

After a long and rewarding day on the trail, it’s so important to get some quality sleep so you can recharge fully for tomorrow’s adventures. Ideally, you want to be warm and smiling as you effortlessly visit cozy snooze-ville. You definitely don’t want to struggle with a sleepless nasty shiver-fest. Keep in mind that everyone's metabolism and body structure is different …and please consider these tips as suggestions, NOT rules!    

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I don't hang my food

I Don’t Hang My Food Anymore

by Dudley

When wilderness camping,  you will be sharing the backwoods with countless hungry, curious critters. We are guests in their home, and they find the delicious scents you bring with you at a minimum interesting… and possibly even hard to resist as a meal of opportunity. 

I’m well aware I share the forest with countless creatures and have been dutifully hanging my food bag out of reach of bears and other mid-size animals for years.  When I first started backwoods camping in the early ’80s this was frankly the only option. 

Despite all my good efforts, and even when my hangs were well beyond the prescribed parameters… I have lost 2 bags to Mensa smart athletic bears and countless sacks have been ripped open by bloodhound-ish red squirrels. 

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Campologist Talk

A blog for campers by campers. Dudley is the primary contributor, with regular posts from Tracy and friends.

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