Archive | November, 2011

Topo Designs Shelter Shirts

There’s not much talk of “product” around these parts, but after seeing the Shelter Shirts from Topo Designs, it was too hard to resist. And to sweeten the deal on an already great long sleeve t-shirt (a personal favorite style of mine that usually comes in the ubiquitous “I just finished a race in the 1984!” thrift store variety), the Trail, A-Frame, and Geodome prints are all on Jungmaven shirts, which means 60% hemp and 40% organic cotton made here in the United States of America.

My one complaint? No Lean-To print. Hint hint.

MP3: Neil Young – I’m the Ocean

November 30, 2011 | Clothing/Gear | Continue Reading | Comments { 1 }

Sardines and Harmonicas

Thanks to Netflix, I’ve been spending a lot of time watching and/or listening to How It’s Made as of late. A few of them are Cold Splinters friendly (whatever that means), so there’s sardines, harmonicas, snowshoes, and Swiss Army knives after the jump. Because really, what else do you need on a winter camping trip? Nothing. The answer is nothing.

Continue Reading →

November 30, 2011 | Clothing/Gear, Food | Continue Reading | Comments { 1 }

Toyota Tercel 4WD Wagon

In the midst of buying the car that has since shuttled me around New England for the last couple of years, I went back and forth about what it was that I wanted and needed. I couldn’t pull the trigger on a truck: Not nice to my friends. I test drove and salivated over a Dodge Raider (the same as a 2 door Montero), but knew that if I ever wanted to make it to the Kancamagus, I’d have to put in a very pretty penny. The teenager in me imagined taking the top off of an old 4Runner, but those dreams died when I realized I’d have nowhere to put it once it was off. The car that really drove me bonkers was the Toyota Tercel SR5, a car that can still often be seen around town, only noticed if you’re actually looking for it. Yes, they’re sort of ugly, but there’s something about those boxy 4WD wagons (AMC Eagle, Subaru Outback) that just strike a chord. Call me weird…

I didn’t end buying the Tercel (but always still looking…) and went with a 1999 Subaru Impreza Sport instead. I don’t regret that choice for a second – that car has been one of the best purchases of my young life – but after passing a Tercel this weekend parked on a lonely country road, I couldn’t resist getting out and drooling. Probably not a car that most of you feel the same way about, which is very, very understandable, but we all have our Wish List, right?

Hope everyone had a great holiday weekend.

MP3: Erroll Garner – She’s Funny That Way

November 29, 2011 | Clothing/Gear | Continue Reading | Comments { 8 }


Head on over to Outside to learn more about this year’s 28th annual National Cowboy Poetry Gathering, the subject of this week’s “From The Lean-To.” And after you’re done, don’t forget to watch “Cowboy Poets” on Folkstreams.

MP3: Wylie Gustafson – Happy Yodel

November 28, 2011 | From The Lean To | Continue Reading | Comments { 2 }


After being laid off from his job in April 2011, Kolby Kirk (The Hike Guy) decided he would attempt to complete as much as he could of the 2,650-mile PCT. Starting at the Mexican border near Campo, California, he walked for 159 days and nearly 1,700 miles. In that time, Kolby wrote 850 pages in his journals. a few of which he has started to scan for a major dose of visual stimulation. The pages are filled with charts, drawings, receipts, beer labels (nice), stamps, crushed poison oak, and much much more. He’s even added descriptions under a few of the pages to give us better insight on the process:

“Hiking journals shouldn’t be clean unless your hike is clean. In this example, you can see dirt and smears of ink, a subtle clue that I was grimy and had just applied insect repellant to my hands. At the time, I was a little upset that the chemicals had smudged the ink, but I have learned to appreciate that my journal records more than just the words I print on it, for better or worse.”

Kolby is now working on a book that will help hikers and travelers start and retain their own journals while on the trail. And after looking at his Flickr for the last couple of hours, that is certainly a book I’d read.

Congratulations, Kolby.

November 28, 2011 | Art/Photography, Camping | Continue Reading | Comments { 7 }

Have A Good Thanksgiving

Whether you’re a turkey eater or not, have yourselves a relaxing-as-can-be long weekend. My contribution to the feast this year is Green Chile/Cheddar/Torpedo Cornbread. Nice and light.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Pink Houses,
Cold Splinters

November 23, 2011 | Have A Good Weekend | Continue Reading | Comments { 2 }


In 1948, Earl Shaffer hiked from Mt. Oglethorpe in Georgia (the Appalachian Trail’s southern terminus at that time) to Mount Katahdin in Maine, making him the first person to hike the trail’s entire length. He did it with no expert advice, no previous footsteps to follow, or fancy mile-by-mile guidebooks to help him. At the time, experts believed that a hike of the entire Trail was impossible. So, in 1965, he thru-hiked it again as a southbounder, starting in Maine and ending at the new and present southern terminus, Georgia’s Springer Mountain. Good ol’ Earl’s “Advice for Long Distance Hikers on the Appalachian Trail, circa 1950” includes the following:

  • Framepack–Mountain troop or similar, with large pocket removed.
  • Poncho–serves as raincoat, parka, groundcloth, shelter cloth, etc.
  • Rainhat–indispensable because of variable weather.
  • Sheath knife–small size. Pocket knife as auxiliary.
  • Small axe–necessary for maintaining campfire in rainy weather.
  • Compass, waterproof matchsafe, snakebite kit-just in case.
  • Cook kit–Mountain troop or similar (two nested kettles and frypan)
  • Sleeping bag–blanket type (April-October), down or kapok in winter.
  • Extra set of clothing–for added warmth, rather than heavy underwear, and as a dry change after a rainy day. (Perhaps like the Penfield kit above?)
  • Socks–(heavy) reinforced wool or spun nylon.
  • Canteen–flat, one quart, slung to side of pack.
  • First aid kit–include foot powder such as quinsana, insect repellent.
  • Headnet, flashlight, plastic food bags.
November 22, 2011 | Camping | Continue Reading | Comments { 2 }

Gear Junkie 2011 Awards

If you aren’t already hip to Stephen Regenold’s Gear Junkie, get on top of it asap. A good place to start would be his recently published Top 10 Gear Of 2011 Awards, which includes tents, trekking poles, a “breathable Space Blanket bivy,” and more.

MP3: Frank Sinatra – Sleep Warm

November 22, 2011 | Clothing/Gear | Continue Reading | Comments { 0 }

The Campster

For the second installment of the Cold Splinters column on NYTimes’ The Moment, we head on over to the 10 Mile River Lean-To near the CT/NY border. You can read the full article here.

November 21, 2011 | The Campster | Continue Reading | Comments { 1 }

Ted Harrison

Thank you to BMC for turning us onto Canadian artist, Ted Harrison. The paintings above are from his 1989 book, A Northern Alphabet.

November 21, 2011 | Art/Photography | Continue Reading | Comments { 4 }