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A Backpacking Sleeping Bag Buyer’s Guide – How to Rest Well

Imagine sleeping under the stars. The sight astonishes you and takes your breath away. You trace the lines of Orion’s belt and the handle of the Big Dipper with your eyes. It is quite spectacular. It is best completed when you have a proper sleeping bag. As such, a backpacking sleeping bag buyer’s guide is crucial to getting a good night’s rest. After reading this, you will be ready to rest easy under those stars.

The Top 5 Tips for Considering a Sleeping Bag

In a previous article, I wrote about many more tips for backpacking in addition to the ones below. With further a do, these are the top 5 tips when looking at sleeping bags.

  1. Do you prefer a low weight bag or some extra room? On my bed at home, it is quite luxurious. I have a comforter, extra pillows, and plenty of layers. Comfort is quite important to me. When backpacking, you have to consider whether you are okay with a heavier sleeping bag and more comfort or less comfort and less weight to carry.
  2. Try it before you buy it. When you sleep, you spend 8 hours, plus or minus, laying on your back. If you get improper sleep, the other 16 hours will be sure to feel the impact. There is no reason why you should not take the 5-10 extra minutes to get a feel of where you will be spending your multiple 8 hours of beauty rest. Be sure to roll around in it to get a feel for the bag’s comfort and spacing. You will get an idea of snugness.
  3. Get a sleeping bag for the temperature you’ll be in. Sleeping in the jungle is going to be quite different from resting in a desert. Their nighttime temperatures are quite unlike each other. If you are cold, you can always put on extra layers of clothing and, if you are too hot, you can always unzip the bag.
  4. You get more wiggle room in a big bag, but less warmth. Choosing a sleeping bag is all about maximizing your comfort. You will be spending a third of your day in one, so it is important that you choose one you will enjoy. If you go big, you will have more flexibility and comfort, but less warmth and it will take up more space in your backpack.
  5. A longer size provides more room and flexibility. If you are Winter backpacking or camping, this is a must. When you choose the longer size, you can store some gear in your sleeping bag with you, providing easy access to anything you might need. If it is cold out, you can always dive deeper into the bag to keep you warm.

Temperature Ratings, Staying Comfortable

When you fall asleep, your body produces a lot less heat than it would during the day. It cools down at night, so it is important to have proper covers to maintain the right temperature for your body. When looking at sleeping bags, you can expect to find 3 kinds of temperature rating.

Summer season sleeping bags are designed for 32 °F (0 °C) and higher. These are best for those backpacking during the Summer. When it is warm outside, you will want this.

3-Season sleeping bags are for when the weather is between 10 °F and 32 °F (-12 °C to 0 °C) . These kind are best for Fall, Spring, Summer, and early or late Winter.

Winter sleeping bags are designed to keep you warm. The minimum temperature each one can handle varies, but they are designed for anything below 10 °F (-12 °C).

Please be aware that these are rough guidelines. Sleeping bags are manufactured on a broad scale, so they may not be designed specifically for the environment you will backpack to. Take what the manufacturer says into account. They will know best about their bag. 

Geese, Ducks, Synthetics, and a Combination

When it comes to insulation types in sleeping bags, there are three main types—down, synthetic, and a combination. Ideal insulation will keep you at a comfortable temperature when sleeping.

Duck, Duck, Goose!

When it comes to down, you have two choices available to you, duck and goose. In general though:

Down is lightweight, compressible, and meant for cold, dry conditions.

If you are going to someplace chilly and dry, like the tundra, then this will be sure to do the trick. Whenever you need to save space and weight, this will be your go to for those conditions. Compared to synthetics, it is more expensive, but it will last longer. If you are going to be backpacking frequently, then this is a better option than a synthetic bag.

One of the key concepts to understand is fill power. It refers to a bag’s ability to hold heat and, consequently, trap heat. Because not all down is created equally by manufacturers, they had to come up with a universal measuring system to assess each other. It refers to how much 1 ounce of some down can fill a cubic area.

If, for example, you are comparing a 600 fill power down sleeping bag rated +10 °F (-12 °C) with a 400 fill power down rated +10 °F (-12 °C), the former will be lighter and more expensive.

Another important aspect to know about down is that it turns soggy when soaked. You do not want this dunked into a river or else it will be a downer for the rest of your trip. It is water resistant not waterproof, so it is quite different. The latter will repel water entirely, while the former will help, but not to the extent that waterproof will.

Comparing ducks and geese

Goose down is the best of the best when it comes to down. It is lightweight and, of course, expensive. If you are going to be doing a lot of backpacking and want a high quality sleeping bag, then this is your choice. Most down you will find, though, will be duck down, less expensive and plentiful.

What is down made of?

Down is made from birds as a byproduct of the meat industry, mainly geese and ducks. Because more people eat the latter, duck down is more abundant. Do not worry fret though. From the farm to your sleeping bag, it is an ethical process. Every step of the way is monitored to maximize the humane treatment of the animals.

Synthetics

Synthetic is non-allergenic, drys quick, and insulates when wet.

Synthetic sleeping bags are less expensive than down and dry faster. If you are backpacking on a budget, this is the way you will want to go. Or if you are traveling to a damp climate or backpacking casually, this your best option. Even when soaked, a synthetic bag will still insulate.

Unfortunately, synthetic bags do have some downsides. They are a bit less warm for their weight, a bit bulky, and lose fill power each time they are stuffed in a sack.

Because these bags are synthetic, they can mimic aspects of down bags. They were created to provide the feel of anything.

The Middle Road Between Both

Synthetic and down are both imperfect. You cannot find a flawless sleeping bag in either one of them. A combination minimizes the downsides and provides the benefits of both. In a mixed sleeping bag, the two types of insulation can either be even throughout or separated.

Features to Make Your Trip Even Better

Sleeping bags come with all sorts of features, ranging from the trapezoidal foot box to the draft tube. There is a lot to know about what a sleeping bag has to offer besides just the comfort.

Zippers on many bags can be unzipped and paired with another bag, creating a two person sleeping bag. If you plan to backpack with a partner, this is something worthwhile to consider. Please note that it is not very efficient for keeping in heat.

For two sleeping bags to come together, the zipper sizes need to be the same. In other words, this means the zippers have to be the same length and a right-hand zipper has to match with a left-hand zipper.

Hoods prevent heat from escaping. Your head is a major point of heat escape. In fact, your brain burns 40% of your body’s energy, so it is important to have a hood to prevent that heat loss. Some are designed so you can stuff in a pillow or clothing to keep your head comfortable. If you go ultralight, then this won’t be there to save weight.

Draft tubes prevent heat escape along the main zipper. Because zippers are thin and lack insulation, heat escapes there, so a draft tube steps in to minimize that problem. It ensures you remain nice and toasty at night.

Stash pockets are for keeping small items. The size and location on the bag varies from model to model.

Differentiated cords are perfect on those dark nights. You will be able to tell the difference between your hood cord and your neck opening.

Draft collar (or neck baffles) and face mufflers are found on Winter sleeping bags. These are essential for the kind of conditions you will confront when Winter backpacking. They wrap around your head and neck, so that body heat is kept in and cold air is left out.

Trapezoidal foot boxes make sleeping more natural. If you are looking for more comfort when you sleep, you will want this feature. It reduces the tension on your feet and minimizes stretching on the bag, increasing the longevity of the bag.

Pad loops secure your sleeping pad to your sleeping bag, preventing you from the loss of your pad underneath you. When you have these, it makes sleep a lot more enjoyable.

Pad sleeves are great if you are trying to minimize space in your bag. With one of these, you eliminate the insulation on the bottom of your bag and replace it with an attachment for a sleeping pad. If you are an ultralight backpacker, then this is something to consider.

Sleeping Bag Shaping

When it comes to the shaping of sleeping bags, you will find there are three principal shapes you can expect to find: rectangular, semi-rectangular, and mummy shaped. Most backpacking sleeping bags are mummy shaped.

For less weight and more warmth, go tight. In other words, select a sleeping bag that is narrow at the shoulders and hips. It may be harder to feel comfortable, but you will be warmer. It will also be easier to store in your backpack.

If you want more comfort, get big. As I said previously, I like to be comfortable when I sleep, so I go big with my sleeping bags. When you choose this option, your bag will be bulkier and heavier, but it will mean for a better night’s rest.

On Female Sleeping Bags

Most women sleeping bags are wider at the hips and narrower at the shoulders. They tend to be shorter and have more insulation in the upper body and foot box. They are designed for someone who is under 5′ 6″ tall (1.6 m). If you are on the shorter side (less than 5 feet (1.5 m)), then it will be worthwhile to consider child sized bags. There is a lot of variety in children’s bags.

Extras You Will Want to Consider

A sleeping bag can only provide so much. When backpacking, it can be rough on the body, so be sure to look at some of these extras to make your trip more comfortable.

  • A sleeping bag liner will prolong the life of your bag. When I got my first bag, I ran it into the ground. That bag is not the same as the one it started out as. If you are considering an expensive sleeping bag, then you may want one to keep the inside clean and improve its longevity. A liner can keep you a bit warmer or used by itself in hot climates. They come in silk or cotton.
  • Roll out sleeping pad, if there is one item you should get with your bag, it is this. A sleeping pad will make your night’s rest a lot more comfortable. There is a big difference between sleeping on the ground and having some extra cushion. One of these means the difference between back pain and sleeping like a baby.
  • Inflatable sleeping pad, it is much like what was discussed previously, but one of these puppies inflates. As a result, the experience for your back is different. It is like sleeping on a thin air mattress. An inflatable sleeping pad does take up more room than a roll out, but it is more comfortable. You trade space for comfort.
  • Sleeping pillow, usually, I just stuff my clothes into a bag to make a pillow, but a pillow makes life a lot more comfortable. Personally, I would encourage you to get an inflatable pillow if you are backpacking. With one, you can save space and your head.
  • Compression sack, minimizing space and maximizing utility is key to backpacking. A compression sack will reduce the overall volume of your sleeping bag and add an extra water resistant layer, making life a lot easier.

Final Thoughts

There is a lot to consider when looking at sleeping bags. You have to understand everything from temperature ratings to the down and synthetic debate. You should be all ready now to go out and make your purchase, so you can get back to what really matters—enjoying the outdoors.

If you have any questions, think I missed anything, or just a thought, do not hesitate to comment below and please do share this article. Thank you so much and I hope you make it a great day!

Hikingor Backpacking with a Dog: a Beginner’s Guide for Your Best Friend

If you are like me, then you enjoy going outside, but you will love it even more if you go out there with your dog. For this reason, you need to have a guide for backpacking or hiking with a dog. In this article, you will get an overview of safety tips, supplies, and preparation. Read on to find out everything you need to know.

Bracing Your Pooch

Taking your dog to the wild is a big step. There are new rules and a whole set of novel challenges to face. Unlike walking in the city, your dog will have to be in shape and ready for the rigors of trail life.

  • Is your dog able? To go on a trail, you have to be in shape. When I first started out hiking, I was not ready to do thirteen miles a day, but now I can because I put in the time. Consider your dog’s physical limitations and whether he or she is able to go through the rigors you plan to go through.
  • Is the immune system ready? When I first traveled to Kenya, I threw up two days after I arrived. It is no different for your dog. Unless your dog has done this before, then you will need to be prepared for the pathogens, bugs, and ills your dog will encounter.
  • Does he or she need specific medications? Some dogs needs arthritis pills, pain meds, or another medication on a regular basis. When you are out in the wild, you will probably be hours away from any sort of medical help. You are alone, so carry what your dog needs.

Visit your veterinarian. If there is someone who knows animals really well, it is your vet. They will answer the above questions and more. Tell them that you are planning to take your dog to the wild and broach any concerns you may have. He or she will help give you the knowledge you need.

Leave no trace. When traveling into the wild, you have to be more careful than you ordinarily would to follow leave no trace principles because of your dog. They do not understand the doctrine like you do, so they will roam around and tear up the environment if you let them.

Use obedience training. When you are hiking, you will need to use more than just your leash. If a horse, another dog, or people pass by, then you will have to keep your dog calm. It is more than just having a leash on your dog, but rather your pooch has to have the discipline to do what you say.

Know the regulations. Each park has rules when it comes to bringing along a dog, so be sure to know them. Some do not allow them at all, while others let them in but with restrictions. Learn about where you want to go and then select your trail.

Start small and build up to the trail. If you are like me, then you may have jumped into something big before and done not too bad. With a dog, you cannot do that. You have to take them by the paw and lead them up to something big like a multi day backpacking trip. Start with regular trail outings and increase the distance as you progress.

Sleeping Together in a Tent

When in a tent with your dog, it is quite different from sleeping on a bed together at home. The space is more confined and your dog is an unfamiliar environment.

  1. Keep your dog calm. Accidents happen when you are not calm. Slow your heart rate down and your best friend’s too by cuddling. It reassures them that they are safe despite the overwhelming amount of sites, smells, and sounds that constantly distract them.
  2. Trim your dog’s nails. When camping, a dog’s nails can wreak havoc on a tent’s fabric, so keep them trim and short. It prevents them from ruining your tent, saving you a lot of money and headache.
  3. Use a comforter or dog bed. At night, your dog will want something soft to lay on. A comforter or bed will be perfect to keep them at ease.

Safety Concerns

When heading out into the wild, there are a number of hazards your dog could run into, so it is important to be aware of them. Here they are:

  • Wildlife is ever present in nature. Keeping your dog on a leash is the best defense against bears, mountain lions, and other large mammals. You have control of your dog when he or she is on a leash.
  • Wild plants are another concern. There is poison oak, ivy, nettles, thorns, and the like outside. Fox tails are your biggest concern. They can end up between toes and cause a lot of pain if your dog is not careful. They are found in grasses during the Spring and Summer.
  • Heat stroke, when traveling in a hot area, you and your dog need plenty of time to rest. Dogs, unlike that of people, can only reduce their heat level by panting. If your dog is heaving a lot, then it is time for a break under the shade of a tree.
  • Water safety, dogs have a habit of drinking from a stream or lake if the see one, making them susceptible to pathogens. Bring you own if you are worried about those. As well, if your dog cannot swim and you need to cross a stream, then you will have to carry them across.
  • Going too hard, because I wrestled, I have a tendency to go all in. I hold nothing back. It is different for your dog. Watch how they breathe during a break. If they are limping or panting, then it is time to get off the trail.

Two Steps for Preparing Your Dog for a Pack

If you are backpacking or hiking for any period of time, then you will need a backpack for your dog. It separates the everyday walk around the block from an actual hike.

  1. Measure your dog’s girth. Each pack is sized differently and the primary way is through girth. It is the widest part around your dog’s rib cage. Your dog will want it not too tight, but not too loose either.
  2. Train your dog with pack on it. Hiking is a lot different from strolling the neighborhood, so you need to acclimate your dog to wearing one. This involves putting it on them empty and then progressively building up the weight. Twenty-five percent of your dog’s body weight is the maximum, but it is a rough guideline for tailoring to your dog’s particular needs. Bribe them with treat if you need to do so.

Needed Supplies

When venturing into the wild as you normally would, your dog will need supplies just as you do. In a previous article, I looked at common supplies you could bring with you.

Gear

  • Dog backpack, it can be quite a lot to carry everything for your dog, so split the load. Get one for your dog, so he or she carries some weight.
  • Collapsible bowl, when going into the wild, your dog will need a bowl to eat and drink out of. Aim to get one that is lightweight, collapsible, and durable to hold up to the rigors of trail life.
  • Paw boots, if your dog does not have boots, there are rocks, branches, thorns, hot ground, and sharp objects your dog could step on when outside. You wear boots to protect your feet and it is no different for your best friend.
  • Safety light, wrap one of these around your dog’s neck or body, so you can them at night. Once it gets dark out, then you will have no problem keeping track of them.
  • Dog coat, it can get quite chilly outside at night. The temperature drops like a block of lead in some parts, so your dog will get quite cold. Bring a coat for them to keep them warm.
  • Dog towel, when outside, a dog can get quite dirty. From rolling around in the mud to swimming in the water, your dog is quite active, so be sure to bring a towel along for cleaning them up at the end of the day.

Essentials

  • Kibble, when going into the wild, be sure to have plenty of food for your dog to eat. They will be burning a lot of calories from carrying a pack and hiking the trail, so they need to have the necessary energy. Bring more than you need.
  • Water and container, if there is one item your dog cannot do without, it is water. You have to bring this with you, whether it is a gallon jug or in a small container. Your dog needs to be well hydrated.
  • Treats, if you have a small child or encountered one, then you know how powerful candy is. It is a wonderful bribe. For your dog, it is no different. Eating something sweet will calm them down. Use it as a tool to get your dog to do what you want.
  • First aid kit, when you are out in the woods, desert, or grasslands, you will be hours away from any medical help. Even if you have something small at the ready, then it will make all the difference if you run into trouble. I am sure that you love your dog very much.

Top Tips

When hiking and backpacking, these are the top general tips for your dog. Think about them as you hike the trail. Remembering them is critical for a wonderful trip.

  1. The leash is your best tool. With a leash around your dog’s neck, you can better control his or her movements. If you know that you are about to enter a crowded part of the trail, then use the leash. It will give you a handle on your dog despite the influx of activity.
  2. If you are thirsty, then your dog is too. When you notice yourself feeling thirsty or hungry, then it is time for a break for your dog. They need more energy if you want to continue on the hike.
  3. Be clear with your words. Dogs pay attention when you speak, but less so if you use too many words. It will overwhelm them. When you say sit, heel, or lay down. Use a deep, clear voice to let your dog know you mean business. Your dog will do what you say.
  4. Pay attention to your dog’s signals. While dogs cannot talk, they do a lot of communicating. They bark, wag their tail, pant, yowl, cry, and moan. Watch for the particular signs of your dog. You can better take care of him or her when are attuned to them.

A Final Word

When hiking with your best friend, you need to be careful. He or she does not think the same way as you do. Follow this advice and you will be sure to have a great time outside. Be conscientious. Be smart. And be disciplined to have a memorable experience.

If you have any thoughts, questions, or concerns, please do comment below and share it. Otherwise, I hope you make it a great day!

10 Inspirational Rocky Mountain National Park Pictures and Photos

If there is one great thing about the outdoors, it is the variety. At one place you can have cascading mountains. In another you can have wide open plains. In a third you can see a wet and wild jungle. The diversity is endless. As they say, variety is the spice of life. If you are looking for an article to get you off your feet and moving, then you have come to the right place. Without further ado, I give you, 10 Inspirational Rocky Mountain National Park Pictures and Photos.

Located near the center of the United States in scenic Colorado, this park boasts of spectacular mountain ranges, therapeutic nights, majestic wildlife, romantic wildflowers, and meandering hiking trails. You are sure to get your full dose of Colorado in this splendid park.

Let’s get started.

1. Trail Ridge Road is the Site to See

Image credit: adifferentbrian; Flickr

This section of the park is well traveled. If you are on a tight time frame, this part is the one you want to see. All you need to do is hop in a car and follow the road as it winds its way through the mountains. You do not even have to get out of your car to work your legs hiking. Just sit back and enjoy the spectacular scenery. You are also sure to see plenty of wildlife all along the road to the top.

Take your time and you are sure to enjoy yourself.

2. Bear Lake is just Breathtaking

Image credit: Daniel Mayer (Mav); Wikimedia

How does a dip in this lake sound? If you want to take a swim, then you will have to get there early because this site is quite a popular attraction. The clear blue water is sure to calm you down and put you at ease. If you are into meditation, then sit on one of the 15 or so benches and look across the beautiful waters.

The trail is definitely not difficult. If you are not a ‘pro’ hiker, you will not run into any problems taking a light stroll around the lake’s perimeter.

3. The Emerald Lake Trail Makes for Splendid Hiking

Image credit: Jacob W. Frank; Flickr

The trail is challenging, but well worth the effort. If you pace yourself, you will be just fine. You should be aware the trail is quite popular. What can I say? People really enjoy Rocky Mountain National Park. It is a splendid adventure. Unlike the previous trail, you need to be in decent shape to handle the strenuous hills.

If you can handle steepness, then this is the trail for you. On this path you can expect to run into three different lakes along the way. Trust me on this one. You will be grateful you put in the work for this one.

4. The Old Fall River Road is a Pleasant Drive

Image credit: Matthew Evans; Flickr

The sky may be ominous, but don’t let it fool you. The views are majestic. If you tasted Trail Ridge Road and want more, then this is the another one to fill your belly. As you wind your way along on this meandering mountain path, you gaze across the deep valley into the depths below. Wow. It is quite incredible.

5. Sprague Lake is Another Excellent Body of Water

Image credit: Esther Lee; Flickr

Watching the sunrise is a great way to start your day, especially when you’re looking over Sprague Lake. If you can hike but do not want anything too strenuous, then this is a trail you want to seriously consider. The steepness is light and you are sure to get plenty of wonderful views.

If you visit the lake during the evening, then you are sure to run into some wildlife as they take their fill of water before heading off to bed for the night. Moose and elk frequent this lake.

6. Alberta Falls is a Great Place to Stop for a Lunch Break


Now that you’ve made your way through most of this post, it is time for a lunch break. Alberta Falls is a great hiking trail for the whole family. You do have to put in a little work on this trail, but not as much as some others. You are sure to enjoy what the falls have to offer as you munch on your sandwich.

7. You Will Learn a lot at the Alpine Visitor Center

Image credit: Sarbjit Bahga; Wikimedia

Colorado gets pretty chilly, so be sure to bring a warm coat. Whenever you visit a national park, you should always make an effort to learn about the place you are visiting. You might not be back again for a while, so you need to make the most of each moment.

It is also cool to learn. I do not know about you, but I quite enjoy reading and learning about the history of an area. It is always nice to keep in your back pocket for those trivia nights at the bar.

8. Chapel on the Rock is Certainly Different


Most parks have breathtaking views and stunning scenery. This park comes with its own church. Can you imagine attending a mass service here? It would be quite nice. Skip church! The real cathedral is outside.

The chapel, though, boasts of simple and elegant stonework sure to take your breath away. Believe it or not, but Pope John Paul II visited this church. If you are Christian, then this is a nice place to stop and reflect for a little while.

9. Another Spot to See is the Alluvial Fan

Image credit: Nick Kramer; Flickr

When I think of alluvial fans, I generally think of those in deserts. A bunch of water rushes down the mountain side during a flash rain storm to flood the area and you get a nice fan along the hillside. I did not think it could happen in such a cold place, but it can.

In 1982, the Lawn Lake flood created this stunning area. So compared to other parts of the park, this place is a relatively recent addition.

10. Lastly there is Lily Lake for You to Look Over

Image credit: Esther Lee; Flickr

Be sure to pack your fishing gear. It is a nice day for drinking beer and catching some big ones. If you are looking for another easy hiking trail, then Lily Lake is the one for you. If you enjoy wildlife, then you are sure to appreciate the muskrats, moose, and ducks that frequent the area.

Are You Looking for a Pair of Hiking Boots?

After I wrote this article, I wanted to pack my bags and check this place out, but I am busy at the moment so I cannot go. If you are thinking about traveling to this park, then you should because it is quite breathtaking.

Before you go though, I have one request of you. If you plan on hitting the trails sometime soon, then I encourage you to check out a previous article, The Best Men’s Lightweight Waterproof Hiking Boots of 2019. (I update these articles annually and they come in women’s sizes). With a solid pair of boots, you can hike for miles and miles on end and rest assured your feet are taken care of. Your feet will appreciate the self-compassion.

If you have any thoughts, questions, or think I missed anything, do not hesitate to comment below and please share this article. Thank you so much and I hope you make it a great day!

When is the Best Time of Day to Run Outdoors?

A breath of fresh air fills your lungs. While standing up, you grab your foot from the back and pull it towards you, stretching your hamstring. You do the same for the other leg. You look up to see the sun and sky above your head. Exhaling the air from your mouth, you start your jog. That sounds rather nice doesn’t it? A sound run does the body and mind good, especially when you are outdoors on a trail. But When is the Best Time to Run Outdoors? As many lawyers say, it depends. This article will answer just that question, so let’s get started.

The Short Answer – Run When it Fits Your Schedule

Some people start work up at 5 AM and can only run the afternoon once work is done. Some people can take a relaxed morning and a run then is just perfect. The best time to run outdoors is when it fits your routine. As I will explain in the next section, since I am a morning person, I prefer brisk, early morning jogs as soon as I wake up. That fits with my personality. I like the cool calm of the morning.

Because each person is different, you need to take your personal habits into account. Some people can rely on themselves to take that afternoon jog, but others will be consumed by the day so they have to do it in the morning or else it will not happen at all.

If you just cannot make the time in the morning, then you might want to push it back. Whatever time you do decide to run, strap on the tennis shoes whenit is convenient for you.

Adapt your routine to fit your lifestyle.


Before we dive further into this article just know that, while hiking is certainly not running, both are quite similar and carry almost the exact same benefits, especially when you run outdoors. In a previous article, I wrote about the Mental Health Benefits of Hiking. If you pretend that the “hiking” in the title is really “running,” I won’t tell anybody. You experience pretty much the same benefits. Click on the link below and learn about the mental health benefits of an outdoor run.

If You Want to Burn Fat, Run Long in the Morning

Morning time comes after a long ten to twelve hour fast. You do not have any food in your belly. This makes a morning run splendid for fat burn. Your body cannot burn anything in your belly, so it is forced to shred fat. You will burn fat best in the morning. When you take a long or extended run in the morning, you increase your fat burning metabolism, shedding off the pounds in no time flat.

As I said earlier, this is when I personally go running. I admit that I am biased. I think the morning is the best time to run. What you start the day off with sets the tone for the rest of the day. A morning run sets a productive tone. You are going to get stuff done. It is an excellent way to kick start your day. When you run as soon as you get up, your body will wake up. You do not need coffee after a morning run.

Also, I do not know about you, but morning time is my time. I have greater control of what happens then than at any other time of day. Before the responsibilities of work and school kick in, I get to decide what I get to do with my time. No one is texting me asking for help on their essay or leaving me a long email complaining about so-and-so at the office that I have to respond to at just this minute. No, none of that happens in the morning. The day takes on a much slower pace and I can ease into things with a bright and early run.


Early morning is also the coolest time of the day to run. You will not have to worry about running too hot. The fresh, brisk air will be sure to put a damper on that. It is safer that way. You do not worry about overheating. In general, I find the morning time to be a safer time of day to run. Hooligans are not out patrolling the neighborhood then.

Morning motivation, that is why I recommend this time above all others. Your body kicks into gear with a run, propelling you through the rest of the day. When your run falls in line with sunrise, that is a marvelous feeling that is sure to energize you for the rest of the day. To see the sunrise on your run is like watching a teammate cheer you on. You push yourself harder.

As we will see later, science says morning is not the best time to run, but it also says morning runners are more likely to stick with their workouts. If you run first thing in the morning, you will stick with it on a regular basis. If you push it back into the afternoon or evening, you can give excuses like “I have a paper due at midnight” or “my kids need me.” While all those excuses matter and I understand hurdles do pop up, they do not appear in the morning.

As Bruce Li would say, “long term consistency beats short term intensity.” With morning runs, you are planning for years down the road.


Run Hard in the Afternoon and Early Evening

As much as my own opinion prefers to disagree, science says the afternoon is the best time to run. Your body temperature peaks between 4 PM and 5 PM and as late as 7 PM, so research data says this is the best time. Whereas during the morning you will be groggy for a morning run, you will be wide awake in the afternoon. Strength and physical endurance peaks then. Your whole body falls into focus.

You are less injury prone then. By the afternoon and early evening, you are awake and cognizant and have moved your muscles around. In the afternoon as opposed to the morning, you are not struggling to wake up like a new born giraffe. Instead, the day has primed and warmed up your muscles in time for the run. Unlike say a morning runner, you can then take less time to stretch. Your body is at its highest temperature, so the muscle fibers are the loosest then.

Another benefit of afternoon runs is that you get a better night’s sleep. Exercise at this time loosens up the body and lowers the blood pressure, putting you into a relaxed state. As soon as you hit the mattress, it is lights out for you in minutes. Morning people will also get this boost, but at a much lower rate.


I do not know about you. But once I hit 4 PM or 5 PM, I am stressed out. The tension reaches into my shoulders and turns my mind to jelly. It just wants to do something easy like endlessly scroll on my iPhone web browser. Fortunately though, an afternoon outdoor run will snap me right out of it. When you run in the afternoon, you release stress. It lets loose all the meetings and events you had throughout the day, reenergizing you for that late night crunch.

Other Important Factors to Consider

We are not just considering the here and now, but your future self.

Event Timing – Structure Your Running Workout Routine for that Coming Race

Some of us run casually while others train hard. An outdoor run is a great way to train for a marathon, but not all marathoners are created equally. Some train for years before racing, while others only train for a month or two before the big race, so be sure to structure your regime to take the coming event into account. Make sure to put in time for recovery and long runs. If you can set aside three days a week, then that is splendid. If you can set aside six days a week, then that is excellent. I recommend training at least three days a week to fully prepare your body.

Usually if you are racing, you want to win or at least beat your past self, so be sure to set specific goals. You do not want ones that are flimsy, but actionable. I am talking about Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Results-focused, and Time-bound (SMART) goals. This type of goal setting increases your follow through rate and your chances of success. You are running to be better than who you were yesterday.


Mix Up the Workouts to Force Your Body to Adapt

When I was living at home in Los Gatos, I only did slow, twenty minute runs, nothing that would push me too hard. I realize now that was a bad idea. Like a DJ, you need to mix it up. In other words, change up the time, distance, and elevation you run at. Your body grows when it is outside its comfort zone.

If you are used to running only in the morning, the occasional afternoon run will be sure to shock your body out of its pattern. If you are not a morning person, decide to wake up early one day and go for a run. It will do your body some good. If you only run in the park in a straight line, then it might be time to drive out to the trail. If you do not run on the sand, your feet will be challenged with a beach run. Varied workouts increase your performance, challenging the body in new ways. These types of workouts help those training for racing events.

Are You Going to Get Outside this Week?

Well, you should be all set to go. You now know the answer to the question you asked. Now it is time to slip on the socks and lace up the running shoes. If you do not know where to go for your outdoor run, then I suggest you check out AllTrails.com. If you are looking for an excellent running trail, then you are bound to find one near you on this handy dandy site. So what do you say? Are you going to get outside this week? Click on the link below and challenge yourself to try something new.

If you have any thoughts, questions, or think I missed anything, do not hesitate to comment below and please share the article. Thank you so much and I hope you make it a great day!

How to Choose the Best Ultralight Backpacking Stove for You

The fresh air feels nice today. The birds sing with the anticipation sensation of the coming Spring. Life is good. You sit down on the log by your tent and fire up the stove. It is a good thing you brought the best one along with you or you would have sure been cooked. In this article, I help you learn How to Choose the Best Ultralight Backpacking Stove for You. It might seem daunting, but you should be able to choose the right one in no time flat.

Let’s get started.

What Kind of Backpacking Are You Doing?

There is a big difference between a three-day trip and a week-long excursion. You might be going with a lot of people or just by yourself. Each stove is meant for different conditions, circumstances, and numbers of people. Think of what you will encounter where you are going. Will it be chilly most of the time? Are you high up above the ground? How many people will you need to feed?

If you envision the scenery and the conditions beforehand, then you can make you decision much more easily. Not all backpacking stoves work the same. Some will work excellent in particular conditions, but completely bomb in others.

What are the most common type of conditions you will be heading into? That will be your most important consideration.

Important Factors to Consider Before Making Your Decision

If you are backpacking, there are going to be three important factors to consider. As you pick up a stove and judge it in your hands, you need to keep an eye out for these three factors.

Weight – Because Heavy Things Take a Toll on You.

When backpacking, weight is an essential consideration. Not all fuel weighs the same. Some fuels are heavier than others. If you are carrying a wood stove, then you can pick up all the fuel you need on the trail. If you are only backpacking for a few days or a couple of nights, weight does not matter as much, but it matters a lot more when you are backpacking for a week. Your fuel needs to last you a while in that instance.

Efficiency – You are Less Stressed When Your Stove Works.

If your stove uses less fuel to produce the same amount of heat in a shorter amount of time, then you save weight. You can carry less knowing your stove needs to operate on less fuel compared to a lower quality stove. This factor matters the most above. Everything else hinges on efficiency.

Functionality at High Elevation and Cold Temperatures.

If you are mountaineering, then you are going to need a different type of stove from someone backpacking through Yosemite. In the former case, you are high up above the ground and you need a stove that responds to the lower air pressure and lower oxygen levels. Some stoves can adjust better to those conditions than others can.

Backpacking

The Three Main Types