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Amputee Outdoors isn't just for amputees, any lover of hiking, backpacking and camping will find value in this site.  But, if you are an amputee, I hope the videos, advice, and gear reviews educate and inspire you to enjoy the beauty of nature.

  • Look through the Gear dropdown to read reviews of gear I've used and tested along with examples and discussions of hiking and backpacking gear.

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And of course, don't forget to check out my YouTube channel, Amputee Outdoors to see all my adventures, tips and tricks, and reviews. Thanks for visiting!

Now, this may seem like the dumbest thing to do for those that don't frequently hike in the rain. Which is probably everyone not on the western side of the Cascade mountains in Washington and Oregon. Nonetheless, hiking in the rain can be one of the best times to go hiking. Note: being properly prepared helps. Waterproof boots, jackets, and hats are requirements. :)

Let's get my four reasons I like to hike in the rain...

Enjoying the beauty and freshness of nature. Rain can make everything look more vibrant and alive, from the green leaves to the colorful flowers. The air is also cleaner and cooler, and you can breathe in the refreshing scent of wet earth. You may also encounter some wildlife that is more active in rainy weather, such as frogs, snails, and birds.

Having a more peaceful and quiet hike. Rain can deter other hikers from hitting the trails, so you can have more space and solitude to yourself. You can also enjoy the soothing sound of raindrops falling on your jacket and through the branches, which can calm your mind and relax your body.

Challenging yourself and improving your skills. Hiking in the rain can be more difficult than hiking in dry weather, as you have to deal with slippery terrain, muddy paths, reduced visibility, and wet gear. However, this can also make your hike more exciting and adventurous. You can test your endurance, balance, navigation, and problem-solving skills as you face these obstacles. You can also learn how to prepare for rainy hikes by choosing the right clothing, footwear, backpacks, etc.

Feeling a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction. Hiking in the rain can make you feel proud of yourself for overcoming your fears or doubts and completing your hike despite unfavorable conditions. You can also appreciate the contrast between the wet outdoors and the warm indoors when you return to your car or home. You may feel more grateful for having a dry place to rest after a long day of hiking.

These are just some of the reasons why I like to hike in the rain. Of course, hiking in any weather has its pros and cons, and it's important to be safe and responsible when hiking in rainy conditions. But if you're looking for a new way to enjoy hiking, you may want to give it a try!

#hiking #hike #pnw #hikingintherain #amputeeoutdoors #pacificnorthwest #raining

What is it about hiking and camping in the snow we enjoy so much? The pristine beauty of the snowy forest? The crispness of the air? The intense quiet? Or is it a blend of everything we love about nature, experienced in a different and challenging environment? In any case, for those of us that love a moderate hike through a snowy forest and campsites a-plenty, Ollalie Lake on the western slopes of the Cascade mountains in Washington is a great choice.

I camped there recently, (you can find the video on my YouTube channel, Amputee Outdoors) and found myself running through ideas of how I could make a career hiking professionally so I could do it more often.

The hike starts at the Pratt Lake trailhead and along the way you have the opportunity to go for Granite mountain, Talapus Lake, Ollalie Lake or Pratt Lake. There is a danger of avalanches on the trail to Granite mountain, so I suggest forgoing that hike until later in spring.

The roughly 4-mile trail to Ollalie Lake was clear and well-traveled, making it easy to follow. The elevation gain is moderate, you’ll gain about 2,500 feet to an elevation of 3,880 feet, and although you are below the usual 4,000-foot limitation on campfires, no campfires are allowed near the lake.

I put my crampons on at the trailhead as the trail started with a slippery mix of slush, snow, and ice. The trail didn’t require snowshoes, but after about two miles, if you step off the trail, you’ll need snowshoes to keep from post-holing.

As an amputee, hiking is a challenge, even with my Ossur Cheetah Xplore which is made for high-activity level K4s like myself. Hiking in the snow, and carrying close to 40 lbs gear in my backpack, requires a lot of effort. A lot of calories are burned, and body heat increases accordingly. I found myself taking a layer off about the first mile and had to stop often to catch my breath and give my biological leg a rest.

Even with that challenge, I arrived at Ollalie Lake a little before lunch with plenty of energy to set up my rainfly. Once that was done it was time to get out the Esbit camping stove my son got for me. It’s a great little stove, lightweight, fuel is really cheap, measurements are on the inside of the pot instead of the outside, pour spout and silicon-covered handles. I’m not being reimbursed for singing its praises, it’s just a really good camp stove. In the video I posted, there’s a little trick I use to light it without having to put the lighter to the fuel.

Lunch was a simple recipe of chicken flavoured ramen noodles and chick chunks out of a foil bag. Four-star camping meal. 😊 Once I’d warmed myself up with some hot soup it was time to set up the hammock.

For this hammock camping adventure, I deviated from the usual straps I use and instead opted for 6-foot straps with 15 feet of Dyneema line attached to each strap. Dyneema cordage is amazingly strong and light, so it makes a good option for hammock whoopie slings. I was concerned that a whoopie sling would freeze up in the night so instead, I rigged up my hammock using a trucker's hitch to pull the hammock taut. It worked well and by using slippery knots I was able to undo everything the next day very quickly.

The sun descended to the edges of the mountains and with it the temperature. In the fading light, I boiled up some water and added that to a package of Mountain House Beef Stew. To keep the food warm and keep my fingers from burning on the hot bag, I put the Mountain House bag inside a Reflectix pouch I made just for this purpose. I’m sure others who have camped in the winter will agree with me when I confidently state that hot meals while camping in the snow somehow taste better and are more satisfying. You feel the warmth more, and the flavours and smells are stronger.

Like I usually do when camping, I hit the sack early. For winter hammock camping my setup is designed to provide insulation and flexibility.

The hammock is surrounded by my Flying Tent underquilt, between the underquilt and the hammock I have a Reflectix pad. In the hammock, I have my Geertop four-season sleeping bag and inside that a sleeping bag liner. For my foot, an extra merino wool sock and then my snow jacket draped over the

end of the sleeping bag. For extra warmth, I filled a Nalgene bottle, (this is the only situation where I bother with those heavy bottles) with hot water and put it between my legs. This warms the blood flowing up the large veins in my thighs going back to my heart and helping warm my whole body.

Occasionally in the night a clump of snow would fall off a tree and hit the rainfly hard enough to wake me, but being cozy and swaddled in my hammock as I was, I quickly drifted off back to sleep.

I slept later than I expected. Normally I’m up at first light when I camp but in this case, I didn’t wake up until about 8 am. Being nice and warm, I just lay in my hammock until I felt hungry and only then decided to get up. In the night another few inches of snow had fallen, smoothing out all the sharp edges of the footprints I’d made the day before.

Breakfast consisted of hot porridge and even hotter coffee. Again, made all the more satisfying and tasty sitting in a hammock next to an alpine lake in a forest. I could have sat around for a few more hours just enjoying the snow falling and the view of the frozen and snow-covered lake surrounded by mountains. Knowing how my wife worries about my solo camping, I made the difficult decision to break camp and start the journey down the mountain to the trailhead.

In the summer months, I plan to do this hike again and camp aside Ollalie Lake so I can enjoy its beauty from another perspective. Happy hiking and camping, see you out there!

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There’s lots of advice on what to take on a hike, and I strongly recommend reviewing that advice from time to time even if you’re an experienced hiker. For this article, we’re going to look at some things you can skip.


Don’t get me wrong, I’m a strong supporter of the Second Amendment, but honestly, unless you’re hiking in grizzly country or hiking off-trail into mountain lion country, and you’re carrying a weapon with a caliber sufficient to make the animal notice it’s been shot, it’s just extra weight. I’ve seen several guys with their 10mm Glock in a chest or hip holster on a trail that’s so busy, most animals avoid it like I try to avoid rush hour freeways.

Perhaps they are thinking animals aren’t the problem, the people are. Have you talked with folks on the trail? They are some of the most non-threatening, easy-going, folks you’re going to meet. Now, there are nature trails near some cities where people have been attacked, so there are exceptions to this one, but other than that, save some weight, attach bells to your backpack, and bring along some bear spray. In a pinch, it works on humans too.

Makeup and Perfume

I know for many, the reason to go on a hike is to find the perfect scenic spot and take a load of photos for social media. Looking good is important. I get it. On every hike, I spend an extra hour or two just shooting videos for my YouTube channel, Amputee Outdoors. Nonetheless, makeup and perfume have strong scents that can attract unwanted attention from bugs, bees, wasps, rodents, and even bears. And for those that like to put on a little extra cologne or perfume, the smell can ruin the outdoor experience for folks. Impress your subscribers and followers with your natural good looks and authentic self.

Large Bottles of Soda

Have you ever been on a trail and suddenly heard a belch that seemed to last minutes? You can bet that person is regretting bringing along that two-liter bottle of soda that’s been in their backpack for the last hour. It’s been bounced up a down, and the sun has brought it up to a nice 80F. They opened it up only for it to go full Mt. St. Helens on them, and then taste awful at near body temperature. And of course, they’ve drunk a load of it because they’re thirsty and found a mile later that they don’t feel so good.

Bring along two of those tall one-liter bottles filled with water. If you want flavour or some electrolytes, buy one of those little bottles of electrolyte concentrates, and add that to your water.

School/Work Backpacks

There have been lots of times back at the trailhead after a hike when I’ve watched folks take off their backpack and rub their shoulders complaining about the pain. That’s going to happen when you hike up a mountain with a backpack designed to be worn for about half an hour. Do yourself a favour, scour the secondhand shops, Craigs List, or Amazon, and find a hiking backpack. One with a waist strap and sternum strap. Together they will keep the pack from moving around straining your shoulders and the waist strap will help put more of the load on your hips.

I recommend a pack with a padded waist belt and some form of internal frame to stiffen the pack and reduce the pull on your should even more.

Lots of Food

You should always bring a little more food than you plan to eat, just in case. This doesn’t mean that you need to bring a 12-inch Subway sandwich, an apple, two Snickers bars, ½ pound of trail mix, one pack of beef jerky, and last night’s leftovers. Now, if you’re planning to hike up to some alpine meadow with a romantic picnic lunch to create a moment you and your special someone will remember forever, (don’t laugh, I’ve seen it done and yes, it was very sweet), go for it. Otherwise, keep your food to something that won’t get smushed or melted, that you can snack on over the course of the day, and that will provide you with calories and protein.

Rambo Knives and Survival Tools

It’s a powerful temptation, (especially for us men folk) when we see those tacticool survival tools and big elk skinning knives. And I do have some of those tools, they come in handy when I’m doing a little bush crafting. But for a day hike? Sort of like carrying a gun, lots of weight with no benefit. I’ve done a review of one of those 15 in 1 survival tools and honestly, only about four or five of the items in the kit will ever go on a hike with me and I had those tools in my kit already. If you have the Ten Essentials, you’re going to be fine.

Wrong Footwear

This isn't about trail runners, folks that wear trail running shoes know their trails and aren't foolish enough to try and run up slippery, rocky, muddy trails in the mountains. This is about the folks that wear jogging shoes, Keds with no laces, Doc Martins with two-inch soles, slip-ons, etc. I've seen so many folks enjoying their day until they've slipped in the mud and taken a fall, twisted an ankle, stopped every 50 feet to massage their arches, made their calves burn from the extra weight, or ruin a pair of expensive Nikes. If you're just doing day hikes, do yourself a favour and buy a pair of mid-ankle hiking boots from a local department store. You'll be happier for it.

This list of what not to bring is just for day hikes, for an overnighter the list of what not to bring is even longer. Maybe I’ll get to that list another time. For now, enjoy the great outdoors, and see you out there!

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