Our Top Outdoor Gift Idea this year is a HEADLAMP. Why a headlamp? Because we care….PLUS:
Headlamp? For those of us who use poles, it’s a no-brainer. Put in your pack even if you know you’ll be done before dark. Stuff happens OTT (on the trail). Explore caves, tunnels, enjoy! Why this model? Black Diamond Spot is lightweight, waterproof and has great features. The red light is used at night so we don’t blind our buddies or lose our night vision. It comes in great colors – get a bright one for yourself and your favorite hiking buddy.
But also use for:
- Travel ~ If you’re in a hotel room and want to continue reading while your partner wants the light out – BINGO! The aim-hinge helps your neck and posture. (So does putting your book on a pillow)
- Safety ~ for those of us in earthquake land, we know to keep a pair of sturdy shoes under our bed, at the ready. A pair of socks goes in one and the headlamp (when not in the hiking pack) goes in the other. That way we have our hands available.
As we get older (beats the alternative), we need ways to stay safe. Once you get accustomed to using a headlamp, you’ll never go back. But – please – use it.
I find the directions a little murky, so here’s a recap: Open with the little lever on the side & install batteries (included). Then give yourself a tutorial:
- One press for strong spot. One press for off
- 2 quick presses for double (reading) light
- 3 quick presses for flashing lights
- Press and hold (about 2 seconds) for red (night) light
Keep pressing (4 to 6 seconds) to lock – again – VERY IMPORTANT to keep light from accidentally going on and draining the battery – blue lock light will come on. Press and hold (4 to 6 seconds) to unlock.
Notice battery monitor – cool huh?
Once on, if you press and hold, all lights will dim.
Power tap on side will alternate between custom dimmed setting and full strength.
This really is the coolest headlamp – now practice, have fun and please USE IT. Aim it vs. straining your neck. If reluctant, try reading with it and we hope you think it’s the best reading lamp ever!
Hikers have knees. We love our poles and they help save our knees – BUT – knees can still ache the next day after a tough hike. When I ICE, I don’t hurt. When I don’t ice, my knees are often quite vocal the next day. Hit me over the head with a sledgehammer!
The problem is that they don’t hurt that day or evening, just the next day. But NEVER when I ice. I recently ordered a bunch of ice packs and this is the one I like! I don’t put it on bare skin. I wrap it around really snugly and it provides some compression as well. It’s EXCELLENT and so reasonably priced.
I can even put it in my cooler between 2 ice packs and have ice right after my hike. Why make your kidneys pay (ibuprophen, NSAIDS, etc.) when applying ice directly helps? Note: You may not think you need ice because you don’t SEE swelling. But if you have discomfort – ICE, ICE, ICE!
Also, in our opinion, EVERYONE should have a good ice pack in the freezer, ready to go. I’ve used this on elbows, ankles, knees, shoulders….stuff happens!
Blog Readers: Jane is a lovely lady who is enjoying life, mobility and her poles. She was happy to share her experience with you and I hope you enjoy reading about her adventures! Her generous donation to her community is helping others to maintain their independence as well!
“Dear Jayah: Living in the green state of Tennessee, I love to walk outdoors. I use my LEKI poles every time I do, even when I take the newspaper to my neighbor.
Because I wear trifocals, whenever I walk down a slant, I have to tip my head down to see where I’m going. That tilts my body forward, which is probably why I began falling face down on the sidewalk. Twice I had blood streaming down my lip. That’s when I googled hiking sticks. And found you!
First I purchased your hiking video, then I got the mobility one, too, and studied them both. My husband and I had a good telephone conversation with you, and the upshot was that you sent us a large box with five sets of poles to choose from. With your guidance and expertise, I chose the LEKI and Mark chose Exerstriders. Then we sent the other three sets back to you in the same box. Easy.
Some might say all this was expensive. But compared to a doctor’s visit or replacing a pair of glasses or a front tooth, the dollars we sent you were peanuts.
Because at age 85 I’m beginning to have arthritis in my hands, I’ve been using the biking gloves you recommended. Their padding works just fine. Mark, age 87, doesn’t need them.
People sometimes tease me.”Are you waiting for snow?” I grin and reply, “I’m just down from the Alps.” Other friends ask me how to get poles for themselves. I don’t feel qualified to give medical advice, so Mark and I have donated both of your videos and several sets of poles to the Therapy Department here at Uplands Village, our continuing care retirement home. They plan to give a demonstration at the next Executive Chat.
Mark and I will tell about the lovely hike we just had, up and down the rocky hillside and along the bubbling creek. We do live in a beautiful, park-like spot.
See how your good work is spreading! Many, many thanks for your personal interest in my staying healthy and active. Love and a hug, Jane”
Take good care of your poles and they’ll take good care of you.
- When your poles get dirty – wipe them down.
- When your poles get wet – take them apart and let them dry overnight.
- morning dew, fog, rain, stream crossings – any moisture at all can cause corrosion
- If you get poison oak on your poles, wash them with soap and water or rubbing alcohol, using enough soap or alcohol to cut the oil not just move it around. Do not use Tecnu.
- Never lubricate your poles.
- If your poles start “sticking,” you’ll need to clean them with a pole cleaning kit – outside, with newspaper to prevent metal shavings from causing trouble. With a little preventative care you can avoid this and you’ll keep your poles happy and healthy for YEARS. 🙂
You need to know how to take your poles apart and put them back together. Some people are actually fearful of this and it’s a basic requirement for pole care and travel. It’s easy when you know how.
2014 – There’s been a re-design of our favorite trekking pole. We love the comfort of the foam grip….it’s SO worth an extra $20 over the composite or rubber grips. Also, the long foam grip is wonderful for frequently changing or rocky terrain – when you’re not using the straps.
The redesigned strap is sleeker and many people find it more comfortable. Here’s photos of the 2 models we like – the Double SpeedLock and the SpeedLock Anti-Shock. Click on the REI link below to shop REI – we get a small commission and it costs you nothing. Thank you!
As always, you can contact us via the website Product Consultation Form to learn which poles best fit your body and will help achieve your goals.
Click on either photo for a close up view; click the back button to return to the blog.
We arrived to RAIN in Las Vegas and snow on the roads to Moab. Even over a foot of snow and cold mornings did not stop us from enjoying the magic of the Utah National Parks. Our first day included 2 short hikes in Arches (Park Avenue & Delicate Arch), then we went to Canyonlands Island in the Sky. We arrived to find NO ONE in the gray and snow-covered parking lot. No one had hiked the Neck Springs trail * since it had snowed. We had to find our way by locating what we thought were cairns – little snow pyramids. We were the footprints, so the next hikers had a clue where to go 🙂
We explored some new trails in Arches & Canyonlands as well as visited some old favorites. Weather has always managed our Thanksgiving journey to Utah. We had great gear and felt well-prepared as we headed out on cold mornings. Yaktrax are like tire chains for your feet – they kept us from slipping and sliding on icy trails. Here’s a link to the ones we like: Yaktrax Pro Get one size larger than you think you’ll need. We think the sizing is a bit off.
Yes, that is Bob walking down away from Delicate Arch.
Bob learned rock climbing as a youth. He talked, encouraged, even bullied me thru some of the most difficult terrain I’d ever been on. Because of the wet conditions, the rocks were not as grippy. I made it, but only with the help of my hiking buddy. Putting poles “away” on packs: You need a pack that can accommodate this. Grips down, tips up. Rubber tips affixed for safety. We affix the poles by looping a strap from the pack thru the pole straps and snugging them up towards the pack. Regarding our packs – I often snug up a seminar participant’s pack. It helps the pack be more a part of you and less floppy (which can send you off balance.) It always feels better 🙂
The day we wanted to go to Bryce it was 1 degree. We managed a short loop on our last day and it was warmer and magical! You can see (bottom middle below) the trail condition – very narrow – making pole use difficult. We did not have our snow baskets with us 🙁
The Peek-a-boo loop is one of my favorites. It’s short, but you’re in the Hoodoos. To get to it and back, it’s about 3 miles – so a total of about 6 miles. In these conditions, it took us 2 hours to do the 3 mile loop. That’s SLOW! You can see that it was starting to cloud up towards the end of our hike. Nice way to end a week of hiking in Utah! When we have more time for a longer loop, we like the Fairyland Trail.
and finally – with my obsession with trekking poles and cairns 🙂 I love to do a little Cairn-Topping as I hike. Because of the storm that came thru a few days before we arrived, many of the cairns were in need of a little maintenance 🙂
* Neck Springs Trail – the longest 5.8 mile hike I’ve ever done. This glorious trail heads down into a canyon and then back up onto the mesa. It’s one of my favorite hikes on the planet and suitable for moderate level hikers. If you head to Moab, put it on your list. Our favorite place to stay in Moab? Aarchway Inn – tell Pam I sent you 🙂
I’ve been experimenting with athletic compression socks. The verdict is IN!
When I wear my fancy (hot pink) compression socks, my legs, calves and feet are less tired. They really do improve my performance.
A friend who has hammer toes, uses the individual toe type (Injinji) socks and finds them extremely helpful.
I splurged and spent $50 on a pair of socks. I thought I was nuts….UNTIL I felt the significant benefits.
There are SO many options out there. Start by clicking the free shipping link below. Search for compression socks. Free Shipping with $50 Minimum Purchase at REI!
I recommend compression socks for all my clients who fly. Get the highest compression that you find comfortable and that you can put on. Be patient, putting compression socks on is more difficult than you might expect, but well worth the effort!
You can also check this website.
Rubber tips are sold as optional accessories for trekking poles. They’re NOT optional. The travel tips that come with many poles (clear, orange or black plastic) are garbage – toss them out (or recycle them). In many of this blog’s updates we describe how rubber tips improve performance, prevent joint strain, increase safety and enhance your outdoor experiences.
There are 3 tips we like and they all fit on the poles we like: LEKI, Black Diamond (2 models only) and Exerstrider.
Our product recommendations are based on an individual’s structure, issues and goals.
One size does NOT fit all. Short poles are sold as “women’s” poles – after all, we all know there are no tall women and no compact guys….. Back to rubber tips (sorry for the rant). 🙂
- The basic hiking tip (on left) sells for $5/pair and is perfect for pavement walking and slick rock. They fit nicely in your pocket or pack and are perfect to store on poles when they’re not in use.
- The bell tip (middle) adds significant stability for our mobility-challenged pole users.
- The boot (right) is super cool and adds both cushion and propulsion for our exercise walkers. The bell and the boot sell for about $10/pair.
When we fit a person for poles, part of that process includes determining what tip works and feels best. For example, a person who needs a bit more “cushion” because of shoulder or wrist issues might like the boot. Or does the anti-shock feature “fit”? Which grip fits and feels best? Are trekking poles gloves indicated?
It’s not rocket science, but finding the pair of poles that will serve a lifetime, poles with which you can develop a loving connection, is a bit of an art. My poles are about 12 years old and I LOVE them. They get more comfortable every year and they serve me well out OTT (on the trail). Because I use my rubber tips when I need them, the trail tips are still razor sharp and perform as designed.
Our yearly search for the best gifts for your outdoor enthusiast, Enjoy!
Quality vs. Quantity. Do you really need 37 band-aids?
AdventureMedical Sport Specific Medical Kits are designed by an emergency room physician.
These two are our favorite day kits, but you can look around and see what suits you best. I like to put a few extra things in the handy zipper pouch to customize it.
The .5 is $17; the .7 is $27. Use in a day pack or in a car.Adventure Medical Kits UltraLight / Watertight .5 First-Aid KitAdventure Medical Kits UltraLight / Watertight .7 First-Aid Kit
Winner of Best Stocking Stuffer Ever!
Over and over we’ve said it.
These massage balls are magic! Use to treat or prevent plantar fasciitis. Use the relaxed weight of your leg and allow your foot to relax on the ball.
These balls are not for everyone, just for people who have FEET!
Do you love your teeth?
We’ve covered this in a separate post all its own, but it really belongs here in our top picks.
Both Bob’s dentist and my beloved hygienist recommended exactly the same thing.
Shop any Amazon or Kindle Item from this link
Gift Certificates available:
Photo is Wall of Windows at Bryce Canyon
Stay tuned for part 3 of the Utah journey; this post will focus on some pole tips as well as stunning vistas. Thanks for visiting our blog!
This lever fits easily in the car door latch (when open). It’s an ideal gift for anyone who has trouble getting in and/or out of a car. Universal fit, portable, supports up to 300 lbs, lifetime guarantee. It’s really cool!
I keep one in my car stashed so I can reach it easily. When I transport an elder or someone who has trouble getting out of the car, it’s so easy to position it so that my buddy has excellent support – a sturdy handle to assist rising.