My number one switch I'd swear by is going to a sleeping bag that has a sleeve for the pad, what difference that has made to me for sleeping on the ground. I have Big Agnes, not sure if other brands have caught on to this yet. I would wake up a half dozen times with my old set up, always sliding off the sleeping pad, balled up in the corner of the tent (not much for flat ground a lot of the time where I backpack). With my Big Agnes bag and pad, the pad slides into a sleeve on the bottom of the bag so you never slide off it, also has a pocket for a camp pillow where it'll stay locked under my head. The pad doubles as bottom insulation, so the bag is less bulky. I sleep so much better this way and it was worth every penny. I'm trying hammock camping for the first time this year, will be curious to see if it goes as well as I've been told for even more wilderness sleeping comfort. 2. Good backpack, there's plenty, just make sure to get one that's durable. Mine is Mountainsmith and has lasted problem free just as long as... 3. My old REI Half Dome tent is light, goes up fast, and has lasted 15 years and still going strong. (although starting to get some basementy smells from winter storage, eww) 4. Simple kitchen set up, I have a small MSR single burner stove, one set of nesting pot, pan, two bowls, 2 sporks, 2 insulated cups and a french press. It's all you really need as long as you've got: 5. A multi-tool. Some lists say to drop this item, I use mine constantly. Food prep, wood carving, pulling tent stakes stuck in the ground, maybe straightening a bent zipper; you name it. It'll be the ace in the hole for weird scenarios you never knew you'd need it for.
... View more
I started running at age 37 (I was relatively active but I wouldn't say fit), been at it almost two years now and just did my first half marathon. At first when I'd run, I go as far as I can, then wallow in pain for days (weeks the first few times!). Finally I switched to following a plan, and that seemed to help a lot. If felt weird, even annoying, to do such short runs on some days when I felt like I still had gas in the tank, but overall it helped me improve over time without so much pain and agony; steadier improvement at that, rather than peaks and valleys. Still plenty sore sometimes of course, but if it was easy everyone would be doing it. I used a plan I found free online from Hal Higdon, I've also seen them for sale at Runnersworld.com and many other sites, guessing maybe REI has one too.
... View more