My solo backpacking gear list for 2018 


People in the Northwest say that summer starts — and rainy season ends — on July 4. And while we’ve had a lot of sunny days already this year I will say that my manic summer wanderlust feelings have only just kicked into full gear. This year is strange! How is it summer already? Is it already half over? Why am I freaking out? How strong the pull of vitamin D deficient existential dread!

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Pacific Northwest Summer Plans: Where I’m Camping, Climbing, and Shooting the Nightsky


For those of us in the Northwest, the summer is hereeee. Actually it’s like at least a third over please do not bring it up. So far my summer is super different than last year, when I took a health & wanderlust-necessitated sabbatical from my very plugged-in job as a tech editor to acquire some outdoor skills and generally roam around. And roam I did! It didn’t seem like that much roaming at the time, but looking back I went on a lot of adventures.

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Solo Selfies of 2016


Last year I slammed the be-stickered lid of my MacBook shut and sought out the outside. Over the course of 2016, I slept in the woods for at least one cumulative month, spending as much time on day hikes and other adventures as possible. Because I was most often alone, a lot of that time is kind of strange to recall, sort of surreal beyond the altitude weirdness and calorie deficits. It wasn’t lonely, usually. Just sort of quiet, a stillness shaped by the perceptible absence of someone to share the moment. And many of those moments were spent seeing some of the most beautiful mountains, glaciers, flowers, canyons and everything else that I’ve ever seen.

Usually I’d take a selfie, just to be sure I was still real. Behold, a concise tour of my 2016 adventure life in sun-squinted selfies.

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My year in the woods

This year I quite literally went into the wilderness.

And yet, here I am. I set out to write a book about VR, which hasn’t exactly materialized because I think you do in fact need a cabin for that, a tent will not suffice. The irony is not lost on me.

About nine months later, I came back to the daily tech news cycle. It’s second nature, scanning tweetdeck much like riding a bike. It feels as though nothing changed. With a few exceptions, stories I’d followed for months with loose ends, it was all the same. Tech didn’t change, and that felt confusing. In the months I spent hiking, dragging my tent up a mountain, plunging into crystal clear glacial waters, watching wildlife, I didn’t feel pulled away. Cursory updated confirmed: indeed tech’s big players remained, VR has yet to manifest on a consumer level, and no one I know is wearing a smartwatch.

How could this be?

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Gear List: My essentials for camping & hiking (2016) 


Try as I might to soften my vice grip on the material world, I’m a gearhead at heart.

In my six long (and not necessarily over) years as a technology writer, I spent thousands of hours examining the tools we employ to make our lives richer. From smartphones and software to mirrorless cameras and even ridiculous full-body sleeping bag onesies, I’ve reviewed a lot of stuff over the years. But my interest has never been about the stuff itself; but instead the way that new tools can shape and reshape behavior. Yes, it’s a pretty cerebral way to admit that I love talking about gear. So let’s do that.

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The starting place

Dog Mountain

I’m happy when I spend time outside. It’s the one thing I really need to do to feel good.

It’s taken me a full 30 years of my life to get to that realization, but I’m glad I’m here now. After 15 spent ambling through mirror-image suburban wastelands and at least six sandwiched into the urban thicket of lower Manhattan/various corners of Brooklyn, I moved to the Pacific Northwest and started figuring some things out. Right now, I’m figuring things out full-time.

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