Tag: aj baker

Routeburn Track Day Two

Black Diamond Demon Duffel Pack

Routeburn Track Day Two

I just arrived at Wye Creek, home to some of the best sport climbing near Queenstown, New Zealand. It’s about a 45 minute approach and a relentless uphill battle. We’re half way up to the crag and my climbing partners are now sweating like crazy, trying to grab a drink of water, a snack and some different pants because it’s kind of hot to finish the approach. The only problem? They have no idea where they packed the goods and they can’t see everything inside their bag. Out comes the rope, their harness, their rain shell and then finally, the snacks, at the bottom of the bag. For moments like these, the Black Diamond Demon Duffel is a lifesaver.

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Hiking the Routeburn Track New Zealand

Day 1 on the Routeburn Track: Routeburn Shelter to Routeburn Falls Hut

For Day 2 on the Routeburn Track, click here.

Hiking the Routeburn Track New Zealand

After making my way through Christchurch and Queenstown, I was finally heading out on the Routeburn Track! It had rained that night and my dreams of tramping this Great Walk were almost trampled by threats of high wind. I’d met my new backpacking friend, AJ, climbing the day prior and he asked if he could join me on the track. Though my whole mission was to wander around solo, I opted for some company. Worst case scenario, we’d part ways. Best case scenario, it would be a blast. AJ and I woke up bright and early to a drizzly and gloomy morning. We were going to catch a TrackNet bus from Queenstown to the Routeburn Shelter where we would begin our tramping.

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Mammut Tatoosh Jacket Review

#ManlyMonday Mammut Tatoosh Rain Jacket

Welcome to the random Monday installment of manly men reviewing manly gear. This Monday, AJ Baker, our resident outdoor guide, talks about the manly Mammut Tatoosh Rain Jacket.

Mammut Tatoosh Jacket Review

Right before my trip to New Zealand I decided on the fly that I needed a new rain coat. I was walking through the men’s clothing section at REI. Saw the Mammut Tatoosh on the clearance rack so I decided to give it a go.

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5 holiday gifts for the outdoor guide

Holiday gifts for the outdoor guide

When you’re outside putting in thousands of miles on your feet and taking customers to epic destinations, you need gear that works flawlessly. Our resident outdoor guide and newest contributor to Little Grunts, AJ Baker, put together a cheat sheet on what to get your outdoor guide for the holidays.

ExOfficio Underwear

Out in the wilderness with no access to laundry? ExOfficio’s underwear is the answer to your prayers. Lightweight and quick drying, every guide gets a good few days use before maybe it’s time for a washing. The best part? Toss these in a bit of water and a bit of soap, give it a good scrubbing and they’re just as good as new.

Buy through REI.

Patagonia Capilene 3

The Patagonia Capilene 3 zipneck is arguably the most versatile layer for this outdoor guide. From hot summer days of guiding in the Southwest to four seasons in Michigan, this keeps you warm and protected. Bonus: the zipper lets you open up and ventilate when it’s getting a little too warm.

Buy through REI for $69.

Black Diamond High Ball Pants

The Black Diamond High Ball pants aren’t just for climbing. From the crag to lounging around to city streets, these are versatile without looking like you’re about to hike to work.

Buy through Moosejaw for $79.

Chaco Sandals

‘Tis the season for new Chacos. Wait, it’s always Chaco season. Who wants to hike in boots when Chacos can do it all? The best part is winter means all the Chaco sandals are on sale.

Buy through REI.

Green laser pointer + National Geographic’s Backyard Guide to the Night Sky

Every guide should know his stars. What better way to woo guests than to tell them wild tales about the night sky? National Geographic’s Backyard Guide to the Night Sky and a green laser pointer are hands down a winner. Just make sure the laser pointer is at least 50 Megawatts so you can point it all the way to the stars.

Get the book for $17 from Amazon.

Stocking stuffer: merino wool socks

You can’t go wrong with merino wool socks, ever.

REI has just about every brand imaginable along with their own private label line, so you’ve got merino socks for every budget.