With poetic odes to sleeping bags and stoves, climbing helmets and kid carriers, pee bottles and wet wipes, the nearly 400 entries in our Backcountry Gear Haiku Contest mined the depths of outdoor gear tributes and trials. But only three backcountry gear haiku could be contest winners.
We've tallied the votes of our seven outdoor judges, and are pleased to announce the top three winners, selected from 11 community-ranked finalists.
For their haiku on a homey tent, bear spray antics, and a save by a belayer's climbing rope, the winners receive $500 in gift certificates to Backcountry.com ($300, $150, and $50 respectively), plus Trailspace swag and poetic glory.
Let's meet our Backcountry Gear Haiku winners.
First Place: "Ode to My Tent" by doggymcnuggets (Eric Kennedy)
Dawn...woods come to life
I lie in my tent silent
Home away from home
I'm 43 and I live in Bedford, Ind. I am happily married to Lori and the father of two beautiful kids, James (7) and Ellie (3), and I work as a pastor. I love the outdoors and my favorite pastimes include kayaking, fishing, kayak fishing, hiking, and camping.
These days our family frequently visits the different Indiana state parks locally, which offer great kid-friendly hiking, caving, and camping opportunities. I've been lucky enough over the years to see and explore beautiful locations including the U.S. and Canadian Rockies, Acadia NP, Grand Canyon, Crater Lake, Arches NP, Dry Tortugas NP, Smoky and Blue Ridge Mountains, Outer Banks, Yellowstone NP, Abergris Cay, Belize, Lake Atitlan, Guatemala, and others.
I never cease to be amazed by the beauty all around us and given the chance I want to see it firsthand!
I've been a member of Trailspace for about three years, since discovering it while gear shopping and looking for reviews. It is a wealth of information and I visit the site almost daily. I plan to use my haiku prize money to buy rappelling gear (my latest interest), so I'll be studying up on Trailspace in the meantime before jumping off of our local Indiana limestone bluffs!
Thanks to everyone who liked the haiku and to the judges who chose it — I feel totally unworthy, but totally grateful!
Congratulations, Eric! You win $300 to Backcountry.com.
Second Place: "Deadly Encounter" by Westbrook0 (Grant)
Footsteps crashing down
Bear spray whipped out from my pack
Squirrel makes me clown
I am actually a couple of weeks away from moving to the White Mountain National Forest in New Hampshire. I'm going to be living in a cabin there at the base of the mountains — a dream come true for anyone who loves the outdoors. I can't wait to start exploring!
I love all the stereotypical or iconic national parks, but my favorite places to go are beautiful parks that are a bit lesser known. Places like Buffalo National River in Arkansas, Pecos Wilderness in New Mexico and Dixie National Forest in Utah. They are every bit as beautiful but you can still find places all to yourself.
I love any and every type of gear: Marmot, Patagonia, North Face, etc. But if I had to choose just one item as my favorite it would be Osprey packs. They are built really well, tough and comfortable. I found Trailspace on Facebook and I'm excited to get into it more in-depth — it seems like a great community. If anyone knows of any excellent hikes in the White Mountain National Forest area I would love to hear about them.
I'm really excited now. I can't wait to get on Backcountry.com and start browsing through things I might want. I do that all the time anyway, but now I have a more legitimate reason.
Third Place: "I love belayers" by iClimb (Rick)
Falling through nothing
Memories and Regrets now
SNAP breathe Welcome Back
I have been hiking, camping, and active in the outdoors since childhood. I took a hiatus from my outdoor activity for a few years at the end of high school and during my undergraduate college years as I focused on competitive basketball and academics.
I have been back into my hiking lifestyle for about three years, and have also started my love affair with mountaineering. I have taken courses in basic mountaineering and Mt. Rainier prep, and I'm currently training and learning to improve my rock climbing abilities. I also plan to take an ice climbing course this coming winter to square away a solid overall education that will allow me to be an independent climber without the need of guide services.
My father-in-law has taught me a great deal due to his 30+ years of experience, and we have a three-year plan together to climb Mt. Denali, route not yet chosen.
My current playground is the White Mountains of New Hampshire, which has trained some incredible, professional climbers to climb all over the world. Minus the altitude, the Whites can prepare you for anywhere in the world with its technical climbing, ice climbing, mountaineering, and weather. I'm hoping it does the same for me.
I am definitely a gear head, but also a bargain shopper. I love finding products that have low prices that can do as good of a job as their counterparts that cost much much more. This requires a fair amount of testing my gear, and sometimes my nerve.
I love to share what knowledge I do have in order to help others, and I'm always amazed by the vast amount of knowledge that users have here at Trailspace. It's a great community!
Congratulations, Rick! You win $50 to Backcountry.com.
Thanks also to our other haiku judges: Bob Abbey, director of the Bureau of Land Management; Trail Runner editor Michael Benge, Backpacker senior editor Shannon Davis, National Geographic online editor Mary Anne Potts, Rocky Thompson from Backcountry's The Goat, and Gear Junkie's Stephen Regenold, plus, Backcountry.com for supporting the contest.
Lastly, thanks to everyone who participated, whether entering a haiku, voting on your favorites, or just enjoying our fellow members' creativity.