Congratulations to our two winners of Kahtoola crampons and traction devices worth $300!
Andrew Stanner of Australia had his Macpac Olympus tent review randomly selected, and Matt Williams of California had his Marmot PreCip Jacket review randomly selected. Members submitted 241 outdoor gear reviews during the contest period, February 1-28. Congratulations, Andrew and Matt!
We love to learn more about our members, and since our winners both shared such great info and pictures with us, we're publishing a profile of each. Get to know Andrew below and Matt in a separate blog.
"Wow, awesome!" said our second winner, Andrew Stanner on learning he'd won. Andrew, a hiker from Australia lives with his family "almost under the Sydney Harbour Bridge." He is an Australian Army veteran and spent six months serving with the Army and United Nations in Namibia on a peacekeeping mission. He has traveled to 40 countries.
Andrew says his winter experience covers "most of the Australian Alps, Antarctica, New Zealand, Patagonia, a very cold German winter, and lots of cold nights on army exercises, some in the snow." He also has spent time in various deserts, wet deserts, and jungle.
He shared the following thoughts with us.
Andrew on Hiking Trips
It is summer here so I am spending a lot of time at the moment hiking in the Blue Mountains with my family and my kid's friends. Last weekend we made a day trip to a billabong on Erskine Creek, which is in the Blue Labyrinth section of the Blue Mountains, just west of Sydney. It turned out to be a remarkably adventurous day trip. It's a 90-minute drive from Sydney and we didn't see anyone all day.
I recently wrote a trip report about our last trip with the kids, Erskine Creek via Pisgah Rock. The next hiking trip I have planned is down the beautiful Wolgan River in the Wollemi National Park, which is the second largest canyon in the world (check out Andrew's trip plan).
My wife's dream holiday is to Alaska, in winter, hence my interest in Kahtoola traction! But that is probably a year or so away.
On Hiking Gear
Over the last couple of years I have put some effort into teaching other families and their kids how to hike, teaching them about hiking gear and equipment.
Just for laughs I published my gear list and thoughts and shared it with friends for comment. This is the list of what I currently use. It's a work in progress: Andrew’s guide to packing for a hike.
I am a major gear freak when it comes to camping / skiing / rock-climbing etc. Some of my hiking gear is very old, but a lot is new and I have re-equipped. Some hikers argue that you shouldn’t carry half this stuff. But I am in good company with most of my old Army mates. Because there are a lot of kids I am erring on the side of caution!
Andrew's Top 5 Gear Thoughts:
Andrew and his brother John at Torres del Paine in Patagonia, the Magallanes Region of Chile.
Reading some of your other posts, my "Top 5" gear thoughts are:
1. Gaiters: Snakes are such a problem here.
2. I really love the new MSR Dromedary bladders and have bought a couple of them.
3. Spondonicles: These are now a collector's item in Australia. Paddy Pallin, legendary Australian bush walker, stopped making them. They're designed so that you don’t burn your hands getting a billy on and off a fire.
Madness that they stopped making these, but there is a guy in Australia trying to bring them back. He is doing a survey/petition to tool up for another production run. Sign up here, please, everyone.
I think I will do a funny gear review on these when I get time. My theory is that because most of our trees in Australia are hardwood our campfires are much hotter than many other countries.
4. Setopress snake bite bandage: Fairly new, these have not been around for long. Expensive, but the best possible "amateur" treatment for snake bite in the wilderness. Costs about $20, which is expensive for an elastic bandage, but if it saves your life, well worth it.
5. SAM Splint: Serious splint just in case someone gets a fracture. This was a recent addition to the first aid kit after my kid broke his arm over Christmas. This really makes sense to me, so I am going to carry one every time I go near mountains with kids from now on.
Captions: 1) Andrew and his Australian Red Cattle dog cross (a rescue dog) possibly crossed with a Great Dane. 2) Andrew's wife Kate and son Max cross-country skiing near Perisher, following wallaby tracks on fresh snow toward the "Porcupine." 3) Bushwalking with Army friends and family on the main range of the Kosciusko National Park heading towards Mt Twynam and Blue Lake. 4) Son Max near Blue Lake in the Kosciusko National Park.
The Kahtoola Prizes
As one of our lucky prizewinners, Andrew wins the following Kahtoola products to take on icy trails, streets, and winter peaks ($300+ value per winner):