Home Improvement Tips To Increase The Value Of Your Home

When your appliances fail or become outdated, you may be thinking that it’s time to spruce up that kitchen with new cabinetry and some new countertops and flooring. There are many types of home improvement jobs people attempt to do for many reasons. Before you pull out that tape measure, though, take a few minutes to read these tips.

An easy way to make the worn our furniture and scuffed up floors look like new is to add new lighting fixtures. There are many styles of lights that create a comforting aura of light. While you may think the adding light to the room emphasizes the impurities, but guests will only notice the bright and cheery glow of the house.

Improve your home and lower your water bill by changing out your toilet with a more efficient model. Many companies have reduced the amount of gallons it takes to flush and they even feature options, such as flushing only liquids or solids, so you can control how much water is used, depending on what is in the toilet.


Make nail holes along the rim of the paint can! The channel near the top can fill, when replacing the lid that paint is pushed up and over the paint can’s sides. Use a nail and drive several holes around the perimeter of the can into the bottom of the channel to solve the problem.

Talking to a friend who is a contractor or does other work related to construction can often provide some helpful insights. They will have a good idea of what needs to be done for a certain project. They may even be willing to lend a hand for a difficult or tricky home improvement task.

Prep before you paint. Painting the rooms in your home can provide a new face lift for a little bit of nothing if you are prepared. Don’t try to do it all in one day or weekend. Be prepared before you start. Have all of the necessary tools on hand. Take a look for the best convertible car seat for your infant in your budget.

A great home improvement tip is to check out Youtube whenever you encounter a problem that’s needs fixing. There are thousands of helpful videos on Youtube that will show you how to fix problems at home. This can be a great way to keep cash in your pocket.

Don’t throw out your tub just because it has a few hard to remove stains. There is an easy solution that is sure to help your problem. Mix a few teaspoons of baking soda and a few teaspoons of cream of tartar. Squeeze enough juice out of a lemon to create a paste. Spread the paste with a cloth onto the stain. Leave it for about half an hour and go back and thoroughly rinse your tub out.

If one has a wooden deck, porch, gazebo, railing, or any other wooden structure, such as a playground set, putting a wood finish on it can be a good weekend project. It will seal the wood from the elements and increase the life span of the structure. The finished product will last much longer than the time it took to accomplish.

If you are renovating a small room, consider making use of built-in mirrors. The reflection from a carefully-positioned mirror will make a small room seem considerably more spacious. A mirror near the window can add more natural light to a dim room. Avoid overusing mirrors or placing them opposite of each other, however, as this can create strange lighting effects.

If you are trying to remove wallpaper that has been painted over or has more than one layer, you may have to use a steamer. Using a steamer will assure you do not damage the walls while removing the wallpaper. You can usually rent a steamer or buy a do-it-yourself model.

Do not neglect safety under any circumstances. Wear goggles, hard hats, gloves and ear protection. Amateurs notice professionals foregoing protective gear and follow their lead. Just because you see others ignoring safety does not mean you should. If you are inexperienced, you have a much greater chance of getting injured.

You need to be informed with anything you attempt to accomplish in life, and this definitely holds true for home improvement. The last thing you need to do is to mess something up in your home. Pay attention to what you learned in this article and use these tips for your next improvement job.

Home Improvement Tips To Spruce Up Your Home

Some people are petrified at the idea of home improvement. They worry that such work is dusty, costly and a real time drain. Learning about home improvement before a major project can minimize anxiety. Knowing a few things is usually all you need in order to get started. These are some tips that should put you on the right path.Home

One way to lower your electric bill is to install a motion sensor on your outdoor lights. This way, the bright spotlights only come on when someone is outside and needs the light and then, turn off when not needed, saving on energy. Also, motion-detector outdoor lights can act as a deterrent against theft.

Make sure that you keep an eye out for all types of contractors. You want to make sure that you get a contractor with a good reputation, as well as, an affordable price before you have them improve your home. You don’t want to be stuck with paying a bill that you can’t afford or a project that’s half finished because the contractor decided to stop coming, half-way through the project.

You don’t have to throw out your old wicker patio furniture. Sure, it may be weathered, but you can make them good as new. Replace your old cushions, or sew a new cover for them. Buy some cheap spray paint in shocking black or elegant white and spray your wicker set in the chosen color. Make sure to wear a protective mask over your mouth for safety. This can make your patio set look good as new and give you a reason to spend the day outdoors.

To save on your energy bill, try changing your light bulbs. Compact fluorescent light bulbs and LED light bulbs cost more than regular light bulbs, but use less energy to light your home and last longer. You should see returns on your monthly energy bill in no time after replacing all of the normal bulbs in your home with these.

When thinking about projects that can improve your home, do not overlook the landscaping. People look at the front of your home when they first see it, and this can leave a lasting impression. Regularly cut the grass and place a few flowers and plants to dress it up.

Whenever you are doing an electrical home improvement job, overestimate the number of sockets each room needs. No matter how generous your plans are, an extra duplex outlet in most rooms will prove itself a wise investment over and over. When it comes to your home’s resale value, “there are too many plugs in here” is a phrase home buyers never say.

Perpetually closed doors can make a hallway or corridor appear uninviting and uncomfortably narrow. Replace your solid door with a French door, which has a series of clear glass panels framed by wood. If you are concerned with privacy, opt for translucent glass or an adhesive to give the glass a “frosted” look. Home Depot and Lowe’s carry adhesive window films for under twenty dollars.

If you’re looking for a low cost way to improve the look of your home’s interior, add a fresh coat of paint. Make sure you choose a neutral color. Dark or drab colors can make a room feel oppressive and confining. Painting with neutral colors will give rooms a fresh, airy feeling of openness.

Home improvement should not be a cause for fear as long as preparation has been a priority. The information provided here can help you stay on track and on budget. A little self-education on the subject of home improvement can conquer a homeowner’s fears and guide him or her, through projects that make the home more beautiful, more useful and more valuable.

Save Some Money With These Helpful Home Improvement Tips!

Every homeowner should give serious thought to investing in some type of home improvement project. Home improvement adds to the value and also, they can also increase your home’s resale value.Home improvement can truly be enjoyable and having fun. Here are a few suggestions to get the best bang for your home improvement project.

You can purchase hinges online or at different hardware stores. Just take apart and simply attach every side to the frame and the door.

When you are considering home projects, get creative and figure out what you are looking to accomplish ahead of time. Inspiration can come from anywhere: home improvement shows on TV, such as in the pages of your favorite decorating magazine, blogs or home improvement websites.


Use two-liter bottles that are empty to store things in the kitchen. You can keep them on a shelf or in the freezer or fridge. Simply pick up and pour it when you need it.

Mold will easily grow quickly in the moisture left behind by daily showering. Even keeping your bathroom repainted often will not completely remove the mold. You need to be proactive to prevent mold from getting there in the first place. Put in a window and clear the air for good.

Try a zebra, chair cushion, wall art or decorative pillow.

Free up some space on your nightstand by using a floor lamp as opposed to using a table lamp. Pick a lamp that is different and that you like the design of.

Invest in a drain snake for your drains.It will keep you money on expensive drain cleaners. Drain snakes are not for the completely inexperienced, so you might need a plumber to show you how it is used for the first time.Snakes come in different sizes so make sure you get the one right for your drain before buying one.

Want to create a new vibe in your dining room? Sand down your old dining table to refinish it. While this is not an easy task, doing so will leave you with a brand new looking table. Take your time with the task and do it right for maximum impact.

When you want to remodel your bathroom, go small at first. Replace towel bars, toilet roll holders, your light fixtures, and your towel bars. Add some fresh paint to really spruce things up.You don’t have a seemingly new bathroom look more modern.

Crown molding can add a huge difference in the appearance of class to your interiors! Crown molding will give walls a little personality if you are looking for a whole room. Crown molding is something that costly and easy to install.

Use only high quality paints to paint your home.The paint is going to last a lot longer when you buy high-quality paint.

Don’t underestimate any home improvement projects. This will help you to deal with anything that comes your way.

Change the accessories in your home a bright new look. It is amazing to see how a few new items can really improve the look of a room. Get new draperies in a lush fabric and vibrant color, then add new pillows, a lamp and a vase in complementary colors, and the room will seem as if a professional designer did it.

Homes that have recently been updated sell quicker than those that haven’t. This type of investment generally pays for itself if you are selling your investment.

After doing a few home improvement projects well, homeowners are often eager to try even more challenging projects. This can never hurt. The opportunities are endless when a homeowner knows what they are doing when it comes to home improvement projects.

Simple Quality Solutions For Being Your Own Handyman (or Handywoman)

A lot of people think home improvement is too difficult for them to tackle. If you go into your project with an open mind, this is not the case. The piece below will give you some knowledge to assist you in your home improvement projects.

Make your house energy efficient by putting weather stripping around your windows and windows. This is a cheap method to make your home.You will quickly notice the reduction in your home is easier to control now.

Construction adhesives are great for stopping floor squeaks.

For instance, an uninsulated addition in Alaska or an outdoor hot tub in Arizona.Stick to what is liked, and do not veer from the neighborhood norm.

Think about installing solar panels on your roof for a home improvement that pays for itself. Although they can cost a lot upfront, your electricity savings will make your investment more than worthwhile. This can save a significant amount on your electricity bills since your home will be using mostly the stored energy coming from the sun. This is also a good way to reduce your house the environment.


Be sure to lay down a tarp to protect your flooring when you paint.This will keep any excess paint from damaging your flooring. Layering newspapers is an inexpensive option. Other alternatives include plastic sheeting and paint cloths.

Use wallpaper to create a book case. Choose a design that’s unique and one of a kind. If you attach the wallpaper on the back wall of your bookcase, when books are stacked the wallpaper design will appear behind the books. This will give your bookcase a good design and create a focal point in your room.

Sand and wipe off any wood surface that you stain it. Using fine sandpaper to sand the item will help create a smoother finish.The wet cloth will also help create your desired smooth finish.

It is always best to plan before beginning any project. If you wait until you start, you may not be able to make up your mind or you may make bad decisions.

A wood fireplace used for heating might not the best way to heat your home. Apart from reasons related to aesthetics, this type of system is also quite inefficient because most of the heat ends up going through the chimney.

Make sure to take full advantage of an outdoor space. You can turn your backyard into the house. It’s great for entertaining outside or just enjoying some fresh air and relaxation after work.

Almost all supplies that are used in projects concerning home improvements might tempt a thief. You should keep those supplies secure and locked up when they are not working. If the home is secure – all doors and windows in place and lockable – supplies inside is a good idea. If you are unable to secure your materials in the structure, you can still have a locked storage container to prevent theft.

Mounting a tv from on wall mounted bracket can free up floor space from the no longer needed stand, which can make a huge difference in a small room. This can be done in under an hour if you follow the directions.

Many times contractors lower construction costs by using solid wood or particleboard cabinets with no hardware. You can choose the type you wish and easily install them in a minutes.

To maintain hot water while traveling through pipes during the winter, don’t forget to insulate your pipes to keep the lines from freezing.Weatherizing tape is easy to apply to plumbing lines is available at your local hardware store. The tape will prevent your home’s electrical supply and keep the pipes above the freezing which could lead to a pipe burst.

Even if you think your kitchen flooring is level, make sure that you use a level during kitchen cabinet installations. Begin at the kitchen’s highest point, make a line across the wall where you will install the cabinets to ensure that your kitchen counters will be installed at the right level.

Stop thinking that home improvement is more than you can handle. Keep an open mind and remain flexible. This article can help during home improvement time. By following these guidelines, you will be able to update your home in no time!

Favorite Lightweight Sleeping Bag

There are numerous different options worth considering for ultralight sleeping bags or lightweight sleeping bags. When attempting to reduce weight, some makers of sleeping bags make the the bag smaller, and use less insulation. Often times this results in a sleeping bag that is uncomfortable to sleep in because it is overly restrictive – not allowing for free movement in the bag. Because these sleeping bags are tight fitting, they don’t allow you to wear additional insulating clothing to bed if nighttime temperatures drop below the comfortable temperature rating of the bag.

Some lightweight backpackers prefer quilts, while others prefer top bags. Top Bags are sleeping bags that only have insulation on the top of the bag. The bottom of the bag is either open, or only has fabric with no insulation under it. The theory is that when you lay on insulation, you compress it, and it loses its ability insulate. We have tried numerous different sleeping systems, and for the beginner we suggest they don’t go with a quilt or a top bag. However, that is a generalization, and once could easily argue that quilts and top bags are great for beginners given the right trip and conditions.

We suggest that a better option is to use a sleeping bag that is designed to accommodate the wearing of additional insulating clothing to sleep at night. This allows your insulated clothing to become an important part of your sleep system. It allows you to carry a sleeping bag that may not be comfortable at the minimum temperature you experience on the trail, but because it accommodates the use of additional insulated clothing the comfortable range of the sleeping bag can be extended into lower temperatures.

Montbell Ultralight Super Stretch Down Hugger

Our Favorite sleeping bags are the Montbell Ultralight Super Stretch down sleeping bags because they utilize elastic bands that allow the sleeping bag to stretch. This makes the sleeping bag very “roomy” and comfortable, but the elastic allows it to “shrink” up next to your body which reduces the dead air space your body needs to warm, and helps keep the warm air from escaping out of the sleeping bag.

Super Stretch System
Montbell Super Stretch SystemMontBell’s patented Super Stretch System uses horizontal elastic stitching to draw the insulation closer fit to your body and keep heat in the bag – where it belongs. This stops drafts, eliminates cold spots and improves the bag’s thermal efficiency by reducing the volume of air your body needs to heat.

With the Super Stretch System, you’ll experience a freedom of movement like never before. The durable, elastic stitching gently stretches with you as you move. The result is a bag that keeps you toasty warm while accommodating changes in position. We have worked to create the ideal balance close fit and exceptional expandability – now you can kick back, read a book, do your yoga or simply get a good night’s sleep.

800 Fill Power Goose Down

Montbell 800 Fill Power
MontBell uses only the highest quality 800 Fill Power* Goose Down in our sleeping bag. After years of searching for the best down in the world, we found the Gray Goose. Unlike duck down, goose down has a comparatively large surface area and an exceptional down-to-feather ratio. This means that less down is needed to trap air, resulting in lighter, warmer bags.

MontBell chooses all gray goose down for its superior down-to-feather ratio. Then we gently rinse the feathers to rid them of allergy-causing dirt and dust. As a result, all MontBell down products are hypoallergenic, and since feathers are taken from the goose at the end of winter, that are laden with oils that improve water repellency. *Fill Power is a universally accepted standard that shows how many cubic inches one ounce of down will loft to.

15-denier Ballistic Airlight™ Nylon

Montbell Ballistic Airlight™ 15-denier Ballistic Airlight™ hollow fiber calendared nylon: All MontBell sleeping bags feature 15-denier Ballistic Airlight™ in both the shell and the lining. This new nylon replaces the 15-denier solid fiber nylon used previously. The calendaring process makes this fabric far more down proof than the previous nylon; imagine removing the ends from a tin soup can and then stepping on it, the can flattens and widens. When the nylon is woven and calendared, the result is fibers that are shingled on top of each other, and a fabric that is far more resistant to down leakage. This fabric weighs only 1.1oz per square meter. Despite its light weight, Ballistic Airlight™ is stronger than many fabrics that are twice as heavy.

  • Multi-Box Construction
  • In a standard bag, large pockets of down tend to flatten out and lose their loft and warmth. To combat this problem, MontBell uses Multi-Box Construction to partition each down fill compartment into six vertical sections and six horizontal sections. Each of the resulting cells is separated from the next by an elasticized polyester mesh that is very lightweight and breathable. Because each cell is small, the down maintains its loft. And, with greater loft and a closer fit, less fill is needed to keep you warm.
  • Neck Baffle
  • A shoulder collar prevents air circulation through top of the bag. EXP., #0, #1, #2 features this system.
  • Neck Adjuster
  • A drawstring adjusts fit around neck.
  • Tunnel Hood
  • A small face hole to improve warmth around your head and face. EXP., #0, #1 features this system.
  • Draft Tube
  • A draft tube prevents air from circulating through the zipper. #EXP., #0, #2 feature a double draft tube for increased zipper draft protection. #3, #4 feature a single draft tube.
  • Foot Adjuster
  • All MontBell bags feature a unique foot adjustment system. A drawstring has been added to the last baffle, allowing the user increased adjustability. For shorter users, the last baffle can be simply closed off completely, reducing the amount of empty space to heat.

Lightweight Backpacking Philosophy


The “Lightweight Backpacking Philosophy” most commonly mentioned emphasizes a never-ending commitment to

  1. scrutinize packing habits in order to fine-tune minimum packing needs and
  2. aggressively seek out the smallest, lightest-weight, highest-quality gear available to satisfy those needs.

The Lightweight Backpacking Philosophy we embrace at Lightweight Backpacking 101 expands on that, and emphasizes the following:

  • Scrutinize gear, clothing, and food selection to fine-tune minimum packing needs.
  • Aggressively seek out smaller volume, lighter-weight, high-quality/high-performance gear and clothing.
  • Seek clothing and gear that can serve multiple purposes (multiple gear use).
  • Educate yourself on backcountry travel and safety, being well prepared for changing weather, wildlife encounters and whatever else may happen.
  • Use lightweight techniques to keep travel through the backcountry low-impact on both yourself and your environment.
  • Use products that provide the level of comfort you desire, even if they aren’t the absolute lightest available.

At Lightweight Backpacking 101 you will find information about lightweight backpacking, weight-reducing tips, gear that can be used for multiple purposes, general packing information, gear checklists, backcountry ethics, and much, much more.

Lightweight Backpacking Food

There are a vast array of food options for the lightweight backpacker. A very common option is dehydrated prepackaged meals. These offer low weights, often good taste, balanced nutrition and convenience. However prepackaged dehydrated meals are often very costly.

When planning a meal for backcountry travel it is generally recommended that carbohydrates make up 60-70% of your daily intake. These are easily fulfilled by pastas, rice, potatoes and other grains. Fats should make up 15-20% of your daily intake. Cheeses, candy bars, peanut butter, chocolate and other higher fat foods are best. 15-20% proteins are also needed. These are usually fulfilled by dried or canned meats, tinned fish, TVP (textured vegetable protein), peanut butter etc.

One item that can be a great help in prepping meals for the backcountry is a food dehydrator. Food dehydrator allow you to prepare jerky, dried fruits, vegetables, and sauces. This can mean that you only need to boil water to prepare a delicious meal.

Most of the packaging from the grocery store is to heavy and/or bulky. When packing for a trip make sure to repackage in ziploc or other resealable bags. These can also be used to eat out of to save additional weight.

When collecting water in the backcountry, water must be treated in order to protect us from bacteria and viruses. There are a variety of methods for treating and/or filtering your water. Filters are very popular and work by filtering out bacteria and viruses from the water. These are best for larger groups as they work fairly quickly, they filter 1-3 liters of water per minute. Many filters improve the taste of the water as well However there are a few downsides to the use of filters. Filters may become clogged with silt and sand, some companies have solved this problem by making the filter element cleanable in the field. Filters can also fail in the field, if this happens you are left to boil water to kill bacteria and viruses.

Our favorite is the Katahdin Hiker Pro filter, It is one of the lighter models and is cleanable in the field. Also the filter element may be replaced when the old one is no longer usable. The pump design in one of the most efficient pumps we have used.

Many lighter weight options are now emerging. One of our favorites is the Steri-Pen. This product uses Ultraviolet light to kill bacteria and viruses. The Steri Pen is also one of the fastest ways to treat water. This product will treat a quart of water in just over a minute. One disadvantage is you end up drinking the silt in the water. The best way to filter out undesirable matter in the water is to place a bandana over the bottle when you submerge it.

The lightest weight and most inexpensive option is chemical treatment. Chemical treatment is very effective and will kill everything in the water. These treatments either consist of iodine or chlorine dioxide. Our favorite is Aquamira which is now sold in a tablet as well as drops. Aquamira will treat all but the most questionable water within an hour and uses chlorine dioxide. We prefer the drops as they take less time to work than the tablets.

Lightweight Backpacking Gear

When selecting clothing for lightweight backing it is important to think about a “clothing system.” A clothing system typically consists of 3 layers, and allows you to effectively manage your body’s heating and cooling system. Scroll to the bottom of the page for a brief discussion of what we feel is the most overlooked piece of clothing to take along if you are backpacking. Companies like ProLite Gear specialize in lightweight backpacking, and can help you select the right gear for you. BackpackGearTest.org is a site where backpackers evaluate new gear in the field over a four month testing period.

Do You Need A Tarp for Lightweight Backpacking? A few years ago a tarp shelter was your only practical choice for Lightweight Backpacking. Thankfully, advancements in materials and design have produced excellent options for lightweight tents and we suggest you go with one of these lighweight shelters if you are just getting started with lightweight backpacking. There are now several full solo tents that weigh a little over 2 lbs, as well as 2-person tents that weigh just over 3 lbs. A tent has obvious advantages over tarps. It keeps you out of the weather more effectively. It gives you more protection from insects. It gives you more privacy. However, even a good lightweight backpacking tent is heavier than your other options. Read about our favorite Lightweight Backpacking Tent.

Sleep System
A lightweight backpacking sleep system consists of a sleeping bag, sleeping pad, and perhaps a ground cloth. When attempting to reduce weight, some makers of sleeping bags make the the bag smaller, and use less insulation. Often times this results in a sleeping bag that is uncomfortable to sleep in because it is overly restrictive – not allowing for free movement in the bag. Because these sleeping bags are tight fitting, they don’t allow you to wear additional insulating clothing to bed if nighttime temperatures drop below the comfortable temperature rating of the bag. For these reason we suggest that you utilize a sleeping bag that is designed to accommodate insulating clothing. This allows your insulated clothing to become an important part of your sleep system. It allows you to carry a sleeping bag that may not be comfortable at the minimum temperature you experience on the trail, but because it accommodates the use of additional insulated clothing the comfortable range of the sleeping bag can be extended into lower temperatures. Montbell Ultralight Super Stretch down sleeping bags utilize elastic bands that allow the sleeping bag to stretch. This makes the sleeping bag very “roomy” and comfortable, but the elastic allows it to “shrink” up next to your body which reduces the dead air space your body needs to warm, and helps keep the warm air from escaping out of the sleeping bag. The lightest and least expensive sleeping pads are closed cell foam pads. Read about our favorite Lightweight Sleeping Bag.

Lightweight Backpack
A well-designed backpack that fits you, has the proper capacity, and has the features that are appropriate for the specific task will help you maximize your enjoyment and hiking comfort. The most common mistake people make is purchasing a pack before they purchase the rest of their gear. We suggest you purchase a pack after you purchase your other items so that you know how much weight you need to carry, and the volume of pack you need(capacity). Overloading a small backpack by connecting equipment at the outside of the pack is a bad solution as it disturbs the center of mass and the load distribution. You should determine your needed volume for internal storage inside the backpack. It might seem strange to fit a backpack but it is definitely something that is very important. Most backpacks have adjustable hip belts, shoulder harness, and stabilizer straps but even then, the basic shape of the hip belt and shoulder harness could not be compatible with your body. Read about our favorite Lightweight Backpacks.

Cooking System
When Choosing a lightweight stove and cookset, be aware of your cooking needs and where you expect to hike. Climate makes a big difference on the performance of various stoves. Will you be traveling in larger groups, in pairs or solo? What type of climate do you plan to hike in? Will you just be boiling water or cooking a multi course meal? Ask yourself these questions before you chose a stove. Read about our favorite Lightweight Cooking Gear.

Lightweight Backpacking Clothing

Lightweight Backpacking Clothing

When selecting clothing for lightweight backing it is important to think about a “clothing system.” A clothing system typically consists of 3 layers, and allows you to effectively manage your body’s heating and cooling system. Scroll to the bottom of the page for a brief discussion of what we feel is the most overlooked piece of clothing to take along if you are backpacking.

Lightweight Shoes
Traditional backpacking shoes are notoriously heavy. That is because they are designed to support you carrying heavy loads. When you carry lighter loads like lightweight backpackers do, then you no longer need to wear heavy hiking books. Lightweight Backpacking enthusiasts typically choose light hiking boots or trail running shoes. Some choose to use sandals, but they lack support and stability when carrying a load on your back over rough terrain. Inov-8 is a very popular line of footwear among lightweight backpackers. Using lightweight shoes has an added benefit. The Critical Mass Ratio for walking is 5:1, meaning, every ounce on your feet feels like five on your back. If you can save a pound in footwear, it is the same as saving 5 pounds in your pack. FootwearBuyer.com is a great product search and comparison site for shoes and other footwear.

Lightweight Base Layer
The first layer next to your skin is called a base layer. It should be good at wicking(pulling moisture away from your body) to keep your skin warm and dry. Cotton is a poor choice for a base layer. Cotton gets wet and stays wet. Polypropylene is typically the least expensive and dries fast. However, polypropylene tends to “smell” very bad, very quickly. Producers of polypropylene base layers have attempted to control the “smell” problem using numerous different techniques, all of which don’t work, or don’t work very well in our opinion. We believe that base layers made from merino wool provide superior performance. Merino wool base layers wick well, provide good thermal regulation, resist fire, and don’t stink like polypropylene base layers. Merino wool base layers are being made out of lightweight fabric. We really like fabric that weighs 200 grams per meter for cool weather, and the newer 150 gram, and 140 gram material for warmer temperatures. We won’t go into detail as to all the performance advantages of merino wool on this introductory site, there are plenty of pages that go into great detail on that subject, and also discuss the properties that prevent merino wool for stinking like other base layers.

Lightweight Mid Layer
The next layer in the clothing system is the mid layer. Its primary purpose is to provide warmth, and so clothing that is to be used as a mid layer should have good insulating qualities. Synthetic or wool (especially merino wool) works great here. Generally, the material will not be next to your skin, and so the issue of “smell” doesn’t play as big of a factor. But even so, we have gotten pretty stinky in synthetics. However, the synthetic mid layers we have tried tend to be more durable than their merino wool competitors. You do get some performance advantage by layering a merino wool mid layer over a merino wool base layer, and the two layers work together as one for wicking. Our experience is that synthetic mid layers are not as warm as merino mid layers are. In general, the more air your clothing traps inside the warmer it will be. For colder conditions we really like the lightweight down jackets and vests from Montbell and Patagonia. These down jackets and vests are very light, and are highly compressible so that they do not take up much room in your pack. Down provides the most warmth per ounce, and doesn’t break down as fast as synthetic insulations when it is compressed.

Lightweight Outer Layer
The outermost layer in the clothing system is to provide protection from water and wind. There have been numerous advancements in material and fabric technology for outerwear, and staying on top of all of these new technologies is a challenge. Since this site is meant to provide an introduction, we will stick to the basics. The outermost layer is often referred to as a shell, and the material used should be waterproof/breathable.




Lightweight Wind Shirt
The addition of a wind shirt to your clothing system can add tremendous comfort and significant warmth, allowing you to wear lighter base layers, lighter rain shells, and lighter insulating garments during active exercise in cold conditions. The bottom line: a wind shirt extends the comfort range of your clothing system, and allows the other pieces to be lighter. Lightweight wind shirts weigh less than 3 ounces, and pack down small enough to be stuffed in a pocket. Do yourself a favor, get a lightweight wind shirt as part of your clothing system.

Lightweight Accessories

There are a variety of products out on the market that may add a great amount of comfort to your backcountry adventures without adding much weight.

One of our favorite products is the MSR Packtowl Ultralight. These towels weigh anywhere between 2-5 oz and are a nice item to have. We tend to throw these in our packs on nearly every trip and are great if you have a single wall tent that may experience mild condensation. Also good if you manage to get soaked in the backcountry.

Headlamps are more of an essential than an accessory. Our favorite is the Black Diamond Spot headlamp. The Spot has a variety of lighting settings, a powerful 1 watt led spotlight great for hiking in the dark, finding camp at night or hanging a bear bag. There are also three lower powered led lights that are better suited for camp use such as cooking, reading a book, packing, more general purpose use. This light weighs just three ounces with batteries, it is waterproof and will burn for up to 160 hours on a single battery.

Another great accessory item is a good pair of gaiters. We like the Mont bell Stretch Gaiters. They are best for dry climate hiking as they are made of a soft shell fabric. We use these to keep socks and foot wear clean and free from the dirt, sand, and debris that are common with wearing lightweight hiking footwear. These are very breathable but still resist bad weather.

If something waterproof is needed we prefer the Integral Designs eVent Shortie Gaiters. These are excellent for rain, spring hiking and wetter climates. The eVent fabric is the most breathable waterproof available. These keep you dry from the outside as well as the inside.