Are we there yet? Where is French Ridge Hut?!?! I remember clearly that the distance marker and signboard at Pearl Flat reads “French Ridge Hut –> 3 hr” after the river crossing, and we are now 3.5 hours into the hike and I still do not spot the bright red French Ridge Hut. The last 3.5 hours was sheer torture. The only consolation I had was the beautiful mountain backdrop behind us once we got high enough and we had a clear view of the red Liverpool Hut standing strikingly across the Matukituki Valley. This was definitely a full body workout. This section of the trail constantly required me to grab on big fat roots and branches of trees to hoist myself up the steep muddy terrain in the jungle with high-steps. And it definitely did not help that we had full intention to camp in the valley for this 4 Days 3 Nights trek, so we were carrying tents and food supply in our heavy backpacks.

I was trudging step by step with my face down, trying to avoid the strong glares from the hot sun. My perspiration was also washing off the sunblock that I had diligently applied in the tent this morning.

“Come on! I see the toilet!”, Patrick, my fiance, hollered loudly.

I peered up and squinted my eyes against the blinding sun, and there it is. The STRIKING RED TOILET. I have never been so happy to see a toilet in my life! My whole body is aching, but I am so glad we finally made it!

Finally, after what seems like eternity, we hear chattering in the distance, and we can see the toilet and the striking red French Ridge Hut! We are totally thrilled!?

A Guide to Hiking to French Ridge Hut (and Beyond)

Located in the Matukituki Valley area?and?Mount Aspiring National Park?in the?Otago?region (near Wanaka), the French Ridge Track is deemed as an advanced track that is 16.2km long one way, and you will return via the same track. Typically, most people would attempt this over 3 days:

Day 1 – Raspberry Creek car park to Aspiring Hut

Day 2 – Aspiring Hut to Liverpool Hut or French Ridge Hut

Day 3 – Liverpool Hut / French Ridge Hut to Raspberry Creek car park

Patrick and I always enjoyed doing these treks in a slightly different way, and this time round, we decided to do just that. Make this a camping trip and spend one more day in the wilderness and do a day hike around French Ridge Hut.

Start of French Ridge Track
Don't forget to take a peek at Rob Roy Glacier!
To the left of the trail, you will see and hear massive waterfalls too
I'm loving the clear turquoise blue water!

This section of the track is relatively flat, and the biggest challenge you face is probably the hot sun and a couple of small water streams that you will encounter along the track, but if you have the agility to jump from rocks to rocks, your shoes will be safe from getting wet!

Reaching Mount Aspiring Hut

The Aspiring Hut is gorgeous! This is a New Zealand Alpine Club hut, and sleeps 29 pax, and is definitely one of the better-equipped hut with facilities such as flush toilets. We took a short snack break before pushing on towards Pearl Flat to find a decent camp spot for the night.

Do note the capacity limit of these swing bridges that you will cross throughout the trek
Awe-inspiring!
Clear mirror reflection of the peaks and glacier on the water!

Today had been a relatively easy day, with approximately 4 hours of walking. And… decision has been made. We are sleeping here tonight! What more can one ask for? Snow-capped peak and glacier view, and clean water streams for cooking. So we?dropped our backpacks to explore the area and to see how close we can get to the glacier waterfall!

The moon is peering out as the sun sets. Better get the tent set up before the whole valley is covered behind the shadows of the mountains and we lose light and warmth.

It had been a cold night! We woke up with frost on our tent, and we were just waiting for the sun to hit our tent so we get motivated to get out of our sleeping bags and enjoy the view with a cup of hot tea in our hands!

Frost everywhere around us!

We could see hikers making their way towards Liverpool / French Ridge Hut, as you definitely want to get there earlier as you are unable to make bookings, and is on a first come first served basis. You definitely do not want to reach there late and without a bed for tonight in the hut if you do not have a tent.?

Sun is finally hitting where we are and warming up the valley

We got to the ice cold river crossing at Pearl Flat and this is the intersection where one will choose to go towards Liverpool Hut or French Ridge Hut. From here on, it will be a painful hike through the steep muddy terrain where the roots and branches would become your best friend. You will be hugging them non-stop along the way!

Stepping into this ice cold river water will wake you up for sure!
A much-needed rest as we trudge on with our heavy backpacks

Finally above the treeline but where is the hut?

We made it! But we are not done till we find the perfect campspot for the night. There were lots of bivouac shelters (or bivvy / bivy) made out of rocks that looks really decent! But unfortunately our tent was too big for that.?

French Ridge Hut
What an amazing backdrop for a toilet!
Guess this is it! Our camping spot for tonight

It is known that French Ridge Hut has some of the best sunset viewing spots. After our dinner feast of tomato sauce meatballs, is time to let our eyes have a feast too.?

Everyone's getting ready in their sunset viewing seats
It is going to be a night with bright round moon peering over us

Woke up to the sounds of Keas flying and chirping outside our tents. We were told that Keas are extremely curious birds and are especially attracted to bright coloured items. Hence, to avoid having our orange tents drawing too much attention to these beautiful birds, we dismantled our tents and left them in the hut before we start?our day hike up beyond the French Ridge Hut to get a better view of Mount French and the Quarterdeck Pass.?

Spotted lots of beautiful flora and fauna along the way

Followed some occasional cairns along the way and finally getting closer to the glacier and snow!

Spot the turquoise blue glacier lake that has formed at the foot of the cliff

After some hours of fun exploration, we start heading back towards the hut.?

Got back to the hut and as the weather forecast is calling for rain the next day, we decided to head towards Pearl Flat to camp so that it would be a shorter hike out to the car park before it rains on us. Right after lunch, we started making our way down.

It was still tough hiking down the steep terrain but it was definitely more manageable than before.?

Here’s our camping spot at Pearl Flat!

Clouds coming in later in the evening. New Zealand weather does change drastically at times

To avoid getting caught in the rain which was predicted in the afternoon, we had an early start towards the trail head. Beautiful and cool day out!

Back to Raspberry Creek car park

It had been an epic 4 Days 3 Nights adventure camping out on this track! It may have challenged me physically and mentally, but it was so rewarding and I would definitely go back for more. For more blogs on our adventure in New Zealand, check it out here!

Looking for unique experiences that does not follow a typical itinerary, is an off the beaten path trip that is not too crowded? Our New Zealand treks and?glacier exploration trips in this region might be the perfect fit for you. For more information, contact us at info@wilfirexpedtions.com.

Talk to anyone about trekking in the Central Asia region, and the list goes on and on. In particular, one of the most raved about treks in the Pamir-Alay area has been crowned the title of “Asian Patagonia”. It got its name from the stark resemblance to the majestic beauty of the South American Patagonia, which offers hikers the alpine meadows, endless valleys, high ragged peaks, and white snowy landscapes with glaciers surrounding the peaks of Sabakh (5823m) and Aksu (5365m). With anticipation, we drove to Uzgarysh village, and met up with our hosts. We were showered with typical Kyrgyz hospitality, served traditional home-baked bread known as Lepeshka with constant topping up of tea and coffee.

After a hearty breakfast with our host, we are ready to embark on our journey! Blessed with great weather and clear blue skies, we followed the trail by a massive river called the Laily-Mazar Canyon,?and the sunrays flicker like glitter on the river surface.?

Even the cows and horses were out and about to bask in the sun.

That’s where we are heading towards! The majestic peak that appears right before our eyes.

“Photography takes an instant out of time, altering life by holding it still. “- Dorothea Lange. There is always time to stop for a photo to capture that beautiful moment.

Curious adventurists we are, we decided to do a quick detour to the other side of the river bank to see what this captivating land offers!

Marching on!?

I was beguiled by the beauty of this place. As the sun sets, the?sky was ablaze with the rich and bold colours of the setting sun. As night falls, the moon rises and the sky changed to a purple tint. We fell asleep in the tent listening to the sound of rapids from the canyon, to the nature lullaby that relaxes our body and mind and were soon lured to sleep.

Good morning world! We woke up to motion outside the tent. Curious, we peeped out of the tent and were greeted with cows grazing the grass near the river.

After a quick breakfast, we are off to explore the peak that have been in sight the whole time.?

Relaxing day out! Quick siesta before we proceed with our day trip exploration.

The river valley is surrounded by birch trees lining the river banks, juniper thickets scattered all around, and as we got closer to the peak, we were so close to the glacier! Surrounding rocks and slopes bear the tracks of ancient glacier activity.

Found a great spot for a rest. Surrounded by massive glaciers and snow capped peaks in the background.

Much as we would love to continue with the exploration, we had planned for a quick 2 Days 1 Night trek instead of the whole Aksu – Sabakh trek itinerary, so at this point, we had to turn around to start our descent.

Our kind and hospitable host was very kind to offer to pick us up from the trail head at 3pm, so at the arranged time, he was indeed out there to welcome us back! We were excited to see him! Just like seeing our long-lost friend whom we have not met for years (in actual fact, it had only been 1 day)!

Back in the host’s guest house, we were offered food but we had to kindly decline the offer as we needed to continue a long drive to our next destination. And finally, I managed to convince the younger of the 2 little girls to take a photo with me! I guess she was amused at how I was playing peek-and-boo with her.

Time to say goodbye to our wonderful hosts. Their hospitality and kindness towards guests are just beyond what one can ask for.

Want to experience the typical warm hospitality the Kyrgyz shower their guests with? Want to join us on this beautiful trip to the Asian Patagonia? Looking for more wild adventures in?Central Asia? Wildfire Expeditions offer trekking, mountaineering, sight-seeing and horseback riding trips within Central Asia region.?Contact us?to find out more!

During this unfortunate lockdown period,? I have had time to sort thru a lot of photos and I came across pics of a canoeing trip. And I was reminded of while doing the? canoe trek down the Whanganui river in New Zealand, I had the fortune?(or misfortune) to experience the canoe tipping over and take an unexpected swim. I thought I would share some lessons learnt from that cold splash.

 

Canoe weight distribution matters intently

Balance is everything in a canoe and a slight shift in weight can make the balance of the canoe one-sided.? If you are carrying lots of items, make sure the weight is distributed equally side to side.? That is, when you are in the canoe, make sure the canoe sides are balanced so that one side is not leaning more in the water. If it leans in the water, while just sitting in the canoe, once you are moving and steering, you will have an increased chance of water coming in on the side that is dipping down.? Once water comes in on that side, it will become even heavier, dipping down even more. Until eventually you will end up overturned.? Not the best way to be in a canoe.?? Evenly distribute the weight, left to right, front to back.? You may want to place heavier objects more toward the back. This will help to keep the canoe more streamlined in the front.? The main thing, keep the sides balanced, or you will end up swimming.

canoeing NZ
canoeing NZ

Water tight barrel / bags are essential.

Watertight bags or plastic barrels as we used, are essential for the trip to store your gear in.? Not only do they keep your gear dry, but it will also keep the canoe buoyant and floating more on top of the water rather than in the water if you overturn the canoe. An upside-down canoe that is partially submerged is a back breaker to get it back upright.? The watertight barrels will also keep the canoe from completely filling up with water while upside down.

 

Strapping everything in you want to take home with you

This may seem obvious, but I saw many water bottles and jackets floating separately from the owners? canoe.? If you want to take it home with you, tie it or strap it to the canoe.? An easy method is to tie a string to the canoe, thread the string through all of your small objects like cups with handles, waterproof cameras with long straps and such, and tie a two-litre empty plastic milk bottle to the other end.? This way the string will float with the object, if it is being dragged behind by canoe upright or upside.

If you follow these three tips, I can’t guarantee you will stay dry, but I can assure you that all of your belongings will reach the destination safely. If you enjoy canoeing and the outdoors, and want to experience nature on your terms, we can help.? Our trip consultants can build the perfect challenge for you.? Be different. Trek the lesser explored, and live Life with Passion.

Respect nature and those around you. Take out more trash than you packed in and Leave No Trace.

Hiking, or tramping through temperate rain forests, lush beech forests, up snowcapped peaks and immense glaciers, or even to stretches of clear white sandy beaches makes New Zealand a great destination for hikers who wants to experience a little of everything.

In this article, we will be sharing our hiking and camping experience to Alex Knob summit (1,303m), located in the Westland Tai Poutini National Park, on the west coast of New Zealand’s South island.? The National Park covers 1320 sq km, and is split by the alpine fault, and home to?Fox Glacier/Te Moeka o Tuawe and Franz Josef Glacier/K? Roimata o Hine Hukatere.

The Alex Knob Track is named after a famous mountain guide and hotelier, Alexander Graham (Alec). This is a 17.2km hike from the Wombat Lake Trail to the summit of Alex Knob and return, where you will enjoy spectacular views of the Franz Josef Glacier, the Waiho River and valley and the Tasman Sea, set against a backdrop of massive mountain ranges. This is typically done as a day hike, but we decided to make it an overnight hike to spice things up a little!

Here we start our exciting journey through the lush rain forest with our backpack and camping gear! What makes this trek exciting, is that there are a couple of large fallen trees on the trail that one will have to scoot under or climb over/around. Definitely a full body workout!

In this region, afternoon cloud is often a feature of the local weather, and cloud begins to obscure the views. We met a couple of hikers descending and everyone told us they did not see any views up there today because of the clouds. Nevertheless, we kept on going with our fingers crossed, and admire the amazing flora and fauna surrounding us.

After hiking byChristmas Lookout and Rata Lookout, we finally got to the top of the treeline, and reach the summit at 1,303m after 4 hours. Unfortunately, visibility was still low amidst the low-lying clouds when we got there.

Time to set up our home for tonight and nothing beats a nice hot meatball dinner after a hard day’s work!

Is that the sun trying to break through the fog?

“Look behind you!” I exclaimed excitedly. What we saw over the next few minutes just blew our minds.

I was immediately reminded of a quote that I have read before, “Never give up hope because your miracle could be right around the corner.” That was exactly how I felt when I saw the clouds clearing and the peak of the mountain range emerged in front of us when moments ago, we were just surrounded in a thick fog.

The next morning, we woke up to a beautiful sunrise and a sea of clouds.

After packing up, with light-hearted footsteps, we started our descent.

Is this the same spot that we were standing on yesterday? What a view! Glad we camped out yesterday night and got a chance to see this after all!

Interested to explore other treks in New Zealand in other National Parks? Looking to have an adventure of your lifetime? Contact us at info@wildfirexpeditions.com and speak to us now to see how we can make it happen!

Imagine…

Trekking up the hills or through the forest with the bounties of nature surrounding you, setting up a campsite and lying down on the fresh green grass to admire stars spread across the rich blue sky.

Sounds magical, doesn’t it?
This is the pleasure of overnight camping. It will leave you with everlasting memories and a rejuvenated mind. However, this pleasure comes only after putting in the time to plan ahead, organise gear and pack the essentials.
To make your packing easier and camping experience more memorable, here is a list of 12 essentials that should go into your backpack.

1. Knife

The other item that goes hand in hand with a map is your knife. A good folding knife can be used for much more than cutting – it has endless uses! You can use it to open your food, as a tool or even to cut clothes for bandaging.

2. Headlamp & Batteries

Don’t forget you may need to see in the dark. Pack a headlamp and remember to drop in extra batteries. A good headlamp gives you hands-free light to build a campfire, cook your dinner, or find your way if you begin before sunrise.

3. Garbage Bags

One or two sturdy garbage bags are invaluable on a camping trip. Pack your clothes in one for extra protection from the weather. Just cut a hole in it and voila! You have a temporary hood to cover your head in case of rain. And don’t forget to leave no trace – bring all of your rubbish out with you.

4. Personal Essentials

These include insect repellents, sunscreen, toothbrush and other toiletries. Don’t allow any insect the chance to spoil your night under the stars. The day can seem innocuous but the sun is ever present. Be equipped with a good quality sun screen.

5. Ground matt

Though you have a tent to cover your head, a ground mat will help you get a better night’s sleep. Spread this light weight mat for a barrier which improves comfort, adds warmth, and protection from damp ground.

6. Camping Gear & Repair Kit

Bring out the compact packer in you and put together a lightweight tent and sleeping bag into your backpack. Grab the poles and stakes and also a repair kit which might come in handy anytime.

7. Cooking Essentials

Campfire meals are part of the great experience! Pack a compact cooking kit, including a camping stove, lighter, fuel, pans and utensils. Avoid bulky utensils and share the weight among your group.

8. Water & Food

A thirsty man is a tired man – always carry plenty of water in your backpack. Bring enough to drink before you feel thirsty. Energy bars and/or protein bars need to be ticked off your check list as they are instant energy providers. Dehydrated meals are light and easily prepared at camp.

9. Warm Clothes

Temperatures in the night may drop, so be prepared. Select light clothes that you can wear in layers to keep you snug and comfortable. Always carry gloves and an extra pair of socks.

10. First Aid Kit

Nature trails can be rocky, paths can be slippery and thorns may be in the most unexpected of places. Carry a compact first aid kit in case of any injuries.

 

Going for a camping trip?

Enjoy camping? Ready to get backpacking?? We will be using tents on our New Zealand treks thru the South Island! The first thing to do is to buy a tent. Getting ?a suitable tent can be a fun task if you know what to look for. Let us help you get started!

Money Matters

Buy a tent based on your budget. Your tent is an investment, but that doesn’t mean you need to spend lavishly on them. Like all investments, do some research and shop within your budget,

How Light can you Go?

Travelling light sounds sexy and cool. If you are doing multi-day hikes, every gram saved will be felt. If you have a vehicle (or a pack mule), you might find weight less of a consideration as opposed to size or price. Buy a tent keeping in mind the kind of trip you’re planning for.

Next comes the Size

How much space do you need? ?How many people will be on your trip? Will there be any items to store inside? As a general rule get a tent that accommodates one more than your group size. If you are a 2-person team, buy a 3-person tent. This will give you more space to move around.? A 2-person tent might just fit 2 people side by side but not much room for packs or boots.

Seasoned Tent

Think about the season you will be hiking and pick according to the weather conditions. There are four types: ?2-season, 3-season, 3-4-season, 4-season tents.

A 2-season tent is generally used ?in fair ?weather conditions and cannot withstand even the slightest of the winds. However, a 3-season tent is much more durable, and better suited where you expect ?rain and wind.

3-4 season tents are much stronger than their predecessor and have been tested underextreme weather conditions.

The 4-season tent is the all rounder. It can be used in any time of the year and is suited for any weather condition.

Tent Features

Finally, the frills. Choose a tent with aluminium poles-you might come across many fiberglasss poles, tempting you with its low cost and light weight. But, remember, glass is breakable. .

You need a cover to protect yourself from the rain and so does your tent. Opt for a tent with a rainfly. They are waterproof and should be large enough such that they fall over the sides of the tent.

Ensure that your tent has a floor made of waterproof material to be more comfortable on damp or wet ground.. You should also pay attention to the seams. A well-seamed tent protects you against the elements that much better.

A quality tent provides protection from the elements and insects, is easily stored in your pack, and should last for years to come. Invest wisely and have fun!

If you want to try camping in unique hidden places, join our trek in Taiwan, where we camp on the ridge!

A first aid kit is your best friend when you travel. No one can predict when an incident will happen. Oftentimes, a first aid kit is all that is needed to make things right.

Research indicates that a first aid kit is one of the essential items for outdoor travel. How many of us know what really goes into a first aid kit and what each item is used for?

You can find numerous kits in any adventure store but if you?re looking to optimize your kit, Here’s? a list you a list of 10 essential items that should go into your outdoor first aid kit.

  1. Adhesive Bandages

Travelling can result in cuts and bruises, which when left unattended can lead to infections. Adhesive bandages come in an assortment of shapes and sizes to cover these cuts and bruises. They are effective in closing the wound and weigh next to nothing. We recommend bringing various sizes.

  1. Tweezers

They are an important tool of any first aid kit. A pair of tweezers? can be used to remove foreign particles stuck in the skin, which includes thorns, splinters, debris, etc,.

  1. Antiseptic Creams

Treating an injury will be effective only if the area of the injury is clean with no dirt and germs. It is of utmost importance that before putting on a bandage that you clean the wound thoroughly. Apply ?antiseptic cream to clean the wound before treating ?the injury .

  1. Sterile Gauze Pads and Tape

In case of large wounds, gauze pads are essential to absorb fluids. First, clean the wound, dry it out, then apply the antiseptic cream, cover the wound with the gauze padding and secure it with tape.

  1. Pain Relievers

Headache and backache can be annoying on the trail but we don’t need to ?let that affect our ?trip. Pop some pain relievers such as Aspirin or Ibuprofen into your first aid kit and you are all set.

  1. Medical Gloves

Safety and cleanliness are most important when it comes to travelling. Be sure to pack disposable medical gloves in your kit as they are a shield against infection when administering first aid.

  1. Irrigating Syringe

In an outdoor environment, sand, soil and mud can trap bacteria, which hooks easily under your nails. Cutting nails might seem like very far-fetched for travel but ingrown nails or hanging nails can feel unpleasant, especially on a hike. Be sure to keep your nails short and clean and pack a nail clipper for the road.

  1. Blister Treatment

Travelling or trekking can sometimes cause abit of strain, especially when you are not used to carrying a load or walking long hours. Molefoam or other type of blister treatment in your first aid kit can provide ?you instant relief and make you more comfortable.

  1. Sewing Needles

In the event that you get a blister, it is best to drain it and let it dry (if possible).? ?A sewing needle, cleaned with alcohol, is the best way to drain a blister. If possible drain in the evening and place your foot in the open air if possible. Bandage in the morning before putting your socks on.

  1. First Aid Manual

Your customised first aid kit will be incomplete without a first aid manual. The manual will include directions on how to treat wounds, sprains, cramps and other common ailments. The manual should be studied by everyone who has access to the kit and get to know the basics of administering first aid.

Join us for our Taiwan Adventure, where we not only do the trek, but go thru pre trekking briefings and discuss the gear list in full detail.

?A road less travelled? A statement often overused, but in this case under-describes the road between Langhar and Murghab, Tajikistan.? Also known as the Afghan corridor or Wahkhan Valley corridor, the lonely stretch of road was once travelled by large caravans from Europe and Persia that wanted to reach the Far East,to buy and sell their goods. I guess this stretch of road is most commonly known as part of the the Silk Road.

A journey to the mountainous Lenin Peak (7134m) brought us to Kyrgyzstan and the lure of adventure on this lonely highway brought us to Tajikistan. The Pamir Highway is officially considered from the city of Dushanbe, in Tajikistan to the city of Osh, Kyrgyzstan.? Most of this road has small villages and towns along the way, but the section from Langhar and Murghab, is extremely desolate with the exception of a few ranchers during the summer season.? I found myself spending 3 days exploring just this piece of the highway.

With a 4×4 vehicle, plenty of food, water, and camping gear, we set out to take a step back in time and see what the travelers of the caravans saw, some 500 years ago. I was warned that if I had car trouble, do not expect to see another car for two or three days at least. It wasn?t quite that desolate, we did see at least one car of locals each day. But the conditions of the road did give us our share of challenges.

The road itself goes thru several high-mountain passes and we were camping at around 4300 meters each night. Having just finished our Lenin Peak attempt, we felt acclimatized for our day walks we took, but the surprise was the temperature in the evenings.? Dropping down to well below 0 degrees Celsius at night, we chose to sleep in the back of the SUV.? The sleeping bags were more than warm enough and the early morning Sun gave a pleasant warm up before climbing out of the car.

Each day, it felt as if we were visiting different worlds.? First the beautiful greenery of Earth, then the barren landscape of the Moon, and moving on to the red sand mountains that resembled Mars. It was truly remarkable.

The high mountain lakes with it?s glacier water and mineral deposits reflected a blue so deep, that it couldn?t be captured in photos. The reflections of the mountains in the water was as clear as highest quality mirror that money could buy.? Each remarkable landscape that we passed, we tried to photo but the photo just didn?t capture the beautiful realities of the surrounding.

The Fortresses of the different khans during the period still stood in it?s weakened form.? But one could imagine life in these mountains behind these walls.? The petroglyphs inscribed on the rock, tell of stories of Marco Polo Sheep and the Ibex that populate the area.

Though we spent only 3 days in this section, it truly felt like time travel, stepping back to another time. ?This is a time travelers dream.? Interested in experiencing the Pamir Highway? Contact us at info@wildfirexpeditions.com and we can make it happen. The road less travelled is waiting for you…

After a long day hike, what you really want is a good sumptuous meal to end off your day. At the same time, weight of your backpack matters. You are not going to have the luxury of bringing the whole kitchen and all kinds of food ingredients to achieve a hearty meal. This is why many adventure-seekers on multi-day expedition always opt to bring dehydrated food with them whilst camping outdoors, as dehydration process can considerably reduce the weight of the original meal. (In our case, we cooked some Thai curry rice and before dehydration process, the weight was 2.2kg grams. After dehydration, the curry rice weighed 700 grams, almost 1.5kg of water lost!)

Step 1: Plan your Menu and Quantity

Planning your menu and quantity is definitely the most important part of the process. You need to know what kind of food is ideal for dehydration and is easy to rehydrate. From the multiple times of dehydrated food preparation, we realise that vegetables such as cabbages, lettuce, tomatoes, onions still taste good after rehydration. Meat such as beef can be dehydrated too, but in the process of rehydration, it is highly recommended to let it sit in hot water and cook over slow fire for a longer time for the meat to be soft.

Step 2: Cook your Meals

This is the fun part. To cook your own meals! There are a lot of recipes available that would make perfect dehydrated food. Our top choices are Spaghetti bolognaise, Thai curry rice, Fried noodles, Mashed potatoes with chili con beans. Make sure the food is cooked thoroughly before you dehydrate them.

Step 3: Dehydrate your Meals

We used a food dehydrator to dehydrate all our camping food. Different dehydrators will work differently and will take different amount of time to dehydrate different food. You may refer to the guide with your food dehydrator as a reference. In our case, to dehydrate 2.2kg of Thai curry rice, the dehydration process took a total of 8 hours. ?Some food took lesser time than others, depending on the water content in the food as well. We usually check the food to make sure it is crisp and dry before we conclude the food has been fully dehydrated.

Step 4: Pack and Vacuum Seal

We vacuum seal all our food to ensure freshness and make sure it is compact for carrying when we are on our adventures.

Notes:

  • If you are slicing food ingredients, do attempt to slice them in similar sizes so that they will dry at the same speed
  • Our dehydrator fan is at the top of the tray. We noticed that the tray closest to the fan dries the fastest. Hence, for the food to dry evenly, we rotate the orders of the tray stacked so that they can dry evenly

Step 5: Rehydrate and Eat!

After all this hard work in preparing your food, the process of rehydration is easy. Add in hot water to your food, let it sit for approximately an hour. Cook the food over slow heat and keep stirring. A warm and yummy meal is ready to eat!

 

Ready to try a great trek and a great meal?? Holy Ridge Trek, Taiwan 2019.? Sign up today!

Picking a tent for your backpacking adventures can be a bit overwhelming, with the amount of choices there are these days.? Here are a few things to consider when deciding on your backpacking tent.? No one tent fits every situation, but with a few points in mind, you can find that home away from home that will give you a good night’s sleep.

PRICE?- You shouldn?t have to spend a fortune to get a great backpacking tent, but? there are some expensive options out there. If you backpack a lot, it may make sense to spend more on a quality product that will get many years of use.?If you’re looking for choices that will be easier on your wallet, think about secondhand backpacking tents. Plenty of options out there for a secondhand tent

WEIGHT – A few grams here and there might not seem like a big deal, but keeping pack weight down is critical for enjoying backpacking trips. Lightweight tents make hiking more fun, and that?s what it?s all about. Your tent will be one of the four heaviest items you carry (shelter, backpack, sleeping bag, and sleeping pad), so it?s a great place to keep weight to a minimum.

PROTECTION?-?A backpacking tent that doesn?t protect against the elements is worse than worthless, it?s dangerous. So be careful about extreme budget tents you’ll find elsewhere. Every tent on this list will provide excellent storm protection to keep you safe, dry, and warm when properly used.

INTERIOR SPACE?- Backpacking tents keep weight to a minimum by limiting interior space (and thus, use less material). Most two-person tents have room for two sleepers and a few stuff sacks, with backpacks and extra gear stored in the vestibules. If you want more interior space for camping comfort, you may want to go up one size in your tent (for example, buy a 3-person tent to fit 2 hikers). Just remember, interior tent space is a tradeoff between comfort and weight. If you prefer hiking light and crushing miles, stick with a 2-person model for two hikers. If you?re willing to carry more weight for camping comfort, you may want to go up one tent size.

CAPACITY?-?1-Person tents are great for dedicated solo adventurers looking to hike fast and light. 2-Person tents tend to be the most popular, because they strike a good balance between weight and interior space, just don’t expect the interior to be palatial. 3 & 4-Person tents tend to get crowded and impractical, though they can be a good fit for 2 or 3 hikers wanting more interior space for gear storage and extended hangouts.

SEASON RATING?-?3-season shelters are the most popular backpacking tents. They’re built for spring, summer, and fall trips where you?ll need to keep bad weather out while promoting air circulation. 3-Season tents can usually handle a little snow, but they?re not made for heavy snow and winter conditions. But a solid 3-season tent can handle a lot of winter conditions, with the correct sleeping bag.

DESIGN?-?A single design flaw can easily ruin an otherwise solid backpacking tent. Great tents keep design elements simple and include multiple doors, adequate vestibule space, lots of headroom, air vents to reduce condensation, and interior pockets for gear storage. Personally I prefer a 2 door design, but the trade off is that the tent will weigh more because of additional door and zippers.

SETUP?- Freestanding tents are generally prefered because they?re easier to use and quicker to pitch. They come with a fixed pole system that can be set up almost anywhere, even on solid rock. Non-freestanding tents use stakes, guylines, and trekking poles for pitching. They save weight by cutting out tent poles, but require more time and space to pitch, and will take more practice to master.

WALL CONSTRUCTION – Double-wall tents come with two separate parts ? a mesh tent body and a rainfly. The mesh inner-tent acts as a barrier from any condensation that forms on the inside of the rainfly. Single-wall tents reduce weight by ditching the mesh inner-tent, but that leaves hikers vulnerable to interior condensation in wet and cold conditions. Rubbing up against a wet tent interior is not fun. We recommend double-wall tents, unless you generally backpack in dry climates.

DOORS & VESTIBULES?- If you plan on sleeping two people in your tent, it’s more comfortable to have two doors and vestibules. Having separate entrances will ensure that you?re not climbing over a tentmate and two sets of gear every time you want to get in or out of your tent.

DURABILITY?- The main tradeoff with certain tents styles is that they’re built using thinner materials that tend to be less durable than heavy-duty shelters. That said, ultralight tents will last for thousands of miles if treated with a little care. It’s also important to remember that a sharp stick will go through just about any kind of tent fabric.

FOOTPRINT?-?Most tents don?t come with a footprint these days and many backpackers view them as unnecessary. The main benefit of a footprint is adding durability to the floor of your tent. A footprint will protect your tent floor from abrasion, so it will last longer and need fewer repairs. If you?re willing to carry some extra weight to extend the life of your tent, consider picking up a footprint.

Whatever your backpacking condition or trail may be, a tent can make or break the trip.? On a recent trek in Taiwan, the day conditions were extreme with the amount of bamboo bashing thru daily.? By the end of the day we just wanted to get in the tent and relax.? Our Marmot Limelight 3p tent was our relaxing villa on this intense trek!