I hate to start off with a cliché, but life really is about the journey and not the destination. I say this because the saying couldn’t be more perfect when applied to backpacking through the mountains, and it’s a cliché that came up within minutes of talking to Chris Tennal over at Breckenridge Mountain Outfitters on Ridge St.
“In the past, it was more about the camping and not the actual time on the trail,” Tennal said. “Now the philosophy has changed a bit to where if you travel lighter and faster you are going to enjoy the journey more than the destination.”
Lighter and faster are definitely buzzwords in the backpacking world these days, whether you are talking about packs, footwear, tents or anything else for that matter. When you are carrying all your necessary items for survival on your back, every ounce makes a difference after several days.
Luckily, Breckenridge Mountain Outfitters carries all the latest and greatest gear, so whether you are an avid backpacker or if this is your first season hitting the trails, the friendly staff will guide you through the ins and outs of what you need to do it
Every outdoor enthusiast knows it’s easy to sink some serious money into your equipment, but in my discussions with Chris he informed me that, if you’re going to spend serious money on anything backpacking related, it should be your hiking boots.
Breckenridge Mountain Outfitters has a great selection of boots to choose from and this year they brought on a line from the European brand Salewa, a name that is quickly becoming synonymous with quality and performance in the hiking world.
“Another thing to invest in would be a good sleeping bag,” Tennal said. “It pays off quickly because when you are walking all day you will be able to go farther and feel less fatigued if you are sleeping well at night. That usually means a good sleeping pad too.”
There are lots of ways to lighten your load if you’re willing to forgo the traditional tent set up as well. Bivvy sacks are extremely small and lightweight, designed to slip right over your sleeping bag for a few extra degrees of warmth. Or, you can opt for a hammock set up. I discovered hammock sleeping on a backpacking trip a few summers ago and now I’m always on the hunt for two perfectly spaced trees when it’s time to make camp at the end of the day.
If you are looking for the latest and greatest in gear, then head over to Breckenridge Mountain Outfitters to check out the super compact, carbon fiber trekking poles from Black Diamond that everyone is talking about.
“Trekking poles are great for balance and taking some of the weight off the ankles and the knees,” Tennal said. “They are also great for balance because around here the trail aren’t smooth and you’re always scrambling over rocks and things like that.”
Breckenridge Mountain Outfitters is literately a one stop shop when it comes to backpacking essentials. Walking into the store it’s easy to be overwhelmed with the amazing variety of backpacks, sleeping bags, boots, and light-weight wicking clothing (by luis). Plus, there is a whole section with camp stoves, fuel, and sporks… oh how I do love sporks.
Find Breckenridge Mountain Outfitters on Ridge Street or online here, and don’t be afraid to ask for some help when you walk in, the friendly staff uses most of the equipment themselves so they are well versed in what works best out on the trail.