Sir Edmund Hillary we are not
There comes a moment in the life of men when they must answer the call of the wild, and put behind suburban comforts and head into the primordial pastures. So it was with the Patio Boys, many of whom were hardened already by the elemental activity of cheering for hometown high school football and caring for their manicured lawns.
The Boys are not alpinists. They are not ultra-light survivalists. They are not modern-day Thoreaus. They are, instead, backpacking’s weekend warriors, who twice a year head to a location that, by rule, cannot be more than a five-hour drive from home. On Friday afternoon they depart and car camp at the trail head. On Saturday morning they hit the trail with backpacks loaded for two nights out. By Monday night, they are home and back to work on Tuesday until the next trip.
Collectively, The Boys have 844 nights out – so we have some experience with gear, with blisters, with starting fires in the wind and rain, with getting lost, with getting found, with ticks in inappropriate places, with water pumps that don’t work, with death march trails, with out-of-date maps, with fishing in fishless streams, with unforecasted snow, with unbearable heat, with unbearable bugs, with the unpleasant sharing of trails with horses and the recycled hay they leave behind, with close encounters with bears and with close encounters with other gender hikers and their dogs, whose gender we didn’t bother to ask.
What’s the value of this collective experience? You be the judge. But The Boys really do know a thing or two about weekend backpacking. Want to know the best bourbons for the trail? You came to right place. The Boys are from Kentucky. Want to know how to convert a heavy, ordinary car-camping cot into a light-weight, packable cot that will end those sleepless nights in the woods? You came to the right place. The Boys have an expert. Tired of just-add-water noodles or those awful freeze-dried foods of suspect origins? The Boys have a couple of cooks that make eating by the fire a gourmet experience. Have trouble with logistics and planning? The Boys have a no frills expert. Need a reliable campsite-rating system, scale of 1 to 5? The Boys have it. Having trouble taking photos? The Boy’s videographer can turn your point-and-shoot camera into a nature-capturing image machine that would do Ansel Adams proud.
We’re glad to share what we know (and even what we don’t know). And we invite you to share your expertise or lack of it on this site, too. So browse. Contribute. Maybe you are, in your heart, a Patio Boy, too.