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Hiking the highest point in your state

Rainier Tipsoo

Hiking the highest point in your state is not for everyone. In fact, some people say that it takes the fun out of hiking. To be fair, hiking the highest points in certain states is not the easiest of tasks, especially if you live in Alaska. But, the fact that it can take some planning and can even take a little bit of the fun out of hiking doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be done.

Granted, for those of us that live in the West, that can be pretty tough. Here at River Country Products, the highest point in Washington is Mt. Rainier. At 14,411 feet, it is one of the most famous mountains in the United States. Sure, there are a lot of Colorado peaks that rival Mt. Rainier in total elevation, but none of them are close to it in prominence.

Mt. Rainier

If you’re thinking of hiking the highest point in your state, and you live in the West, here are some tips for making the most out of your climb.


First, take your physical fitness seriously. Climbing giant volcanoes and other similar large peaks requires a high level of physical fitness. You should exercise regularly prior to the ascent, including cardio, strength training, and endurance activities. You may also want to consider working with a personal trainer who can develop a program tailored to your specific needs.


Second, be aware that altitude sickness can be a serious concern when climbing any peak over 8,000 feet, so it is important to allow sufficient time for acclimatization. Consider spending several days at altitude during the weeks and days before attempting to summit and be prepared to adjust your itinerary based on your body’s response to altitude.


Third, proper gear is essential for a successful climb of major peak. This includes appropriate clothing for the cold and potentially wet conditions. It also may include a high-quality backpack, boots with crampons, an ice axe, rope, helmet, and other climbing gear. It is important to choose gear that is both comfortable and durable, and to test all gear before the climb.


Fourth, you should have experience with basic mountaineering skills. This includes roped travel, self-arrest techniques, and ice axe use in snowy conditions. Consider taking a mountaineering course or hiring a guide to teach you these skills and summit with you. (As a side note, around two people per year die on Mt. Rainier, but last time I checked none of them have been part of a licensed, guided group.)


Fifth, some of the highest points require a permit, which are usually obtained through the National Park Service. Sometimes this is a lottery process that happens months or even a year in advance of the hike, so check the requirements. You should also be familiar with the regulations and guidelines for climbing the mountain, including rules for waste disposal and camping.

Emergency Preparedness

Sixth, it is important to be prepared for emergencies. This includes carrying a first aid kit, emergency communication devices, GPS devices, and knowing how to respond to common mountaineering injuries and illnesses. Plain in advance: what are you going to do if you or one of your companions suffers a debilitating injury?

Mental Preparation

Finally, summiting a major peak can be physically and mentally demanding. To prepare for this, it is important to set realistic goals, maintain a positive attitude, and be prepared to adjust your plans if necessary. If the weather changes before you summit, think safety first!

This list is not exhaustive, but it is a good place to start. What other tips would you add to the list? Comment below with your tips and let us know if you have summited the highest point in your state along with the name of the peak and the height.

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Product Review: the one and only Trekker Palace

The one and only Trekker Palace is the ultimate two-Person two-Layer silnylon (aka ultralight) trekking pole tent for all of your outdoor adventures. Ok, maybe not all, but it is a versatile tent. This high-end tent is designed to impress even the most seasoned outdoor enthusiasts with its outstanding features and benefits.

backpacking trekking pole tent set up near water

Key Features

One of the key features of the Trekker Palace is its full 2-Layer design, which allows you to set it up in various configurations, depending on your needs. Unlike traditional tents that come with complicated pole systems, the Trekker Palace is designed to be ultra-light, compact, and easy to set up in just 1-2 minutes. You’ll love how simple it is to use trekking poles for support, and the ability to set up each layer separately or together.

Another key feature that sets the Trekker Palace apart from other tents is its ability to be set up in three different configurations. You can set it up with the outer shell only, like a tarp tent. Or, you can set it up with the inner mesh tent only so you can stargaze or keep cool on a warm summer night. Or, you can use both layers together for a two-layer tent that provides you with unparalleled protection and comfort.

backpacking trekking pole tent outer shell set up near water

With its durable 2-layer design, the Trekker Palace offers several benefits that traditional tents simply can’t match. The outer layer provides you with an additional barrier against the elements, helping to keep you dry and warm in inclement weather. Meanwhile, the inner mesh tent provides excellent ventilation, keeping you cool and comfortable even in hot and humid conditions. And you can get it at a fraction of the price of comparable tents.

And, let’s not forget about the weight savings. At just a fraction of the weight of traditional tents, the Trekker Palace is ultra-light and easy to carry in your pack, making it the perfect choice for backpacking, hiking, and other outdoor activities when you demand the best.


Packed Weight
3 lbs 3 oz/ 1.45 kg

Weight w/o stakes and bag
2 lbs 12 oz/ 1.25 kg

Inner Tent Weight
1 lb 8 oz/ .68 kg

Outer Shell Weight
1 lb 4 oz/ .57 kg

Packed Size
10.5 x 5.5 in

Floor Area
84 x 60 in/ 35 sq ft

8 carabiners, 8 ultra-light aluminum stakes, guylines, waterproof carry bag

Outer Shell Fabric

Inner Tent Fabric
No-See-Um Mesh Upper, SilNylon Floor

Wrapping it up

So, whether you’re planning a weekend camping trip or a long-distance trek through the wilderness, the Trekker Palace is the ultimate tent for your needs. Don’t settle for anything less – choose the Trekker Palace and experience the best that outdoor camping has to offer! Check out this video for a more in-depth review.

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The more the merrier: another backpack just makes sense

Mailbox Peak

The first step to finding the optimal backpack is understanding that when it comes to gearing up, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. In fact, just like anything else of importance, you’ll want to ask yourself what you want and what tool will help you achieve your purpose. Your main considerations will change depending on whether you are hiking, camping, or backpacking. And your decision will revolve around storage capacity, fit and comfort, and custom features. The reality is that you’ll want a different backpack for different occasions.

Storage capacity

If you’re hiking, either for the day or overnight, you will likely be focused on speed and comfort. You won’t need much storage space, because supplies will be limited. In this case, a backpack with a 40-60 liter capacity, weighing one to two pounds empty, will probably suit your needs.

If you’re camping in an area near parking, you may not need a pack, except to help you organize your supplies, or you might be able to get away with a 20-30 liter day pack or less.

On the other hand, if you’re backpacking or thru hiking for an extended period of time, you will probably need as much storage as possible. Thru hiking backpacks generally have the most storage capacity and may fit as much as 60-80 liters of supplies and materials and weigh two pounds or more. Our River Country Products backpack rides the line between the overnight pack and the thru hiking pack with a 65-liter storage capacity. Life in a Pack sells a 70-liter pack with additional versatility.

Fit and comfort

Any pack you carry should fit you snugly, but not too tight, and should have the straps necessary to carry the load. This even applies to the tiniest of waist packs. Although strap number, padding, and width may not be critical considerations for day hiking or camping near your car, they are very important for multi-day and thru hiking. On such hikes, your goal is to not notice the pack on your back. Hips belts and durable materials go from being optional with the smaller packs to becoming a necessity with the larger ones. Internal frames are another consideration, but the added comfort of an internal frame can be offset by limited adjustability.

Custom features

The best packs have fully adjustable straps, pockets for water bottles, and hydration bladder compatibility. They usually also have gear loops on the outside of the backpack. Most will also have either an attached or detachable rain cover. Other considerations might include a spot for a recharging station, fully waterproof construction, and optional duffel hooks.

At the end of the day, if you are going to find the optimal backpack, you’ll probably need more than one. A 65-liter pack will be very versatile for both medium and long trips, but may be more than you need if you’re a peak bagger with a short list.

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Hammock + Tree Straps = The Perfect Pair

hammock tree straps backpacking

Although a seemingly small change, the addition of two 10 foot tree straps to our backpacking hammock makes a huge difference in set up time and convenience. These hammock tree straps are simple to use and are now included with every hammock.

The tree straps are rated at 400lbs (though the hammock holds just 320lbs), and are made from a durable stretch resistant polyester. The stitching is also reinforced making the straps stronger. Another great feature are the 15 connection points for your hammock. These small loops make it easy to adjust the tightness of your hammock setup without retying a knot or removing the straps.

Finally they weigh just 5.2oz each and pack down to a small size, perfect for taking backpacking, camping, or in your backyard. The orange stitching also makes them more visible in the evening and at night.