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Kicks for your next adventure When I’m not out on a mountaineering adventure, I prefer to wear a lighter and more comfortable shoe for all of my outdoor activities. It can be difficult to find lightweight footwear that meets the performance demand of the great outdoors, but the Keen Targhee II WP Hiking Shoe fits the bill. Whether you are casually strolling around town or out on a hiking adventure, these shoes will keep your feet dry, safe and comfortable. My favorite feature on these shoes is the waterproofing. When I’m day hiking or backpacking, keeping my feet dry is a must. I wore these Keens on a 5-day trek in Torres del Paine and my feet stayed dry as I tromped across streams, through knee-deep mud and across areas with snow pack. Comfort is also important in the outdoors. These shoes have excellent cushioning with a high arch (removable footbed for those who prefer...

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Dream Backpack for Peru and Patagonia A call to all you women (and men) hikers out there! I have always loved hiking and backpacking but more recently I have been preparing for my up-coming trip to Peru and, most importantly, the Inka Trail Trek that I will be doing as well as the hiking I intend to do around the Colca Canyon. With this in mind, I know that a lot of our travelers will be heading out soon for similar treks and I wanted to share my insight on my favorite pack that I can’t leave home without. I use the REI Venus 70 pack. I bought it back in 2010 and have used it while doing long trips around the northeastern jungle of Argentina, through Chilean Patagonia (Torres del Paine) and here in the Pacific Northwest Cascades while snowshoeing and doing longer summer backpacking trips. Packs made for women (especially on the smaller side)...
15 Years Going Strong - My Favorite Suitcase Where ever you find me when I travel, you find my favorite ultimate suitcase, the MEI Convertible.  It has become my trusty travel companion and I highly recommend it.  I have had this bag for over 15 years, with nary a tear or scuff.   Why do I like this bag so much?   It converts to a comfortable backpack with a waist-belt and shoulder pads. I have walked miles with this pack.  You can stow the straps away and use the side shoulder strap or handle to change the bag to a standard suitcase. It is small and malleable – fitting under your seat on nearly any plane or on overhead rack on a bus.  It fits smaller adults, such as me, quite well.  I recommend it for adventure cruises where space is minimal such as on our Turquoise Coast Odyssey.  The MEI convertible bag is high-quality, USA-made by...

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Saucony Jazz – The ultimate travel shoe Whenever I travel I like to pack as light as possible. Things that are compact or are versatile enough to serve multiple functions are preferred. Ever since I got my first pair of Saucony Jazz several years ago, they’ve gone with me on every venture abroad that I’ve been on. Why? Well, frankly, because they’re not only the most comfortable shoes my feet have ever had the pleasure of walking inside of, they are versatile enough to take the place of traveling with both hiking and casual shoes. First released in the early 1980’s, the originals have regained popularity over the past decade. Saucony has revived and re-issued them for good reason. Their retro style makes them classy enough to wear walking around town, but their durability makes them functional enough to wear on hiking adventures. Just last summer on a trip to Central America I wore my Sauconys in...

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Travel Gear for Kids: Travel Games Since kids are so immersed in electronics, I try to find things for them to do that are engaging but do not include electricity on our family adventures. My current favorites are made by SmartGames and the kids are excited to try out their Noah’s Ark Travel Game. Pros: It’s about the size of a CD case and folds out to lap size, which means our two kids won’t get in each other’s way.  Each game comes with about 48 levels beginning with “starter” and working up to “master”. Although these games are usually designed for ages 5 and up the master levels are really hard, I have trouble with them and I like logic puzzles! Though designed for one player, the harder levels can be solved more easily if the kids work as a team. So they can take turns for awhile, and then when they get tired of...
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