Hiking and Tenkara, two completely different ways of enjoying the outdoors that can go hand and hand. I’ve been hiking since I was super young but never enjoyed it the way I have in the last couple years. Of course when I was younger I’d run all over and jump on the rocks and stuff. But now I enjoy it much more because I rarely stay on the trail, at least not for the ascent. I have so much fun climbing up the few hundred feet of rocky areas and don’t mind that I have no bigger mountaineering type mountains around me. The only mountain “nearish” to me is Mount Washington and that is still only about 6,000 feet. Still more than double the size of anything in the close area but it’s a few hours and a couple tanks of gas away. And along with hiking is my other passion, Tenkara. I’m about a year deep in my journey of learning Tenkara and have loved every second of it! Tenkara is an extremely versatile style of fishing and very simple. It is exactly what hikers and backpackers want. The best part is its super light, easily less than 8 oz for your entire setup if you do it right. Mine is even slightly lighter than that I think. I carry my “technically tanago” but to me backpacking Tenkara rod (Diawa Soyokaze 9′) weighing in at 1.6 oz. I have a random set of forceps, fishpond nippers, a spool of 5x/6x/7x tippet depending on where I’ll be fishing, a small fly box with all the flies I need for a week or more, and last but not least are the line spools. All of that weighs in at about 3 oz. I typically carry two spools. 1 setup with a longer line and one set up with a shorter line. I prefer to carry it all in my pockets or right in my backpack when hiking instead of lugging around a bulky fishing pack. Although I love my fishing vest for local streams its not very practical for longer hikes. If you’re the type of person that likes nets, TrailLight Designs makes a titanium net weighing just 2.4oz. Its incredible how light things are getting these days. Some people prefer to get a hip pouch that slides onto their belt to carry all their fly stuff, however by not using one of these or a net I’m able to have an extremely light set up! One major thing I want to point out about hiking and tenkara is that you don’t have to spend tons of money, these activities cost virtually whatever you choose to spend. I spent about $100 to get a rod, line, spool and tippet as i mentioned in my previous article, ‘Beginners guide to Tenkara: part one’. For my day hikes I spent about $200.
I spent $90(regularly $145) on my shoes that are Columbia Talus Ridge Outdry, they keep the water out(sort of) and keep warmth in. Very comfortable and sturdy. They are rated for carrying up to 30-35 pounds of gear and are meant for harder dirt surfaces. They will not excel in the Rockies but are great for the Appalachians. Highly recommend these shoes, very comfortable.
A bit heavier than some other shoes like the Merrel Bare Access 2 at just under 1lb 13 oz but they’re stronger so to me it’s a fair trade off. Shoes like the Bare Access 2 are trail running shoes and thats all they’ll ever be. I took them for a few trail runs this week and iI’m impressed by the lightness of these shoes. They have 4mm of a Vibram sole so they’re certainly a barefoot runner. Very flat bottom providing pretty good traction, though the Talus Ridge have better grip. Overall I would recommend these for anyone trail running or looking for an extremely lightweight shoe. I got the shoes(Talus Ridge) with a higher weight rating than I needed because I usually pack a bunch of stuff I won’t use in my pack if I’m going out for a quick day hike just as a conditioning thing. And the pack I carry is usually about 25-30 pounds. However the last time I went backpacking, which was only my second time ever going, I had my pack at just over 5 pounds not including my water. I carried a lightweight pot, 3 esbit tabs, 3 REI stormproof matches and striker, a shaved down plastic fork, a shaved down tooth brush with just enough toothpaste for my overnight, some pasta for food, about 2 liters of water if I remember correctly, the clothes on my back, and a very thin fleece blanket. The reason I took the fleece blanket was to have something to lay on that night. I used my pack as a pillow and kept on my clothes to stay warm though I think the temp was about 60 at the lowest all night if that. The best part about the trip was the trout I caught for 2 out of the 4 meals. Unfortunately on this trip I didn’t bring my camera or even my phone to take some pictures which was a bit of a bummer because I saw some pretty gorgeous things. I wanted to see just how lightweight I could go on this trip. And keep in mind that was my second ever trip, this summer I’m hoping to go a lot more! I’m hoping I can go with actual gear this time though. There’s nothing like sleeping right under the stars, but there’s also nothing as annoying as waking up with bugs all over you. Still can’t decide if I want to get a lightweight tent or go with a Hennessy Hammoch but more on that when I actually decide. As you can see Tenkara and Hiking go together perfectly for me, how does this work out for you?