Backpacker Radio #192 | Alex “GPS” Brown on Gear Talk, Gatekeeping, and the Pfiffner Traverse
In today’s episode of Backpacker Radio presented by The Trek, we are joined by Alex Brown, known on trail as GPS. In addition to thru-hiking the CDT- with a Nolans 14 bonus- and more recently, the Pfiffner Traverse, we go deep on gear talk with GPS, as he is a certified gear nerd with a passion and deep knowledge of material sciences. We talk about some of the drawbacks of Dyneema Composite Fabric, what gear fabrics he’s most excited about, when ultralight goes too far, and more. We wrap the chat with a discussion around the Ethics of Geotagging on Social Media.
We close out the show with a new patent-pending, the triple crown of small things that are never not funny, and a new stupid thing of the week.
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Interview with Alex “GPS” Brown
Time stamps & Questions
00:04:48 – QOTD: What’s something you can’t find at a store that’s been driving you crazy lately?
00:11:18 – Reminders: Vote for BPR in the Sports Podcast Awards!
00:12:53 – Introducing GPS
00:13:27 – Tell us about architecture!
00:16:15 – Why did you want to become an architect?
00:17:26 – What got you into backpacking?
00:19:00 – What did you learn in the Boy Scouts?
00:20:38 – Where did the Long Trail come on your radar?
00:22:52 – What made you decide to hike the CDT as your first thru-hike?
00:24:18 – How did you prepare for the CDT?
00:25:19 – How did you decide to use a tarp tent?
00:27:30 – Is DCF overrated? Read Alex’s Trek article on the subject
00:30:12 – How does your interest in this overlap with your architecture skills?
00:32:19 – Is it bad to fold up your tent?
00:33:10 – What tents would you recommend for a modest budget?
00:34:37 – Do you think there will be a future material that surpasses what’s currently available?
00:38:55 – Are there any companies that are using the ultra fabric?
00:40:54 – How do you recommend people store their tents?
00:43:28 – Did you get a chance to test the Big Agnes DCF tent?
00:46:05 – Tell us about your CDT pack
00:51:23 – Tell us about your sleeping bag and pad
00:55:25 – Tell us about the Nolans 14 portion of the CDT
00:56:01 – Give us the Nolans 14 basics
00:57:55 – What was the inspiration for making the CDT more difficult?
00:59:04 – Discussion of the Wind River High Route
01:00:12 – Were you surprised by how smooth things had gone?
01:00:48 – How did you manage your weight and diet on the CDT?
01:03:30 – What did your town days look like?
01:05:30 – How would Chaunce eat 5,000 calories in a day?
01:07:57 – What were the highlights from New Mexico?
01:09:08 – What was your longest mile day on the CDT?
01:11:19 – Tell us about the Pfiffner Traverse
01:15:07 – Was it nerve-wracking to do your first solo trip with paper maps?
01:16:05 – Who would you recommend to the Pfiffner Traverse?
01:17:03 – What are you planning for 2023?
01:17:40 – What do you do on the weekends near Aspen?
01:19:25 – What’s your stance on geotagging? Read Alex’s Trek article on the subject
01:25:10 – Discussion about age and use of social media
01:29:09 – What do you love about the X-Mid?
01:30:50 – Have you thought about designing your own gear?
01:31:27 – What does your ideal kit look like?
01:35:26 – Tell us about shoes
01:39:58 – What are some examples of stupid light? Read Alex’s Trek article on the subject
01:42:38 – Why do you say you don’t need to overplan for a thru-hike?
01:45:41 – How did you get your trail name?
- The Top Sleeping Bags, Quilts, and Pads on the Appalachian Trail: 2022 Thru-Hiker Survey by Kate Richard
Triple Crown of small things that are never not funny
5 Star Review
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