Thursday, August 16, 2012

What kind of compass? Suunto M-3D Leader

I've been wanting to buy a compass for the past year, but I haven't felt it was 100 percent necessary for my kind of hiking. I use a variety of maps - as many and as detailed as I can find for each of the hikes I do. And I have excellent bearings. It's difficult for me to get lost, and when I do I can usually depend on my observation skills and mindfulness of detail to get me back on track in short order. So, it feels like a bit of a waste of money.

Still, I want one. I feel like if I'm not good at using a compass I couldn't really call myself a good navigator, or at least not a very reputable one. So tonight I've made up my mind to buy one.

Suunto M-3D Leader Compass
I've chosen the Suunto M-3D Leader. I've seen it at REI for $34, and I've read their comprehensive literature on all of the compasses they carry. It's a fairly inexpensive, decent choice for someone who takes learning compass skills seriously but isn't seriously sure how important of a purchase it is as he looks to move from New Mexico to Southern California in less than two weeks.

Still, learning things like navigation skills are part of my blog Man of Merit; and even though mine may be sufficient for the time being, the thought of hiking without a map, just the memory of the trail and topography and a set of coordinates.

I checked out the REI website tonight to read the reviews, and I have to say I was impressed. The two top reviews were very different but equally supportive of buying the middle-priced Suunto Leader. One was quite technical, way above my head, and the other was emotional, citing how the model helped him lead his friends to safety after smoking pot at a sunset overlook. (I added the smoking pot part to see if you were paying attention.)

Anyway, the Suunto M-3D Leader won me over because of price, but I wouldn't be compelled to run out to REI right this very moment to buy it if I didn't love the reviews and place myself into both of them - being myself someone who longs to understand the technical aspect of all things navigation as well as a person who wants to be prepared to lead my friends away from the zombie apocalypse. (No, I'm not serious.)

So here I go...REI here I come! I'll report on learning to use the Suunto M-3D leader as part of my blog Man of Merit and post a product view later, here on HikeyHikey!

NOTE: The Albuquerque REI was out of the Suunto M-3D Leader when I went to go purchase it, and while I had two options - purchase a different compass or order the Suunto M-3D Leader online - I decided to wait. I'm still in the market for a compass, so if you have information on the Suunto M-3D Leader or any other compass you may think would be suitable for the uses I described, feel free to let me know in the comments section below. Thanks!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Welcome to Hikey Hikey!

On the trail where I belong, I hum a tune a sing a song. (What a cheese ball!)
My name is Brian. Twitter folks know me as Life Coach Brian, the guy behind @MyFitLife2Day. Others may know me as the guy who launched The Fitness 400 Project blog (now called MyFitLife2Day). I'm also the founder and author of such blogs as Man of Merit, My Life in Megalopolis, American Andragogy, and LatAm News Translations. I have tons of blogs because blogging is my way of making sense of the world I live in. It helps me organize my thoughts, maintain accountability for goals I set for myself and, I hope, inspire and help others move toward their own personal accomplishments. I have so many blogs, I think, because themes in one blog often outgrow their progenetor and beg to be called blogs of their own. Such is the case with HikeyHikey!

The name HikeyHikey! has to do with my own personal awakening that came about as I found myself falling in love with trail life. I absolutely love hiking, and it's infused in so many areas of my life. Long-time readers of my blogs probably think hiking has entirely consumed my life when in fact I have a wide range of interests I want to explore in writing.

My blog Man of Merit has been heavily hiking-centric since its inception, but it's really about more than that - it's about filling in the knowledge gaps of my youth by attempting to complete the Boy Scouts Eagle Scout Merit Badge curriculum. MyFitLife2Day, has started to feel like a hiking blog, but it's really about the whole of my fit life journey, which includes weight loss, fitness and exercise and healthy habits for living a longer, fuller life. And as I move to Southern California, I'm preparing to breathe new life into the My Life in Megalopolis blog; If I don't watch it, that blog could become hiking-centric as well. It's really about the urban experience in its many forms.

But hiking is about more than just physical fitness or goal-setting to me. I'm not exactly sure how to define what hiking means to me at this point, but this blog will explore that. I hope to include more creative writing here, too, as I share things I'm inspired to write while out on the trail or soon after I've returned to civilization after some time spent in the cathedral of nature. And there will be a bit of other stuff, as well, like journalistic and technical articles to inspire new hikers to the trail, educate novice hikers on now to improve technique and get more out of the hiking experience and share what I learn about gear, trail food, trail magic and such.

In short, this, like every other blog I fill, will be a journey, and I invite you to come along. And as always, I invite your comments, as blogging is so much more fulfilling when I hear from those who take brief moments of their time to keep up with what I'm doing with mine.