Jim Rahtz

My name is Jim, though on the trail I'm occasionally known as Simba. When I retired a few years ago I returned to backpacking and found, for me, the sweet spot is long trails, but not that long. In the past few years I've thru-hiked the Colorado Trail, Long Trail, JMT, Tahoe Rim Trail and Sheltowee Trace. To me, these 200-500 mile trails can be life changing, without taking so long that I have to change my life to accomplish them. I think they're a great alternative for those that don't have the time, ability, circumstances, or need to hike one of the Triple Crown. I hope to share that point of view on these pages. I'm a member of the Outdoor Writers of Ohio and through the years have written other articles and a few books about backpacking. Much of my hiking is covered at oldmanoutdoors.net.

Posts

Black Bears and Thru-Hiking: Your Questions Answered

Black Bears and Thru-Hiking: Your Questions Answered

On a recent hike through Glacier National Park, my wife, Michelle, and I encountered multiple bears. Michelle had a more than healthy respect for the

Sep 14, 2020 : Jim Rahtz
Help Wanted: Beer Drinking Appalachian Trail Hiker

Help Wanted: Beer Drinking Appalachian Trail Hiker

Yes, you read that right. Despite the recent surge in unemployment, there is a position available that requires hiking the Appalachian Trail and

Jun 22, 2020 : Jim Rahtz
Appalachian Trail Off the Table for This Year? Take a Look at the 77-Mile Foothills Trail

Appalachian Trail Off the Table for This Year? Take a Look at the 77-Mile Foothills Trail

The Foothills Trail runs from Oconee State Park to Table Rock State Park, both in South Carolina. In between, the path meanders through Sumter

Apr 10, 2020 : Jim Rahtz
Gear Review: Kammok Pongo Pad Air Mattress and Puffin Pillow

Gear Review: Kammok Pongo Pad Air Mattress and Puffin Pillow

It may be because I’m getting older, but a decent night’s sleep while backpacking is getting more and more important. Gone are the days of using

Aug 8, 2019 : Jim Rahtz
The Lakeshore Trail: Travel the Length of Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

The Lakeshore Trail: Travel the Length of Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

Pictured Rocks is the setting for the Lakeshore Trail. The path runs the length of the park, approximately 43 miles, and is often within sight of

May 31, 2019 : Jim Rahtz
Gear Review: REI Magma 30 Sleeping Bag

Gear Review: REI Magma 30 Sleeping Bag

I’d been in the market for a new sleeping bag for a while. My 55-degree bag was light, but only useful for summer trips at lower elevations. My older

May 27, 2019 : Jim Rahtz
Feeling Safe Again on the Appalachian Trail

Feeling Safe Again on the Appalachian Trail

The recent killing on the Appalachian Trail of Ronald Sanchez has shattered many people’s confidence in their personal safety while on the trail.

May 22, 2019 : Jim Rahtz
How to Bikepack Across Ohio on the Ohio to Erie Trail

How to Bikepack Across Ohio on the Ohio to Erie Trail

Bikepacking the Ohio to Erie Trail Length: 326 miles Location: The trail runs from the Ohio River in Cincinnati to Lake Erie in Cleveland Trail

Feb 20, 2019 : Jim Rahtz
Gear Review: Sierra Designs Convert 2 Four-Season Tent

Gear Review: Sierra Designs Convert 2 Four-Season Tent

Sierra Designs Convert 2 I was recently given the opportunity to test the Sierra Designs Convert 2 four-season tent. I had not used a four-season

Nov 14, 2018 : Jim Rahtz
Three Favorite Day Hikes in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Three Favorite Day Hikes in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Many readers of this website are intimately aware of the 70 miles of the AT that travel through Great Smoky Mountains National Park, but there are

Oct 4, 2018 : Jim Rahtz