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Photo by Azharul Islam on Unsplash

9 to 5 Hiker is taking a sabbatical while I pursue a career change. Here’s what’s coming next.

9 to 5 Hiker has always been for working professionals balancing full-time careers and life in the outdoors. I know from personal experience. I was a full-time desk jockey, grinding out marketing copy, blog posts, and product descriptions 40+ hours a week.

Emphasis on the “was.”

I was laid off in September — “made redundant” as my good consultant friend put it — after nearly six total years with my company. Layoffs happen, especially during COVID, and I’ve been down this road before. But insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. …


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The battle station, in all its glory.

This is the hardware I use while going fully immersive into full stack JavaScript and other programming languages.

Step one of my software engineering bootcamp starts today with pre-course training and I spent the last couple weeks perfecting my workspace.

I’m obsessed with a desk setup that’s just right and, while I already had some of this organized for my gaming PC, I was able to build a dual boot system that shares the same monitors and peripherals.

This is what’s on my desk for maximum productivity (and a little fun).

Apple M1 Mac Mini


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Resting between the San Juan peaks and the Monument Valley plains is a unique Colorado gem that blends the best of desert and mountain.

2020 threw my summer tradition for a loop (understatement for the world). Every June, we meet friends from Denver for the Telluride Bluegrass Festival. It’s my favorite — it falls on my birthday, Telluride is one of the most beautiful towns in the country, and the festival vibes can’t be beat.

Well, surprise, no Telluride Bluegrass this year! But every great tradition improvises as needed, and our annual meetup shifted from summer in Telluride to September in Durango, Colorado.


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A punctured sleeping bad can wreck your sleep and ruin your trip. Here are two ways to find the leak and patch it up before your next adventure.

A leaky sleeping pad is one of the worst gear failures you can encounter in the backcountry. A good pad isn’t just for comfort — it’s what separates your warm body from the cold ground. When it deflates, you wake up freezing in the middle of the night. No fun, people.

A leak is hard to find in the backcountry but you can do it easily at home. If you backpack with a foam pad, you probably don’t need to worry about this. But air pad users will tell you — sooner or later a leak will happen.

My Thermarest…


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The Morakniv Companion Fixed-Blade costs less than a Chipotle burrito with guac and chips, and it’s still the best outdoors knife for your buck.

Backpacking gear is 100 percent function over form — I love that. Trendy retailers like Huckberry sell gear that looks great, some of it very useful, but all of it marked up and expensive.

You can easily spend more than $100 on a knife. Here’s one by Benchmade for $145. It’s probably a fantastic knife. It sure looks cool and rustic and all the things you’d want a $145 knife to be, but it’s not for me.

I carry what I need in the backcountry. I spend more on boots and trail runners because they protect my feet, more on…


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Photo by Anton Lecock on Unsplash (Cropped)

It’s 110 degrees, the gyms are closed, and my apartment has nothing that passes for a home gym. It’s time to talk about sweat walks.

Dismissing an Arizona summer as “dry heat” is like calling a well-done steak “edible” — both are technically true but still awful experiences. The summer sun in state forty eight is so hot that it will literally cook an egg on the sidewalk. This isn’t some insider’s secret from the people that live here. Arizona is openly mocked for its heat.


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The hype behind the 2021 Bronco is enormous. For the first time since the SUV boom started, Jeep has a reason to be scared.

It’s been two weeks since Ford debuted the highly-anticipated 2021 Bronco to the world, but all the ads on my social feeds are for the Jeep Wrangler. Is it because I follow outdoors and overlanding accounts on Instagram? Maybe. But it’s more likely because I’ve been watching videos like this:

I’ve watched this ad at least 10 times.

Before I even talk about the Bronco itself, let me just tip my hat to the marketing team. Ford didn’t pull a single punch. Bryan Cranston voices the launch, Jimmy Chin takes us through the Grand Tetons in the two-door, Kip Moore…


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A loop I just made up is the perfect 10-mile trek through the Superstition Wilderness in Arizona.

This loop doesn’t have an official name, so I gave it one! “Lost Mesa” Loop starts at First Water Trailhead and connects #104 (Dutchman’s Trail), turns back on #241 (beneath Black Mesa), and returns on #236 from Garden Valley.


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Shredding dirt in a pickup truck is unabashedly American (even if it’s a Toyota). When there’s four-wheel drive, open trails, and good friends, all you need are the right tunes.

There’s no one single playlist I drive to in the backcountry, but they all share a similar vibe. This is a greatest hits album of my favorite summer driving jams and should definitely have a place on your playlist the next time you hit the country roads.

Kid Rock — All Summer Long

All Summer Long is the unofficial redneck summer-fun jam and who else besides Kid Rock could usher in such an anthem? Fun anecdote — I was a groomsman in my friend’s Detroit wedding the same weekend Kid Rock played a show in his hometown. A group of fans wearing all denim and…


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The gang is going camping and didn’t tell you until the last moment? Here’s everything you need to round up your gear, not burden the group, and have an amazing last-minute adventure outdoors.

If you have a circle of friends that camp regularly, you’ve gotten one of these:

“Hey dude, we’re going camping up in Flagstaff this weekend if you want to come. Leaving Friday.” — Sent Thursday 11:56 p.m.

It happens, you wish you knew sooner but people are spontaneous. The question is, are you ready to bounce at a moment’s notice without inconveniencing the group? Here’s five easy rules to maximize your trip and minimize your burden when catching up at the last minute.

1. Be Your Own Ride

Jim Burch

Arizona Adventurer | Writer | 9 to 5 Hiker

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