PRODUCT REVIEW: Camelbak FlashFlo LR 50oz Hydration Belt

One of the hardest things about baby wearing and hiking, is how do I carry everything I need? Let’s face it, when you got an infant/toddler tagging along, it is a lot of stuff. There are the snacks, diapers, change of clothes, and of course, water, just to name a few.

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When I first started hiking with the little man, I was using an ergo, which thankfully had a pouch. So most of the stuff for him went in there, and for me, a fanny pack that held a water bottle, and my extras. Then we upgraded to a toddler Tula, and sadly, lost the pouch. What is a mother to do?

I tried a fanny pack that had ample room, and held two water bottles, but it was clunky, and the bottles kept falling out when I bent over, so I started the search. Since I was so over carrying water bottles, it had to have a hydration bladder.  I did a search on the web, and found the Camelbak FlashFlo LR 50oz Hydration Belt. Luckily our local bike shop had it in stock, score!

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Is it perfect? No, but I still love it. It could be a little bigger, but I will say, I can get a lot into it. The Bladder holds 50 ounces of water. Which is just right for the little man and me. I can fit a diaper, snacks (i.e. granola bar, fruit snack, beef jerky pouch, and well anything that can fit into those wonderful little snack Ziploc), an extra shirt, wipes, as well as the mommy stuff, cell phone, camera and a small pouch with Band-Aids, diver’s license and cash.

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What makes this pack great is the waist belt. I really like how you can tighten from both straps. It also fits well over the Tula baby carrier waist belt. The fit is snug to the body, and is not clunky at all. Another nice aspect, as you drink the water, you can pull two side straps, which brings the pack in even closer to your body.

My biggest gripe it that you can only thread the water tube on one side, and there is only on tube clip, which can’t be moved.  This makes placement of the tube single sided, but this can be worked with.

This pack is great for the shorter hikes, under 4 hours. Anything longer, I would suggest a bigger pack, or do what I do, and bring the hubby along to carrier a backpack.


Product Details:

Key Features: Essentials pocket, front and back reflectivity, reservoir compression, center-cinch fit system.

Designed to Carry: Phone, trail map, snacks, wallet, keys, ultra-light layer.

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Specifications:

  • Hydration Capacity: 50 oz / 1.5L
  • Total Capacity: 3.25L (200 cu in) + 1.5L Reservoir
  • Total Weight: 1 lb 13 oz / .85 kg (pack only)
  • Dimensions: 16 x 8.5 x 2 in
  • Back Panel: Air mesh
  • Belt: 38 mm webbing
  • Fabric: 70D diamond clarus.

CHALENGE: PALI PUKA

PC: Amy McDonald
PC: Amy McDonald, Three Mermaids Photography

I grew up with views of the Ko’olau Mountain Range from my backyard; I drove over the Pali almost daily with it’s the amazing sights and beautiful waterfalls from the rains. It is the range that inspired my father to make Hawaii his home. I had heard stories of hikers taking on the challenges of the ranges, the notches and Pali Puka, never once thinking I would ever attempt any of these. Until I saw a great group of moms conquer Pali Puka. At that moment I decided, there my challenge.

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PC: Amy McDonald, Three Mermaids Photography

Challenge achieved!

Pali Puka is a short, straight up climb to a hole in the rock formation that allows breathtaking views of the windward side of Oahu. I wouldn’t say this is a physically difficult hike, but man will it mess with your head! From staring down sheer cliffs to walking across narrow ridges with suicide drops on each side, you will be tested.

PC: Amy McDonald
PC: Amy McDonald, Three Mermaids Photography

I myself, had many oh crap moments as I made my way up to my goal, but nothing stopped me in my steps like the moment just before the Puka. A bridge that goes across the top, narrow, high and scary. I literally had to sit down….Okay, I was in full blown panic attack mode. As I sat there, all I could think, was I was not going to get to see the Puka. Thanks to a great group of friends, and the realization that there was another, safer way to reach the Puka, I made it to my goal.

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The view was extraordinary, but the feeling I felt, WOW! It was a rollercoaster ride of emotions that ended with me staring at my beautiful home and feeling so accomplished, confident and ready to take on the world.


“Expose yourself to your deepest fear; after that, fear has no power, and the fear of freedom shrinks and vanishes. You are free.”

~~Jim Morrison

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Hiking…A Cure For the Mind

There has been a lot of talk about mental illness in the media lately. I myself suffer from severe anxiety and panic attacks. I have been on various medications, and have seen a variety of therapist. The one constant that I have found to be helpful is exercise, and well, I hate the gym, running isn’t for me, and I don’t have the extra cash to dish out for classes, so this momma hikes.

Aside from amazing benefits to your physical well-being, hiking plays an amazing role into your mental well-being. First, you are outside in nature, getting fresh air. What better way to cleanse your soul then taking in the nature? The sights, sounds and smells are calming and relaxing. You are physically forced to put the hustle and bustle of the city behind you, and just take in your surroundings.

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Second, anxiety is about fear, what better way to overcome your fears then standing on a ridge with a sheer drop of thousands of feet below. That since of accomplishment that your achieve from staring your fears directly in the face, and still continuing on the trail, is a feeling that you can take with you in your everyday life. When you feel that pain of anxiety starting, think back to that moment, take deep breaths and focus on what you have already overcome.

Third, you are forced to step away from the realities of everyday life, forced to let the stress of bills, relationships and work go for a few hours to focus on the trail. With hiking you have to stay present, this allows for time. Time to not think about it all and just take in the world around you.

Since I have started hiking, I have felt better mentally and physically. I have gained confidence that I once lacked, and have felt a sense of accomplishment, which has made me realize what I am able to face and deal with.

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“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace
will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will
blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy,
while cares will drop away from you like the leaves of Autumn. ”
– John Muir

BABYWEARING FTW

This week is international babywearing week, so I decided to share why babywearing is so important to me.

PillboxFirst let me start by saying there is nothing that means more to me than being able to comfort and cuddle Little A. Being able to hold him close to me while I work, shop or do things around the house, while still being able to bond with him, has made my life so much easier.

MakapuuSecond, let’s face it, if it wasn’t for babywearing, I would have never started hiking with Little A. Being able to have him on my back as we explore the wonderful trails around Oahu has been such a great way to share my love for the outdoors and adventure, while passing on traditions from my childhood.

Babywearing has allowed me to take Little A to places that I thought I would have to wait years for. From big beautiful waterfalls to challenging ridge hikes, this has all been made possible because of babywearing.


Manoa Cliff Trail

“A child may not know what direction he is going, but when he is attached to you, he doesn’t feel lost.”  – Gordon Neufeld

First…..A Little about me!

Alright, here goes nothing….Let’s start with a little introduction. I am a Wife, a Mom, an Event Planner, and now, a Hiker. I started hiking about a year ago…wait scratch that, I stated hiking as a kid. When I was 2, my dad was stationed at the beautiful Marine Corps Base Hawaii (Kbay). Being the adventurer that he was, he quickly had us out and about. We did Diamond Head, Aiea Loop, Maunawili Falls, Olomana – pretty sure just to the first peak, and (gasp) Sacred Falls. Of course, these are just a few, and do not include the other Islands. Thanks to him, I have a huge love for the outdoors and hiking. Sadly, we lost dad in 2009 to bladder cancer.

After I had my son, Alexander Lee (middle after my father), I was searching for a way to reconnect with my father, and in turn have something to connect Alexander to him. I was also in desperate need to get in shape, had to shed the baby weight I kept seeing hiking photos from a friend on Facebook. It was her and a bunch of moms hiking, and get this wearing their babies. I quickly messaged her, and through her was introduced to Hiking with Keiki.

It all started in November of 2014. My first Hike was Manoa Falls, and it kicked my butt. Currently, I try to do at least one hike a week, some weeks, I will hike everyday. I cannot promise that you will get a post from me every time I hike — yeah I am a work from home mom with a toddler, that is NOT going to happen — but I will try to write something at least once a week, and will try to be witty, okay, and informative.

See you all on the trails!

“I had an inheritance from my father, It was the moon and the sun. And though I roam all over the world, The spending of it’s never done.” ― Ernest Hemingway, For Whom the Bell Tolls

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Dad and Me at Diamond Head