About the Water Monkey


If you saw a guy in a bandana and wearing a kilt on the trail would you take him seriously? Probably not. So you shouldn’t take me seriously at all either.

I’ve been camping all my life and began hiking seriously in the fall of 2009 with my first trip on the Appalachian Trail.

As the saying goes you receive your trail name from someone who witnesses something funny that happens to you on the trail. During my 33 mile section hike in 2010 on the Appalachian Trail I fell into 2 lakes on 2 consecutive days. My buddy (Trail Name – Gear Slug) dubbed me “Water Monkey” due to my mishaps around large bodies of water and my uncanny ability to climb trees and act like a monkey… Obviously I took that name and ran with it!

Over the years I’ve done a lot of research and I have decreased my pack weight from 60lbs for 5 days down to about 23lbs for 5 days.

How the hell did I do that?! Well I’ve made videos and I will document the best I can within this blog on how I achieved this.

Now each person hikes differently, likes different stuff, and enjoys different aspects about hiking. Take what I do with a grain of salt as it’s my style of hiking. But by chance if it helps you out or gives you better insight to lighten your pack weight…. Well Water Monkey is happy to help.

Let’s do a little Question & Answer time with the Water Monkey:

Why do you wear a skirt?

First off it’s not a skirt it’s a Kilt… better recognize! Second, I wear a kilt during the spring, summer and fall seasons based on the following:

Great ventilation for the lower half of my body. When you hike you generate a lot of body heat and this helps with keeping your temperature regulated

Easy to put on and easy to take off at camp when I switch out to my “camp clothes” which are a clean set of clothes to wear when I’m done hiking for the day

Makes washing up at streams so much easier. I can wear my kilt and wash my nether region without the concern of frightening the local wildlife

Makes going to the bathroom easier as well. Use your imagination!

Chicks dig scars and men in kilts… I have both, you do the math!

Are you Scottish?

No, next question.

So let me get this straight, you sleep in a hammock?

Yes I do. Hammock camping, to me, is the greatest nights sleep in the woods I have ever had. It’s like sleeping in a cloud and when you wake up you are refreshed and no sore muscles or achy back to bother you for your day’s hike. In fact, hammocking is what catapulted me into lighter weight backpacking! The system is compact, light weight, easy to set up, easy to tear down, and stays amazingly free of dirt and debris. And besides monkeys sleep in trees, hello!!!!

Man, you have so much gear! Are you rich or something?

No, in fact I am not rich. I do, however, have a decent job which allows me a decent amount of disposable income (I’m a Certified Public Accountant). I am what is known as a “Gear Junkie”. It is a compulsive disorder which compels me to purchase the newest and greatest lightweight backpacking gear that will decrease my pack weight by a fraction of a pound.

In a nutshell my priorities are all out of whack. If given the choice between a new suit for work or paying $200 for a better sleeping bag I’ll get the bag without hesitation. But let’s not believe that my compulsion is related to being a hoarder.. because it is not. If I want a new piece of gear I will sell other gear to supplement the new item in my inventory. So at the end of the day my new piece of gear will  cost me no more than $80 to $100 out of pocket (more likely less depending on the item I am jonesing over at the time).

Why do you use ghetto terms?

Because I was raised in the slums of Shaolin, battled through the 36 chambers of death, and defended against a swarm of killa bees… Wu Tang playa!

No but seriously because it’s my humor and I think it’s funny. I mean seriously a short, nerdy CPA spitting hot fire… rent the movie Office Space and pay attention to the character Michael Bolton and you’ll understand…. “PC Load Letter… WTF does that mean!”

Why do you shave your head?

Why are you all up in my kool-aid without even knowing the flava?

Are you tossing out gang signs?

Yes and No… I am tossing out signs “W M” for Water Monkey but I’m not in a gang… at least I don’t think?

What is Water Monkey Approved?

That’s yours truly giving out my approval for a piece of gear which I have tested to my satisfaction on the trails. Being “Water Monkey Approved” is based on my personal judgment that the gear I have used performs as stated by the manufacturer. I receive no benefit from the vendor by stating my approval.  Although if a vendor would like to send me some free gear to test out I would gladly accept and perform an unbiased review <cough cough, hint hint>.

  1. mark says:

    good luck!

  2. Pat Combee says:

    ’bout time you got blog! I have it bookmarked.

  3. Flight_Risk says:

    I picking up what your laying down.

  4. Gear Slug says:

    Love the new site you silly little monkey!!

    Gear Slug

  5. diz says:

    love the kilt, got one my self. very comfy, haters just don’t know and gives a hole new level of street cred. play it in the hood one time.
    see you at HF Diz*

  6. Kerosene says:

    A gangsta-rapping, kilt-wearing, hydrophiliac simian geek with a gear fetish and a need to get the word out…now I’ve seen everything. Nice start!

  7. Doreen says:

    Love the kilt, my favorite color!!! What I miss the most about working with you? Your craziness!!! Good luck!!

  8. Joe Conrad says:

    Have you ever considered using your kilt as an underquilt? Or are there sanitary issues to be dealt with? Just sayin’ . . .

    • Good question. I’m not sure the insulating properties of a kilt are good for a hammock. Plus I’m not sure the width is even suitable for the hammock either. But more importantly after 3 days of hiking up and over mountains you get “swamp kilt” and I really try to sleep without the lingering odor of my own ass at night 😉

  9. Jerry says:

    I’m watching your vids and they are excellant. I’m new to back packing and will be a first time hanger real soon. Thanks for all the info…

  10. JCavenagh says:

    Yo, G! You bet yo’ wang dang you ina gang! HF gang, G! And now you recruitin’ the bumble, too!?!
    Excellent blog. I have been following your stuff for 6-8 months now and enjoy it all.

  11. Water Monkey, Can you recommend a trail loop in NY (about a 2 hr or so drive from Long Island) which is moderate or better with plenty of sights with about a days hike in and then camp and days hike back out to be done on a long weekend? Thanks in advance for any suggestion ~ Mofongo

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