Our Everyday Adventures

We are not adventurers by choice but by fate – Van Gogh

You are currently browsing the archives for July, 2011.

July Contest Update

Post by:  Jake
7/27/11

Thanks again for all those who have commented on the July contest by sharing your favorite camping destinations.  If you haven’t checked out the list of comments yet, you should.  It’s a pretty impressive list and I’m sure there’s plenty of location on there to inspire you!  As a reminder, we’ll be picking winners using Random.org.  We’ll try and notify the winners and post results as quickly as possible, however on August 1st Veronica and I will be driving down to Salt Lake City for the Outdoor Retailer show, so it might take us a little longer than usual.  If you don’t win this month, stick around because in August we’ll be giving away a brand new $300 Gore-Tex jacket from Patagonia!  We’ll also have some great shwag (hopefully) from the OR show to randomly give away!

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Car Camping In Style

Post by:  Jake
7/27/11

Who doesn’t love the luxury of base camping, car camping, family camping, whatever you want to call it?  Lounging around the beach on an anti-gravity lawn chair, enjoying fresh brewed drip coffee in the morning, and sleeping in a cabin sized tent on a super thick air mattresses.  These creature comforts might sound a bit foreign if you haven’t experienced some of the latest innovations in car camping gear.  Drip coffee percolators safely fired by propane, recliners that are more comfortable than your lay-z-boy, and kitchen sinks complete with running water are just a few of the new products available to enhance your camping experience.  The following list is a collage of gear that would make even the most fussy family members enjoy the great outdoors.

The Kitchen – Because the key to happy campers is through their stomach.

Kelty Basecamp Kitchen: The focal point of any modern home is the kitchen.  This setup from Kelty replaces your home kitchen in style.  At a mere 17.75lbs. there’s enough shelves, hooks, counter space, and dodads to hold just about anything you could think of.  At $159.95 the organization and ease of use this setup provides is invaluable.

Coleman Pack-Away Outdoor Picnic Set:  Never worry about camping somewhere that doesn’t have a picnic table again.  The Coleman Pack-Away set is burly enough to seat a family of 4, yet packs away to the size of a large briefcase.  $103.99

Coleman All-in-One Portable Sink: This kit comes with 3 wash tubs and a rechargeable battery powered water reservoir.  That’s right, “powered”.  The reservoir dispenses water with the push of a button making washing your hands or washing dishes a breeze.  $46.99 includes the rechargeable battery.

 Coffee

Coleman 10-Cup Portable Propane Coffeemaker:  Fired by propane, this coffee pot delivers a full pot in 18 minutes.  Works just like your coffee maker at home, only without electricity.  $89.99 and so easy you’ll never go back to campfire cowboy coffee again.

Primus  Brewfire:  Similar to the Coleman propane fired drip coffee maker, at $210 the Brewfire is a bit spendy but it is approved for indoor and outdoor use so it’s perfect for use in your camper, cabin, or on your boat! 

Accessories

Light My Fire Grandpa’s Fork:  A simple, yet cleaver design.  This fork easily attaches to the end of a stick to hold your marshmallows, hot dogs, or anything else you’d like to roast over the open fire.  At $5 this cleaver product is a no-brainer to enhance your campfire food.

Coleman Quad Lantern: Welcome to the new generation in lanterns.  This thing is awesome and is guaranteed to accompany you on all your car camping trips.  4 detachable light pods clip into a central charging unit to make a somewhat normal lantern.  While the pods are connected they are charging their own internal batteries.  Disconnected, they each become an individual lantern.  At $79.99 it’s a bit spendy, but very cool and very handy.

The Tent

Coleman Insta Tents: If setting up a tent in the dark isn’t your strong suite, this is the tent for you.  The Insta Tents are a no-brainer and setup is simple and can easily be done in under 1-minute.  That’s right, under a minute!  The tent is fully taped and seam sealed so a separate fly isn’t necessary.  At $136.99 the 4-person model fits a queen air mattress!

Kelty Sleep Eazy Air Mattress:  Although not the MOST luxurious air bed I’ve ever slept on, this mattress is super easy to inflate with the included rechargeable air pump.  It’s PVC free and relatively light weight and compact when deflated.  At $119, one of the best features is that it’s super easy to get it back into its storage bag when not in use.

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TrailsEdge.com

Need some new gear, but can’t bring yourself to pay full retail?  Well, if you can wait the couple days it takes for shipping, here’s a 10% off code for use at TrailsEdge.com (good on orders over $50)  Free shipping if your order is over $100.

Use this link here:  or type in this code at checkout: 48Q6-ZOYB-PIQT

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Sierra Designs Ultra Light Sleeping Bags

Post by:  Jake
7/27/11

Looking to trim some weight off your gear for your next backpacking trip?  Look no further.  The Sierra Designs Vapor 15 is the perfect sleeping bag for spring, summer, and early fall in the Rockies.  At 1lb. 15oz. the 850-down fill bag is super cozy, and packs down to nearly nothing.  Sierra Designs has been making sleeping bags, tents, clothing, and packs for over 45 years and their experience is perfected in the Vapor 15 bag. 

Pros: Crazy light weight; Super comfortable; Extremely packable.

Cons:  1/2 length zipper to save weight makes regulating temperature on hot nights a bit difficult; fairly expensive at $420 but if you’re getting 1 nice and expensive piece of gear, this is worth considering;  It’s down so keep it dry or else.

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My first flat–should I be this excited?!

Post by:  Veronica
7/20/11

Mile 32 of 45.  My back tire starts whistling like a firework.  ”That can’t be good,” I think to myself as I come to a stop.  Sure enough, I officially had my first flat. I’ve changed a car tire before and I’ve watched people change a bike tire before–but never had I done it myself.  Although no one really wants to get a flat tire…I must admit that secretly I was stoked!  First of all, the weather was nice and I was out with a group of friends so there was no reason to panic or feel rushed.  And truth be told, I felt like it was the official initiation into the sport of cycling.  Finally I was in the club!
And sure, it wasn’t the smoothest, quickest change a bike tire has ever seen (it was a bit awkward and it took us a while to figure out the new pump!) but I managed to do it 98% on my own… with the moral support of those around.   Am I proud?…just a little! :-)

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Paragliding Adventure!!

Post by:  Jake
7/20/11

Last night, Veronica and I took advantage of a deal on PlanetGear.com and booked two paragliding packages down near Salt Lake.  We’ll be down there for the Outdoor Retailer show in a couple weeks so we thought, “Why Not?”  Jumping off a HUGE cliff with an already open parachute?  Sounds a lot safer than jumping out of a perfectly good airplane thousands of feet off the ground and hoping that your chute was packed properly!  I’m thrilled for the new adventure, while Veronica says she’ll need A LOT of convincing.  Going tandem with an instructor sounds like about all the “convincing” she’ll need as she probably won’t have much choice once the instructor starts running toward the cliff!

Has anyone else ever been Paragliding?  What’s it like?  I’d LOVE to hear anything you have to say about the experience as this will be our first time jumping off anything higher than a small bridge.

PlanetGear.com is a new site, similar to TheClymb,  they offer huge discounts for a short period of time on a very limited amount of stuff, then a few days later the inventory changes up a bit and the sales start again.  Just like TheClymb, they offer a $10 referral credit once your friends makes their first purchase, but in addition to you getting $10, your friend also gets $10 off their first purchase.  Not too bad.  In addition to gear and apparel, PlanetGear often has deals on vacation packages and adventures (like the paragliding thing Veronica and I just signed up for).

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Moon Guide Books — UTAH

Post by:  Guest Author Pete S.
7/20/11

From time to time we like to have friends and local experts contribute their writings and experiences.  This piece is from our friend and local Utah expert Pete Stoughton.  If you are interested in contributing a guest article please let us know here.

Guest Contributor Background:
A transplant to Utah, Pete Stoughton has forever dreamed of being a modern day Indiana Jones.  Due to circumstances beyond his control, he has been relegated to exploring the riches within a more reasonable proximity of his regular day job. Whether it be running Ultra distances on God Forsaken trails, finding urban treasures or delving into the landscapes of the mind, Pete is an adventurer through and through. Pete currently lives in Salt Lake City, UT with his beautiful wife and little girl. During the few hours he is not at work as a school administrator or at home with his family, he can be found trail running, mtn. biking, skiing, or vacationing to find the next jewel. Each year, rather then investing in savings, retirement or other productive financial strategies, he and his family travel throughout Utah and the rest of the West, almost monthly.

Authors: Mike Matson
Cost: $17.95
Rating: GREAT!
Purchase it Here!

Mike Matson, along with Moon Travel Guides, have created a must own guide for any outdoor enthusiast living, or visiting Utah. Utah Camping provides exquisite details and information for anyone planning on traveling in an economical way and in planning and finding your camping locations. The book will adequately prepare you for the necessary challenges and opportunities at your site. The book is divided into practical geographic sections, which will assist you in making a reasonable approximation of campsite locations. Each site is thoroughly described including facilities, number of campsites, pertinent fees or required reservations, directions and contact information. It should be noted that Matt, as a writer, gives the reader a vibrant picture through his writing of each campsite and its notable features. In addition, each site is rated and a brief ‘at-a-glance’ icon bar is provided to determine quick assessing for needs. I especially appreciate this quick handy tool when scanning for options within a close proximity, such as the many campsites in the Moab area.
I would certainly recommend this book to anyone who regularly travels in Utah and plans on camping.

Pros: Almost everything about it!
Cons: The rating system is not perfect; Does not include primitive camping

Authors: W.C. McRae & Judy Jewell
Cost: $19.95
Rating: Good!
Purchase it Here!

How do you begin deciphering what to do on a vacation? On numerous occasions, we have seen, and been, in a Barnes and Nobles watching people of all ages perusing guidebook after guidebook from the travel sections just trying to find the perfect itinerary for their vacations.  Starry eyed and somewhat perplexing, these can be more exhausting then the vacation itself.  Moon Travel Guides provides a concise, and yet thorough, guidebook for anyone planning on traveling to the state of Utah.

As a resident of Utah, I tend to be very critical and cautious of guidebooks for the state. Many often do not venture beyond the top five or ten geographic hotspots in the state. Rarely, if ever do they deliver, as the book by Moon does, a helpful resource for those willing to venture beyond the typical destinations. While not certainly an off the beaten path resource, the book provides adequate information for those interested in going to places such as Boulder, Fremont Indian State Park or the Henry Mountains. On the other hand, the book is helpful in making travel itineraries quick and easy for those who want to hit the ‘main’ attractions, whether it be Salt Lake City, Arches NP, Moab or Zion NP.

One aspect you will especially appreciate about this guidebook is the excellent and personal writing of the authors. As you peruse the sections and places of interest, you begin to ask yourself if the authors actually visited every location in the book. Whether this is accurate or not, the guide book is an excellent resource for anyone planning a first, or maybe even second, trip to Utah.
I would certainly recommend this handbook for anyone needing an introductory synopsis of what Utah has to offer and how to experience it all.

Pros: Concise on the larger areas, yet thorough on the small towns and hidden gems; Excellently written; Great Introduction and itineraries; Wonderful Resources
Cons: Not Exhaustive; Lacking colorful and inviting pictures

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Glacier National Park – Round 2

Post by:  Jake
7/15/11

Last weekend Veronica and I hoped back in the car for the 3.5-hour drive north to Glacier National Park for another fun weekend spent hiking and biking some of the most beautiful scenery in the world.  We played hosts to Pete and Kristin, a couple out of town friends that were visiting with their beautiful 2-year old daughter.  While our last trip to the park was only 3 days prior, the changes we saw between trips were certainly noticeable.  Snow bridges had collapsed, the high country was starting to open, and the water in the raging rivers had begun to recede.

During this trip we spent the first day hiking yet another brand new (to us) trail, this time to Sperry Chalet.  While I have been coming to the park nearly every year for the past 22-years, this easily accessible trail has always looked a bit too daunting to attempt till now.  6.7 miles of steady climbing up 3,300 feet of elevation gain take hikers from Lake McDonald lodge to the 98-year old Sperry Chalet.  While visitors with reservations can get a room for the night at the Chalet, it usually books solid for the summer several months in advance.  That means, to do a day hike to the Chalet you’ll need to hike a total of 13.4 miles up and down quite a bit of elevation.  While the Chalet wasn’t quite open when we arrived (due to the massive snow this year) we did talk to a few employees who stated on a normal day during the summer you can order a hot breakfast, a sack lunch, or a hot dinner from the diner.  Certainly enough motivation for me to come back! 

Our next day in the park we again biked the closed-to-vehicles Going-To-The-Sun-Road.  11-miles up and 11-miles back down on the west side of Logan Pass.  Magnificent views of snow capped peaks and lush forests, hundreds of waterfalls, and abundant wildlife make biking this road an absolute must-do for any cyclist.  As I said in an earlier post, every visit to the park is unique and this was absolutely true again as we saw not one, but two black bears! 

On our last day our intense friends ran a 1/2 marathon, just for the fun of it.  While they were running, we hopped on one of the new free park shuttle busses and rode to Apgar to grab some lunch.  After ordering a couple wraps, we lucked out by getting right back on another shuttle headed back to Avalanche.  We were told busses run an hour apart, so chances are pretty good that you could be waiting for quite a while for one of these busses.  Apparently, only 2% of the parks 2.5-million visitors use the shuttle system, and with an hour wait between tiny little busses it’s no wonder.  Additionally, a car filled with as many people as you can pack in costs $25 to enter the park while each and every biker is charged $15 each to enter! As Pete would say, Edward Abby is rolling in his grave!

Back at the car, we met up with our friends and did one last quick hike up to Avalanche lake.  Although I’ve hiked to Avalanche lake dozens of times, it never gets old.  I could sit at its shore for days staring up at the cliffs with cascading waterfalls pounding down, and mountain goats roaming.  If you’re lucky you may even catch a glimpse of a moose down low or some grizzly bears roaming on the high snowfields.  For another perspective of this Glacier Park trip check out our friends blogs here and herePete is a hardcore super distance runner.  He’s been training all summer in the Wasatch mountains of Utah for a 100-mile trail run!  Kristin’s one of the most active mom’s I’ve ever seen, running 1/2 marathons for fun on vacation!  She’s got some outstanding perspectives on raising kids and staying active.

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The Future of Outdoor Apparel — Wool

Post by:  Jake
7/15/11

Most people are familiar with Merino wool hiking socks.  I’ve even seen some Merino wool long underwear and sweaters, but “workout apparel”????  Recently the wool industry has made some huge leaps and has started incorporating Merino wool into all sorts of sporting goods apparel including:  travel clothing, yoga and other workout pieces for warm and cold weather, and even bike shorts.  The natural properties of wool make it an ideal fiber.  Similar to many synthetics, wool stays warm when wet, dries quick, is perfect for hot and cold climates because of its thermoregulation properties, and unlike most synthetics it doesn’t retain odors!  Super fine Merino wool is luxuriously soft and can be worn by most people.  Because wool is a natural fiber it requires less resources to farm, cut, and process than manufacturing it’s synthetic counterpart, and it’s completely renewable.  There’s already a handful of products commercially available using New Zealand Merino wool, but in the near future look for piles of garments created with Australian Merino wool.

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Spenco Total Support Sandals

Post by:  Jake
7/15/11

You’re probably familiar with the Spenco name when it comes to footcare.  They’ve been manufacturing insoles, arch support pieces, custom orthotics, and even blister treatments for decades.  Recently the brand launched a new footwear line called the Total Support Sandals and we got to try a pair!  I tried out a pair of the Fusion sandals while Veronica opted for the Yumi’s (love the name).  My first reaction was that they were your typical inexpensive sandal.  While they are inexpensive ($25) they are anything but typical.  Unlike most other sandals, Spenco built these with footcare in mind.  Arch and heel support is molded into every one of their sandals to reduce pronation and supination common problems with “slab-style” sandals.  Veronica and I have been using these sandals for the past couple months and while they do provide great foot support, my only complaint is that, like most sandals for me, they take a bit of breaking in to be comfortable enough to wear for more than a few hours.  If you’re in need of some new beach kicks, give them a try.  They are WELL worth the upgrade from the flat “slab” sandals.

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