Our Everyday Adventures

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

You are currently browsing the archives for February, 2012.

The Harsh Reality of Adventure Sports

Post by:  Veronica
2/28/12

Jake and I love to play in the outdoors – snow or shine.  And although we have had many amazing adventures over the past few years, the numerous avalanche fatalities, hiking accidents and animal attacks this year have been a constant reminder of the inherent dangers of backcountry adventures.

So although I am no expert on ‘adventure safety’ here are some things I keep in mind in hopes of ensuring safe homecomings after any outdoor play date.

Invest in good equipment – Jake is a serious gear-head.  If you have a question on outdoor or technical gear he is your man.  And like true technology early-adaptors (not the people that just want to have the new i-Toy just because it’s new and “cool”) Jake’s love of gear stems from a passion to see innovation developed with a purpose.  How does this new piece of equipment make my life easier and/or how does it make my adventures safer?  When you plan your outdoor adventures do your research on your equipment and make good investments based on features such as durability and safety.  If it looks good – consider it a bonus, not your primary purchasing point.

Know your abilities – And the abilities of those with you.  Many adventures involve multi-level company – even when just Jake and I go out, our abilities can vary.  It’s important to be in tune with your physical abilities and plan your trips accordingly.  Knowing what you can and can’t do can also help prevent potentially dangerous situations.  Sure one or all of you may have to skip out on something epic, but at least you will all make it home.

Know your environment – If you are venturing to a new place, take time in your planning process to know the terrain, possible weather, potential animal encounters and any recent incidents in the area.  With this information you’ll be able to pack and prepare accordingly.

Make the safety list and check it twice – If you are an avid outdoor enthusiast, then many of these things are second nature.  But whether you’re an expert or just getting into a new outdoor sport, simple safety precautions can be overlooked.  Did you tell someone exactly when and where you are going and when they can expect to hear from you upon your return?  Did you pack all the necessary equipment?  Bear spray, first aid kit, ect., ect.?  Having a mental safety list is great – taking the time to build a real one is even better.

Trust your instincts…and channel your mother’s if you can – Have you ever heard the saying, “Don’t do anything that wouldn’t make your mother proud?” Consider this a similar bit of advice.  Use sound judgment when playing in the outdoors and trust your gut feeling if it warns of danger.

Obviously this is not a fool-proof, get out of jail free pass for outdoor adventures.  But I do think it’s important that those of us who play in the elements to take some time periodically to remember the dangers that exist and take the necessary precautions to ensure an amazing and safe experience.  If anyone has any other specific safety tips, I’d love to hear them!

 

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Win $1,000 worth of gear!

The Clymb just posted a sweet contest to give away $1,000 worth of gear to the random person that invites the 1-millionth member, and another $1,000 to the new member.  Apparently they are getting close (although they won’t tell you how close) to 1,000,000 members, so this is an easy and fun way to celebrate!  If you aren’t a member yet get signed up here and start inviting your friends for a chance at the free gear!  Plus, when your friends buy something, you’ll get a $10 gear credit for each friend. Veronica and I have purchased several items off The Clymb and it’s always worked out very well.  Discounts are usually around -50% off retail (sometimes more), and the gear is usually pretty good!  I’m a fan of this site simply for the great deals!

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SnowSports Industry Association Trade Show (SIA Show 2012)

Post by:  Jake
2/4/12

Last weekend I attended the 2012 SIA show in Denver.  I’ve been to several “Outdoor Retailer” sporting goods trade shows, but this was my first SIA show.  About 1/5th the size of the OR show, the SIA show focused only on winter sporting goods; Snowboarding, Skiing, Backcountry gear, Nordic gear.  The trade show follows a similar format to the OR show, several days of trade show expo, followed by a couple days of “on the snow demo” at Winter Park resort.  About 900 brands were present at the show, displaying all their new gear for the 2012/2013 season, and while the sheer quantity of gear was overwhelming, when I broke the expo floor into market segments (snowboarding, skiing, backcountry, ect…) it was much more manageable to make my way around from booth to booth to learn about all the new gear that interested me most (mainly downhill and backcountry ski gear).  I did make it into several outerwear booths as well, including Adidas Outdoors, Arc’Teryx, Patagonia, and Mammut, just so I could check out their new Gore-Tex Active Shell pieces, some of which were available now, while some would be available next fall.  If you’re curious about Gore-Tex Active Shell, check out my earlier review on that here.  While the Arc’Teryx, Patagonia, and Mammut pieces were certainly cool, the more surprising, or enlightening? brand was Adidas Outdoor.  WAY different than what you may expect from the soccer and football company, Adidas Outdoor is an offshoot brand under the Adidas umbrella that launched their first pieces last fall.  Fresh on the market, you’ll only be able to find their gear at specialty outdoor retailers as opposed to the big box stores where your likely accustomed to finding Adidas gear.  I’m most excited about their Gore-Tex Active-Shell pieces, super high breathability, waterproof, guaranteed for life, and packed with features you won’t find in most Active-Shell pieces from other brands (like pockets!).

Another super innovative piece of gear I saw at the show came from Voile’.  You’re probably familiar with Voile’ as creators of some of the first split board backcountry snowboards, and shovels, avalanche probes, and other backcountry gear.  In fall of 2011, Voile’ debuted one of the most unique pairs of skis I’ve ever seen.  A high end downhill all mountain ski bread with a waxless nordic cross-country ski.  A full feature downhill ski combined with the fish-scale traction patch underfoot you’d see in a cross-country ski.  Ideal as a telemark ski for a ski-patroller or anyone else that wants the ability to go from downhill skiing to instantly climbing without the added step of putting skins on the skis.  Although you can’t climb as steep of slopes as you could with skins, the ability to rapidly transition to climbing is invaluable to some people.  You won’t be able to put your hands on a pair of these skis till next fall as this years lot is already sold out across the US, but when they do become available again, don’t expect them to stay on the shelves very long.

After the trade show, I attended one of the outdoor demo days at Winter Park Resort where I was able to try out several new pairs of skis that will be available next winter.  My favorites came from the company DPS.  Launched in 2005, DPS is one of the many modern boutique ski companies, but what makes them unique is their cutting edge carbon fiber based skis.  Super light underfoot, performance is uncompromised.  I skied a couple variants of the Whaler ski, both in a 99 and 105 underfoot, and while the 105 handled like your typical all mountain powder ski on soft snow, I was surprised how well it carved on the hardpack.  I can’t wait to give them another go someday; perhaps I’ve found my new backcountry ski!!!

 

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Hillsound Armadillo Gaiter Review

 

Review by:  Jake
2/4/12

Last summer, while attending the Outdoor Retailer sporting goods trade show, I walked by a booth with one of the sexiest gaiters I’ve ever seen on display.  I thought to myself, that thing looks part formula one race car and part ninja, melded together into a gaiter.  I never thought a pair of gaiters could be sexy, but dang, I was in love at first sight!

While I was drooling, one of the reps came out and talked to me for a while about the gaiter.  I learned that I was looking at a prototype and that the full production wouldn’t be available for a few more months, and that it was from the company Hillsound, and it was called the “Armadillo Gaiter”, a rather unsexy name for such a sexy gaiter.  If they would have asked me it would have been called the “Scorpion Gaiter” or at least something a little more lethal than an armadillo.  I came to find out later that the actual name was the Super Armadillo Nano Gaiter, a little more sexy I suppose, but it’s still named after an animal that likes to play dead.

After researching the gaiter a bit more, I learned that it’s made with technology that mimics the lotus leaf’s cellular composition in that water and debris simply rolls off, like it would roll off the back of an armadillo.  All that functionality just made the armadillo look a lot more sexy in my book.  That’s it, I had to get my hands on a pair of these!  So I contacted the manufacturer and made it happen.  A couple months later, as promised, Veronica and I both received a test pair, the standard Armadillo gaiter and the Super Armadillo gaiters.  Finally getting some decent snow in the hills, I took out the gaiters and snowshoes out and tried my hardest to give them a good solid test.  Plowing through knee deep snow, then post-holeing (without the snowshoes) for a while, the gaiters held super tight and did exactly what they were supposed to do, they kept the snow out of our boots.  My single complaint with both the Armadillo and Super Armadillo was the front closure system.  The top and bottom are well secured with buckles and velcro closures.  But the front zipper makes going on and off a bit more challenging than if there was a wide velcro flap closure instead.  A large flap closure would allow the gaiters to go on/off a bit quicker especially if they are going over a bulky pair of snow pants, or around a wide mountaineering boot.  Although with 4-way stretchable material throughout the gaiter, I did find that little extra give I needed in order to zip up the front zipper.  Once zipped, they did feel A LOT more secure then other gaiters I’ve used with the big velcro front closure.  I’m sure with more use, I’ll really get the hang of the zipper.  All in all, a pretty darn nice pair of gaiters!

With 3 models to choose from, the Armadillo, Super Armadillo, and Super Armadillo Nano, there’s certainly going to be one that will suite your needs.  The Armadillo is a great gaiter for light use, snowshoeing, spring/fall hiking through wet and muddy brush, possibly with some snowfield crossings.  The “Super” is the next step up and is designed for mountaineering and ice climbing.  The base ankle material is “Super” durable and should easily withstand most normal crampon scuffs.  The Nano is for even more difficult terrain and deeper snow.  Super durable, yet super light; the Nano looks to be one of the burliest cutting edge gaiters available; and certainly the most sexy!

 

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