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Gear Spotlight: Mountaineering 101

Do you enjoy hiking uphill for a really long time? Have you thought about mountaineering, but are unsure where to start? Just outside of Bellingham, in the North Cascades, we have access to some of the best mountaineering in the lower 48. Stark and dramatic, rock and ice environs are a perfect place to enjoy being alive. Here are some …

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Gear Spotlight: Cotopaxi Luzon 18L Pack

Cotopaxi is an innovative new gear manufacturer that burst onto the scene in 2014 with an emphasis on innovation and stewardship. Their new Luzon 18L is part of their Del Dia line, meaning that each pack is made from remnant rolls of material.  The color details are uniquely designed at the sewer’s discretion from zippers to thread colors.  So each …

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Gear Spotlight: MSR Evo Snowshoes

Keeping active in the winter can be difficult for some people when so many local, favorite trails are covered with snow. This is a great time to explore the world of snowshoeing. At Backcountry Essentials, we both rent and sell the MSR Evo™ snowshoes because of their functionality, durability, and warranty. First and foremost, the best thing about these snowshoes …

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Gear Spotlight: Rain Jackets 101

You know how everything called a waterproof breathable shell or rain jacket has the same silly info graphic tag of the water cycle of a rain jacket? On this tag, from the outside of the material, rain is kept out and squiggly arrows push the water vapor out from the inside. It tells you nothing about the reality of how …

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Gear Spotlight: An Ultralight Sleep System

Yep, I’m a weight geek. I may not drill holes in my toothbrush or cut straps off my pack, but playing the game of cutting grams in the right places helps me push through challenging trips as I get older. In general though, sleep is so important, that my sleeping bag and pad warrant careful consideration. Perhaps, the sleeping bag …

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8 Gift Ideas for the Adventurous Man

Men are already difficult to find gifts for—but with an outdoorsman, you might be feeling hopeless. “Don’t get me anything!” They say, “I just want to be outside!” Which we know, of course, is really code for, “You better read my mind because if you get me junk, it’s going straight to Goodwill! The man van has no room for …

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Winter Gear to Make the Season Safe, Warm and Bright

STABILicers™ Hike Macro When it comes to traction devices for your feet, the options are plentiful. The Hike Macro ice cleats from Stabil offer 1/2-inch (replaceable!) cleats combined with a unique TPE (Thermoplastic elastomer) binding system that covers the entire bottom of the boot and is tough yet flexible and stretchable, even at sub-zero temperatures, making it easy to put …

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A Good Night’s Rest and Other Great Ideas

Therm-a-Rest Neo Air XTherm Our friends in Seattle do it again: Therm-a-Rest continues to lead the way when it comes to sleeping pads. The Neo Air®  XTherm™  is light (15 ounces), warm (R-Value 5.7), and packs small. It puffs up to a more-than-comfortable 2.5 inches. And it’s durable. This is what they mean when they say “top of the line.” …

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Great Outerwear for the Trail (and Town)

Arc’teryx Beta AR Woman’s Shell As we’ve come to expect from Arc’teryx, the Beta AR Woman’s Jacket represents a pinnacle of hard-wearing, all-weather engineering: absolutely bomb-proof. Combining two weights of GORE-TEX® to maximize both breathability and ruggedness, the Beta AR has bells and whistles galore—an advanced  hood/collar interface featuring a soft microsuede chin guard, generous (but low-profile) pit-zips that glide …

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A Base Layer, a Pullover, a Balaclava…and a Rhino Box

Arcyterx RHO AR Men’s Bottom Base Layer Made of a combination of Polartec® Power Stretch® polyester and elastane, the RHO AR base layer from Arc’teryx delivers amazing light-weight warmth and durability for cold weather activities. Weighing in at only 7.8 ounces, the RHO AR hugs the pelvis and legs, providing complete contact—and warmth— against your skin. It’s moisture-wicking, breathable and …

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