Chris Gerston

Gear Spotlight: Luci Lights & Smith ChromaPop Sunglasses

Luci® Solar String Lights By Rachel Thody The Luci Solar String Lights ($44.99) are one of my top essentials for any escapade! The string light packs up neatly within itself making it easy to toss into a gear bag with no worries about getting the string tangled or caught on anything. It charges either via solar power or through a …

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Gear Spotlight: Line Sakana Skis

I have skied the Line Sakana at demos for the past 3 years and each year it was among my favorites. Maybe it’s because of the unique swallow tail that makes this ski so well rounded and playful. The Sakana’s tail is pretty flat, which typically means that as you drop through the fall line of a turn, the tail …

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Gear Spotlight: Altra Lone Peak 4.5

Whether using the Altra Lone Peak 4.5 as a trail runner or strapping crampons onto them for climbing Glacier Peak, Backcountry Essentials manager, Niki Moltumyr, loves her Altra shoes. The design philosophy of zero drop (meaning both heel and toe cushioning are the same) and a wide toe box make the Lone Peak ideal for a wide variety of uses. …

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Gear Spotlight: Kokopelli XPD Packraft

Kokopelli Packrafts are packable inflatable kayaks built for adventure and strong enough for nearly anything. They come in various materials: Ultra-lights for lakes, or burlier materials for whitewater (I’ve heard that Class IV rivers are doable if the rest of your river skills are up for it). With one of these, your biking, hiking and car camping adventures can be …

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Gear Spotlight: Garage Brand Skis Made for Right Here

Smaller ski manufacturers, often called garage brands, have been proliferating across the ski industry. Similar to how small, local breweries have popped up everywhere to accommodate specific local tastes, smaller regional ski manufacturers are now designing their skis with local terrain in mind.  Lib Tech, which manufacturers on the Olympic Peninsula, does a lot of their product testing at Mt. …

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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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