Chris Gerston

Pack Rafting…Lite

Is Backcountry Essentials now a paddle sports store? As the Northwest gets warmer, it seems like we are all going to want to find some water sports to cool off within the summertime. Backcountry Essentials has been researching what makes sense for us to offer the community. We have added two new brands in the pack rafting world, Kokopelli and …

Read More »

Gear Spotlight: Kokopelli Recon Pack Raft

Sometimes as a shop owner, I have to creatively justify expenses for the toys I want that we sell. In this case, I wanted to try the Kokopelli Recon pack raft, so I bought two for our rental fleet (despite the fact that 20 years ago I had decided that whitewater scared me more than rock and snow so I …

Read More »

Elan Ripstick Tour 104 vs. Ripstick 106

Backcountry Essentials is stoked to offer skis from Elan this year. We focused on the Ripstick series for both men and women because we felt these skis best complimented and differentiated themselves from all the other skis we carry. These skis are not slarvy, nor do they readily butter; they are precise carving machines—and they are a blast! We have …

Read More »

Blundstone Chelsea Boots: These Boots are Made for Walking

When it comes to fantastic fall footwear, the Blundstone Chelsea boot ($189-$219) stands alone. This unisex boot is stylish enough to go with dress pants or dresses, rugged enough to be a regular farm boot, and currently hip enough to wear every day with jeans. The heel allows for near hands-free exit and entry, and the great insulation underfoot will …

Read More »

In Praise of Ski Crampons

Every year, more people are getting into the backcountry to escape the inbounds ski crowds. The longer days and firmer snow of spring tours bring a new perspective to skiing as the playing field expands, and skiers can disperse even further into the mountains. In our neck of the woods, the experienced ski mountaineer can often find great snow through …

Read More »

Gear Spotlight: Roxa R3 130 TI I.R. Ski Boots, $699

Is this the one boot to do it all?  While I’m generally skeptical of such claims, I have found that the Roxa R3 130 TI I.R. Ski Boot is a solid all-around contender: adept for inbounds, slackcountry, and backcountry skiing. This new interpretation of a three-piece Cabrio boot weighs in at 1520 grams (size 26.5), is compatible with either gripwalk …

Read More »

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 …

Read More »

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 …

Read More »

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. …

Read More »