Chris Gerston

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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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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