Cascadia Gear: Crampons, A Bear Can and Sweet Boots

Heading out into the untrammeled wild? Make sure that your gear is solid. Great boots, dependable crampons and a bear-proof food storage solution. You’re good to go!


La Sportiva Omega GTXLa Sportiva Omega GTX Hiking Boots

The sweet spot for me when it comes to hiking boots is the place where ruggedness and light weight meet. The Omega GTX from La Sportiva really nails this. Weighing less than 24 ounces, these boots combine superb traction with a comfortable, cushy footbed. Made of leather and Cordura®, the Omega GTX’s feature La Sportiva’s Impact Brake System (I.B.S.), a proprietary design feature wherein the lugs of the soles are oriented in opposing slanted directions. According to La Sportiva, this increases braking power by an average of 20% and decreases impact forces by an average of 20%. As you would expect, the Omega GTX’s have a Gore-Tex® membrane to keep moisture out. Aside from some minor break-in issues, these boots were uber-comfortable and provided excellent traction on the trail. More info:


Bear Vault BV-500 Bear Canister

bear vaultIncreasingly, backcountry travelers are being required to store their food in bear canisters. The old sling-a-rope-over-a-tree-limb technique is going the way of the Sierra Cup. Bear cans come in many styles, sizes and price-points. The BV-500 from Bear Vault is an excellent option for small groups out for the weekend or solo hikers on a week-long jaunt. With a capacity of 700 cubic inches (11.5 liters), the BV-500 provides a safe stash for your dehydrated goodies, toothpaste and sunscreen. Weighing in at 2 lbs, 9 oz., the BV-500 is constructed of a polycarbonate housing and has been approved by the SIBBG (Sierra Interagency Black Bear Group) and the IGBC (Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee). This assures compliance with most National Park and other public land agency regulations. The BV-500 features a wide opening which makes stuffing and unloading easy, and the transparent housing limits unnecessary rooting around for that pouch of Turkey Tetrazzini. No tools are required to open the BV-500; the lid features tabs that lock and unlock it. One caveat: Sand or grit can get into the threads on the lid and make opening difficult – keep it clean to avoid this headache. More info:


Camp C-12 Universal Crampons

camp 026Glacier travel is one of the supreme joys of adventuring in the North Cascades. These mountains are home to somewhere in the neighborhood of 700 glaciers – that’s a lot of ice! Travelling safely across glacial ice requires specific training, experience – and rock-solid gear. Mistakes or gear failures can have catastrophic results. The folks at CAMP understand this – they’ve been making climbing gear since 1889. Their C-12 Universal Crampons feature thermoplastic heel and toe harnesses that make them suitable for use on virtually any hiking or classic mountaineering boot. They offer 12 points and anti-balling plates (if you’ve ever used crampons on sun-softened snow, you know how important these are!). And they are super-adjustable to ensure a precise fit, crucial for safety and comfort. More info:

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