Cascadia Gear: San Juan Islands Guide, Mindshift Rotation Camera Pack & Merrell Snowcreek Cozy Leather Polar Boots

San Juan Islands Boater’s Guide

The folks at Blue Latitude Press (based in Anacortes, WA) have established themselves as the source for cruising guides to the waters of the Pacific Northwest (they also have the market cornered on guides to the Pacific Coast of Mexico and the Sea of Cortez). Their newly-published 2nd edition of the classic San Juan Islands Boater’s Guide celebrates the joys of adventuring by boat in this beautiful archipelago on the Salish Sea. Illustrated with more than 70 GPS accurate charts, the Guide combines exhaustively detailed nuts-and-bolts navigational info with engaging narration that shines the light on countless points of interest—both on the water and on land—including parks, trails, restaurants, museums, and a plethora of the special places that make cruising these islands such a joy. If you want to get the most out of your time in the San Juans, you’ll want this book.

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Mindshift Rotation 50L+ Camera Backpack

For photographers, carrying their camera gear (as well as rain gear, warm clothes, water, food, etc.) into the backcountry has been an ongoing problem without a good solution. Shoulder bags are cumbersome. Camera backpacks are awkward, as the pack must be removed to access the gear. Waist packs tend to restrict motion, especially when climbing. I’ve tried everything over the years and struggled with various half-successful compromises that left me unsatisfied and with a sore back. Enter the Mindshift Rotation series of photographer’s backpacks. These ingenious designs come in 22, 34, and 50-liter sizes that feature a fully functional day pack with a rotating bottom section that can be swung around to the front to grant access to cameras and lenses. In terms of thoughtful design, the Rotation Packs really peg the meter. You pull a ripcord to release the bottom section, making it both quick and easy to rotate. The bottom section closes via both a zipper (for when the weather is bad) and a magnet to facilitate expeditious access when you’re in the thick of things and don’t want to fiddle with the zipper. The backpack has two convenient tripod stowing systems, is well-padded with a 10-point adjustable harness, and features weather-resistant zippers, DWR-coated fabrics, and zipper covers. It’s safe to say that the Mindshift Rotation Backpack is the camera-carrying system that I’ve been waiting for for 40 years!

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Merrell® Women’s Snowcreek Cozy Leather Polar Waterproof Boots

With cold weather waiting in the wings, keeping your feet warm and dry becomes paramount, and Merrell’s Women’s Snowcreek Cozy Leather Polar Waterproof Boots cover all the bases. Featuring a fleece-lined removable EVA foam insole, they’re warm and toasty. They have great traction on slippery surfaces, thanks to the Quantum Grip™ soles and are supremely comfortable. Whether you’re hiking through the season’s first snow in the North Cascades or heading downtown for the First Friday Art Walk, they’ll keep your tootsies happy and dry.

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