Reviews

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 …

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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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Cool Gear for Hot Summer Fun

Black Diamond® Spot 350 Headlamp Headlamps just keep getting better and better – smaller, lighter, brighter, more versatile. Even in this context, the Black Diamond 350 really, er, shines. With 350 lumens on the bright setting, it’s bright enough for most any situation from pre-dawn trekking to late-night stove repair. Features? How about both a spotlight and a wide beam—and …

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A Tough-as-Nails Soft Cooler and a Simple and Effective Water Treatment System

ORCA Walker 20 Softside Cooler  The Walker 20 is a tough-as-nails soft cooler that holds 20 cans of your favorite beverage and is insulated to make ice last for days. This cooler weighs 3.6 lbs. and features a rigid bottom, leak-proof design, heavy-duty zipper and both an ingenious magnetic handle and a padded shoulder strap, as well as a mesh …

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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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A Light in the Darkness: Best Flashlights for Camping

Even a decade or two ago, carrying a flashlight in the backpack was a smart thing to do. But with the growing popularity of cell phones and the rapid development of cell phone flashlights, it looked like our old-school flashlights were starting to lose their importance. But seasoned campers understand that cell phone flashlights don’t stand a chance when it …

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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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Dress for Success when Hitting the Slopes

Ski gear is just ski gear, right? It’s designed to be worn anywhere that you can slide around on snow. And while that’s mostly true, there’s actually a huge range of climates where we ski, each with their own set of weather patterns and temperatures that dictate what sort of ski or snowboard clothing will keep us warm and dry …

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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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