12/29/12

Leave No Trace Introduction

This month I am taking a Leave No Trace Trainer (LNT) course to be trained on teaching the LNT principles and other land ethic issues, which should be great.

Below is a LNT Youtube video I found; enjoy!

 

 lnt.org explains why to leave no trace, “The Leave No Trace concept is one that crosses all boundaries of the recreation spectrum and is applicable for anyone who enjoys spending time in the out-of-doors. The idea is simple – leave the places you enjoy as good or better than you found them… both skills and ethics [are] involved, as well as good decision-making. We believe that if people do something, even something simple, to help take care of the recreational resources they cherish, we will all benefit. Cleaner water, less campfire impacts, fewer negative encounters with wildlife, less damage/loss of cultural and historic artifacts are just a few of the benefits of adhering to Leave No Trace.

Leave No Trace is a universal philosophy… part of any outdoor experience…to foster a cooperative spirit of stewardship…from [everyone] including federal land management agencies, outdoor equipment manufacturers, NGOs, outfitter and guide services, local governments…[and] individuals. Leave No Trace is…leads us all towards the common goal of enjoying the outdoors responsibly.”

Through the next of the couple of the months I want share each principle and talk about why its important. If we do our part keeping the land as good or better than we found it, our children may enjoy it in the future.

Below is a 10 min video introducing leave no trace, produced by the National Park Service.

I would love to hear your thoughts on why you go outdoors and why it is important to keep these areas pristine.  Feel free to comment below your thoughts about LNT and land ethics.

12/27/12

Outdoor Retailer Show

It was another great year the Outdoor Retailer Show. I saw a lot of fun products this year.  One of the biggest trends I saw was pack-ability.  One of the cool new product that focused on this were some new boots from Teva.  

This new boot line is called the Liffty Collection. My favorite boot in this collection is the Chair 5. This boot is super light but doesn’t sacrifice any warmth the weight of this boot is nearly half the weight of other boots on the market.  It has 250 grams of 3M Thinsulate™ LiteLoft™ in a removable liner.  This is super nice, you can remove the liner and sleep with it in your sleeping bag and not have to worry about cold boots in the morning.  These shoes pack down to the size of regular shoes so you don’t have to worry about have loads of extra space when you are traveling. http://www.teva.com/

There were loads of awesome packs at the show to be seen. Including the Karve from Osprey.  This is designed for winter sports. It has a really sleek, slim design that allows for easy lift riding and dynamic riding. It has storage for shovels, probes, and offers convenient carry options for boards and skis.  It comes in three sizes, these are the sizes in storage capacity in liters, 16 L 11 L and 6 L. http://www.ospreypacks.com/

Another cool pack that I saw was the Gambler from Camelbak.  This is another super sleek minimalist pack designed for carrying the bare essentials when sidecountry skiing or snowboarding.  It is designed to carry shovel, avalanche probe, base layers, snack, phone, wallet and keys. http://camelbak.com/

 

Minimalist running area has seen some awesome improvements for the winter season. Vibram FiveFingers the pioneer of minimalistic footwear has unveiled a cold weather and water resistant running style, the Lontra.  This new style is ideal for cold and wet weather running, trekking, and general outdooractivity.  It features features a water repellent laminated polyester upper with micro fleece liner for warmth and comfort. A snug fitting Neoprene heel cuff and a sewn‐in fleece footbed provide more thermal protection. Fully tapped seams and a gusset tongue ensure water resistance. http://vibramfivefingers.com/

Base layers also saw a lot of great improvements.  180s is introducing a new thermal performance technology, QuantumHeat™.   180s QuantumHeat™ uses thermal performance technology to convert body heat, moisture and natural infrared rays into thermal energy. QuantumHeat includes smart moisture management fibers that work to continuously absorb 100 percent of sweat every two seconds, as well as a technical fabric composition that delivers warmth and freedom of movement without bulk. http://www.180s.com/

Helly Hansen Base Layers now have a new fiber weaved in the garment called LIFA®.  These fibers are  softer and more efficient at keeping the skin drier for longer durations.  Unlike polyester alternatives, LIFA® pulls sweat away from the skin and moves it to the exterior so the skin stays notably more comfortable during high-intensity activities. http://hellyhansen.com/

 

The child carrier area also saw a great improvement.  The Piggyback Rider (a standup child carrier)  released just lastsummer saw a complete product line overhaul. Weighing less than three pounds and the size of a rolled towel, the Piggyback Rider® is the first and only child carrier that allows you to comfortably carry a child up to 60 lbs at your back. With the ease of a standard backpack, the Piggyback Rider® provides a shoulder mounted foot bar for your child to stand on, integrated grab handles for your child to hold, and a safety harness to secure your child. The new product line now includes features such as a day pack for the adult who is carrying and a hydration pack for the child and the carrying adult. http://piggybackrider.com/

This was a very small percentage of the new products that were shown at the show.  There are so many innovations being made daily in our field.  Look up your favorite brands and check out some of the new stuff they released.  Most of these products will be released in the latter end of 2012.

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12/26/12

Family Camping: Where to start when camping with kids: 5 easy tips

Family camping can be a daunting task. Have no fear readaboutgear.com will give tips, tricks, and advice.

Where to start when camping with kids:

Tip #1 Make a check list of necessities for children ie baby bottle, pacifier, favorite blanket/animal, pjs, piggyback rider, diapers, wipes, sanitizer, blanket to swaddle child to sleep, etc.

Tip #2 While packing, ask older children to help pack younger sibling’s items.

Tip #3 While packing, explain where you are going camping, how long it will take to get there, how long you’ll stay, where you’ll need help (Kids love to help!), meals you’ll cook together, and potential hikes or trails you may do together.  Kids love helping, and they’ll get excited to share in the responsibilities of cooking and potential hikes or trails you’ll enjoy together.  Preparing the kids for what will occur on the trip is just as good as being on the trip.

Tip #4 Ask the kids some of their favorite games, so you can play them on the way to your camping destination.  If they don’t have any favorite games, let me suggest a few: the gratitude game, the letter game, the numbers game, 20 questions, I spy, I love game, slug bug game.  Are you familiar with these games?  If not, they’re easy to play: “The gratitude game” is each person in the car says “I am grateful for (then fills in the blank), and each person in the car has a turn to fill in the blank.  “The letter game” is finding all of the letters of the alphabet on the road, license plates, billboards, signs, etc. starting from A to Z in sequential order until you hit Z and when one person sees the letter, he/she calls the letter out and the location.  “The numbers game” is finding numbers starting with 0-100 and when one person sees the number, he/she calls the number out and the location.

Tip #5 Bring snacks and water for the car and for the actual camping trip.
Here are a couple of great snacks from our friends at CLIF Bar.
CLIF Kids Zfruit- organic fruit snack, a gluten-free option, equal to one serving of fruit
CLIF Kids Zbar- organic snack bar, 8-11 grams of whole grains, contains 12 essential vitamins and minerals

12/24/12

An Evening With Chris Sharma to Save Castle Rock: May 18 at Clif Bar Headquarters

In 1993, Chris went climbing outside for his first time at Castle Rock. Since then, he’s established the hardest boulder problems in the park, helped to put the high-quality tafoni sandstone formations on the map with films like Rampage and moved on to become a climbing superstar who some consider the best of all time. Chris’ start at Castle is inspiration to many Bay Area climbers, and his long time affiliation with the park has had far reaching impact. Today, Castle Rock attracts an international climbing audience, largely because of Sharma’s influence. So when he heard that Castle Rock may soon be closed to climbing and the general public, Chris immediately jumped at the opportunity to help with the access efforts–pledging to travel all the way from his current home in Spain to make a few special presentations for the cause. We hope to see you there. All proceeds from the event will go towards the efforts to keep Castle Rock State Park Open

Chris will present slides and footage from his climbing career, talk about what inspires him and answer audience questions.  This will be an evening to remember!

Tickets are available at: https://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/243443

If you are in the Bay Area during these dates I would totally recommend going to this event.
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12/22/12

Give Your Ma Some Chocolate She Has Always Wanted

Give Your Ma Some Chocolate She Has Always Wanted

Mother’s day is approaching quickly.  Have you figured out what you are getting for mom? Well Readaboutgear.com and Clif Bar have teamed up to give your mom Chocolate she won’t get mad at.

To win these Clif Bar chocolate prize packs do the following.

  • In the comment section write why your mom, wife, or mother like figure, deserves this awesome chocolate prize pack
  • Like our Facebook page
  • Put this in your facebook status “Give Your Ma Some Chocolate She Has Always Wanted. Win a chocolate themed prize pack from Clif Bar and Readaboutgear.com Visit http://bit.ly/I2B8wl to Enter”

Do all these Steps before Sunday May 5th 2012

The Contest is limited to United States Residents

Thanks for Participating

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12/20/12

XShot 2.0 First Impressions

 I came across XShot, this cool camera extender last week. This is XShot’s tag line, “Photograph and video yourself anywhere!” This great product is perfect for people who are always taking pictures of their friends on trips and adventures but never find themselves in the pictures.

Let’s go over the features of this bad boy really quick and then go over my experience with it so far.

Features

  • Durable metal shaft
  • Lightweight
  • Extends to 37”
  • Closes to 9”
  • Fits many compact cameras
  • Supports heavier cameras
  • Variable length

Here are some of the things that the XShot can do:

  • Fun and easy to use
  • Eliminate awkward photos taken at arms length
  • Capture full background and scenery
  • Take a picture anywhere without asking a stranger
  • Take pictures from unique angles
  • With the XShot it looks like someone else took the picture
  • Easy film making for online videos and journals
  • Make videos with 3D effect

A few weeks ago in Bryce Canyon, my friend was filming with his GoPro video camera and he said, “Wouldn’t it be great to have a to have a stick thing to mount the go pro on to help me video myself.”  I was at the festival of colors this spring and saw a lot of people with their cameras taped to PVC pipes. This thing has a variable head so you can get a different angle and you can stretch it out about 3 feet. Personally, I enjoy taking photos of others but I must admit this has been great to take group shots so I can be in the photo, too.  Check out Cate & I below. When I get a video camera to take on my trip, this will be incredible to take videos on and help out a lot, and I can’t wait to use it some more. This is great for outdoor adventurers especially those who like to take videos of friends and family and be included in them or if you want to take a photo or video of yourself.  This is also a great option for people who can’t bring an extra person to video or take pictures.

It’s been really easy to capture pictures of my friends and myself.  All you have to do is put your camera on self timer mode or video mode, mount your camera on the Xshot, start the timer or video recording, then extend your camera and point your camera at you.  Simple.  Easy.

My Canon Powershot g10 is hefty, and the Xshot supported it fairly well. At first, I took a few photos that were out of focus but after trying a couple of times I got it down, and it’s easy. A lot of new advanced cameras have a smile timer, it senses when you are in the picture and takes it.  You need to make sure to learn how to position the XShot to not get it in the shot, if you zoom in its pretty easy.

Here is a shot I took of Cate and I at the radio station using the XShot.

If interested in purchasing an XShot, go to http://xshot.com/

12/10/12

Osprey Aura 65 Pack Women’s Large

This is the second women’s specific piece of gear we have reviewed at readaboutgear.com, I hope it sure is informative.  This time around Bethany took out the Osprey Aura 65 pack which has just received a facelift for 2012.  She used it well she took it on a six day trip on the San Rafel Swell in Utah.  First I’ll go over the key features of this pack and then we’ll go in to her review.

Osprey Aura 65 pic 1

Key Features

  • Airspeed Suspension
  • Torso Adjustable Interchangeable Shoulder Harness
  • Adjustable Fit on the Fly Hipbelt
  • Zippered Fabric Hipbelt Pockets
  • Side Stretch Mesh Pockets
  • Front Stretch Woven Pocket
  • Intergraded Hydration Compatibility
  • Stow-on-the-Go Trekking Pole Attachment System
  • Sleeping Bag Compartment (65 L)
  • Comes in to Volumes 65 L or 50 L

Review By Bethany Rennaker

I liked the look of the pack when I pulled it from the box. Green is totally my color. Then I stuffed it full of anything that would weigh it down to do some training for a 6-day, 50 mile trip. So, my first impression of the Osprey Aura 65 is that the “Fit on the Fly” waist belt was perfect for a large girl like me. The belt extends to fit large body types so comfortably that I felt confident that I wouldn’t experience any problems with it. And I didn’t. I really felt the benefit of the well-fitted hip belt. The weight was distributed to my hips and yet there was no discomfort in my hips. This was the first impression of the Aura 65.

On the 6-day trip I took, I found the pack proved just as impressive. The space that I needed for this trip was provided in the bag. The pockets were great and there is some stretch in the outside pocket that expanded to fit those last items I would stuff in the bag. Again, the fit was great and the weight of the bag was kept to the waist and off of the shoulders. I also felt the benefit of the sculpted, mesh backing that kept my back nice and dry.

There were two things that I would have enjoyed the Aura 65 to have included. The top of the pack is not a removable hip pack and I like that feature in other Osprey bags. Also, the side pockets were not elastic tops and that made it tough to get my water bottles in the pocket some times.

All in all, I really enjoy my Osprey Aura 65 because it fits great and provides a fantastic amount of space.

12/9/12

Gear Trader: local way to buy/sell your gear

I recently found this totally awesome site for selling/buying pre-owned outdoor gear called Geartrader.com. Wanting to learn more about the site, I emailed the website manager and voila his reply:

“Essentially we provide a platform for people to sell their outdoor gear and buy new and used outdoor gear.  It’s a marketplace for outdoor gear.

This is how it works if you want to sell some gear.
1. Take a few photos of your gear
2. Goto www.geartrade.com/sell
3. Upload the photos and complete the listing process
4. When your item sells we send you an email with shipping instructions.

Once you ship the item and enter a tracking number we mail you a check in 9 days. We handle all the customer service and payment processing so you don’t have to pay paypal fees or processing fees. We also do not charge image or listing fees like ebay. We charge a flat rate of 12% only after the item is sold.  If you don’t sell your gear, we do not charge you.”

Sounds like a good system?  Best part?  Made in the USA, that’s right Geartrader.com is operated right here in the USA so we support the local economy all while buying and selling gear.  Love that.

Click here to check them out. Geartrader.com  Best part two?  To set up an account is free.  Can’t beat that.  We love good deals and to pass them to onto you.  So we even gave them a little space on our site.  Happy Gear Trading!

Buy or sell your gear

12/9/12

CLIF Bar's Meet the Moment Campaign

At Read About Gear we are big on practicing outdoor ethics. CLIF Bar is running a campaign for the second year in a row to help support some Non-porfit organizations that help with outdoor ethic.

Watch this video to get a feel for the campaign

CLIF Bar is inviting outdoor enthusiasts to Protect the Places We Play by sharing photos and stories of their adventures on www.MeettheMoment.com. CLIF Bar will reward your readers for sharing by donating $5 for each Moment uploaded, up to $100,000, to their choice of one of five non-profits dedicated to protecting the outdoors. Partners include Access Fund, International Mountain Bicycling Association, Leave No Trace, Surfrider Foundation and Winter Wildlands Alliance.

An additional $1 will be donated every time a Moment is shared via a social networking site and a grand prize winner will be selected from the Top 25 most shared/liked Moments to have another $10,000 donated in their name to one of the non-profit partners, plus a year’s supply of CLIF Bars.

I encourage you all to participate.

Keep it real, keep it safe.
Torsten