Monthly Archives: November 2012

Gear Review: Petzl NAO headlamp

November 30, 2012  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment

Petzl NAO

Petzl NAO
$175, 7 oz.

Stepping outside my tent during a black night in Oregon’s Eagle Cap Wilderness, I turned in the direction of our food stuff sacks hanging from a tree more than 300 feet away—and saw them lit up brightly in the beam of this headlamp. Then I swung my gaze back to the ground before me to watch where I was walking, and the Nao’s beam instantly switched over to wide-area mode, brightly illuminating a broad perimeter around me. And it did this without me touching the device. Continue reading →

Gear Review: Granite Gear Air Zippditty Stuff Sacks

November 26, 2012  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , ,   |   1 Comment

Granite Gear Air Zippditty

Mini Zippered Stuff Sacks
Granite Gear Air Zippditty
$30, 2.5 oz. (set of 4)
Sizes: 0.6L, 1L, 1.7L, and 2.4L

I’m a little anal-retentive about keeping my backpack organized so that I can put my hands on what I without digging around. And being a writer and photographer, I tend to carry a lot of small items that are easily buried inside a pack pocket, like a digital voice recorder and memory cards. So I like to keep things compartmentalized without adding more than a few ounces in stuff sack weight. These sacks made of transparent, 30D siliconized nylon, with water-resistant zippers, are an organizer’s dream. Continue reading →

Gear Review: Sierra Designs Ymir 55 Ski Pack

November 15, 2012  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , ,   |   1 Comment

Ski and Snowboard Pack
Sierra Designs Ymir 55
$190, 55 L/3,300 c.i., 4 lbs. 4 oz. (S/M)
Sizes: S/M and M/L (60L/3,600 c.i., 4 lbs. 9 oz.)

Finding an all-purpose backcountry skiing and snowboarding pack that excels at full-day tours and multi-day trips is a tall order. But after carrying the Ymir 55 with up to 35 pounds on a four-day backcountry ski trip to a yurt in Idaho’s Sawtooth Mountains—including skiing downhill with the pack partially loaded—I think it’s possibly the most comfortable, versatile, and well-organized, big ski pack I’ve used. Continue reading →

November 11, 2012 Garnet Canyon, Grand Teton National Park.

What Should I Wear? How to Dress For Outdoor Adventures

In Backpacking, Hiking, Skiing, Skills   |   Tagged , ,   |   2 Comments

By Michael Lanza

For hikers, trail runners, climbers, and others who play hard outside, fall, winter, and spring—and sometimes summer in the high mountains—challenge our ability to dress comfortably. You’re hot one minute, cold the next.

There’s a simple explanation: Temperatures below about 55° F. are cold enough to induce hypothermia; but when exerting hard, we can sweat even in temps well below freezing, and sweat conducts heat away from the body, making you cold. The key to comfort? Smart management of what you wear and your body temperature during activity. Continue reading →

November 10, 2012

Chasing Summer’s Tail Climbing in Idaho’s Sawtooths and Castle Rocks

In Hiking   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment

By Michael Lanza

In the dead-calm, 30-degree, predawn chill of a fall morning, our headlamp beams bore into the enveloping darkness on a trail through lodgepole pine forest in Idaho’s Sawtooth Mountains. Stars salt what we can see of the sky through the trees. We’re not saying much, a little tired after having driven out here too late last night to camp, and not slept quite enough before rising at 5 a.m.

But then, it’s probably wise of us to hoard our energy in reserve, given the day laid out before us: at least 14 miles of hiking, with roughly two of those miles off-trail and nearly 4,000 feet of up and down, plus a couple pitches of rock climbing to a summit neither of us has stood on before. Continue reading →

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