Twice a year, once in February and once in August, Salt Lake City becomes the center of the outdoor retailing world. OR, as it has come to be known, is the Outdoor Retailer Trade Show where everybody who is anybody in the outdoor business meets to talk gear and adventure. Here are three great products, which represent the best in outdoor gear.
Teva Chair 5• This boot from Teva proves their R&D gurus are thinking outside of the winter boot box. Lightweight and waterproof this packable boot is still extremely warm. Lined with 250 grams of 3M Thinsulate the Chair 5 is going to be the pair to draw to when cold weather hits and the snow is getting deep. Available August 2012 • Estimated retail price to be announced.
Petzl NAO Headlamp • The light beam on the new NAO Headlamp is “intelligent,” meaning that it can sense what and where you are pointing it and adjust accordingly. If you are digging around in your canoe pack at 3:00 am the 355 lumen lamp will soften, save energy, and not give you a blast of light to your face. Likewise, point it at that far-off bear coming into your camp and Yogi will get the full treatment, lighting up like a Christmas tree. Available July 2012 • Estimated retail: $175.
SmartWool PhD SmartLoft Divide • Here is a jacket, which is stuffed with fluffed-up Merino wool just like the feathers in your goose down jackets. This new design by SmartWool is proclaimed to be just as warm as down, even if it gets wet. The line will debut in the fall of this year with the Merino insulation and a weather-resistant shell. Available Fall 2012 • Estimated retail: $200.
And that is just a sample of all the cool gear coming to market in the next few months. Keep checking back here, and I will let you know of the great gear finds perfect for your outdoor adventure.
Here is one of the great new products for your outdoor adventures in 2012. The Slat Grill designed by Chris Weyandt of St. Paul, MN and built in the USA is perfect for camping, hiking, or any other trek into the woods. This grill is simple to set up and use, extremely versatile in heat source and configuration. It is also extremely portable, packing down to just 18” by 5” by 2” in its handy, canvas carry case. When packed it will easily slide into the outer pockets on a #3 Cruiser or the Kitchen Pack.
The Slat Grill debuted at the Midwest Mountaineering Winter Expo in Minneapolis last month. That was the first chance I had to see it, and for me it was an instant hit. Chris had two different stoves going under the grill and was cooking up a storm. The Slat Grill will not only accommodate gas-fired stoves, but charcoal or a wonderful open campfire will serve as heat sources. The half moon cut outs allow for a remote fuel source such as the MSR WindPro and they also serve as vents to let fire breathe as needed.
Set up is amazingly easy and requires no tools. Assemble the expedition grade box, (measures 18″x12″x4″) lay in the slats, or skewers, and use the chains to move it into position over the fire. By configuring the nine slats in any way you like a variety of pots, pans, or griddles can sit on top. Made from hard-anodized, lightweight aluminum the grill will take on a nice patina over time, but it is corrosion resistant, and clean up is easy with a scrubbie and some Bar Keepers Friend. And best of all, it is guaranteed for life.
As you make your plan to head into the Quetico next summer, you must have the Slat Grill on your gear list. Remember there are no fire grates in the Quetico. And, just imagine after a long hard push across the Yum-Yum portage sitting back and watching steaks sizzle on the Slat Grill. Great meals make for great canoe trips.
Keep checking in with the blog during the next couple of weeks as I bring you more great outdoor adventure products for 2012.
Cheers and Happy New Year!
Wool stocking on the fireplace at the Duluth Pack Store
The “12 Days of Christmas” is upon us. And, while many of my favorite items will be sliding down the chimney of your email inbox soon, there are other wonderful gifts worth telling you about. Please let me share with you some of our most popular gift items for Christmas this year.
1. Wool Christmas Tree Skirts and Stockings • Brand new for this holiday season are the Duluth Pack wool tree skirts and fireplace stockings. Both are made in six colors of wool; three plaid patterns and three solids. So keep your tree warm and your little elves on pins and needles as they wait for Santa with nice big stockings hanging over the fireplace.
2. SmartWool Socks• Toes get cold this time of year and the perfect gift to keep them warm are SmartWool socks. Made of Merino wool from New Zealand these socks are as soft as they are warm. To see the biggest selection of SmartWool in the north woods head on down to the Duluth Pack Store in Canal Park and gaze upon our wall.
3. Collared Logo 1/4 Zip Sweatshirt • One of our most popular sweatshirts is fresh this season with two new colors. The 1/4 zip sweatshirt now comes in a black and a navy. Perfect to add as another layer when the fire just isn’t warm enough.
4. Bison Leather #100 Purse • Having premiered this fall, our entire American Bison Series takes the quality and tradition of Duluth Pack and blends it with the rugged luxury of the American West. Give the #100 Purse this Christmas and be guaranteed that you have given something truly unique.
There they are, four great gift ideas from Duluth Pack for this Christmas season.
Naughty or nice, everybody deserves a Duluth Pack this year.
In the last blog post I talked about the different styles of snowshoes and which style would fit your snow trekking needs the best. In this article I would like to examine three styles of bindings that will match up well with your new American Made wooden snowshoes by Iverson’s. The two primary concerns with snowshoe bindings will be the ease of getting them on and the amount of control they give you while shoeing.
First snowshoe binding is the rubber, Bob Maki style binding. It is very easy to mount on the snowshoe, and being flexible rubber it is very easy to pull on over your boot. These features make it ideal if a lot of different users are going to be going out in the snow on your shoes. The downside to this style binding is the lack of control once the boot is in the binding. Not a lot of stability in the rubber binding, sometimes making it tricky to turn in tight quarters.
Second is the “A” or “AA” style binding. This style is a heavy vinyl or leather forefoot piece, which holds the boot in place with a compression strap. The advantage with this binding is that it goes on and off easily. So again, if multiple people will be using your shoes adjustments can be made quickly no matter the boot size. One disadvantage that I can speak to is that this binding can be a little more difficult to mount to the shoe. However, you always have the snowshoe pros at the Duluth Pack store in Canal Park to assist you.
Third, is the “H” style binding, probably the most recognizable of all the bindings. The strapping system is usually made of leather or neoprene and mounts very easily to the shoe. This binding gives you great control of the shoe in all conditions, whether in tight spaces or in a straight line down a lake. It works best when only one person will be using a pair of snowshoes; therefore multiple users might find the adjustment process a bit cumbersome.
You’ve got classic, wooden snowshoes, and you have your bindings, now go out and play in the snow! If you have any questions or concerns about snowshoe bindings, or getting them mounted head on down to Canal Park and check in with the outdoor experts at the Duluth Pack store. They have trod many snow-covered trails in the north woods, and know their stuff well.
Let it snow. Let it snow. Let it snow.
Winter in the north woods is on the way. Don’t let this mild weather fool you, before you know it we will be up to our knees in the white stuff. And like true Minnesotans once winter arrives we will be ready to go play in the snow.
Last February I posted an article on the differences between wood and aluminum snowshoes. As you are looking to buy snowshoes this season it might be a good idea to go back and review a few of the pros and cons of each type. In this article I would like to examine the wooden shoes from Iverson Snowshoes a little more, and talk about how to choose the right pair for you.
As with anything, examining how you will use your snowshoes is the primary factor in determining the best style for you. Is this a recreational snowshoe that might be used in tight spaces or wooded trails? Or, are you a pretty serious snowshoe traveler that will be going great distances on primarily open terrain?
Let’s start with the former; you are a recreational snowshoer who will be traveling wooded trails on a regular basis. A smaller rounded shoe like the Green Mountain will give you great maneuverability in the tight spaces. It is also an excellent shoe if you plan on carrying it as a back up on your snowmobile, or dogsled.
If you are going to be breaking trail and headed into deep snow there are two good choices. The Modified Bearpaw and the Michigan are both good straight-tracking shoes for the deep stuff. The Bearpaw will be a little bit more maneuverable at 35 inches long with the Michigan at 46 inches creating a nice blend for use in moderate wooded areas as well as wide-open spaces.
And for the adventurer who is going to travel long distances with deep snow the Alaskan or the traditional Ojibwa will be the shoes for you. The Alaskan was built for Artic Adventurers going out to trek across the tundra in deep powder and drifted snow. The Ojibwa is similar to other cross-country shoes, but the long pointed nose will cut through deep snow and any underbrush that might get in your way.
Of course if you want to talk to somebody about the difference between a Bearpaw and an Ojibwa, the snowshoe experts at the Duluth Pack store in Canal Park can answer all your questions. They have been all over the north woods on many types of snowshoes and will find the pair that’s right for you.
Next time: which binding is right for your new snowshoes?