Category Archives: Hiking

Why you should wash your down gear

Did you know that washing that grimy down jacket is easier than you think? Washing your down gear extends the life of the product, and its ability to keep you warm. Here’s an article from Outdoor Research we wanted to share with you about how to wash down gear (also applies to sleeping bags).

Don’t forget: All of our stores carry Nikwax products, like Down wash and Down proof, to help you get your precious pieces clean.

We look forward to seeing you!


Wonderful Patagonia adventure video

Dan Riordan and Dana Saint spent 5 weeks exploring Chile and Patagonia, and they’ve documented it with this terrific video.  I love the way they’ve eschewed a traditional “went here, did that” style and instead used their footage to tell a story and, hopefully, provoke thought.  Enjoy!

How tough are you?

Unlike many writers and bloggers on the outdoor scene, Brendan Leonard is not famous for his outdoor exploits- you won’t see his name in the list of top finishers in a bouldering competition, or read about his bold solo summit of a Himalayan peak.

He writes, “I’m probably a lot like you. I like rock climbing, but start to flail when it gets vertical. I like bicycles, but not racing against other people on them. I like running and trail running, but I probably like ice cream more. I mostly avoid avalanches by not being a good enough skier to get on slopes steep enough to slide. But I sure like to get out there.”

However, unlike most of us, Brendan is sponsored, by Outdoor Research.  It’s easy for me to understand why- he’s a great writer, and I read his blog Semi-rad religiously.  I particularly enjoyed one of his recent posts, so I’m posting a fragment of it here in hopes that you’ll check out his blog to read the rest.

How Tough Are You?

Photo by Lee Smith

There are many good strategies to use when running the New York City Marathon. Throwing up at the start is probably not one of them. My friend Syd was in for a long day after he puked early in the 2011 race last November. He never got back the nutrients and water he’d lost, but kept running until Mile 18, around 96th Street on the course, when he felt like a bag of garbage. Then he started walking. It wasn’t his first marathon – it was his sixth, interspersed with 23 half-marathons – but it was maybe the hardest.

Syd’s dad, in his 70s, met him with a cold, wet towel, and they walked together, to mile 19. It was a 14-minute mile. After mile 19, he told his dad he’d see him at mile 22, and then he started running 11-minute miles. I know this because I was sitting in a coffee shop in Monterey, California, tracking him and texting his wife Debi updates every time he hit another mile marker, remembering how he had said he was worried about the race in the weeks leading up to it. Debi texted back, “His calf injury is killing him.”

When we had talked on the phone a couple weeks earlier, I said to Syd, The thing I like about all this stuff we do – running, climbing, mountaineering, cycling, all this suffer-filled, sometimes painful stuff – is that it’s just a way of repeatedly asking ourselves the question, “Am I tough enough?” And the answer is almost always yes.

I think what I like about toughness is that it’s not quantifiable, other than in the form of a story. Lots of people can have a faster race time, climb a couple letter- or number-grades harder than you, stand on the next-higher place on the podium. But nobody has a measurement system for toughness. Usually, when you talk about how tough someone is, you start out with,

“This one time …”

and then you tell a story.

To read the rest of this post, please check out Brendan’s blog here.

Indescribably beautiful; video of a trek across Iceland

When deciding how to title a blog posting, one typically strives to use adjectives that will drive people to click through and read the rest of the post.  So, you wind up with titles full of words like “Amazing”, “Stunning”, “Jaw-dropping”, “Gorgeous”, or “Mind-blowing”.  The internet being what it is, in many cases these words have lost much of their meaning as a result of too-frequent and often undeserved usage.  I too have done this, although I personally do not regret doing so, because I only post things about which I am genuinely enthusiastic.  However, sometimes you come across something so incredible that you wish you’d been more restrained in the past so that your superlatives have retained their power and can give your subject their deserved respect.  I feel a bit like the boy who cried wolf- not that there wasn’t a wolf previously, but suddenly a wolf the size of a blue whale has appeared and there is no means to adequately convey its magnitude.

Anyway- I hope that you will watch this, as I and the few others I have shared it with found it to be so remarkable.  The video stars and was shot and edited by Austrian Klara Harden.  In 2011 she embarked an a solo hike across Iceland.  This video tells the story of her journey.  Please ensure HD is enabled and you are viewing full-screen, this is worth your time and attention.

B.O.B. Strollers on sale now!

B.O.B. has refreshed their immensely popular line of jogging strollers, and to mark the occasion we’re putting them on sale!  From now through September 19th, all 2011 B.O.B strollers are 15% off!

PCT Hikers- need a place to stay in Idyllwild?

After having been closed for several years, the Fern Valley Inn has reopened under new ownership.  At the corner of Fern Valley and Tahquitz Roads, this is the first inn you’ll come to after stepping off the trail.  Now being operated by the owners of the Ravenwood Motel in Klamath, CA, the inn has been redecorated and there are new linens in every room.  And, if you’d like to experience downtown Idyllwild but want to give your tired feet a rest, they’ll be happy to give you a ride whenever possible.  Give them a call at (877) 659-0466 or visit their website at