07 February 2013



There is a lot to be said about having great equipment on outdoor adventures. In fact, countless white people flock to Americas outdoor recreation areas every year, all the while congratulating themselves for having such a cool backpacking stove or a sweet titanium spork after having made the trip to REI or some other specialty retailer beforehand to pick up the newest tech gadget or $90 long underwear shirt. It's no secret that I am one of these gear weenies and have quite a hankering for outdoor gear myself so I have decided to share some of my favorites from the gear closet in a ten part series.

#1 Cascade Designs Sealline PRO Pack 115 $169.00

In my not so humble opinion, of all the options out on the market currently, the PRO Pack is the pinnacle of portage pack existence. This pack is 100% waterproof, lightweight, slides easily into the belly of a canoe, has lots of straps that you can clip to your boat so you and your gear don't get separated in a capsize, and carries comfortably on any length of portage. I have used several types of packs on canoe trips over the years and to me, none of them stack up to the Sealline.

If you like to go camping in selvedge denim, the classic Duluth Pack is pretty, has fine craftsmanship is made of canvas and leather. These non-waterproof nostalgic and heavy beauties soak up water to get heavier and cut into your shoulders like a bastard. These are a hit with hipster outdoor enthusiasts.
If you love camping in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, canoe camping or whitewater rafting you should load up a PRO Pack so you can think less about your gear getting wet, your shoulders getting sore and think more about the gorgeous place you are vacationing in.

Honorable mentions:

Granite Gear makes some of the best backpacks you can find and they have many canoe/portage packs to choose from in their catalog. these are super comfortable and water repellent but you still need to line them with a plastic bag to keep your gear dry if the rain is pouring or you somehow manage to swamp your boat.

Cooke Custom Sewing is worth an honorable mention if you go the non-waterproof route. Dan Cooke makes packs by hand in his workshop in Lino Lakes, MN. Dan makes damn fine products at reasonable prices.

06 October 2011

30 May 2011

Nepali, Nepali, Nepali, Nepali, Hot shower, Nepali, Nepali Nepali.

Hello friends,

Jen and I are in Nepal and are laying low in the city of Pokhara having just finished hiking the 118 mile Annapurna Circuit Trek through the Himilayas.

A lot of people hike this trail between 16 and 20 days but we took our sweet time and finished it in 30 days allowing for a few layover days here and there and a three day stint of food poisoning and pooping liquid from some suspected fried rice that tasted like a pair of Jen's leather sandals that were left in a duffel bag back at the start of the trek.

Which incidentally were all moldy when we got back.

Thorung La

The crowning achievement of the Annapurna Circuit is the Thorung La. mountain pass.  5416 meters, or in the real measurement system 17,769 ft above sea level.  Now don't let this fool you because we did not climb 17,769 ft to reach the pass.  The trail starts in a little town called Besisehar and is already at 4,377 ft.  So we did climb 13,392 ft which is kind of bad ass and we did feel the early stages of acute mountain sickness (A headache) in the nearly 18,000 ft elevation with very thin air.  I know, bad ass.

Dal Bhat
Anyway, the hike was a ton of fun involving lots of sweating, tripping, eating Dal Bhat and meeting all sorts of varying weirdos from around the world, our favorite being a man only known as 'The German Guy' who informed us of a not to be missed festival in Hanover involving firearms and drinking known as Schutzenfest.  I don't think I got a picture of the german guy but he was great.  Suspenders holding up his hiking pants and of course socks were worn whenever he had sandals on.

 Jen and I stayed in many a village, saw many a snow capped Himilayan peak and encountered many forms of beast both wild and tame.  Jen's favorite was the water buffalo, mine was the yak which by the end of the trip I had grown a beard long enough to be mistaken for one.

Abominable Snow Jim AKA Yak
Water Buffalo (Jen's Favorite Animal)
Yak and baby Yak
Water Buffalo

There are too many good pictures from this hike to include even a tenth of them.