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Andrew Bisharat

Europe, the birthplace of climbing, has amazing limestone sport climbing and incredible mountains for mountaineering and alpinism. But what the Lower 48 lack in steep limestone cliff bands and soaring mountain ranges like the Alps, we more than make up for with the best trad cragging in the world. We have Yosemite. We have Eldo. We have Indian Creek and the Utah desert. And we have the Gunks. We would have Squamish, too, if it weren’t for the pesky detail that Squamish is actually located just north of our border in Canada (fortunately, border crossings are pretty mellow, eh?). To [...]

Jason True

Given my experience in Haines, Alaska in April of 2013, it may have seemed crazy to start planning a return almost as soon as I got back. But as time goes by, you forget the struggles (four days of dumping snow that required eight hours of shoveling a day) and think about the amazing terrain you experienced (or merely saw from a distance); returning has a way of consuming your thoughts. Of course, there’s a lot of planning involved–but that’s part of the fun, at least for me.  I got a couple partners interested in the idea and started scheming. [...]

Kim Havell

Part I Our plane crossed the Arctic Ocean and dipped down towards the Davis Strait. Banking a sweeping right turn towards the short runway, cut between big cliffs and ocean, we got our first glimpse of the minimalist oceanside town of Sisimuit, Greenland. Sisimuit, and most of Greenland, is north of the 60-degree line that traditionally defines the northern polar region. The ruby-red Air Greenland turboprop plane halted at the house-sized airport and, from our seats, we had a window view of five couloirs straight down to the water. The ski terrain and conditions looked promising. Greenland is an autonomous [...]

Jason Sager

Heading up to Missoula from Utah for the next race on the Pro Mountain Bike Cross-Country Tour , we were equal parts nervous and excited to see first-hand what the buzz was all about at the Marshall Mountain course. There was the famous “A-Line” jump, the rowdy crowds, and the summer solstice buzz and requisite parties that Missoula is known for. After an almost seven-week break since our last major domestic cross-country event, we all wondered who would be on top of their game. The last time the top North American women had lined up together was for the Whiskey [...]

Alex Blackmer

Plenty of serious things can ruin a backpacking trip—starvation, hypothermia, brain aneurysms, bears—but nothing seemingly small can blow up a backcountry mission quite like blisters. Unfortunately, there’s no surefire way to stop them, but if you start thinking about taking care of your feet the same way you do meal planning and packing, you’ll be way more likely to make it through your next backpacking trip with paws intact and spirits high. Prevention Blisters are caused by warmth, moisture, and friction. When you walk, your feet rub in your boots, and the outermost skin slides over the inner layers. Introduce [...]

Micah L

The West Buttress route on Denali is a strenuous and time-intensive climb.  Climbers need to be in top physical shape, and have both the mental fortitude and organizational skills that enable them to stay on top of things in the challenging high-altitude mountain environment. They also need to have all the right gear. This summer, I will be guiding two climbs on Denali and have put together a summary of the equipment I will be taking with me (excluding group items and personal food). Climbing Equipment Lightweight Harness You’ll want a mountaineering harness with adjustable leg loops to accommodate your different [...]

Griffin Post

What serious skier or snowboarder hasn’t daydreamed of riding pristine powder in August? Massive mountains, friendly people, and lift-serviced terrain–it seems too good to be true. In reality, however, South America serves up just that and is only an overnight flight away. For the intrepid rider, there may be no better adventure than leaving North America’s sweltering heat behind and heading for the Andes. While all this is seemingly at one’s fingertips, there is some legwork that needs to be done before hopping on Delta 147 to Santiago, Chile. Good snow does await powder-starved riders from the northern hemisphere, but [...]

63mph

The idea to live on the road came to me in January of 2013. It was a romantic idea with a backbone of logic – for someone who wants to make a living with words and photographs, the road is an endless source of inspiration. But like most of my best ideas, it was one that I shoved into the crazy box–the home of ideas that were too radical for this 30-year-old Midwestern boy with an expensive education and an office chair softening his ass. A month later, during a boredom-driven Craigslist search, I got a glimpse of the future – [...]

TJ Parsons

Think what you drink after a long day on the trail is merely a reflection of your personal palate? Think again. Your beverage of choice publicly broadcasts much more about you than you ever imagined, and can even predict how your night is likely to turn out with near-scientific accuracy. At least according to this incomplete, subjective, and incredibly biased list that you should definitely take super-seriously. PALE ALE You’re well-rounded and versatile, with refined taste in both beverages and gear. You don’t mind springing for something high-end if it’s worth the hype, but you also don’t buy the most [...]

Nate Disser

On multi-pitch climbs, you carry a lot of gear with you–cams, nuts, draws, slings, carabiners–and of course, your trusted belay/rappel device. Over the years, I’ve seen people drop gear on climbs more often than you might imagine. What will you do when it happens to you? Dropping your #2 Camalot is a big deal, especially if your route offers up plenty of hand crack, but in most cases you can make do with other gear and plan your protection strategy for each pitch accordingly (if you’re climbing a trad route, that is). Dealing with a dropped cam, nut, or quickdraw [...]

Catherine Greenwald

Sure, you can just run. But strength training can help you run faster and better, and stay free from injury. If you’re going to start anywhere with strength training, start not with your legs, but with your core. The system of muscles – not just your abs – at your core are essential to supporting your posture, which will help you run more efficiently and cut down on fatigue. A stable core also enables you to respond to changes in terrain underfoot with a minimum of energy expenditure. We consulted with Whitney Liehr and Adam Daniels, both trainers at the [...]

Travis Woodruff

For the competitive cyclist, the transition from early season to summer requires some thought. Throughout the winter and spring, you’ve focused on developing the aerobic system and sustainable power you need for the summer race schedule. A lot of miles went into this pursuit of base fitness and if you did it right, it felt like work at some point along the way. But while long hours on the bike can improve overall fitness, come summer you’ll want to make some changes by adding some more intensity, balanced by more fun, into the mix. Go Harder After months of logging [...]

Daryl Deprey

Real talk, it’s not a matter of if you’ll get a flat but when. In fact, the difference between a 10-minute fix and walking your bike home hinges on whether you’re prepared for the inevitable. That’s why I made a step-by-step tutorial for fixing a flat that’ll save your ride someday. Step 1: Removing the Wheel Before you start looking for the culprit, you’ll need to remove the wheel from either the frame or fork. Depending on your bike, you’ll either have to loosen the quick-release and drop the wheel or remove the thru-axle and drop the wheel. We suggest [...]

Rob de Luca

Maybe it takes living in a mountain biking town to see the stratification so clearly, but no matter where you live it’s practically guaranteed there are some mountain bikers we like to call “dirtbags.” If there are trails, all you have to do is look and know what you’re looking for. You might be one yourself and not even know it. What? Dirtbagging isn’t about money. You can be broke as a joke or riding around on $10,000 worth of carbon fiber. We know lots of guys and gals who drop serious coin on equipment and thrash the hell out [...]

Robert L

As national bike-to-work month wrapped up, we checked in with some of our employees who have been logging miles in the Backcountry.com bike commuting contest in May to find out what and where they’re riding, and what they’re carrying. Patagonia kicked in some sweet prizes, both footwear and apparel, as an extra motivator for employees to get out of their cars and onto their bikes. Chris Mackay The Commute My ride to work is about 11.2 miles round trip with 80 meters of steep climbing on the way home. The route I take is very safe with mostly frontage roads [...]

Andrew McLean

Based on my last three decades of heavy gear usage, I’d say I fall into the “easy on gear” category.  I’ve broken one pair of skis in my life, and that was after they had a good 250+ days of resort pounding on them. The few bindings I’ve blown up were either prototypes, or self-inflicted catastrophes like forgetting to close the roof rack and seeing an entire quiver of skis go gracefully arcing into oncoming freeway traffic. In theory, part of the reason I may be easy on gear could be due to my spindly 143-pound physique, but I think [...]

Chris Van Leuven

Picture this: you’re 1,000 feet up El Cap, watching the setting sun with your back to the wall and feet dangling over the edge of your portaledge. In one hand you have a spoon and in the other, a fresh, bruise-free avocado sprinkled with hot sauce. I look forward to these moments – opportunities to indulge in simple culinary delights thousands of feet off the deck overlooking my favorite place on earth. It didn’t start this way. Packing and carrying wall food used to be a heavy, clunky proposition. Back in the ‘90s, when I first started doing walls, all [...]

Andrew Bisharat

Trad climbing is the foundation of our sport—the backbone, scoliotic from humping too many loads, that braces us for run-outs unknown and summits untouched. Trad climbing, and its attendant skill set, is what allows us to get into some of the coolest, raddest places on the planet, whether that’s the flank of El Capitan, the chimney of a lonesome desert tower, or even straight up a rowdy Patagonian spire. For the most part, though, you don’t really need to climb particularly hard to be a trad climber—at least not in the sense that building a textbook three-point anchor requires having [...]

Jason Sager

The bike schedule for the next few days was looking quiet, without any racing or training scheduled, and a heap of bad weather was parked over northern Utah. A quick trip to Fruita and Moab was in the cards–time to start packing. The question was, how? Late spring in the desert mountains can be one of the toughest trips to prepare for. It’s just as likely to be sunny and in the low 90s as it is for a storm roll to through with wind, snow, and hail. And between those snow and wind storms, when the calm and sunshine return, [...]

Andrew Bisharat

There are a lot of theories as to what constitutes a proper warm-up for climbing, and it seems as though every person has a different idea about what works best, from jumping jacks to pull-ups on tree limbs to doing the Michael Jackson Thriller dance. I’ve climbed with dudes whose warm-up routines begin at 6 a.m. with 45 minutes of calisthenics, followed by 30 minutes of jogging, followed by coffee, breakfast, and then five pitches of increasing difficulty—all before even trying their project! I’ve also climbed with professional athletes like Chris Sharma and Dave Graham, whose “warm-up” often consist of [...]

Molly Baker

Although much of the significance of living tiny is getting rid of stuff you don’t need, there are a few gear items that will make life easier, cleaner, and simpler. Here’s to giving away what you don’t need and replacing it with what you do. Illumination Whether you’re in your van or a tiny house you’ll need light for reading, cutting skins, drying gear, making dinner, and generally being efficient during the night hours. Get to know Goal Zero. They make great products like the Light-A-Life LED Lantern. With nine feet of cord and 150 lumens, it’ll be the light [...]

Lara LaBar

Whitewater rafting is an adrenaline-packed summer activity, and part of the thrill is the danger of going into the drink. Even the most experienced paddlers can easily be taken by surprise by a quick flip, but it doesn’t need to put a damper (so to speak) on the weekend. Here’s a primer on how to make the best of a big swim. AN OUNCE OF PREVENTION Paddle Hard Heed whatever paddling instructions the guide is shouting at you. Some flips can be sudden and violent, but the majority of rafting flips involve at least a few seconds of warning. If [...]

Andrew Bisharat

Social media generates mixed feelings, everything from “Like”-happy elation to the sense that we’re enslaved in a post-modern Zuckerbergian dystopia. Regardless of what you think, you have to admit that there are some pretty sweet climbing photos on Instagram these days. It’s hard not to get stoked by shots of rock climbing from around the world; you may even want to join the likes of Chris Sharma (@chris_sharma), Tommy Caldwell (@tommycaldwell), Alex Honnold (@alexhonnold), Steph Davis (@highsteph) and, of course, yours truly (@andrewbisharat), and start posting your own climbing adventures to Instagram. Here’s what you need to know: Know the [...]

Andrew Bisharat

Rock climbing is equal parts mental, physical, and technical. Yet most climbers only focus on the physical. All winter long climbers thrash themselves in the gym, thinking that bouldering, routes, 4x4s and campusing will deliver the sends of their dreams come spring. Of course, all of that stuff helps and climbers who train will see big improvements in fitness. Yet why is it that so many climbers, having trained all winter, still find themselves climbing the same grade outdoors as they were last year? The truth is, for most climbers, especially those of the beginner and intermediate variety, good climbing [...]