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An Intro to Outdoor Jackets

Anyone who spends time outside has a favorite jacket—it’s a staple in the kit of every hiker, climber, skier, snowboarder, cyclist, or mountaineer. But the one-jacket-for-everything days are long gone. To get you started on the path to understanding your jacket options, we outlined the five most basic styles.

How to Choose Ski & Snowboard Pants

Frozen chairlifts, day-long submersion in thigh deep pow (we hope), slushy boot packs, and brutal arctic winds are just a few scenarios your pants experience on a regular day at the outdoor office. So when choosing a new pair of pants, it’s worth taking some time researching the various fabrics, features, and styles that will be most applicable to your type of winter recreation.

Winter Layering

Different body types, output levels, and weather conditions require different amounts of insulation. Building a bomber layering system is one part trial and error and one part know-how.

How To Care for Your Down Jacket

Your puffy spares you the shivers on long chairlift rides, it offers a cozy embrace when you’re belaying a long pitch, and it lets you enjoy evening stargazing on alpine backpacking trips. And what do you do for it in return? Cram it into a stuff sack.

Technical Shells Explained

For the worst weather conditions imaginable, you need the reliable protection of Technical Shell. The best Technical Shells often feature waterproof/breathable laminates, watertight zippers, and high denier face fabrics.

Softshells Explained

Can a softshell replace your trusty hardshell in sustained rain or snowfall? Probably not. What softshells do best is keep you warm and dry while your heart rate is up in windy and/or damp weather.
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Pace Measom

Climbing the Iconic Peak on the 150th Anniversary of the First Ascent, Powered by Mammut. “Climb if you will, but remember that courage and strength are nought without prudence, and that a momentary negligence may destroy the happiness of a lifetime. Do nothing in haste; look well to each step; and from the beginning think what may be the end.” Edward Whymper So People Really Do Win These Things The Matterhorn is perhaps the most famous, most recognized mountain on the planet. It’s the crown jewel of the Swiss Alps and its likeness can be found on everything from deodorant [...]

Matthew Pizza

In addition to length and weight, another way fly rods differ from one another is in their action. Loosely defined, it’s related to the flex pattern of the rod; the action and flex of the fly rod significantly affect its feel and performance. Rod actions are rated as soft, medium, and fast. Following is a rundown of each. Fast Action Most fast-action rods will be tip flex, meaning only the tip of the rod is going to bend while the butt is very stiff. These rods can be hard for the beginning angler to cast, but if you are on [...]

Dan Gates

Finding the right set of snowboard bindings can take your setup to the next level in terms of comfort and control. Backcountry Expert Gearhead Dan Gates reviews some things to consider when picking out your next pair. Snowboard bindings are the direct interface between you and your board. A good binding should enhance the natural flex pattern of your board as well as provide all-day comfort, because when the goods are good, you don’t want to have to head to the lodge with hurting feet while your buddies are scoring lap after lap of freshies. Flex When picking a binding [...]

Colin Clancy

Ten years ago this very moment I may have taken a break from shotgunning beers with my ski bum friends to stir the Crock Pot of sloppy joes simmering atop the toilet for lack of table space. Or I may have been hot-lapping Loveland Pass backcountry lines under the full midnight moon until the cops kicked us out. More likely, though, I was dropping into the superpipe on a stolen cafeteria tray, because we did that damned near every night. I earned my ski bum stripes at Copper Mountain, where I spent two seasons bumping chairs, shoveling snow, setting up [...]

Wally Phillips

Selecting a new pair of ski boots can be a little overwhelming, to say the least. Backcountry Expert Gearhead Wally Phillips, a former bootfitter, offers some guidance to help you select just the right pair of boots. Every year, ski companies roll out their shiny new boots in a myriad of styles, sizes, flexes, and widths. If you’re wondering what it all means and how these correspond to your specific skiing needs, here’s a little guide designed to help you make sense of this dizzying array of choices. Your skiing style The first thing you’ll want to consider is the [...]

Cole D. Lehman

You’ve probably heard that yoga can fix every problem known to humankind—and that’s suspect, isn’t it? Yes, it certainly is. Anything touted as a miracle cure deserves scrutiny. That’s why more research is being done on the ancient practices of yoga and meditation. So far, the confirmed benefits make it worth looking past the hyperbole and getting over the discomfort of trying something new. It’s especially important not to get caught up in the story that “yoga is for women.” Yoga is for everyone. Athletes and pro sports teams use it and attribute it to their success—from the NFL to [...]

Jared Downs

We’re often not very good at planning for the worst, and fail to plan ahead for emergencies when we’re heading outdoors. After all, what could go wrong? The answer is, “Plenty.” Having a first-aid kit handy is an essential component of your equipment because it can make all the difference if and when a serious situation arises, or even when you just need to tend to a minor problem. In 2007 I began backpacking and as time went on I realized there were many things that I either did not know or situations I was not properly equipped to handle. [...]

Cameron C

Canyoneering provides an incredible way to explore the depths of remote canyons etched by millions of years of erosion. The sport will lead you to beautiful areas and views rarely seen or experienced by others. Stealing Solitude: Legendary Outlaws and Sketchy Slot Canyons in Robber’s Roost from on Vimeo Last year created this video about canyoneering in the network of canyons in southern Utah known as Robber’s Roost. Several customers called our Gearheads in Customer Service looking for more information about the trip and how to get started. This article is a beginning guide for anyone who is [...]

Cameron C

If you’re intrigued by canyoneering, and are ready to get into the sport, you’ll want to start thinking about the gear that you need. Canyoneering can be a highly gear-intensive activity, in part because of the wide range of conditions and terrain that you might encounter, and because the sport is just hard on equipment. If you’re going out with an outfitter much of this may be provided, but there are other things you’ll want to be sure to bring along, or that you might want to begin to accumulate as you get into the sport. Equipment Ropes When selecting [...]

Backcountry Video

DPS Skis Cinematic presents four short films coming Fall 2015, in association with Gore-Tex and Outdoor Research. The Koalas return in their second Cinematic campaign touching down in Japan, Italy, and Switzerland for four festival-submitted short films. The Cinematic dream has always been chasing deep storms, and 2015 delivered. Step into cold, relentless Hokkaido storms and old world Alps exploration. The Koalas reach into the quiver, riding the range from the Wailer 99, Lotus 120, and the DPS Spoon. Stephan Drake, Santi Guzman, Olof Larsson, and Piers Solomon join forces for timeless pow-riding. Turn up the volume and enter full [...]

Catherine Greenwald

All photos by Tyson Stevens When it comes to run training, all work and no play is a sure recipe for burnout. You could try throwing in a few Farleks or intervals to break things up, but sorry, that’s still work. One way to mix things up, possibly gain a little speed, and, most importantly, have fun at the same time, is to inject some play into your routine with some Ultimate Frisbee. Usually referred to as “Ultimate” for fear of attracting unwanted attention from certain corporate attorneys, the game involves elements of soccer, football, and basketball. Physically, you can [...]

Matthew Pizza

Backcountry Expert Gearhead Matt Pizza is an avid fly fisherman who has been fly fishing since he was a teen. He has fished all over Utah, as well as Idaho, Wyoming, a bit in Colorado, and even upstate Wisconsin and New York. Although trout makes up the bulk of his prey, he has been known to land pike and walleye, and has found a new love for catching bass on the fly. Here, he breaks down one of the essential skills for fly fishing, tying knots. Tying knots is a huge part of fly fishing. There are dozens of knots [...]

Matthew Pizza

Backcountry Expert Gearhead Matt Pizza is an avid fly fisherman who has been fly fishing since he was a teen. Here, he breaks down the essential step of rigging your line. We all know that there must be some work before you can play; it makes plucking that hog out from his favorite hiding spot all the sweeter. Preparing your fly line is necessarily painstaking, but doesn’t have to be painful. Here are some guidelines for making that all-important first step of rigging up your fly line a little bit easier. Dry Fly Dry flies simulate natural patterns hatching and [...]

Kyle Livingston

Bikes have a voice of their own. Every click, squeak, creak, grind, and snap is your bike trying to tell you something—namely that it needs attention, most likely in the form of cleaning and lubrication. No matter where or when you ride, your bike will always have some sort of grime or dirt build-up to show for it. To keep your beloved masterpiece of engineering working properly, cleaning it regularly is a must. It prolongs the life of parts like chains, cassettes and suspension pivot bearings, and keeps things running fast and quiet. Yes, it’s hard to put the extra [...]

Lexi D.

The high desert of western Utah looks the way you’d expect it to: dry, rugged, and desolate. But it hasn’t always been that way; 500 million years ago this place looked like the Bahamas, covered in a warm, shallow sea. Trilobites, distant ancestors of crabs and lobsters, crawled around on the reefs in this sea, and their hard shells made them prime candidates for fossilization. One of the best spots in the world for hunting trilobite fossils can be found in the foothills of Utah’s House Mountain Range, embedded in a layer of limestone called the Wheeler Shale formation. To [...]

Vinny Mauro

Seeking equal parts waves and adventure, twelve of my close friends and I have made Central America our destination of choice for three years and counting. This year was no different; in late spring, thirteen of us traded our heavy jackets and ski gear for board shorts and surfboards, and headed south to Nicaragua to celebrate the close of another season with two weeks of surfing and traveling. I took only a carry-on duffel stuffed with minimal gear to greet the warm waves and bid farewell to another winter. The art of packing light for a two-week surf vacation. What [...]

Emily Jenson

After water and a good pair of hiking shoes, a well-fitted backpack is the next most essential item you need when you embark on a multi-day backpacking trip. Backcountry Expert Gearhead Emily Jenson has a few tips for getting the ideal pack fit: If the pack you’re carrying on a backpacking trip isn’t right for you, you’ll know it. A poorly fitted pack can bounce around on rough terrain, dig into your shoulders, bruise your hips, or rub your lower back raw after just a few miles. That’s why getting the right sized backpack and adjusting it properly is so [...]

Jared Downs

Having access to clean water and a hydration plan are imperative to a successful camping or backpacking trip. Experienced outdoorsman and Expert Gearhead Jared Downs shares some strategies here for staying hydrated in the backcountry.  Access to clean water is essential to extended outdoor pursuits; we require substantial amounts of water (minimum two liters a day) to stay healthy. Unfortunately, water sources are often impacted in ways that can make drinking from them a bad idea. Whether it is an outhouse located too close to a water source, contamination by livestock or wild animals, or poor sanitation in a developing [...]

Emily Jenson

You love and appreciate the outdoors, and you want to share it with your littles—not only bringing them along when you head outside, but also fostering in them the same enjoyment of outdoor activities. Outfitting them in the proper gear will increase their enjoyment, maximize the chances that they start developing a love of the outdoors, and at the same time keep them safe. Backcountry Expert Gearhead Emily Jensen surveys some must-have gear for active parents and kids. My parents set a good example for us by always getting outdoors. They introduced me and my five other siblings to everything [...]

Wally Phillips

When you’re planning a bike trip, you’re probably focusing more on daydreams of digging into a tacky descent, or feeling the speed of the tarmac and finding a little more in your legs than you thought. What can get missed are nitty-gritty details, like how you’re going to get your bike to your destination. Just throwing your bike in the back of your car is appealing, but if you don’t have the room, the right car, or the time to clean up after a muddy bike, a rack is indispensable. The right bike rack can make that process painless, while [...]

Pace Measom

Camping is a good excuse to shed the trappings of modern life like your smartphone and laptop. But you shouldn’t have to leave behind a quality cup of coffee. Cowboy coffee has a certain nostalgic charm if you’re OK with chewing grounds throughout the day, and instant coffee packets are attractive for their convenience. But if you’re accustomed to high-quality brew every morning, these options will most certainly leave a disappointing taste in your mouth. Fortunately, there are some amazing camp coffee systems that make it easy to brew a first-rate cup anywhere. We assembled a collection of the best [...]

Ben Rabinowitz

Spending a night outdoors is something everyone should experience. Sitting by the fire and laughing with friends is where friendships really grow. While the night can be magical and mysterious, the dark can be difficult to navigate. Tripping over chairs and fumbling through packs can be a real pain. Lanterns are a crucial piece of camping gear to light your way. In this article I’ll walk you through the different types of lanterns and how to choose the right product for your needs. Lanterns are also great at home for emergency preparedness or a survival kit. What Kind of Light [...]

Kim Havell

There are different ways to explore. For our team, as we began planning a ski expedition to the Wrangell St. Elias/Kluane Park region of the Yukon, Canada, we decided to add more levels of adventure beyond that of the standard routine of arriving, climbing and skiing one peak, and flying back out. Our trip incorporated a greater level of expedition experience. Though it would involve more suffering and more logistics, we finalized a plan to climb, ski, traverse, and explore as much of the area as possible. Choosing to go in mid-April meant colder temps but safer movement in the [...]

Lisa E

Selecting a backpacking pack that fits your frame and your needs isn’t always easy. Backcountry Expert Gearhead Lisa Edlund breaks this down into the basics you need to know to make the right choice. Nothing quite compares to the experience of heading off into nature with a pack on your back that contains just the essentials. This truly makes you aware of how simple life can be. But picking that backpack for your adventure can be anything but simple. There is a wide range of pack options out there, making it daunting for beginners and experienced backpackers alike. The first [...]