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Andrew Bisharat

Driving into Castle Valley, Utah gives one the feeling of crossing some kind of threshold, the way an astronaut might feel when he finally goes into orbit. Skylines of tumescent towers and squat mesas define this iconic landscape. You feel like you have entered your own personal Western drama with Castleton Tower, the Rectory, the Nuns, and the Priest as the main characters. This ridgeline of calcite-coated Wingate sandstone towers is one of the most popular and stunning climbing destinations on earth. Last fall, I spoke to my friend Hayden on the phone. “Dude, I feel like standing on top [...]

Curtis Jensen

Fly fishing is any sort of fishing in which the weight of the line is used to cast a fly so as to lure a fish to bite. Sort of. With the publication of Izaak Walton’s Compleat Angler in 1653, the fly fisher was idealized as a gentleman angler casting dry flies on an English chalk stream to dignified trout. But Walton fished with frogs and worms, and some flies are tied to look like things other than flies (deer hair mice, for example—big browns love ‘em, especially at night).  Since Walton’s book, fly fishers have developed a range of techniques and tackle [...]

Andrew Bisharat

Carabiners are the unsung heroes of the climbing world. They get beat to shit and save thousands of climbers’ lives day after day, all without the slightest nod of gratitude or appreciation for their ingenious form and function. A carabiner is a loop of metal with a spring-loaded gate that opens and shuts. Despite what you might think if you were to stand at the entrance of an outdoor sporting goods store, a carabiner’s essential purpose isn’t actually to clip a water bottle to the outside of a backpack, or keys to a belt loop, or even a rope leash [...]

Ian Provo

Our desire to travel to Bolivia has always been fueled by the fly-fishing potential in the exotic jungle rivers of the Amazon. As we found out over the course of three weeks, the legendary tales of carnivorous fish and breathtaking scenery were all true, and they exceeded our wildest dreams. The month of August seemed like the best time to go; the prime time for fishing and climbing overlapped, giving us the perfect chance to pursue our two greatest addictions in one trip. We couldn’t travel all the way down to Bolivia, the highest country in South America, without experiencing [...]

Norrona

Once upon a time using your legs as transport was considered a poor man’s choice, and you could be pegged a vagabond or hobo. Today it’s more a sign of the complete opposite. In a world where time is money, and spare time is in short supply, the experience of moving your legs and spending time outside is almost considered a privilege. To put one foot in front of the other is a basic skill most of us learn as children, but to use this skill to carry ourselves out into nature can suddenly add a whole new aspect to [...]

Curtis Jensen

Flies are ‘tied’ to imitate insects, invertebrates, baitfish, crustaceans, small animals, and other fish fodder. Traditionally, flies were tied with natural materials like feathers, thread, and animal fur or hair. Now, a range of synthetic and natural materials are used, sometimes on the same fly. Flies fall into roughly five categories: dry flies, wet flies, streamers, poppers, and saltwater flies. Dry Flies Dry flies are fished on or at the surface of water and typically imitate adult or emerging insects like mayflies, caddisflies, stoneflies, midges, grasshoppers, and damselflies. Flies are tied in patterns, general recipes for specific types of imitations. Dry [...]

Greg Hill

Greg Hill has ascended 50,000 feet in a single day. Greg Hill has ascended 2 million feet in a single year. Greg Hill is a machine—not to make his conquests seem any less corporally and mentally punishing than they are; Greg is candid about the pain, exhaustion, and self-doubt inherent in his objectives. But that never seems to stop him from cooking up another crazy vert-inspired scheme. In March of 2014, he decided to find out what he could do in a month, setting his goal at 100 vertical kilometers (approximately 328,000 vertical feet), averaging 10,580 feet a day, with [...]

Backcountry Video

It all started on a quiet Friday morning in the editing studio. Most of the crew was out shooting next year’s skis and boards, and without the typical chatter, the only sounds in the room were keystrokes and mouse clicks. Then Dan, our lead video editor, leaned over his cubicle and said, “Did you know the lunar eclipse is happening Monday night?” I wasn’t aware, but immediately my brain started doing the thing that signals the beginning of an idea. I responded, “Dan, what do you know about shooting the moon?” By Monday afternoon the vehicles were stuffed with crash [...]

Jason Sager

Unless you’ve been living under a steel clunker since 1991, you’ll know that the Sea Otter Classic is one of the best-known cycling festivals in the world. To overuse an already overused term, it’s a pilgrimage, a can’t-miss event for teams, athletes, sponsors, and anyone looking to make a splash in the cycling world. Equal parts outdoor industry expo and  competitive bicycle circus, it’s the rare chance for criterium racers, downhillers, cyclocrossers and cross-country mountain bikers to share a common event. For the Backcountry Bike Team, it was a chance for us to not only prove the results of March [...]

Pace

A reliable stove system is essential to your backpacking setup. After all, it’s only fitting to eat a hot meal while you relax and soak up those well-earned million-dollar views. But with the dozens of stove models available today, it can be difficult to narrow down the options and choose the stove that is best suited to your needs. Of all the available backpacking stoves on the market today, most fall into two basic categories: canister stoves and liquid gas stoves. The exceptions are several hybrid models that can run on either canister or liquid gas, and alternative stove systems [...]

Pace

Prior to the widespread adoption of the EN testing standard for sleeping bags, manufacturers assigned temperature ratings to sleeping bags based on their own testing methods and standards—which included everything from sleeping in a meat locker to real-world testing experience. Because of the variation in different brands’ testing methods, which produced ratings ranging from conservative to inflated, these in-house ratings were at best a rough guide for picking the right sleeping bag, and they made it nearly impossible to reliably compare sleeping bags across brands. Fortunately, nearly all major sleeping bag manufacturers have adopted the EN testing standard in recent years. [...]

Molly Baker

After three seasons of living tiny, we’ve learned … a lot. Traveling with a 112-square-foot cabin on wheels is only as good as you make it. Here are a few tips for moving into your van, Westfalia, or tiny cabin. Maximum Capacity A small space creates coziness. A natural-born romantic, I love the idea and ambiance of small, warm spaces. It can be the best option for reading a book, playing instruments, and stretching out after a long day in the mountains, and sometimes it’s great to share that space with others, like your ski bum friends… and their friends. [...]

Backcountry Video

On a spring evening in 1897, the fabled outlaws Butch Cassidy and Elzy Lay spurred horses over the rough desert 50 miles south of Green River, Utah. Despite nearing exhaustion, both were grinning beneath their bandanas. That morning, the two had quietly relieved the paymaster at the Castle Gate Mine of 7000 dollars in gold coins while he was still wearing his bedroom slippers. All while hundreds of loitering miners milled about and then watched in dumb amazement as their wages rode off down the canyon. At dusk the duo passed a prominent landmark known as the Flat Tops, and [...]

Jason Sager

On the docket: a glorious 60 hours in the desert, away from the rain, sleet, and springtime snow that had been pounding the Salt Lake City area all week. Saturday’s Intermountain Cup regional mountain bike race, Cactus Hugger, was merely an excuse–a reason to trek down to Dixie. And camp. On our way down to St George in southern Utah, I read a piece on the Semi-Rad.com blog called the “The Hierarchy of Camping.” According to the Hierarchy, the freshly wrapped Backcountry Bike Team Sprinter Van that Evelyn Dong and I had packed up with all the fixings for a weekend of [...]

Andrew Bisharat

Whether you’re doing a three-pitch free climb or a 3000-foot big wall, multi-pitch climbing is all about efficiency. Every little time-saving action, every slightly more streamlined step, adds up to saving you precious hours—it’s the difference between climbing the last hundred feet of 5.9 offwidth by headlamp and topping out to a perfect sunset and sipping a beer by dark. Climbing quickly isn’t just a matter of moving faster on each pitch—it’s all about increasing efficiency at the anchors. Enter the Double Figure Eight, known fondly as the “Bunny Ears.” This knot has a range of useful applications, but where [...]

Kim Havell

Backcountry.com has a roster of world-class athletes with diverse talents and a wide scope of influence in the world of backcountry sports. I spoke with three of the team’s athletes who have changed the face of adventure sport and, by following their passions, led the field in their respective pursuits with grace and talent. Grete Eliassen Grete “Typically Seen with a Medal Around Her Neck” Eliassen is a six-time X-Games medalist, a four-time US Open winner, and a Powder Award’s Female Segment of the Year winner. During her first year of competing in freeskiing, she took first place in the [...]

Pace

Thanks to the mass production of the automobile, the building of the interstates, and the formation of our national parks, America has become a nation with a rich and enduring car camping tradition. And for as long as folks have loaded up vehicles and set a course towards the mountains, eating well has been an integral part of the experience. With a bit of forethought, culinary ambition, and the right camp kitchen setup, there is nothing to stop you from cooking like a pro and eating like king. When considered in the context of today’s fast-paced world, going gourmet and [...]

Cameron C

There are a plethora of reasons to explore the great outdoors, so just choose a reason and get out there—but please don’t leave any evidence that you were there. Over time, even small impacts can add up to a great deal of damage to the natural environment. Leave No Trace has identified seven principles for minimizing your impact on the wilderness: Plan Ahead and Prepare Every Boy Scout is supposed to be prepared. This motto means more than just having the right gear. Personally, I like to study maps. Finding a good topo map of the area is a key ingredient to [...]

Catherine Greenwald

The weather is warm and the outdoors is calling. Whether you have babes in arms or pre-teens, it is, with some planning and preparation, possible to answer the call. We surveyed Backcountry.com employees, many of whom are experienced family campers and backpackers, to gather tips and ideas to help make your summer adventures successful. Plan smart It’s important to scale your adventure to suit your kids. You may be into peak-bagging and can’t wait to introduce your kids to the wonders of the backcountry wilderness, but make yourself start small and build, particularly if you’re backpacking. Remember: they’re not going [...]

Toni Isom

Backcountry.com’s online community encompasses a passionate group of wanderers, adventurers, Gearheads, and athletes. Get the rundown on the latest happenings within the Backcountry.com community in You Are Backcountry, your connection to the best product reviews, photos, and videos submitted by our athletes, our employees, and you. A Vibrant Community Nature is host to some of the most gorgeous colors you’ll ever see, whether they’re in the form of double rainbows, smoldering sunsets, or bright purple climbing ropes, and our customers and community members have captured enough of them to make one of those giant photos that’s made up of other, [...]

Pace

Almost anything tastes good after a long day in the mountains. Hot dogs, hobo dinners, and instant oatmeal rarely disappoint, but if you have the luxury of bringing along a camp kitchen chuck box and really want to knock the socks off your fellow campers, these Dutch Oven and stovetop recipes are sure to do the trick. DELECTABLE DUTCH OVEN BACKCOUNTRY-STYLE DUTCH OVEN POTATOES This backcountry twist on an old Dutch Oven classic can serve as a hearty meal on its own or as a side dish with grilled steaks, salmon, or pork chops. To make cleanup really easy, you can line [...]

Joshua Barnes

The whole reason we humans go camping is to get away from the restraints of modernity, but just because you’re leaving civilization behind doesn’t mean you can’t get a good night’s rest. Think about how much better the sunrise will look if it’s preceded by a solid night’s sleep. Since all the sleep system choices can get overwhelming, we’ll break them into their basic parts and help you figure out which system is right for you. Your choice will depend on the way you like to sleep and the way you like to camp. A basic sleep system consists of [...]

Lexi Dowdall

Backcountry.com’s online community comprises a passionate group of wanderers, adventurers, Gearheads, athletes, and guys and gals who make mincemeat of that 5.12b you’ve been eyeing. Community Connection highlights outstanding individuals within the Backcountry herd. Ryan Conklin is an active Backcountry.com community member and one of our hand-picked hike and camp experts who voraciously tackles trail around his home in southwest New Mexico. Ryan is a Spanish-speaking yogi who loves hiking, fine food, and his dog Osa. In 2012 Ryan tackled a northbound thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail’s 2184.2 miles, posting about his progress every single day from his iPhone on [...]

Kayla Weiser

There’s a time and a place for minimalist camping. But sometimes minimal just doesn’t cut it. If weight or space isn’t an issue, why sacrifice comfort during your vacation in the wilderness? Get your glamorous camping—or “glamping”—on. Here’s how to fluff up your campsite and enjoy the great outdoors in comfort. Personal Space First things first, you’ll want to establish some personal space to set up in. Whether this is a stand of trees for your hammock, or the little tent area behind that bush, it’s your space. And if you’re not concerned about weight and pack size, don’t force [...]