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Jimmy Elam

Simplicity is one of the greatest things about running. You leave the house with just your trusty pair of shoes (okay, hopefully shorts too) not worrying about flat bike tires, waxing the skis, or if your sleeping bag is warm enough. Since running is so simple, how is it that choosing a running shoe can be so challenging and frustrating? The number of running shoes on the market is overwhelming, to say the least. With varieties ranging from trail, road, neutral, stability, minimalist and maximalist, it’s no surprise many runners get stuck with a shoe that’s not for them. Don’t [...]

Kurt Wolfgang

Love coffee? Like to travel? Then the following situation probably sounds familiar: you’re a few hours into a road trip, and the bottom of your travel mug has just dried up. Your first cup was the product of a well-practiced ritual, the beans freshly roasted and the grind dialed to perfection. It got you out of town before dawn, and ensured that your adventure was off to a good start. But that cup is gone, and it’s time for a refill. You pull into the next town, and either: Spend the next half hour trying to find the best coffee [...]

Rob de Luca

If asked, most skiers would likely say that sidecut—the modern version of it—came before fat skis. They’d be wrong, but only on a technicality. Fat skis have been around since the late ’80s, but it really was the development of modern sidecut (thanks, snowboarding) in the late ’90s that started the move to fatter dimensions in skis. Since turning no longer required shins of iron and quads the size of pot-bellied pigs, skis could be made wider without making them simultaneously harder to maneuver. Width became the new hot thing, and around 2006 skis simply exploded, going as wide as [...]

Alex Bass

So you’ve narrowed down your list of snowboard choices, and all you need now is the secret formula for choosing the right size board, right? Well, sorry to disappoint you right off the bat, but no such formula exists. However, the good news is that there are some tips that can help you decide for yourself which snowboard length is right for you. Height & Weight Snowboard Size Chart Rider Weight Up to 70lb (32kg) 80lb (36kg) 90lb (41kg) 100lb (45kg) 110lb (50kg) 120lb (54kg) 130lb (59kg) 140lb (64kg) 150lb (68kg) 160lb (73kg) 170lb (77kg) 180lb (82kg) 190lb (86kg) 200lb [...]

Rob de Luca

While there’s no equation that looks like (height x weight)/(skill level)√magical number = perfect length in the skiing world, there are a few tips that can point you in the right direction when you’re trying to figure out which length of ski is right for you. Likewise, there’s no formula regarding width; the prevailing sentiment post-fat-ski-revolution seems to be, “Ski the widest ski you can without sacrificing performance,” and as a generalization, we tend to agree. But should you ski on wider skis? And if so, how wide do you go? The Long & The Short of It Length changes [...]

Connor Johnson

The style statement, the gear hauler, or the bottomless pit of fun: Whatever you call it, the daypack carries all of your essentials, wherever you’re going and whatever you’re doing. You may be wondering just what about a backpack makes it a “daypack.” Well, it comes down to the size. A daypack sits in the range from about 610 cubic inches (10L) to 2135 cubic inches (35L). For most people, packs in this size range do an excellent job at carrying a single day’s worth of gear, but needs do vary depending on the individual and activity. When shopping for [...]

Andrew Bisharat

Rope care and maintenance is one of those things that climbers neglect at their peril. One aspect that is frequently debated among climbers is the question of how to clean a rope. I’ve cleaned ropes using all the methods described below, many of which I learned from other climbers, read about in magazines, or read about online. In all of that research, one thing I’ve never read is someone raising the bigger question, which is: Do you actually even need to clean your rope, and should you? I ask because every time I’ve washed my rope, I’ve noticed that the [...]

Jeff Catalano

Climbing hotspots are sometimes found in the most unlikely places. Among the monotony of grassy hills and grazing cattle just north of the Utah-Idaho border, sitting on the edge of the small town of Almo, sits City of Rocks. City of Rocks National Reserve is part of the California Trail and has a rich history as a landmark for emigrants heading west on wagons. There are several historical sites within the Reserve, such as Camp Rock and Register Rock, which feature signatures scribed in axle grease from emigrants heading to California in the mid 1800s. Besides its historical significance, City [...]

Curtis Jensen

So you’re going to do some traveling. Serious traveling. Maybe you’re headed to Peru to see Machu Picchu and spend a few weeks village-hopping down the Andes. Or you have ten days of August snowboarding booked in New Zealand. Or you have a Eurail pass and three months to kill before grad school begins. Maybe you’re planning some deep-water free solo climbing in Thailand, development work in Namibia, or 200 miles on the Camino de Santiago. For serious traveling, you’re going to need a serious bag. But should you go with a backpack or a rolling gear bag? How long [...]

Eric Watford

On a hot, sunny summer day, nothing beats getting out on the water. Photo above courtesy NRS. More and more, people are discovering stand-up paddleboarding, whether it’s as a new fitness or yoga medium, a new way to explore waterways, a new approach to surfing, an alternative to kayak fishing, or simply as a great way to enjoy warm weather. If this sounds appealing, here’s what you need to know to select a board and get started with stand-up paddleboarding. When looking at boards, your first decision will necessarily be between inflatable and solid boards. Each have their advantages and [...]

Adam W. Chase

Tripling up with running in the Canadian Rockies is all the rage this summer. Photo credit above: William Eaton, Golden Ultra With two tremendous events, both hosting three days of incredibly scenic and enticing trail running, you have your pick of courses and distances in a ruggedly accommodating part of the world. The Trailstoke Trifecta Triplestoke and Golden Ultra are both held in Canadian destination ski resorts that are just as beautiful in the summer as they are in the winter. If you’re a running aficionado, and even if you’re not, these spots are definitely bucket-list-worthy. Getting Stoked in Revelstoke: [...]

Colin Clancy

“Barring love I’ll take my life in large doses alone—rivers, forests, fish, grouse, mountains. Dogs.” —Jim Harrison Each autumn the gales of November blow from Canada and raise 20-foot waves on Lake Superior that ravage the gorgeous and rugged shoreline of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Home to legendary American author Jim Harrison for much of his life, this coast of the freshwater sea pervades Harrison’s work in spirit and is home to many of his most enduring characters. A gem of that coast is Marquette, a town whose Landmark Inn houses a Jim Harrison suite. Living in Marquette, I first read [...]

Sunn Kim

The landscape of Utah is world-renown for its immense beauty, grandeur, and diversity. From the jagged peaks of the Wasatch Range to the deep canyons of Zion, Utah’s landscape has been heralded as one of the most beautiful places on earth. For this reason, a disproportionately large number of national and state parks dot the land. While each park is unique, they all have in common one immutable fact: they somehow defy description and photography. One can describe the landscape and take numerous photos, but it is difficult to encapsulate the essence and sheer scale of these places. One must [...]

Joshua Barnes

The whole reason we 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 the large number sleep system options can get overwhelming, we’ll break them into their basic parts and help you figure out which system is right for you. Obviously, your decision will depend heavily on whether you’re carrying your bed on your back deep into the backcountry, or if you’re pitching your [...]

Justin Ratzlaff

“I hope you brought patch kits!” Fred yelled to us as he watched us unroll our Hala inflatable stand-up paddleboards in his yard on the riverbank. The five brand-new boards had never been out of the box, much less seen whitewater. Similarly, out of our crew of five, only two of us―Louis and myself―had ever been whitewater paddleboarding, on a short four-hour cruise down the Colorado River. Audra had done some flatwater paddling the summer before, while Malee tried it once in Florida on a vacation. And Mat had never seen a SUP before in his life. Our goal: an [...]

Curtis Jensen

With the switch from road to trail come new obstacles, challenges, and rewards. Expecting the unexpected is a large part of the trail running experience, but there are a few things to think about before you get started. Running Surface Running surface varies significantly between treadmill, road, and trail running, and determines much in terms of form and gear in each discipline. Treadmills are uniformly smooth and somewhat shock-absorbing, whereas paved roads are generally smooth (depending on their condition) and hard. Trails, on the other hand, are by definition not uniform—tree roots, stones, mud, water, gravel, and debris make for [...]

Pace Measom

This entire adventure started with a simple question: How can we enjoy the wilderness and solitude of backpacking without forfeiting the creature comforts typically reserved for car camping? The clue, as it turns out, was quite literally right under our noses, in the form of the Backcountry Goat logo. With the help of some goats, five big ones to be precise, we discovered a way to have our cake and eat it too, so to speak. Our first step was figuring out exactly whom we needed to talk to, and what exactly we needed to know, in order to employ [...]

Garson Fields

Mountain bikes have been evolving constantly since their inception, but the pace of development over the past few years has picked up appreciably. From changing trends in wheel size to serious advancements in frame geometry and suspension, it’s hard to keep up. So naturally, there’s a great deal of confusion out there about Plus-size bikes. You’ve probably heard about them by now, and maybe seen a few on the trail. If you’re unsure if you want one, or even what they are, consider this a quick primer. What is a Plus bike? The short version is that a Plus bike [...]

Lindsay Krause

No matter how busy your life is, there may be a half marathon in your future. As a working mom, I love the half marathon because it is a long enough distance that I am motivated to train, but short enough that I can still have a life outside of training.There are also half marathons almost every weekend all over the country, so you can pretty easily find a race that fits your schedule. Following are three 14-week plans for training for a half-marathon race. They’re broken down for newbies (Level 1), those with a touch of experience at distance [...]

Laurel Nelson

As the weather warms in the spring, river flows increase and a whole new world opens up for exploration. Rafting is an accessible adventure option that allows you to explore remote places from a unique perspective. There is nothing better than looking up at huge canyon walls dwarfing your boat. You are able to get away from the crowds, bond with your small group, and really feel like you are one with nature, but without having to rough it too much. There are many ways to venture into the boating world, from kayaks to stand-up paddleboards to rafts. There are [...]

Connor Johnson

Being adequately prepared and equipped can easily make or break an all-day trail ride. What you bring along in your pack depends on the weather, the trail, and the length of time you plan to be out on the trails.  I’ll break down the essentials you should have with you on extended (4-6 hour) rides. Gear Spare Tubes or a Patch Kit Even if you’ve gone tubeless, I usually have at least one tube and patch kit in my pack on a long ride. It’s a little quicker and easier to replace a tube than patching a tube on the trail. If [...]

Andrew Bisharat

At some point in the course of climbing’s history, the idea equating tighter shoes with higher performance became a truth as unassailable as the granite of El Cap. The culture of tight shoes took hold in the community, persuading generation upon generation to perpetuate this masochistic ritual of binding one’s feet in painfully tight shackles of rubber and leather, pushing through the discomfort, and later raving about how much “fun” climbing is. My feet have actually shrunk a whole size after nearly 15 years of crunching my little piggies into the tightest-fitting climbing shoes I could stand. I was as [...]

Pace Measom

Whether at home or camp, eating well is an essential component of good living. It’s time to throw the burnt hot dogs and ramen out the window. Use these five tips to take your next camp meal to an entirely new level—your friends will thank you. 1) Prep it at Home Cooking food in camp is fun, prepping food in camp—not so much. Anyone who has ever tried to dice vegetables on a tiny cutting board placed on their lap knows what I’m talking about. One of the easiest things you can do to cook an elevated camp meal (and [...]

Pace Measom

For us, mountain towns don’t get any better than Park City, Utah. The powder skiing, Western heritage, and small-town feel with big-city style have a way of inspiring the creation of great brands. Founded twenty years ago by two Park City ski bums, Backcountry.com is counted among them. To introduce Basin and Range, the latest creation inspired by Park City, we shot the clothing on location at the new High West whiskey distillery at Blue Sky Ranch, another great Park City establishment. Featuring Utah’s first legal distillery since 1870, High West has been breaking some serious trail―we can get behind [...]

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