Posts Tagged ‘Teton Sports’

Winter backpacking with Teton Sports’ Hiker3700

Mother Nature has apparently decided to keep us in a wintery state well into April here in northwestern Wyoming. While I am more than ready for the new growth and blooms that come with spring, I have definitely enjoyed the later winter/early spring snow that has stuck around in the mountains.

Back in January, I was talking to the amazing people from Teton Sports about a few weekend snowshoe trips Brian and I had started planning. They were kind enough to send us a box o’ goodies to use on these trips. It was like Christmas when I opened the box to find two Hiker3700 packs and two Tracker +5 sleeping bags.

After three weekends of backpacking in the snow, wind, and cold of wintery Wyoming, my love for winter backpacking is here to stay! However, I am pretty sure statements like that, after describing getting blown over on mountainsides by winds gusting 70mph, make my family think I am a bit off my rocker 😉

The last weekend of February we did a quick jaunt up to the top of Sheep Mountain for a night with our dogs. It was a calm, quiet trip to break in our winter backpacking legs. We were beyond thankful for our Tracker +5 bags when temps plummeted below zero. With all of the clothes we had brought layered on, we were toasty warm in our bags, even with icicles forming inside the tent!

Our Sheep Mountain weekend was a blast

Our Sheep Mountain weekend was a blast

The last weekend in March we headed out to our beloved Shoshone National Forest with a friend of Brian’s (also named Brian…I hereby cannot allow anyone else named Brian into my life!) and our dogs. This trip would be Brian’s (the friend) first backpacking trip on the Shoshone, so after getting everything prepped, we hit the Jim Mountain Trailhead. We headed into the mountains with the hopes of crossing the ridgeline leading up to Little Jim and eventually making it to Robbers Roost.

What a view!

What a view!

While my pack fit comfortable enough, I had meant to adjust my lumbar system on my Hiker3700 before we hit the trail, but alas, I forgot. When we stopped for our first trail snack, Brian (my guy…see already confusing, haha) helped me adjust it. Even with a pack weighted down with everything I would need for 2 days, it was such a simple adjustment to make. After moving the lumbar/shoulder strap system down a bit, we tightened one strap and I was good to go. I couldn’t believe how much better the pack fit!

An even better fitting pack & I'm off!

An even better fitting pack & I’m off!

Hitting the trail once again on a trip we dubbed the “Lost & Found” trip (inside joke), we saw new parts of the forest, snowshoed through numerous types of snow, crossed ridgelines above tree line, and were thrown around by incredibly strong winds. While we never made it to Robbers Roost, we (Brian) found more antlers, discovered not all backpacking meals are created equal :(, and had a weekend of fun with spectacular views.

Snow, smiles, sun, & lots of wind!

Snow, smiles, sun, & lots of wind!

The first weekend of April brought Brian and me another chance to get away into the forest with the pups. We headed up Green Creek and jumped on the Table Mountain Trail. The snow added some extra miles to our trip by keeping us from driving all of the way to the trailhead. High above the valley floor, we watched storms move across the mountains on the other side and knew it was a matter of time until the wind began whipping up a storm on top of us. We walked through high alpine winds threatening to blow us away (in case you aren’t getting a trend here, it is very windy in Wyoming), had very tasty meals, bandaged an injured doggie foot, got in over 10 miles and almost 3,000ft on snow that went from deep powder to slush to hard packed icy to everything in-between. 

I can't believe this is our life!!

I can’t believe this is our life!!

After three winter backpacking trips with our Hiker3700 backpacks, both Brian and I are in love with them. It amazes me that a 6’ man and a 5’4” woman can use the same pack thanks to such easy, common sense adjustment systems. The amount of strap adjustment possibilities allows this pack to fit pretty much any frame. This pack has enough padding that my hip bones weren’t rubbed raw, which is a big deal for me!

Brian says this pack is “the most comfortable pack I’ve ever put on.” With plenty of pocket options, you can put things within easy reach for trail snacks, photo opportunities, fluid replenishment (fact: bladders are not the best water apparatuses in the winter!), and quick shifts in the elements (i.e. extra layers in outside pockets). We never ran out of room and in fact could’ve carried more if we needed to. We were able to easily strap snowshoes onto the pack and then back off and then back on.

This is what we think of time in the mountains, snowshoes, & Teton Sports gear

This is what we think of time in the mountains, snowshoes, & Teton Sports gear

At $90 on Amazon.com, this pack will blow you away. I can’t wait to hit the trail with this pack, sans snowshoes, for a bunch more backpacking trips this spring and summer!

As I sit here writing this during a quiet weekend at home, my face has finally recovered from severe wind burn and the subsequent peeling, Sydney’s paw has healed, and I cannot help but think that I am living the perfect life for me 🙂

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Peace in nature & a Teton Sports giveaway!!!

John Muir once said “In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.”  This simple statement is something that I find to be very true.  I have found that just getting out for a short walk, trail run, or hike in the mountains and forest near me can clear mind while centering my soul and heart better than just about anything else I know.

Recently my friend Katie from Adventure-Inspired wrote about something very similar saying that she finds even a short walk in the woods “restorative.”  She also posited the question of why we don’t get out and do things like it more often.

We all lead busy lives and technology can definitely suck up the little extra time we have (ironic that I say that while typing on a computer); however, I think it is truly important to make time to do things that give us peace and help us reach our own personal center.  For me, that is time spent in nature.

My "I'm out in nature" happy face

My “I’m out in nature” happy face

This morning was a prime example; I knew I had tons of stuff that had piled up on my to-do list around the house, but I had a yearning to be with nature (not to mention the two pleading furry faces begging me to do something with them!).  So what did I do?  We jumped in the car and went out to a trail I had run and hiked over a dozen times.  I knew every twist and turn by heart but the dusting of snow on far off mountains and the crisp contrast of the green grass against reds of the boulders and hillsides reminded me that even those things we are familiar with can be seen in a new light.

I have run past this before but never took the time to notice this tree's beauty

I have run past this before but never took the time to notice this tree’s beauty

The added beauty from the dusting of snow created an entirely new view

The added beauty from the dusting of snow created an entirely new view

Sometimes people say even if they could find or make the time for a hike, they just don’t have the right gear….STOP RIGHT THERE!  I am here to be your fairy godmother if that is the case 🙂  I want to see everyone have the chance to get out and be in nature, so if you need a little help, here is your chance to win one of two Teton Sports Summit 1500 daypacks.

Yes, that is right! I am giving away TWO of these very sweet packs (which you likely know is my go-to daypack because it rocks), so jump on it and enter by answering the question below.  You can get another entry by following Teton Sports on Twitter (@TETONsports) or liking them on Facebook (Teton Sports) and leaving another comment below telling me you have done so.  Winners will be notified on Sunday, October 6th!

Such a good looking pack and super functional

Such a good looking pack and super functional

What adventures would you take the Summit 1500 on this fall and winter?

**Entries limited to the United States, Canada, and APO addresses**

OR Show, a successful summit, and self-toasts

I swear I might just be one of the luckiest people in this world.  This past weekend was a prime example of how lucky I am to have amazing people in my life that I get to have unforgettable experiences with.  It was another weekend in Salt Lake City, which in and of itself would be great, but pair that with an outstanding Outdoor Retailer (OR) Show,  meeting online friends in person for the first time, and seeing some of my dearest friends in the world and you have yourself a weekend for the books!

Having been invited to be a part of Columbia Sportswear’s #OmniTen crew this summer (i.e. Big news and awesome adventures ahead), I was also offered the chance to head back to another OR show.  After the amazing time I had at last summer’s show, I jumped at the opportunity to once again be part of what I like to call Christmas for outdoors/outside loving adults.

After a long 7 ½ hour drive (thanks a lot construction by Thermopolis, Wy), I met up with some new and old friends; I was immediately immersed into the perfect chaos that is the OR Show through the beauty that was Columbia Sportswear’s booth.  After a quick round of new gear for them, I set out to hit up booths with free happy hour drinks with Erika (The Active Explorer) and Eva from American Backcountry Tees.

Eva (left) & Erika (right) enjoy some OR show perks

Eva (left) & Erika (right) enjoy some OR show perks

That night, past and present #OmniTen peeps (& a couple of #OmniFriends/OmniOutlaws) were treated to what seemed like a never ended smorgasbord of delightful sushi, all courtesy of Columbia.  Even with full stomachs, it surely wasn’t time to call it quits on one of the nights during OR, so we hit up a Mexican restaurant, which promptly turned into a club around 9pm.  Because that is normal right?  An abundance of interesting hair (bump-its in full affect!), shorter-than-any-skirt-I-have-ever-seen skirts, and sideways stares by the “club’s” security told us we weren’t in Kansas (or Cody, Wyo) anymore!  Self-toast anyone?

Scott from Columbia Sportswear was less than impressed with the "Hotter than Hell" sauce

Scott from Columbia Sportswear was less than impressed with the “Hotter than Hell” sauce

Friday was intially open for me other than two appointments.  That quickly changed as I became part of a 5 person media group who shifted from booth to booth to conquer the show together.  Through a blur of appointments, as well as chance encounters, I spent the day checking out the 2014 line for companies like Swiftwick, Suunto, Evolv, Propet, and Edelrid to name a few.  To say that I felt undeserving of all the attention given to me would be an understatement, but I soaked it in like a good social media sponge 😉 

I had a great time catching up with Jacalyn Gross creator/founder/desinger/all-around awesome woman from URSportswear, and of course we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to share some #URTribe love with peeps.

A little URSporwear love w/founder Jacalyn (photo courtesy of URSportswear)

A little URSporwear love w/founder Jacalyn (photo courtesy of URSportswear)

While the entire day of Friday was a blur, I was really looking forward to the initial #Hikerchat meetup that night.  **If you don’t know what #HikerChat is, it is a group of hiking individuals who talk about a wide array of things from gear to trips to outdoors tips every Friday at 10am (Mountain Time that is).**

I already knew, or had at least met, most of the people when we headed to dinner but was stoked to meet Polly from ClimbOn as I had already met her partner in crime, Will.  The dinner was a great chance to talk and plot our hiking adventure the following day.  The feast of pasta was brought to us by one of my absolute favorite companies, Teton Sports.  Their social media guru/tent and backpack designer extraordinaire, Shawn, set up the entire dinner and was the one responsible for teaming with several companies for the next day’s #HikerChat hike.

Saturday morning came early as we all loaded up on free goodies like the Teton Sports Summit 1500, Goal Zero Nomad 7 Solar Panel and Switch 8 Recharger, Good2Go protein bars.  Most of us donned our #HikerChat tees courtesy of American Backcountry Tees, and we were off to Alta Ski Area for our hike.

#Hikerchat crew mid-hike (Courtesy of Teton Sports)

#Hikerchat crew mid-hike (Courtesy of Teton Sports)

To say that the hike up to Catherine’s Lake and to the summit of Sunset Peak was breathtaking would never do it justice.  The hike ended up being somewhere between 7-8 miles roundtrip because we had to add on some additional uphill, road-hiking thanks to lack of parking at the trailhead.  Not to be deterred, we set out to enjoy the sites and each other’s company.  It is amazing the conversations that can come up when on the side of a mountain…I will let you just guess what they might have included! 

Some of the wonderful women of #Hikerchat

Some of the wonderful women of #Hikerchat

Check out this great video of our hike from Paul (The Outdoor Adventure): http://youtu.be/JfqsClidc1o

While ever OR show is different for each attendee, I think I get more out of the personal connections than I even do out of seeing the cool new gear that is coming down the pipe next year.  Some of these connections have become friendships that are some of the closest I have.  Even though we may see each other in person once, twice or perhaps a few more times each year, I know that they are there for me every single day (even if just online).  I am thankful for a great weekend with spectacular views and even better friends 🙂

The top of Sunset Peak (courtesy of Teton Sports)

The top of Sunset Peak (courtesy of Teton Sports)

I was missing home and after a 7 hour drive back I returned to enormous hugs and handmade clay flowers from my favorite little people.  My welcome home was topped off by a homemade lunch and beautiful flowers 🙂  Thank you for making it a perfect end to an already great weekend, Brian!

My beautiful flowers

My beautiful flowers

For great gear reviews from the OR show, check out upcoming post from the below individuals (& many, many more awesome people!)

Heather (Just a Colorado Gal)

Erika (The Active Explorer)

Paul (The Outdoor Adventure)

Joshua (experience.via.imagination)

Eileen (rockgrrl)

A challenge to pack designers & Teton Sports UltraLight Summit 1500 review

I am stacked up on some posts about some pretty awesome things that I have done in the past two weeks; however, I realized I wanted/needed to get this review done first.  Why you ask?  Because after testing the Teton Sports UltraLight Summit 1500 daypack with hydration system, I realized I have a challenge to daypack (heck even multi-day pack) designers.

Ok, first things first. The pack was given to a bunch of super cool people (not sure how I got connected with them ;)) during a morning snowshoe the Saturday of the winter Outdoor Retailer Show, which is entirely different post in and of itself!

Check out all of those cool orange packs!

Check out all of those cool orange packs!

After using the pack several times that weekend to carry sweet swag from the winter Outdoor Retailer Show and extra layers during the snowshoe, I also used it during a snowmobile adventure on the Targhee National Forest.  Again, I used it as a pack to carry extra gear and water in my new Hydro Flask.

The pack taking a rest on my sled

The pack taking a rest on my sled

The truest test of this pack to date came this past Saturday when Sydney and I hiked into the Lower Clarks Fork Canyon on the Shoshone National Forest.  For the first time, I filled the 2-liter bladder up with some cold water, threw in extra layers and a few protein bars, and Sydney and I hit the road.

All packed up and ready to go

All packed up and ready to go

Beautiful drive into the mouth of the Lower Clarks Fork Canyon

Beautiful drive into the mouth of the Lower Clarks Fork Canyon

The Awesome: I was very glad to have the mesh side pockets of this pack to carry Sydney’s water bottle and store my camera for quick retrieval.  The size of the pack allowed for extra layers, which I ended up needing to wear all of because of the intense wind in the canyon.  The harder internal frame gave me nice support throughout the hike.  Unlike their TrailRunner 2.0 Hydration Pack, this pack had a few extra pockets and more storage room, but both packs did have the nice clips to keep the extra long straps secured to the pack (thus no flapping against your legs).

Happy with the performance so far

Happy with the performance so far

The Not so Awesome: During this hike I got a little frustrated.  You see, I live in bear country (both black & grizzly), so I carry bear spray year-round.  During this hike I had an ah ha! moment. I had to readjust the placement of the spray on the waist belt several times when I realized that I had to do this with EVERY single pack I ever carry the spray on.  The spray always seems to strain the waist belt causing the straps to loosen and the spray inevitably ends up sagging on the belt in the middle of my lower abdomen.  This is not only frustrating but a safety issue.  As I constantly fuss with the belt (on any pack), my situational awareness is lessened, which, as a lone hiker out with my dog only, can lead to danger.

My ferocious hiking partner

My ferocious hiking partner

Why do I go on with this complaint?  I am issuing a challenge to pack designers!  Please, please, please create a pack that is bear spray compatible!  I have ideas which would be hard to explain here but am challenging companies to contact me and discuss this to keep us bear country hikers extra safe!

Stunning views

Stunning views like these are worth the hike in bear country!

This Teton Sports UltraLight Summit 1500 gets the seal of approval

This Teton Sports UltraLight Summit 1500 gets the seal of approval

Have water, will travel – Teton Sports hydration pack review

About a month ago I was out trail running one day (as I do several times a week now).  That day, I had enough of the ill-fitting hydration pack I have had for years.  I bought it cheap during a time in my life when I definitely couldn’t afford a real Camelbak (which I have owned a few of in the past) or anything else decent.  It worked well enough for what my wallet could afford, or so I realized until I started using it almost daily for trail runs and bike rides following my move to Wyoming. 

It may sound strange, but I have some fond memories associated with my old hydration pack.  It went on several hikes in Alaska when I took a very healing trip up there with my family.

Rockin my old hydration pack on some AK rocks

My Dad and I during a hike in Alaska

Regardless, this pack was starting to rub in all the wrong places (not sure that there would be any right places here…), so it was time for it to go.  I contacted my friend Shawn with Teton Sports to find out more about their cool looking TrailRunner2.0 hydration pack. To my amazement, after discussing the pack, he offered to send me one!

A few days later this showed up at my door.

Great fit for my frame

Loving the inter-connected straps

Starting that day, it has become my standby hydration pack.  I use it for trail runs, bike rides, hikes, and runs in town.  The pack has seen the highest peak in South Dakota (2 dogs+ 2 people = Fun in SD), multiple hikes/trail runs and a mountain bike ride in Colorado, and of course lots of runs and rides here in Wyoming.

The pack worked great for hooking on the dogs’ water bottles, too!

The Awesome:  The TrailRunner2.0 hydration pack has straps that are interconnected.  One of my favorite features of the pack is these cool little tabs on the waist straps; they keep the extra strap length from flapping around.  The fit of the pack is perfect for me and fit my sister really well when she wore it for a hike up Heart Mountain recently.  I like the versatility of the pack in that you can have the tube come out on either side of the pack.  The straps and back are a lightweight mesh, which allows you to remain cool when being active.  There is a small mesh pocket on the outside as well as a bungee system to strap a shirt or something to the back.  Lastly, I am normally put off by how expensive hydration packs can be…this one is less than $30 through Amazon!!!!

My sister rockin’ the pack during our Heart Mtn hike

The Not as Awesome: When I ride I always take my bike pump, tire pressure gauge, and tire repair kit.  I easily carried these all in my now retired pack.  While they all fit in the open mesh pocket of the TrailRunner2.0 hydration pack, I worry that they could be jarred free during a bumpy, rocky section of trail.  It was also be sweet to have a small, zippered pocket on the front of the pack for keys or even a small clip for keys within the mesh pocket.  Also, the chest strap can rub the material of your shirt, but I am pretty sure this happens on almost all packs with chest straps when movement occurs.

Overall I love this hydration pack!  Thanks to Shawn and Teton Sports for hooking me up; I look forward to many more runs, hikes, bikes, and climbs with this little pack. 

This pack gets a thumbs up from me and a tail wag of approval from the pup!

Sunday Gulch hike…on a Sunday of course

Ok, so the first day of our South Dakota trip was pure awesomesauce (https://anappetiteforadventure.wordpress.com/2012/09/12/2-dogs-2-people-fun-in-sd/) but the second day was just as great!  After a super…umm healthy (not!) breakfast of pancakes at IHOP 😉 my mom and I gathered the pups into the car for another day of adventure.  We headed back to the Sylvan Lake area in Custer State Park to hike the Sunday Gulch trail.

Sylvan Lake is stunning

We made sure to carry a bit more water for the pups because we were out of all water when we got back to the car the day before.

One Teton Sport hydration pack and two dog bottles…I am a water mule!

We first had to go around the lake, which had a good amount of foot traffic, and through a cool rock opening to find out trailhead.

Mom and Fia in the rock crack leading to the trailhead

This hike was a loop just shy of 3 miles, but it was definitely an interesting start as we scrambled down huge boulders to get to the bottom of the gulch before winding along the floor and then ascending the gulch sides back to Sylvan Lake.

Part of the scramble we came down

Mom pointing out one of the “interesting sights” the Sunday Gulch hike boasts…

After making it back to the car with two once again tired pups, we decide to drive towards Hill City and hit up a few wineries before heading back to the hotel.  We stopped at two, Stone Faces Winery and Prairie Berry Winery.  They both had some tasty wines including their individual takes on rhubarb wines, but the lines were so long we opted to try and not buy.

After some shopping (we only have WalMart in Cody), we headed back to Firehouse Brewing for another feast of good food and brews.

Sylvan Lake is too pretty not to include another shot of it

The next morning we went our separate ways with my Mom and Fia heading back to Wisconsin while Sydney and I started our drive to Colorado and entirely new adventure!

Happiness in….Utah??? Yes!

If we are lucky, at some point in our lives we come to a point of peace.  Call it Zen, happiness, peace, or whatever you want; this feeling can be caused by many things.  I feel lucky and blessed to be living in a dream location, working a dream job, and as of the start of August, I was able to add the final portion my own personal happiness.

While I have met many wonderful people throughout my life, I was so happy to finally find people as passionate about the outdoors as me.  How did I find these people, you ask…well, social networking of course 🙂  It was through these friends (who I finally got to meet some of in real life!) that I have intensified my passions but also received an invite to go to the summer Outdoor Retailer show in Salt Lake City!

After meeting Haley and Josh on Friday night (following a “short” 7 hour drive), I was as excited as a kid the night before Christmas.  Not just because of all of the amazing, new, top of the line gear I would be seeing the next day, but also because I would finally be meeting people who I had grown so close with.

I picked up some amazing gear and made some great contacts with super companies like Columbia and Millet (pronounced Mee-Yay).  Look for future reviews of gear from these companies as well as Isis and Clean Bottle.  I was so in awe that I forgot to take pictures of everything.

Luckily, some people were smart and took pics of those of us from the show that are regulars on #ClimbChat on Twitter.

Finally got to meet a huge group of amazing outdoor/climbing peeps!
(photo courtesy of Andrew Bradberry)

Saying that I instantly felt a connection with all of these people would be an understatement.  I now know that if I travel to Florida, Michigan, Colorado, or Utah, I will immediately have a place to stay and people to adventure/climb with 🙂

After the fun of the OR Show on Saturday, Sunday was climbing in the American Fork Canyon on the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest.  This was my very first time climbing outside, so I was extremely excited/nervous/anxious as Katie, Josh, and I walked up the trail to the rock.  After watching Josh expertly send the 5.7 Rockapella, my time had come.

Josh made this climb look like a walk in the park

I thought I might lose my breakfast, but as soon as my hands touched the rock face, I felt a calm come over me and my focus narrowed.

Bliss 🙂 (picture by Katie, themorningfresh.com)

I got in one more route but spent a good portion of the afternoon belaying others as the crushed routes beyond my ability (for now, but not for long!).

Steve Weiss showing us all how Suicide Blonde is done!

The day was perfect.  Beautiful setting, amazing friends crushing intense routes, and two of the cutest kids ever (Haley’s little ones are climbers!) made my first day on the rock all that I had hoped for and more!

Future climbing masters

So who is up for some Columbus Day weekend climbing fun? 😉

Who wants to hang with this gang again? Me!