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The Framed Minnesota 2.0

A fat bike resting against tree trunks

I was never really a bike person. As a kid I remember getting my first bike and being wildly excited by it, and growing up outside of town bicycles were the mode of transport of choice until we earned our driving privileges. But somewhere between then and now biking just kind of became a chore. There were friends that I had that loved road biking but generally speaking that was about the sum of my exposure to bike culture, spandex and skinny smooth wheels. Generally something that interested me about as much as a dentist visit. Continue reading The Framed Minnesota 2.0

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The Vargo Ti-Arc Backpack

A man carrying Vargo Backpack in a wooded trail

Image of The Vargo Ti-Arc Backpack, on person

There are a lot of reasons why we buy the gear we buy. Generally speaking I’ve always believed that we should buy a product based on simple criteria: How well will it work? How functional is it? How long will it last? How well is it made, and usually how much does it cost? If a piece of gear strikes a cord in all of these areas, and hey if it turns out I can get it in a color that I want, well even better. But in the end I find myself firmly in the function over form camp. I’d rather have a piece of gear that will work well, last, and will generally make a trip as comfortable as possible over something that looks good and functions poorly. Continue reading The Vargo Ti-Arc Backpack

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The Vasque Wasatch GTX, a combat boot replacement?

“A journey into the wilderness is the freest, cheapest, most non-privileged of pleasures. Anyone with two legs and the price of a pair of army surplus combat boots may enter.”- Edward Abbey

What we put on our feet can make the all the difference when we hit the trail. Support, comfort, stability all factor in to how our feet hold up, and how our feet hold up is THE determining factor of what kind of shape we are in when we get off the trail. For many years my absolute go to for a trail boot was none other then Edward Abbeys recommendation, a solid, cheap pair of US Army surplus combat boots. Yes they were hard to break in but once they where, where unrivaled in comfort and stability. My combat boots stood up to everything I could throw at them, up mountains and through alpine meadows in Alaska, over sandstone and washes in Utah, rain forests in British Columbia, swampy cedar stands in Wisconsin, and almost everything in between. Continue reading The Vasque Wasatch GTX, a combat boot replacement?

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Big Agnes Scout UL 2 Tent

Someone at Big Agnes is thinking, and they are out thinking most of the outdoors industry. Two things that anyone who has ever gone on an overnight or long distance hike knows: Lighter gear is always beneficial to our backs and feet over the long haul, and anything we can use in multiple capacity cuts down on ounces, hence the sporks you see being sold in the camping section. Whether its packing for a day trip or for a multiple week hike, the fact of the mater is that less weight is better.         Continue reading Big Agnes Scout UL 2 Tent

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Packraft Review by Caleb Despins


Kayaking for me is one of the great outdoor escapes. From the purchase of my first kayak, I realized the freedom of movement that a kayak gave on almost any territory that had water. This freedom led me to own several kayaks over the years, short recreational kayaks good for paddling shallow streams and quiet inland lakes as well as large touring kayaks capable of cutting through rough open water and being packed with gear for multiple day excursions. I felt my small fleet of kayaks could take me on almost any water to any destination that I wanted.

It was when I was spending the summer in Alaska that I started to realize that perhaps my kayaks where not always the best tool for all the adventures that the landscape offered. Continue reading Packraft Review by Caleb Despins