SCOTT Sports – The Cottonwood Project w/ Sam Cohen

By Sam Cohen

My old man came to Alta, Utah in the late 70’s. A transplant from Glencove, New York. Back then Alta was much different. The Salt Lake Valley wasn’t harboring over 1 million people and the snow was just as deep, adding up to more face shots for the diehard hippies skiing Alta back then. Many of these diehard Alta locals grew up and started having families, ushering in the next generation of “Altaholics”.

My mom worked at the Alta Lodge while my pop was out shooting ski photos. For them this meant finding a babysitter that could work long hours and keep up with my ridiculous antics. The ski hill became the perfect babysitter as was the case for most the locals up there. This led to the children of these transplants skiing together. Through the years we became very close and skied together every day as we continued to embody the saying “you are a product of your environment.”

Flash forward twenty years and most of us are still in Little Cottonwood Canyon. Something about having everything at your fingertips has kept me here. The easy access to amazing skiing, the splitter granite rock climbing, the international airport and anything you could ever need lies within 30 minutes of your house. The more I’ve traveled the more I realize how great this place really is.

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Men’s Journal – The Gear and Tips You Need to Turn Yourself and Your Friends Into Campfire Kings

By Erin McGrady and Caroline Whatley From Men’s Journal

One of the keys to a long and healthy life is being able to relax. Ironically, with the uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 from health to economic worries, extra downtime spent adhering to social distancing best practices doesn’t necessarily equate to more relaxation. Once you tire of watching Netflix, we recommend something more primitive and unplugged to find some rejuvenation and restoration: a bonfire. For now, it’ll have to be with your closed circle of family members and roommates only. Which is fine, you can still reap the benefits of open flame and take the opportunity to perfect what some would say is a dying art: the ability to truly hang out, sans technology, and make conversation. Allow us to introduce you to the idea of takibi time—with some guidance and a few gear goodies to hone your campfire etiquette.

First off, “takibi” means “bonfire” in Japanese. Takibi time is quite simply the act of gathering together around a good fire. Like most of life’s greater indulgences, there’s a bit of a ritual involved (think: ground and brewed coffee, or a hand-crafted Manhattan). And as you know, the finer things in life all start with quality ingredients. A quality bonfire is no different. That said, there’s more to just making a fire and hanging out by one. There’s also a good bit of responsibility that goes into building a campfire. Here are our top tips on campfire etiquette.

Campfire Etiquette

Obey a Burn Ban

For starters, if there’s a burn ban in effect, do not start a fire. Period. It doesn’t matter how much experience you have nor how much water you have on hand. When a burn ban is in effect, it is meant to be obeyed for everyone’s safety. Don’t be responsible for a forest fire. We can’t stress this one enough.

Stay With Your Fire

Of almost equal importance to obeying a burn ban is making sure that you never leave your campfire unattended. Don’t expect your campsite neighbor to keep an eye out on your campfire while you run to the shower. Don’t expect your 8-year-old child to manage your fire. If you build it, take responsibility for it, monitor it and make sure it’s completely out by the time you go to bed or leave your site.

Keep Your Fire Clean

One of the most common newbie camper mistakes is thinking of a campfire like a trash can. It’s not. Refrain from throwing food waste, beer bottles or cans, plastic, etc., into your fire. Not only will throwing things into your fire potentially attract wildlife, but the ensuing smell and smoke may ruin the experience of other nearby campers.

Keep Wood Local

Almost every campsite that allows campfires will have wood for sale. Buy it on-site rather than bringing your own. Doing so reduces the risk of introducing new insects and disease and helps keep forests healthy.

Campfire Gear

Now that you’ve got some of the basics of campfire etiquette in mind, let’s move on to gear. This is where it gets fun. While a lot of public campsites have their own fire pits, some don’t. And if you’re like us, sometimes you may want the ability to build a campfire at home, in your backyard, in a friend’s field, or at a remote spot on public lands. It’s always best to check whether or not a fire is permissible before building one, but if you get the green light, we recommend some of the following Snow Peak gear, all lifetime guaranteed to help you relax into takibi time. After all, takibi time is both an art and a science—a skill worth honing.

Takibi Fire and Grill

For starters, you’re going to need the Takibi Fire and Grill. It’s portable, comes with its own canvas carrying bag, packs down flat for easy storage and can be set up in a couple of minutes. It’s made with 1.5 mm–thick chrome coated steel which makes it durable and long-lasting. Plus the Fireplace Grill Bridge can easily be raised and lowered to meet your culinary needs. Sure it’ll cook up a hot dog, but set your sights a little higher and bring something from the local butcher. We have firsthand knowledge that you can grill an incredible pork chop on this setup.


Folding Torch

This little device by Snow Peak is a great accessory to the Takibi Fire and Grill because it packs down small, is super powerful (it’ll dry a piece of wet firewood in less than 10 seconds) and is fun to use. Plus it’s functional. Once you light a fire with this, you won’t want to go back to any other method.


Fire Tool Set

This set includes a shovel (you’ll need this to help you properly extinguish a fire), poker and fire tongs. The carrying case is sturdy and keeps everything organized rather than rattling around in the back of your truck. The tools themselves are of the highest quality and are a good match for the robust fire pit you’ll be using them on.


Jikaro Firering Table

This table is for the Takibi time enthusiast who wants to increase their communal space around the campfire. The table is light enough and portable enough that it makes sense to bring it to any car camping adventure. It’s also good-looking enough to be kept on display at home on your back porch or patio. We think it makes a handsome addition to any campfire experience. The only thing missing is a hand-crafted cocktail to set upon it and a few of your closest friends.


How To Takibi Time

Written by: Savanna Frimoth

At Snow Peak, we’re true believers in the restorative nature of Takibi Time. We feel that the most meaningful connections can be discovered through the simple act of gathering together around a good fire, even if you’ve only ventured out to your backyard or patio. Here, we show you just how easy it is to create your own Takibi scene and restore a little humanity in the process with our iconic Takibi Fire & Grill.

Before you get started, watch our video for the step-by-step process of setting up your Takibi Fire and Grill.


Step 1: Crumple several sheets of recycled newspaper into a ball and set at the bottom of your fireplace.

Step 2: Gather up kindling. It will help ignite the fuel logs later in the process. 

Step 3: Arrange your kindling three or four layers high in alternating sets of three directly on top of the newspaper.

Step 4: Carefully ignite the newspaper and add a few more layers of kindling to the fire. 

Step 5: Stack two new layers of wood logs, two by two, and allow them to burn in a controlled manner.

Step 6: Continue building on the fire by adding in additional wood logs as needed.

Step 7: Leave enough space for airflow and allow the wood logs to slowly burn.

Step 8: Monitor, and safely stoke fire, adding some additional wood logs as desired.

Step 9: Enjoy your Takibi time! Bonus points if you invite your friends to join you. 

Step 10: Allow the fire to completely burn before attempting to extinguish. When you’re finished, completely drown out the fire with water.

Step 11: Make certain that all wood logs and embers have been extinguished. Never leave a smoldering fire unattended.


As an alternative method for starting your Takibi time, we recommend using the Snow Peak Folding Torch. This powerful tool provides small concentrated flames which easily lights kindling at the bottom of your fireplace. Point the nozzle and burn wood evening until you hear it crackle at which point you know the fire will take off on it’s own. Slowly add larger logs in alternating directions to help fire grow. 

Do It Yourself – Install a Yakima Roof Rack Without Attachment Points

From GearJunkie By Nicole Qualtieri

You can install your own roof rack even if, like me, you have a smooth roof with zero attachment points for a Yakima Roof Rack System. Here’s how it went.

I have two things we need to talk about. The first is the limited size of a Chevrolet Silverado 1500 with a topper. And the second is way too many hobbies. If I were to accurately organize and travel with all my gear — let’s be real here — I’d need a semi-truck with two of those trailers. But that seems unreasonable.

So, I’m currently working on solutions. The first big addition for me is putting a Yakima roof rack with a DoubleHaul fly rod carrier onto my truck topper. The small footprint of the DoubleHaul will also leave room for more storage or carrying solutions should I need them.

It also gives me the option to leave rods strung up for easy fishing when on the road. This is what I’m most excited about.

But I was certainly intimidated when I looked at the smooth top of my truck’s topper. Initially, I thought about getting it done professionally.

After watching a few videos and reminding myself that I’m consistently capable of a lot of strange things, I decided to dig in and try it. After all, I’d only ruin a very expensive truck topper.

Anyway, here’s how I DIY’d my Yakima rack prior to adding my DoubleHaul to the system. Here’s the before pic, and enjoy my instructions.

The before pic of my rig, starring Bob the Boykin

Installing Your Yakima Rack, Tracks First

The Custom-Fit Yakima SkyLine System

I’ll note that the rack that I installed is the SkyLine system, but most of these instructions will work if you need to install tracks, landing pads, and more for your Yakima rack. Yakima has a few different systems and depending on your specific vehicle, you’ll need the one that fits best.

I will say, this was one of the tougher installations because of the smooth exterior of my topper. But if I can do it, most people can.

I needed the following components to build my custom SkyLine System rack:

  • Yakima 60″ Tracks for Custom Fiberglass Installation — There are multiple options for tracks if your rig doesn’t have tracks or built-in rails, side rails, or connection points. Reach out to Yakima to figure out what’s most suitable for your vehicle.
  • Yakima Landing Pads — These connect to the tracks in order to create a platform for your rack. One box contains a set of four, which is all you need.
  • SkyLine Tower Set of Four — The towers then build the setup for your cross bars. Four are included with the set.
  • JetStream Cross Bars — Cross bars make the rack happen.
  • Power Drill — With a 1/8-inch drill bit and ¼-inch drill bit.
  • Pocket Knife — For cutting rubber. More on this to come.
  • Measuring Tape — Really gotta get this stuff (mostly) perfect.

Installing the Tracks

First, I decided that it would be easiest to fully remove the truck topper and work on all of this stuff from the ground. I was mostly right. I don’t like ladders, and I wanted to adjust the fit of my topper anyway. So, I pulled the four clamps and asked for help to get the topper to ground level.

The most nerve-wracking part of laying the tracks is that you must drill holes to make the connections from track to topper. But it’s fairly straightforward.

You simply lay the tracks down, measure with the measuring tape for equidistance on both tracks, and straighten them as much as you can. Use a permanent marker to mark every other hole; there should be six holes in total for each track. Then, you drill each hole with the 1/8-inch bit, followed by opening the hole with the ¼-inch bit.

I was worried I’d get this wrong. But I didn’t. It was pretty easy. You do have to add silicone to the holes prior to installing the screw/washer system, so it can get a bit messy.

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WildSnow – Skis From the Future – SCOTT PURE

From By Slator Aplin


Another lap around the sun and another Outdoor Retailer. 2020 was a dynamic year (is that an understatement?*). 2021 is a fresh start and what better/base of a way to move forward than by checking what’s new in the world of ski touring?

Due to limitations around large-scale gatherings (like a packed Denver conference center), OR 2021 went virtual. We’re not quite sure what that means either, but we respect the energy that Outdoor Retailer Winter Online put into the online event. Our correspondence with outdoor brands is on-going, and largely consists of emails and zoom calls.

A product of these E-interactions is that we don’t get to compulsively fondle gear. There will be no arbitrary ski flexing, no rubbing new-age fabrics between our fingers or on our faces, and no tinkering with tools we don’t even have names for. That’s okay. We can still speculate about new gear and tag our first impression on What Hot and What’s Not. So here we go.

General Ski Theme for 2021/22

2021 is the Year of Freeride. Is this a sweeping generalization? Yes. There is innovation in other areas of the ski touring industry, but the overwhelming focus that I’m picking up on is that Freeride is IN. A lot of brands are upgrading current series to tailor more towards the Freeride skier. Maybe I can give a definition of what Freeride is to us here at Wildsnow:


A form of backcountry skiing whose primary focus is the aesthetic of the descent:
Kate defines herself as a Freeride skier because she’ll do whatever it takes to draw her unique line down the mountain.

Skiing that blends the accessibility of both on and off piste terrain
Jeez Louise, Denise seems to be Freeride skiing much more this season. She’s in the backcountry as much as she’s riding lifts.

With that definition in mind, let’s look at some of the skis coming out Fall 2021:


The Scott Pure is a big mountain purebred ski designed in collaboration with freeride phenom Jeremie Heitz. The Pure Ski features a similar construction to the existing Scott Superguide series: paulownia core with beech stringers and a carbon/aramid lattice wrapped over the top. The Pure however has an added layer of titanal for further dampening and edge hold at higher speeds. Scott is another great example of the moving focus towards freeride skiing right now. Last year, they introduced the Superguide Freetour (at 105 mm underfoot) as the biggest touring ski in their lineup. 2021 is bigger and burlier with the Pure Ski being 109 mm underfoot and weighing in at 2000 grams. That’s a lot of weight for the uphill, but it’s what one needs for big freeride style skiing.

Compared to other freeride skis that we’re mentioning (QST BLANK or BD Impulse), the Scott Pure has a more directional shape. There is tip and tail rise to the ski, but much more traditional camber underfoot and a long turning radius. This will make the ski hold an edge through variable snow and facilitate big sweeping La Liste style turns. So for those who arch traditional GS-style turns and cringe at the word slarve, the Pure looks to be more more up your alley.

For the rest of the list check out: Wild Snow

CamelBak Commute Bike Packs

CamelBak H.A.W.G. Commute 30 and M.U.L.E Commute 22

Adventure happens daily. CamelBak’s new line of everyday commute packs accommodate all the necessities for your daily routine. Smart and roomy designs paired with the fit and comfort that CamelBak is known for, these are sure to handle the daily grind.

GearJunkie – Our Favorite Gear This Month – GSI Outdoors Pinnacle Pro Stove

From GearJunkie Tested by: Chris Potter, Community Manager

GSI Outdoors – Pinnacle Pro Stove

Highly anticipated since winning GearJunkie’s Best of Show award at the Winter 2019 Outdoor Retailer Show, the Pinnacle Pro Stove from GSI Outdoors is the most compact and capable camp stove for elevating your camp kitchen experience yet. With strikingly modern looks, an extra-slim design, and refreshingly adjustable BTU burners, GSI Outdoors has reimagined what a camp stove can be.

Whether it was an omelet, a steak, or just a lot of rice for a camp stir fry, the Pinnacle Pro Stove made quick work of it during my testing. When I’m car camping, I tend to try and get a little indulgent with my cooking. And a stove that gently simmers and quickly boils like the Pinnacle Pro brought with it cooking confidence I’ve never before felt at the campsite.

At 1.4 inches thin, this stove is the portable future of car camping stoves. The Pinnacle Pro Stove should be available in late August or early September (pending supply chain shortages), and it will likely be in high demand once it hits store shelves. Camp chefs, car campers, overlanders, and base campers — this is your stove.

GearJunkie – Double-Decker Hitch Rack Hauls It All: Yakima Exo Review

From By Berne Broudy

Mounting Yakima’s EXO modular hitch rack is like moving from a studio apartment to a house with a garage.

I do a lot of sports and multi-activity adventures that require a lot of gear. So when I head out for the weekend, my Toyota Rav 4 Prime is loaded so full I can’t see out the back window. What’s more, my dogs have to sit uncomfortably atop duffel bags, bike shoes, climbing ropes, a cooler, toolbox, and more.

Thankfully, that all changed since I mounted Yakima’s EXO rack on my hitch. The fully modular rack has dry, secure storage; bike and ski racks; a burly basket that holds coolers and duffel bags (and also converts to a handy wheeled wagon); a bamboo table — the list goes on.

The EXO is a unique rack that fits any 2-inch hitch receiver. It offers one or two levels of carriage: the EXO SwingBase serves as a kind of lower deck that can be paired with the EXO TopShelf that sits above. Both decks both hold any of the EXO storage baskets, boxes, or racks.

Yakima EXO Modular Hitch Race: Setup

It all starts with the SwingBase, built on a swing-away that connects to a hitch receiver with a locking screw-in pin. Its two folding arms have tracks for any of the EXO system accessories (more below).

With the SwingBase installed, storage and mounts slide into tracks on the arms and tighten down with locking screw knobs. The rack rotates away from the vehicle for hatch access hatch. And a burly, overbuilt screw handle secures the closed SwingBase when it’s closed.

When it’s open with loaded racks or storage, a quick-install leg supports the open rack.

Next, the SwingBase has a receptacle for EXO’s TopShelf, the upper deck storage and rack holder. It locks to the base. It also rotates independently of the base when the two aren’t locked together.

Yakima EXO Accessories

DoubleUp Bike Rack & GearLocker

Most of the summer, I’ve used EXO’s DoubleUp bike rack on the upper deck, and its GearLocker on the lower deck. I keep all my riding gear in the dry, locked storage box. That keeps dirt and stink out of my car, and keeps all my gear where I can grab it fast at the trailhead.

The DoubleUp bike rack is the only mount that has to be installed on the TopShelf if you’re running both upper and lower decks. Every other mount can be used on whichever level you prefer.

In the setup I’ve been running, the GearLocker box won’t open unless I rotate the upper deck with the bike rack away from the lower deck. While it’s a minor annoyance, having the extra storage has proven worth it.

So when I use a GearLocker on the lower deck, instead of using the locking bolt to secure the top level to bottom level, I secure the two levels to each other with a quick-to-remove pin and a knob.

GearWarrior Basket

When I didn’t need locked, dry, dustproof storage for my gear, I slid the GearWarrior basket into the lower deck mount.

Yakima sells wheels and a handle that can convert the GearWarrior into a wagon. If you’ve ever hauled heavy coolers, six-person tents, firewood, and other camping gear for any distance, you’ll understand the value of this system.

The WarriorWheels install in minutes tool-free, and they can support up to 110 pounds. So not only was the basket spacious and easy to load and unload, but it also helped me get my gear to camp when I couldn’t drive to my site.


One of the mounts I was unsure I’d use was the EXO’s BackDeck. The bamboo tabletop, which comes in a protective carry case and must be stored inside the vehicle for transport, ended up being one of my favorite EXO accessories.

Post-ride beers were even more awesome served on this table. It had space for a cooler, snacks, a Bluetooth speaker, and gear. I also used the BackDeck as a work stand to hold tools, chain lube, rags, and more for field repairs.

And, when I parked to catch a sunset over Lake Champlain, I set it up on the EXO’s lower level where it was the perfect camp chair height to set drinks and food while kicking back.

Exo LitKit

Because the rack will block your taillights and your license plate, Yakima also makes the LitKit, a license plate holder with taillights that mounts on the rack where it’s visible to other drivers.  Note: You will need a wiring harness.

If you’re installing this rack on a vehicle other than a pickup, which likely came with a wiring harness, you’ll probably need to have one installed by a mechanic.

All of the parts and pieces of the EXO system lock to the EXO SwingBase and TopShelf. The GearLocker and bike and ski racks also lock, and the SwingBase and TopShelf lock to each other.

Yakima EXO Review

The biggest downside to the rack is that it’s heavy. And when I’m using both upper and lower decks, it’s hard to see out my rear window. On many vehicles, the system also blocks the backup camera.

Of course, the big downside is the price. The SwingBase and TopShelf are around $930, and that’s before adding the GearLocker ($419), GearWarrior ($349), DoubleUp bike rack ($499), or BackDeck tabletop ($129). All mounts are specific to the EXO base rack, which can be installed on a 2-inch hitch only.

From my perspective, even if I get all the mounts and storage options, it’s a heck of a lot cheaper than buying a new car with more space. As an incurable gearhead who wants to be ready for any adventure that presents itself, this system has been invaluable to me.

And my dogs say that hitting the trailhead, crag, and put-in has become a lot more comfortable since I mounted the Exo on our hitch.

The EXO systems isn’t perfect, but it’s user-friendly, easy to operate, and gives me space I’ve only dreamed of. And because it’s modular, I’ve added mounts as I need them and as the budget allows.

So, I’m building a customized system that meets all my needs that can also be transferred to another vehicle if I’m traveling with a friend, or when it’s time to trade in my wheels for something new.

NSMB – CamelBak Chase Protector Vest Review

From NSMB By Andrew Major

CamelBak Chase Protector

This Is Spinal Wrap

Saying that I had an excellent experience with Camelbak’s original Chase Bike Vest is an understatement. The product is the hip-pack-killer anytime I’m carrying more than my wallet, emotional support jacket, and some extra gloves. I love how the Chase vest stays put descending, puts my cellphone in the best possible position if I should need it on the solo ride emergency, and holds exactly the right amount of gear – including my 4/3 camera – without getting unwieldy. In fact I’ve recommended the Chase a number of times to riders looking to take water, tools, and snacks along on their DH bikes .

I know that hip-packs are for everyone, and backpacks are not, and Camelbak’s bike vests are an exceptional example of neither. Camelbak quite obviously sees the vest line’s potential beyond marathon XC racing and bikes-sans-bottle-mounts because this latest vest option includes a CE Level 2 back protector.

The Chase vest is great for all four seasons. For epic rides I add the included 2L bladder but usually it just holds stuff and I carry water in bottles on my bike.

Chase is easily the most breathable on-my-back pack that I’ve used. The mesh straps help but credit to Camelbak for thinking about ventilation throughout.

The back protector doesn’t add any warmth compared to the original Chase Bike Vest. The system is heavier but also has a much larger volume.

At first, explaining the combination of a hydration vest – popularized by runners and long-distance XC riders – and back protection sounds a bit strange but with familiarization comes infatuation as I usually don’t ride with a hydration bladder. I’ve popped a bladder once falling on my back wearing a pack, and given the awkward shape and rigidity of some of the items I carry – like a camera – the idea of the back protector separating me from my sh*t during a crash is appealing.

Compared to the original Chase Bike Vest, this protective model is more than twice as heavy (780-grams v. 330-grams) empty but it’s important to note that doesn’t just come down to the back protector. The Protector-Vest has more than double the storage capacity – which is way too much for this layout – and has room for a bladder with an extra 1/2 litre of liquids (2L v 1.5L). It even has a helmet holder and while that’s not a feature I’d bother with, it’s a great place to store a wet jacket when the tap turns off.

The Protector-Vest is much better laid out for mountain bike gear storage compared to the original Chase, which was re-purposed from Camelbak’s running lineup, but I’d go as far as to suggest it has double the volume that it should in terms of being able to load the design with crap. My concern is that, for future products, Camelbak will compromise the best aspects of the vest – airflow and the mesh harness – in order to improve the ergonomics of the Protector Vest when it’s loaded. If you need to carry a backpack load of stuff then wear a backpack.

The new vest can carry a 2L bladder and 6L of gear. This is a dangerous combo for the everything-and-the-kitchen-sink packer because the vest format is best with a lightweight load.

I wish every pack used mesh straps and had a convenient, built-in, and excellent fitting, front access cellphone pocket. It’s never uncomfortable or in the way like an add-on pouch will be.

Thanks to the 3D ventilated mesh harness, the vest is amazing at staying in place in even when using my best dance moves to keep the rubber side down on janky trails. It breathes better than any backpack you’ve tried. My usual load is either the same as my hip-pack or when I’m carrying my camera or extra water, I’ll make sure the majority of my tools are in my frame bag & on my bike. If there’s going to be heavy rain I’ll also pack a real rain jacket and if there’s a solid chance of lighter precipitation my Goretex vest comes along. I’m a notorious over-packer so I have to really stay on top of myself. Last week I pulled five pairs of gloves, two multi-tools, and a full bottle of water out of the Chase. The performance was much improved after.

I wish there was a built-in weatherproof compartment, or that the whole bag was weatherproof, but not if it would have any effect on breath-ability. There is no back pack that breathes as well as the Chase and I’ll happily stuff my vulnerable gear in a dry bag for really wet days if that’s what it takes to keep it that way.

I’ll also make a special mention about the dual-sternum-strap and lack of a waist belt as it’s the thing I get most often asked about. I love not having a waist belt, and wouldn’t want one on any pack except where they stabilize loads under maximum effort. The Chase stays put beautifully, better than any pack I’ve used, and a waist belt is absolutely unnecessary.

Between Two Vests

Three pocket jerseys aren’t my thing. Merino jerseys sag ridiculously with any amount of weight in them and standard road jerseys that combine stretch and support feel awful as soon as I start getting my sweat on. When it’s raining in the summer I’ll wear the Chase vest over my Goretex vest. On a warm day, I’ll just wear it over a Merino T. It’s those crisp days that I’m getting excited for because this season I’ll be sporting the Chase Protector Vest over a nearly-new, fairly-old, CoreRat vest that my friend Sarah found in her closet!

Thanks to the Chase vest’s birth as a marathon-XC product, with easily accessible snacking and just the right amount of space, it sits perfectly above the Cordura pockets of my CoreRat. Doing short rides without any packs the CoreRat actually has plenty of space to comfortably carry my wallet, phone, and snacks, but even when combined with the Chase vest there are plenty of lightweight things to shove in those pockets so that I don’t need to remove my pack to access them.

The Chase vest interfaces perfectly with a three-pocket jersey is that’s your thing. Personally, I’ll only be taking advantage of the cut when wearing my CoreRat vest.

I can access all three pockets without removing the Chase Protector Vest. I’ll keep extra gloves in there, a mandatory blinky light, or snacks.

When it comes time for costume changes the Chase is very quick to adjust. Even when interfaced with thicker garments I had no issue getting a perfect fit.

Whether it’s climbing hard out of the saddle or bouncing down grotesque rooted corners, the Chase Protector Vest is splendidly still no matter how much body English I introduce to our relationship. Thankfully I haven’t had to use the back protector to date but I’m completely sold on the idea of having the protective barrier between my camera, tools, etc, and me if I do crash on my back. The Chase, with the right load, feels so light on my back that I don’t count any extra grams from the protector as a concern.

If you love your hip pack, wear it. If you love your backpack, wear it. If you haven’t found an example of either that works great for you then try on a Chase Bike Vest. Having used both models, I’d recommend the fit and features of the Protector version. I am still occasionally wearing a hip pack for very light-load days, especially when it’s very warm, because I have the luxury of owning both. Ii I was going to have just one pack for riding then this would be it.

When I found out the vest, including a 2L bladder, is 200 USD it gave me a moment’s pause. That seems like a lot of scratch, even with the best-in-class airflow and the back protector. A couple more rides in and I could frankly say that if this went missing tomorrow that I would buy a replacement right away. That’s despite owning a few other packs – hip and back – that can do the job.

You can check it out here and if you’ve tried out a Camelbak vest, love it or hate it, I’d like to read your experiences in the comments below. My brother is already a full-time Chase convert; it’s the hip pack and backpack killer and I have a few friends I’m trying to convince to try one out.

Snow Peak – Tips for Bikepacking Beginners w/ Swift Industries’ Martina Brimmer

Written by: Savanna Frimoth

This week, Martina Brimmer, co-founder of Swift Industries, shared her tips and tricks for new bike campers. If you’re dreaming of remote trails, epic views, and backcountry adventures, read on for everything needed to get you started.


As with any outdoor excursion, the proper gear is key! Martina recommends packing a shelter (a tent, tarp, or hammock), a ground pad, and a sleeping bag.

Equally as important to your shelter and sleep setup is your kitchen kit. We’ve added a few of our own recommendations to her list!

  • Cutting board out of food-grade plastic
  • Knife – try the Field Knife with its included sheath.
  • Spork – as Snow Peakers know, nothing beats the Titanium Spork!
  • Spice kit (small containers of salt, pepper, cumin, chili, honey, etc.)
  • Small plastic bottle of cooking oil
  • Pot and pan – the Trek 900 is the perfect solution!
  • Backpacking stove and fuel – try the GigaPower Stove Auto and GigaPower isobutane.
  • Coffee kit – add the Collapsible Coffee Drip and some filters to your pack, and you’re all set!
  • Mug for both eating and drinking – use the Ti-Single 450 Cup for any beverage or mug meal.


Lightweight adventurers know the importance of creative packing. Waste no space! Martina says pre-packing strategizing is key.

“Think of your empty spaces first. Use the soft stuff like socks, leggings, and your puffy jacket to fill in the area around hard goods, like mortar between bricks. Put your fuel canister in an empty cook pot, then utilize the rest of that dead space with something soft, like socks or your kitchen rag. A tent can be attached to the top of the rear rack to leave space inside your touring bags for weather-sensitive provisions. A little mindfulness goes a long way: put sensitive gear like down sleeping bags and electronics in seam-sealed bags.”

She recommends packing your gear in the order of use. Group your items needed for the evening together, and leave your gear for the day in an easy-to-reach section. Lastly, shrink items as much as you can! Consider each piece of gear and whittle down non-essentials.


Avoid getting lost with proper pre-trip planning! Martina suggests starting with an old-fashioned paper map, then cross-referencing with Google Maps for cycling to your destination.

“Start by plugging in your destination and toggling to bicycle mode in Google Maps, then fine-tune the suggested route. Quiet roads are sure to impress, so when you’re planning, maximize those digital maps to reveal the backroads that every traveler longs for. Try roads with old in the title. “Old Woodinville-Duvall Road” has likely been replaced by a larger, more heavily trafficked thoroughfare, leaving the grandparent highway underused and laid back (though sometimes also a little more rolling).”

Local knowledge is top-notch but be wary of tips from folks who have only driven the stretch of road. Another important factor to consider is your daily mileage. Martina recommends 45-50 miles per day, but less is fine too! Weather, road conditions, and other factors will have an impact.

“Keep in mind that 50 miles of flat roads with a heavenly tailwind are very different than 50 dirt miles over mountain passes. Sometimes a day’s distance is predetermined by the distance between your chosen campgrounds, and you may have to pull a long day in the saddle to make it into camp.”


Last but certainly not least, embrace all that the backroads have to offer. Take a swim in a river or lake, pause to listen to the birds or watch the wildlife, wake up early to watch the sunrise. These are the magical moments that get us out there. Reconnect with the rhythms of nature, wherever the road takes you.

Martina says, “It’s all about tuning in and dropping out. Start paying attention to where you are in the moment and walk away from the daily grind to get perspective and reorient yourself. The magic of bike-camping is that it’s equal parts going there and getting there.”

For more helpful bike camping tips, check out Swift’s blog or RSVP for one of the activations taking place during the Swift Residency at Snow Peak Portland.